Vijayawada (విజయవాడ) also known as Bezawada, is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh, India, located on the banks of the Krishna River and bounded by the Indrakiladri Hills on the West and the Budemeru River on the North. Vijayawada literally translates to "The Place of Victory". Its prominence as a major trading and business center has earned it the title of, “The Business Capital of Andhra Pradesh”. Situated along the Madras-Howrah and Madras-Delhi Railway route, this is the largest railway junction of the South Central Railway region. The city is in Krishna District, about 275km from the state capital Hyderabad .
The discovery of Stone Age Artifacts remains along the banks of the river from Machilipatnam
to Nagarjuna Sagar
indicates that this area was inhabited at that time.
Vijayawada is also a centre of Andhra culture, and is a religious center. The Chalukyas of Kalyan once conquered this place, and the famous Chinese Xuanzang (Hsuan-tsang) had visited this place in 639 AD when Buddhism was at its zenith in the region.Kings Choda Gangadeva and Ananga Bhimadeva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the 12th century whose capital was in modern Bhubaneswar and who built the Lingaraja temple had re-annexed considerable part of modern Andhra region and marched up to Godavari but could not cross the wide river bed. He established a town 'Vijaya Bahuda' which means 'return after winning' which became known as Vijayawada.
During the British Raj the city experienced significant growth. In particular, the completion of the Prakasam Barrage in 1959, and railway bridge on the Krishna River have helped the region expand its agriculture and commercial base. Vijayawada Railway station is one of the busiest railway junctions in India. The regions around the city have fertile soil and are irrigated by the river.
- A legend narrates that during Dwapara Yuga, Arjuna performed penance for Lord Shiva's Darshan, to gain Pasupathashtra in this location. Lord Shiva, along with Parvathi, appeared in the form of tribal people and blessed Arjuna.
- Another legend states that Durga rested here after killing a Rakshasa and since she was victorious (Vijaya), the place got its name as Vijayawada.
- One another legend states that this place was known as Vijaya-vatica, which translates to "Land of Victory" but this became "Vijayawada" over the ages.
- One another legend states that "Krishnaveni" (River Krishna) requested Arjuna to make a passage to Bay of Bengal. Arjuna made a hole (Bezzam) through mountains. Hence the name Bejjamwada has come into existence. Bejjamwada become Bezawada over a period of time. In 19th century, Bezawada was renamed to Vijayawada.
Vijayawada is bounded by the Indrakiladri Hills on the west and the Budemeru River on the north. The Northern, North-Western, and South-Western parts of the city are covered by a low range of hills, while the Central, South-Western and North-Western parts are covered by rich and fertile agriculture lands with three major irrigation canals. The topography of Vijayawada is flat, with a few small to medium sized hills. The Krishna River runs through the city. These hills are part of the Eastern Ghats cut through by the Krishna river. They have very low elevation compared to the average elevation of the ghats. Three canals originating from the north side of the Prakasam barrage reservoir, Eluru, Bandar and Ryves, run through the city. Vijayawada is the only city in the world with two rivers, Krishna, Budameru, and three canals. Buckingham Canal originates from the south side of the reservoir. Due to the presence of the Krishna river the soil around here is very fertile and cultivated intensively.
The climate is tropical, with hot summers and moderate winters. The peak temperature reaches 49 C in May-June, while the winter temperature is between 17-25 C. The average humidity is 68% and the average annual rainfall is 965 mm. Vijayawada gets its rainfall from both the south-west monsoon and north-east monsoon. It's nicknamed "Blazewada" for its scorching summer heat.
11 km from the western outskirts of Vijayawada lies the Kondapalli reserve forest, spread over 121.5 km² (30,000 acres). The forest provides Vijayawada with a "green lung". This pristine forest is home to leopards, wild dogs, jackals, wild boar, wolves etc.
Kondapalli hills produce a soft wood is used for preparing toys of Kondapalli. They are of varied designs such as dancing toys, playing toys and so on.
Vijayawada is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh after Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. According to 2001 census, the population of the city is 851,282 (agglomeration 1,039,518) (2001 census) and 1,025,436 (agglomeration 1,411,152) (2006 census).
The city of Vijayawada is run by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation .The Municipality of Vijayawada (Bezawada) was constituted on 1st APR, 1888 and was upgraded as a selection grade municipality in the year 1960. The municipality was upgraded to a corporation in 1981. With the merger of Gunadala, Patamata and Bhavanipuram village panchayats and two villages payakapuram and Kundavari kandrika in the corporation in 1985. The total area of the corporation is 61.8km².
