I traveled to Vijayawada, thrice this year. During one of my trips, I had a chance to stay at Fortune Murali Park, one of the oldest business hotels of the city. This year has been about knowing Andhra Pradesh. While my blogging assignments takes me to amazing places, my husband’s job also gives us a chance to be in different parts of the country. Last year was about Mumbai and this year, we are in Vijayawada. He travels for his projects and I join him, whenever I can. Do read about 5 Must dos in Vijayawada and if you are considering a hotel to stay in the heart of the city, do check out this experience.
FORTUNE MURALI PARK
Fortune Murali Park has a central location
The best part about staying at this hotel is that it has a very favorable location. Just outside the premises of the hotel, we could walk around the main market. Since it is right in the center of the city, it is very close to shopping malls and a couple of popular landmarks. Paritala Anjaneya Swami Temple (2.9 km), Kanaka Durga Temple (3.0 km), Prakasam Barrage (1.4 km), Gunadala Matha Shrine (1.6 km) and Lenin Statue (1.1 km), are all within walking distance of the hotel. Another reason to stay here is that it is one of the ITC group hotels.
First day of Navratras at KanakDurga Temple
Fortunately, I was staying there on a very auspicious day. It was the first day of Navratris (Durga Puja) and that’s really big in Vijayawada. The Kanakdurga temple was decked up to its best and arrangements were made to handle lakhs of believers. I am glad that the staff at Fortune Murali Park facilitated our visit to the temple. We had been to the temple before also but only in the night. However, this experience was different. It was a festival day, a new beginning for many. The turnout of locals was huge. There were long queues and the festive vibes were amazing. We managed to walk through the whole temple in around 2 hours. Kanak Durga is definitely worth a visit, whenever you are in the city. Perched on the Indrakeeladri hill, the temple has been watching over the city and its people, for years.
We dint miss the Pulihora prasadam. You should not miss too.
By the time, we returned to the hotel, some amazing Andhra food was waiting for us. Vijayawada definitely has some great history with food. Whether it is the famous Babai Idli or the complete meals known as Andhra Lunch, Vijayawada is the home to delightful South Indian dishes. While, the mornings are ruled by Idli, dosa and fresh coconut chutney, in the evenings, the smalls tea shops and hawkers can be seen making fresh and mouth watering snacks like Mirchi Bajji, Punugulu, Masala Vada, Ravva Dosa and more. Vijayawada-Guntur region also provides for a wide array of sweets and snacks. Biryani is a favorite in Andhra Pradesh. For those who love spicy food, Vijayawada is a paradise.
So the restaurant at the hotel really pampered me with some great food. The chutneys were amazing and I must mention that I also learned how to eat Ulavacharu, kind of a Horse gram soup/Kollu rasam. I loved Majjiga Pulusu, Andhra version of Kadhi and Pachi Pulusu, an interesting version of tamarind soup. The curd rice was a treat and I enjoyed the sambhar rice with the various pickles. Avakaya, the mango pickle is inarguable Andhra’s best known pickle. Gongura pickle is another favorite from there. And while you are there, you must have dosas and idlis with desi ghee and Idli Karam Podi and Nalla Karam Podi. The latter is a typical Andhra style preparation similar to gun powder.
I enjoyed my time at the Zodiac Restaurant. You can also explore their Neptune Bar & Lounge.
Overall, it was a comfortable stay at Fortune Murali Park. I was in one of the best rooms. Honestly, I did not use the gym but they have a fully equipped one. The food and the hospitality really stood out for me. Next time, whenever you are in the city, you can always explore this option. Also, there are a couple of things to do in and around the city, don’t miss them.
Things to Do in Vijayawada and Around
- Pray at the Kanaka Durga Temple
- Explore the historic Undavalli Caves
- Marvel at the Prakasam Barrage
- Take a trip to the Kondapalli Fort
- Have a picnic day at Bhavani Islands
- Buy some Kondapalli toys
- Do the toy train at Gandhi Hill
- Visit the ‘Dhyana Buddha statue’ in Amaravathi
- Pick up a colorful Mangalagiri cotton sari
- Go to Kuchipudi, the dance village
- Look for Pedana village, famous for the block printed Kalamkari
- Explore some local restaurants to indulge in local flavors as well as to see how they have showcased Andhra’s rich history in cinema and music.
- Don’t miss the street art on the walls in the city