Yet another weekend, yet another road trip. This time, a friend’s impromptu plans to attend a wedding in Vizag in the first week of March, saw us tagging along in his brand new Figo. Our plan was to stay back at Rajahmundry, while the friend would head to Vizag and pick us up on the return. We had absolutely no work in Rajahmundry, neither was the friend very keen on the wedding, we just needed an excuse to hit the road ! Our excuses included meeting family, buying plants from Kadiyam and our wanted to check Figo’s mileage on the highway ! This was our umpteenth time on this route, yet our cameras wouldn’t sit idle !
NH9 through the looking glass
We left Hyderabad at 4.30 AM and took the NH9/65 to Vijayawada. The alternative and shorter route to Rajahmundry via Aswaraopet was still in unthinkable condition and so we had to take the longer route via Vijayawada. The NH9 is, of course, as good as a highway can get and in less than 2 hours we were at the toll plaza near Suryapet. At dawn, the toll plaza dazzled under the lights.
“Hyderabad – Vijayawada Expressways”, sounds cool, isn’t it? Once connecting the two major cities of Andhra Pradesh, this highway will, soon, connect the capital regions of Telangana and Andhra.
We stopped for breakfast at the ever crowded “7 Food Court”. Stopping at this food court has become a must do pilgrimage for us ! The next two hours to Vijayawada were on cruise mode, while the person behind the wheel enjoyed the drive, the remaining two had a gala time behind the lens. Here is a picture, we titled it “highway on my mirror” !
The Hyderabad – Vijayawada route is usually crowded and with such a good road, people are on high speeds. This has made this highway a high accident risk zone, the red board in the picture gives a similar warning. Drive slowly, there is no thrill in speed. Take your time to admire the beauty around the highway and reach safe !
We reached Vijayawada 9.30 AM. Though we wanted to stop here for a break, we decided not to waste time as entering and leaving Vijayawada city would take a lot of time. Just as we expected, even at 9 AM, there was traffic congestion near the Krishna Barrage but it also gave us a few moments to take pictures, on the move, of the Indrakeeladri Hill, abode of Goddess Kanaka Durga temple.
It took us close to an hour before we were on the outskirts of Vijayawada and turned on to the NH5 towards Rajahmundry.
“Krishna – Godavari Madhye Pradese”
If you check the route map from Vijayawada to Rajahmundry, you will find that you travel from the banks of one major river to the banks of another mighty river covering a distance of 190 kms on the NH5.
When you say it like that, it reminds one of the Sankalpam hymns in Hindu vedic rituals. The prayers are initiated with a geographical description of the place where the rituals are being performed, they usually refer to the place as “the land between River A and River B”. Accordingly, we were travelling in the “Krishna-Godavaryor Madhyey Pradese”, the land between the Krishna and the Godavari, one of the most fertile regions in the whole of India.
The green paddy fields that stretch before you for miles and miles until your eyes are tired of the lush greenery, are proof of the richness of the land !
Green fields, coconut trees, white cranes – your picture of a typical Godavari countryside scene is complete !
Closer to Tanuku, the railway line passes beside the green fields and presents a pretty picture with the blue of the train contrasting with the green below. We chose a picture of two of our favourites, the railways and highways close to one another.
From Tanuku, Rajahmundry is around 60 kms. The route via Tanuku is a longer route but we had to take this one because the other route takes you through the Road-cum-Rail bridge near Rajahmundry and the road part of the bridge was closed for repairs. We had no regrets because the road was decent throughout but somehow, NH5 seems to have lost its sheen. Of course, what more can you expect when it is the busiest highway in the country? 6 laning works in some parts have also added to the wear and tear.
We crossed the dry bed of River Gautami as we neared Rajahmundry. It was a huge surprise to find a river like the Gautami, a major tributary of the Godavari, flowing like a tiny stream in the middle of a sandy desert !
That’s what ecological disturbances can do even to the mightiest of rivers !
By 1 PM, we reached Rajahmundry, had a heavy lunch at home before our friend headed to Vizag and we retired to a nice afternoon siesta.
Blooming beauties !
Later that evening, we drove back to the highway, this time to go plant shopping and the best place for that is the Kadiyam Village, located some 10 kms from Rajahmundry on the NH5 towards Vijayawada. The Nurseries of Kadiyam stretch for more than a kilometer on the highway, the flowers in full bloom almost make you brake as you drive on the highway. The nurseries abound in different varieties of flowering plants, people from all over the state buy plants from here.