The city is divided into 59 political wards. An elected body headed by the Mayor performs the Administration of the Corporation. The Commissioner acts as the executive head, and oversees the day to day functioning of the local body. The commissioner who is a (IAS) officer of Joint collector rank is appointed by the state government. It has a dedicated Sub-Collector's office for Administration of State and Central Government Programmes. The staff strength of the corporation is just over 5000. The Vijayawada City Police is headed by a Police Commissioner, who is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of DIG rank.
The region around the city has fertile soil and irrigation is supported by river Krishna and its canals. Major crops include sugarcane
. Vijayawada is famous for automobile
body building, garment
small scale industries
. Small scale automotive industries 'Jawahar Autonagar', was the largest automobile township in Asia
for sometime. The main markets
are situated in the old city (formerly called One Town) and near Besant Road. It is estimated that nearly INR
of garment business takes place in the Vastralatha building alone in the One Town on a daily basis. Garments are mainly sold in Besant Road
and Governor Pet, but now this activity is also happening in the malls that have come up in Labbipet and M.G. Road areas.
The city is also famous for different kinds of wholesale business. They include garments, iron market,pulses
, and other edible products, fancy markets, fertilizers
, mango exports
, pharmacy, metal
and so on. The city is one of busiest and crowded places due to its strong commercial hold in the entire state.
Vijayawada is called the 'Commerce Hub' of the Andhra state, for it provides the right environ for all the agricultural and industrial goods to be transported in/out and traded in one single place.
Vijayawada is the busiest railway junction
in South India
, and is second biggest junction in India
and only railway station
to have escalators
after New Delhi
. The fact that Vijayawada is well connected through railways
keeps it the main hub
of commercial activities.
The city has a strong educational infrastructure but lacks in the IT industry. There are about 32 IT firms in Vijayawada, which generated revenues of approximately Rs.56 crores (Rs 56,00,00,000) in 2007-2008 fiscal year. The APIIC is setting up an IT park/SEZ at Gannavaram, 20km from the city, next to the airport, to facilitate the growth of the IT industry in this region. The construction firm, L&T, was awarded the contract for developing this IT park with a budget of Rs 300 crores. The IT park can facilitate employment of up to 10,000 IT professionals. Another IT park with an area of 40 acres is being set up by VGTM-UDA in Mangalagiri.
Vijayawada is an important link in connecting the three regions of Andhra Pradesh and is a major transit point. Two National Highways, the National Highway 5 from Chennai
and the National Highway 9 from Machilipatnam
pass through the city connecting it to other parts of the country. Another National highway 221 connects the city to Jagdalpur in Madhya Pradesh state. It is connected to other areas of the state, by state highways and district roads.
The domestic airport located at Gannavaram, about 10-km, from the city connects Vijayawada to Hyderabad, Madras, Rajahmundry and Bangalore. Air Deccan and Kingfisher Airlines are the two
airlines flying to and from Vijayawada.
Situated along the Madras
rail route, Vijayawada is the biggest railway junction
of the South Central Railway. Vijayawada junction had been given A-1 status by the central government Krishna
canal junction, Madhuranagar, Gunadala ,Rayanapadu ,Kondapali and Ramavarappadu are the other railway stations in the city.Vijayawada is the busiest railway junction in South India, and is second biggest junction in India and only railway station to have escalators after New Delhi.
Vijayawada is well connected to the rest of the country by National Highways — NH-5 and NH-9. Good motoways connect Vijayawada with all the places within the state and also with the major cities in India. Transport by road from Vijayawada to all the places of interest is available in the form of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC
There are huge number of buses that run between Vijayawada and Hyderabad 24 hours-a-day and
365 days-a-year, unlike the rest of transportation in the state.
Local commute within the city is a breeze as all major streets are connected with the Local Public Bus Transit(City Buses ) operated by APSRTC. Motor driven auto(rickshaw)s and manual driven (cycle)rickshaws are the other alternative means of transport within Vijayawada. Private lorries (trucks), cars and two-wheelers (motorcycles and scooters) abound as well. Public and private bus operators provide transport services to various parts of the country.
Vijayawada also has one of the biggest bus terminals in the country, pandit jawaharlal nehru bus station in Vijayawada is an important link in connecting the three regions of Andhra Pradesh, biggest in Asia and is a major transit point. Vijayawada is also one of the busiest railway junctions in India and the biggest in South India. It is also called the "City that never sleeps" with reference to railways. The domestic airport located at Gannavaram, connects Vijayawada to Hyderabad, Rajahmundry, Chennai and Bangalore by air.
