Almost 450km north of Chennai, a third of the way to Kolkata, VIJAYAWADA is a bustling commercial centre on the banks of the Krishna delta. This mundane city, alleviated by a mountain backdrop of bare granite outcrops and some urban greenery, is seldom visited by tourists, but is an obvious stop-off point for visits to nearby Amaravati. The Kanaka Durga (also known as Vijaya) temple on Indrakila Hill in the east, dedicated to the city’s patron goddess of riches, power and benevolence, is the most interesting of Vijayawada’s handful of temples. Across the river is an ancient, unmodified cave temple at Undavalli, a tiny rural village reachable on any Guntur-bound bus.

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