THE THIRD LARGEST CITY in the state, Vijayawada is a busy commercial town with one of the largest railway junctions in the country. In a picturesque spot on the northern bank of the Krishna river, it is bounded on three sides by the Indrakiladri Hills. The area around the river banks is a pleasant contrast to the noisy, crowded town.

Within the city limits, on a low hill to the east, is the Kanakadurga Temple, dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi. The Victoria Jubilee Museum, on Bonder Road, houses a fine collection of Buddhist and Hindu relics from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Especially impressive are the white limestone Standing Buddha from the nearby Buddhist site of Alluru (3rd or 4th century), and the powerful depiction of Durga slaying the buffalo demon Mahisa (2nd century).

On the outskirts of town is the 1-km (0.6-mile) long Prakasam Barrage, first built in 1855 and extensively reconstructed in 1955. It irrigates nearly 1.2 million ha (3 million acres) of land, turning the Krishna Delta into the richest granary in Andhra Pradesh. Bhavani Island, a scenic picnic spot, is just upstream, reached by launch from the river bank.

ENVIRONS: Mogairajapuram , 3 km (2 miles) east of Vijayawada, and Undavaffi , 4 km (2.5 miles) to the south, on the other side of the river, are famous for their rock-cut temples (5th-7th centuries).

Mangalgirl , 12 km (7 miles) south of Vijayawada, is a textile village, specializing in fine cotton saris and striped and checked fabrics. It also has the impressive 14th-century Lakshmi Narasimha Temple complex, with a small Garuda shrine in front of it.

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