There are business groups like the Sindhi and the Rajasthani making city their home.They are concentrated in One-Town,the old town-nucleus. Tamils and Malayalis are also noticeable groups. There is a Tamil association operating here.
A few students of Tibetan and Nepalese origin come to the city for studying here.
Vijayawada, also called as "Vidyala wada" (Place of Education), occupies a large amount of the educational infrastructure of Andhra Pradesh. The city was named as "The Educational Sahara" by a foreign ambassador earlier during the century.
The first private engineering college in Andhra pradesh, V R Siddhartha Engineering College, is situated here.
School Education in the city is implemented by both the government and the private firms.
Vijayawada Municipal Corporation takes care of the government firms.
Following are statistics of government schools:
- High Schools: 22(Including 1 Urdu Medium, 2 Schools both English & Telugu Media)
- Upper Primary Schools: 15 (Including Urdu Media) (3 Urdu Media)
- Elementary Schools: 52+10= 62 (10 Urdu Media, 2 English Media)
- Students: 30,000
- Teachers: 700
There are also “aided” schools in Vijayawada, meaning schools with both government and private partnerships as well, such as the Gollapudi high-school. Government schools are located at different places like the Jammichettu center, the Patamata high-school and Suryarao Peta, to name a few. Private schools are scattered all over the city. A majority of them implement the Andhra Pradesh State Syllabus for their students.The students, after studying their 10th class,take the Public Examination, which is equivalent of the school-leaving certificate. There are only a few schools accredited to the Central Board of Secondary Education in the city-meaning their class Ten students have to take the All India Secondary School Examination(AISSE) for their school-leaving certificate.
The first college built in Vijayawada is the Andhra Loyola College. Andhra Loyola College was established on a plot in the year 1953 (classes commenced on July 22, 1954) with Rev. Francis Theo Mathias, SJ, (now, Emeritus Professor, Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur) as its first Principal. The college was affiliated to Andhra University till December 1976 and to Nagarjuna University thereafter. The NTR University of Health Sciences is located in Vijayawada, which is premier institution in the field of medical and dental sciences. The South Indian branch of the School of Architecture and Planning has been allocated to Vijayawada.
Vijayawada is known as the political capital of Andhra Pradesh. Politically very active, voters show a high degree of maturity. The major political parties here are Telugu Desam Party
, Indian National Congress
and the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
. Earlier it was a strong center for Congress (I) and Communist Part of India (Marxist). With the entry of TDP, the scenario has changed. As per political view, Vijayawada has three main assembly constituencies namely Vijayawada west,Vijayawada central and Vijayawada east. Parts of the city are also present in Penamaluru,Mylavaram and Gannavaram assembly constituencies.Vijayawada has one Lok Sabha
Most of today's local politicians are a bunch of laughable stock, with their personal business interests, than working towards people they elected for!
Vijayawada is an important commercial, political, and cultural center in Andhra Pradesh. The print & electronic media industries have a major presence here. Prominent journalists from this city include Mutnuri Krishna Rao, C Raghavachari, Moturi Hanumantha Rao, Turlapati Kutumba Rao, Nanduri Rammohana Rao, Garapati Upendra Babu, Syed Akbar
, AM Khan Yazdani, Kasinaduni Nageswara Rao Pantulu, Khadar Mohiuddin, Muhammad Vazeeruddin, R Ramprasad, K Sriramulu and Kuchi Gopalakrishna.
The All India Radio(AIR) has one of its AIR stations here with three transmitters (100 KW MW; 1 kW MW VB and 1 kW FM (Int. set up )). The FM radio channels broadcasted in the city include AIR Rainbow Krishnaveni FM (102.2 MHz), Radio Mirchi
FM (98.3 MHz) and SFM (93.5 MHz).
broadcasting in the city is carried out by two means: The Cable TV and the Direct-To-Home Satellite TV.
Vijayawada is one of the earliest and still continuing publishing
centers in Andhra Pradesh
.Vague estimates say about 90 % of the total volume of books in the state are printed
or published from here. The annual book festival has been quite popular with publishers from around the country participating here.
The Vijayawada Book Festival is celebrated once every year and is second largest book festival in the country after Kolkata. This book exhibition starts on every new year day (Jan 1st), and lasts for 10 days.
is the most popular sport, with National level cricket matches played at Indira Gandhi Stadium.. A new international stadium is being built in a 20 acre site in Mangalagiri which will replace the local stadium as the venue for international and Ranji matches. Badminton
are also popular. The latest fad seems to be Archery.