We stopped at one of the nurseries to check out some flowering plants but couldn’t look beyond the riot of white and red roses at the entrance !
The sights are just too beautiful, you would be tempted to buy every flower plant you see. Roses seemed to dominate the current season and there were rows of roses every corner you turned.
Looking at the thousands of flowers around, you would even consider becoming a full-time gardener !
The nurseries that you find on the along highway are just like a few samples, if you go further into the Kadiyam village, you would find bigger and famous nurseries of the area. Our visit was limited to the ones near the highway. We checked out the different plants and restrained ourselves to buying about 6 flowering varieties. Our family Alto’s trunk wouldn’t hold more, anyway ! Even if you don’t intend to buy plants, stop by to visit these nurseries. A walk through the vibrant colours of Kadiyam’s nurseries is a sure shot way to relax and de-stress.
A drive around Rajahmundry followed. We couldn’t leave Rajahmundry without feasting on bajjis and Rose Milk. Though a tad disappointed that our regular bajji cart was not open that day, we had our fill at the bajji bandis (carts) near the Godavari Bund Road, topping it with Rose Milk. We had to skip dinner after all that. Never think about visiting Rajahmundry and not tasting the bajjis and the Rose Milk !
Green Land in Andhra
Our grand plans, the next morning, to visit Korukonda, a nearby hill temple, didn’t work out because we were too lazy to wake up early. We had to while our time till our friend returned from Vizag. The greater part of the morning was spent looking at the Godavari Arch Bridge through our binoculars. We had a great view of the bridge from the terrace and balcony. We even managed to capture a train passing through the bridge on a hazy morning.
Zooming in further, we could also see the Road-cum-Rail bridge beyond the greenery of the coconut trees. The 3 bridges on the Godavari at Rajahmundry have become synonymous with the city’s landscape, one of those case where man made structures have added to natural beauty.
The rest of the morning was spent cooking up a delicious (so we think) Andhra meal at home. Our friend arrived just in time for lunch, we binged and then started back to Hyderabad.
If you are asked to pick a colour for the Godavari districts, it has to be Green ! Starting from Tanuku all the way to Konaseema, the land is covered in green, paddy fields and coconut trees dominate the scene. By the roadside, the Kadiyam nurseries are coloured in different shades of green.
Here and there, a streak of white is mixed with the greenery like this field full of white chrysanthemum flowers, it looks like someone has spread a white flowery carpet !
At times, a shade of brown gets in between and presents a scene that will make you want to retire rightway to go and live by the countryside ! How would you like this for a home?
All that is possible thanks to the bountiful Godavari and her tributaries. Dams and barrages have dried up the river Gautami’s normal flow as seen here near Ravulapalem, the water has been stored away in reservoirs and the river has been reduced to a sandy bed, atleast at this time of the year.
The green eyed beauty gives you company all the way till you reach Eluru, the fields seem to move far away from your window.
And then, you are suddenly woken up from your green world and are brought back to modern civilisation. The Gannavaram Airport can be seen from road, there is hardly any runway and it so close to the road that if the plane over shot its speed, it could simply run on to the highway !
Looks like post bifurcation, Andhra is going to have a lot of work on its hands !
We had no problems passing through Vijayawada, being a Sunday, roads were empty. We could even manage a quick picture of the Prakasam Barrage, the other icon of Vijayawada, as we zoomed past.
The NH9/65 gleamed under the sun. Sitting in the passenger seat, people like this photographer spend their time clicking pictures through the windshield.
A short break at Suryapet later, the last leg of our journey resumed as the clouds drew pretty patterns on the sky as the sun was setting.
Whether our photographs came out well or not, they told us one thing – our windshield needed to be cleaned !
We drove at a leisurely pace till we reached home close to 10 PM. It was relaxing weekend spent at the place where we always love to be – out on the highway !
– For now, the Vijayawada-Tanuku-Ravulapalem route is the best one to Rajahmundry. It would add another 30-40 kms to your journey but the road is good, saves time, energy and fuel !
– There is never a dearth of good eating joints here, starting from Narketpalli to Suryapet to Vijayawada. Between Vijayawada and Rajahmundry, there were very few hotels/restaurants on the Tanuku-Ravulapalem route, finding decent restrooms seemed an issue to. If you are taking this route, make sure you refresh at Vijayawada.
– While buying plants at Kadiyam, you could bargain a bit. Make sure you ask those incharge on how to care for the plants, the people there seem to know their job well.
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