Vijayawada is the biggest city of the Krishna District and the third largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, after Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, with an area of 261.88 sq km. The city has a population of 1,048,240 (2011 Census), while the population of the metropolitan area is 1,491,202. The name Vijayawada, meaning "Land of Victory", is derived from the presiding deity, Kanaka Durga, also called Vijaya. The city is also popularly known by its historic name Bezawada, which is used by the Indian Railways in assigning its railway station code "BZA".
The city has originated on the northern bank of the river Krishna. It was ruled by different dynasties from time to time, including the Gajapathis of Orissa, Eastern Chalukyas and the great ruler Krishna Deva Raya. By the time of construction of anicut over the river Krishna in 1885 AD, it took shape as small settlement on the eastern side of the Indrakiladri hills. In late 19th century the Gajapathis of orissa were settled in a small village named vurimi (krishna dist).
Today, the city is home to many of the most well-recognized educational institutions in Andhra Pradesh. It is well connected to other regions by road, air and rail, and has the second biggest railway junction in India. As the commercial capital of Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada is politically active, sociologically dominant, agriculturally rich, and is an industrial transportation hub. Vijayawada was recognised as a Global City of the Future by McKinsey Quarterly. It is also India's most promising city for the future, and 159th fastest developing city in the World.
About the western outskirts of Vijayawada lies the Kondapalli reserve forest, spread over 121.5 square kilometres (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. The hills produce a soft wood which is used in the manufacture of Kondapalli Toys.
There are sixty parks in Vijayawada city,and the main parks to be mentioned are, Rajiv Gandhi Park - It has roller skating rink, Bungee Trampoline, and a garden. K.L.Rao Park - It has Boating, swimming pool, and a garden. Dr.B.R.Ambedkar & Raghavaiah park - The main attraction is the hanging bridge connecting the two parts of the park on ether side of the canal. Mahatma Gandhi park - This is the oldest park in the city located in I town. The park is fully crowded in the evenings. It has a gym, used by a lot of people. G.V.S Sastry park - This park is located near Satynarayanapuram old Railway station and the park is done in an innovative way. The main attraction is the skating ring used by many children in this park.
Cricket is the most popular sport, with national-level matches played at Indira Gandhi Stadium. A new international stadium is being built in a 20-acre (81,000 sq mt) site in Mangalagiri which will be the venue for international and Ranji matches. Only one international cricket match was played between India and West Indies on 24 November 2002 at Indira Gandhi stadium. It was won by West Indies. On 12 December 1997 Women's Cricket Worldcup only a group match was played between England Women's Cricket Team and Pakistan Women's Cricket Team, and it was won by England.
- Kanaka Durga Temple: One of the most popular temples in Andhra Pradesh, it is located on Indrakeeladri hill overlooking the city as well as the River Krishna. It was built after 12th century by Maharaja Poosapati Madhava Varma, the ancestor of Vijayanagaram Poosapati Kings, according to History. He is the builder of Modern Vijayawada kingdom.
- 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.
- 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.
- Victoria Museum: A place for archaeology lovers, Victoria Museum has a carefully preserved collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, idols, weapons, cutlery, and inscriptions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bhavani Island: Perhaps one of the largest islands on a river, Bhavani Island is in Krishna River close to the city. AP Tourism is converting this 133-acre (54 hectare) island into an attractive tourist spot and a riverfront resort. The island has some cottages to stay in and some good adventure and fun sports. The journey to the island by boat is very pleasant.
- Mangalagiri: Mangalagiri is a near by town which is a famous pilgrim centre for its Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Temple which is one among the tallest temple towers of the India. Mangalagiri is also famous for its traditional textiles.
- Namburu: Namburu is a suburban of Guntur and Vijayawada. Though a village, it gives an ornate urban living because of well-established townships. Nambur is famous for spiritual centres namely Kaligardens, Hreenkar theerth (Jain Temple) which is one of the master piece for its architecture. Acharya Nagarjuna University is in Nambur.