- Kanaka Durga Temple: One of the most popular temples in Andhra Pradesh, it is located on a hill Indrakeeladri hill overlooking the city as well as the River Krishna. One can either motor up the ghat road or take to the steps on foot. Inscriptions of different dynasties are found in the temple. During Dasara Festival, thousands of devotees from the city and its environs throng the temple after a holy dip in the River Krishna close by the temple.
- Mangalagiri: Located in Guntur District, 12 km from Vijayawada is the renowned temple of Lord Narasimha in Mangalagiri, on a hillock. The unique feature of this temple is that the mouth of the idol accepts half the quantity of panakam (jaggery dissolved in water) offered by devotees, irrespective of the size of the vessel.
- Amaravati: Amaravati in guntur district, formerly called as Dhanyakataka and Andhranagari, is one of the most important Buddhist sites in the country. Acharya Nagarjuna constructed the country's largest stupa here, 2000 years back. Amaravati is considered the most sacred pilgrim centre for Buddhists in South India. It also has an Amareswara temple.
- Hinkar Thirtha (Jain Temple), Mangalagiri: A Jain temple here with great artistic work, it is slated to be the biggest Jain temple in the region.
- Hazarat Bal Mosque: A holy relic of the Prophet Mohammed is kept here which is displayed once a year. A large number of non-Muslims too join the celebrations.
- Gunadala Matha Shrine: In 1925, Rf. Arlati, the Rector of St. Joseph's Orphanage at Gunadala, installed a statue of Our Lady and later a church was built and consecrated in 1971, now popularly known as St. Mary's church. Since then the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became an annual event here, attended by hundreds of people. The church is situated on a hillock on the eastern side of the city.
- Marakata Rajarajeswari Temple: Unique temple of goddess completely built with stone with intricate architecture symbolizing SRICHAKRA - the abode of mother Goddess.
- Subramanya Swamy Temple: One of the most popular temples in Vijayawada, it is located on a hill (Indrakeeladri) overlooking the city as well as the River Krishna. One can take to the steps on foot. During Skanda Shashti Festival, thousands of regular devotees will come from Tamil Nadu. This Temple is being maintained by Iddipilli Family.
- Sri Nagarala Sri Maha Lakshmi Ammavaru Temple: One of the most popular temples in Vijayawada, it is located in the area of Chiitinagar. During Dasara Festival, thousands of devotees from the city visit this temple. It is maintained by the Nagaralu community.
- Prakasham barrage: Built across the river Krishna connecting Guntur District, Prakasham Barrage has created a panoramic lake. Its three canals that run through the city give Vijayawada a Venetian look.
- Manginapudi beach: Located about 70 km from Vijayawada.
- Undavalli caves: Located in Guntur district five kilometers from Vijayawada, these caves are said to be carved in 7th century A.D. Buddhist monks used this two-storeyed cave structure as a rest house during the monsoon. A huge monolith of the Lord Buddha in reclining posture is a magnificent sight.
- Rajiv Gandhi Park: Created by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation with great care, this park welcomes the tourists at the entrance of the city with its impressive horticultural network. A mini zoo and a musical water fountain are added to it.
- Gandhi Hill: The first Gandhi Memorial with seven stupas in the country was constructed on this hill at a height of 500 ft (150 m). The 52 ft (16 m) stupa was unveiled on 6 October 1968 by Dr. Zakir Hussain, the President of India. Gandhi Memorial Library, a Sound and Light Show on Mahatma Gandhi's life and a planetarium are the other attractions.
- Victoria Museum: A place for archaeology lovers, Victoria Museum has a carefully preserved collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, idols, weapons, cutlery, and inscriptions.
- Mogalarajapuram Caves: These caves are said to be excavated in 5th century A.D. The caves are reputed to be the first of their kind in South India. The idols of Lord Nataraja, Vinayaka & Arthanareeswara are carved here, but none of the statue are available here.
- Bhavani Island: Perhaps one of the largest islands on a river, Bhavani Island is located on Krishna River close to the city. AP Tourism is converting this 133 acre (54 hectare) island into an attractive tourist spot and a River Front Resort. The island currently has some cottages to stay in and some good adventure and fun sports. Journey to the island by boat is very pleasant.
- Kondapalli Fort: Kondapalli village is situated 16 km from Vijayawada. A 7th century fort on the hill with an impressive three storeyed rock tower was witness to the glory of many dynasties. This fort was built by King Krishna Deva Raya. It served as a business centre. Finally the fort was used as a military training base by the British rulers. A good picnic spot, the village is famous for toy making with light-weight wood available on the hill forest. These toys are famous world-over as "Kondapalli toys".