Delhi might be seen as the ‘City of Laze’ by the hard working residents of other cosmopolitan cities like Mumbai and Bangalore. Even so, sometimes it becomes increasingly essential for us to take a break from the lazy life lest we become too comfortable handling the monotonous work life and the smooth traffic conditions. For this reason I decided, along with a couple of friends, to take a temporary sabbatical from Delhi chill and head to the ‘Jewel of the east coast’ – Visakhapatnam.
Visakhapatnam, which is also known as Vizag, is a coastal port city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is surrounded by overlapping mountain ranges on three sides and faces the Bay of Bengal on the east. The major language is Telugu. The weather is for the most part of the year, very humid. The best time to visit would be during the months of September – March. Since its a coastal city, there is no dearth in the quantity or the variety of sea food. One can shop for sea food to their heart’s content in the fish market.
A train journey from Delhi to Visakhapatnam, takes well over 30 hours. So this option was out. Finding a direct flight from Delhi to Vizag was a tall task as well as there was only one flight which operated at 6 in the morning!! After much deliberation we decided to say sayonara to our sleep and booked the tickets on this flight. Scandalised and totally exhausted after waking up at 4 AM we caught a some shut eye on the flight which was roughly 2 hours long. I woke up when the landing was announced and was greeted by the most stunning view I had ever laid my eyes on. The Bay of Bengal was glistening majestically in the morning sun as a sleeping city slowly stirred awake on its placid shores. We had arrived.
You are spoilt for choice for transportation in this city. You can either book a taxi or use the autorickshaws. Too much, really! The autorickshaw, though a cheaper mode of transportation gives you a colossal headache because of the language barrier. Rarely do auto-drivers speak in any language apart from Telugu. Hence, everything from haggling over the fare to issuing instructions is an impossible task. Therefore after checking into our hotel, we booked a cab for the 3 days we were to stay there. We asked our driver to work on an itinerary for us which would keep us occupied for the next 3 days and would also introduce us to all the Vizag greats.
Suffice to say, the driver cum guide took the instructions in deep earnest and went to work on it very solemnly for we had no time to breathe during the rest of the course of our stay.
Kailash Giri : Kailash giri is a park atop a hill which gives a breathtaking view of Vizag city. A bird eye view of the lush emerald green hills complemented by the deep blue sea makes for a riveting sight. One can reach it both by the road and by a ropeway. It has a pristine white statue of Lord Shiva and Parvati. A park called ‘Tenneti park’ has been developed on the foothills of Kailash Giri where a cobbled path has been created which leads right to the beach.
Rama Krishan Beach : Popularly known as RK beach is one of the top-spots in Vizag. It is one place which is never devoid of activity. From morning walks to bathing to picnics to romance – This beach has seen it all. It plays hosts to a Navy-Day once every year which is a great crowd attraction with all the air and water shows being organised. It also has several other attractions like a Victory at sea which is war memorial and the submarine museum which has a real Russian sub on display. There are several other beaches which are of consequence because of their popularity with the locals like Rushikonda beach or because of their scenic beauty like Yarada. Yarada is a must visit place if you’re in Vizag. It is 25-30 kms from the city and is best reached by car. It has a calming effect on your soul as it is devoid of any human activity and makes you one with nature.
Araku Valley : This is about 100 kms from the city of Vizag. It takes roughly 4 hours to reach this place by car. The gardens and the coffee plantations here are a sight for sore eyes. Araku coffee is a speciality of this area and is well on its way to being a brand. This valley is especially famous for the limestone caves which go by the name ‘Borra Caves’. They serve as a great tourist attraction. The entire route is punctuated with deep valleys, high mountains, gushing waterfalls and scenic gardens.
Dolphin’s Nose : This place is visible on the way to Yarada. The hill resembles a Dolphin, hence the name. It is extremely famous for it’s lighthouse
The one thing common to every place you could possibly visit in Vizag is the scenic beauty. The god’s have been kind in that respect. It is a place one dreams of retiring to. This city represents something unique for everyone. It touches the senses in various different ways.
For me, visiting this city was the beginning of a lifelong romance.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalyan3/902483245/]