Coasting on Vizag shores

During one of the weekends in December 2016, we were required to travel to Vizag region for a family event. We had a day to spare before the event and so we wanted to take the chance to hang out in Vizag city for a day, we also had some work in the suburbs of Vizag, so we decided to club both. This was a no car, no camera trip. We took the Godavari Express from Hyderabad, booked Zoom Car for local travel and pictures from our mobile phone.

The charming city of Vizag

We landed at Vizag in the morning, Godavari Express doing its duty on time. During our previous visit to Vizag, we had stayed at the Heritage Hotel in railway station premises near Platform 1. This time too we checked in there but were very disappointed with the standard. The rooms were unclean and though we are usually very accommodative travellers, we could not put up with the room. The only good thing was, in the times of demonetisation, the hotel manager was kind enough to give us change for Rs.2000/- !

We booked a room at another hotel but we had to wait till 12 PM to check in. In the meantime, we headed out to take charge of our Zoom Car, a KUV 100.

Breakfast was at a road side tiffin centre, we were served hot “Aviri Kudumu”, which is actually, a giant sized Idly soaked in Sambar ! We then, checked out of the Heritage Hotel and logged into Hotel Sea Rock, nice little boutique hotel at Daspalla Hills, over looking the sea. The hotel has a Goan feel to it, complete with a little coffee shop adjoining it.

Vishakapatnam, one of India’s growing cities, ranks 5th among the cleanest cities in India, for a country like ours, that means a lot. We fell in love with the city and even contemplated moving to the city (usually happens with us wherever we go, we even planned to move to Pithapuram after walking around the fresh vegetable markets !). After Hudhud cyclone devastated Vizag, the authorities have done a commendable job in bringing back the greenery and beautifying the city and it shows.

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Being the Eastern Naval Command, the city has this very disciplined look and feel. The traffic is less and lot more organised. You will find municipal corporation staff cleaning the streets at any given point of time. The people of Vizag seemed to have that civic sense lacking in a lot of our fellow countrymen.

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Of course, every city has its own woes but at Vizag, one can atleast see some kind of an effort to improve the city.

Marvelling at Vizag, we headed towards Kothavalasa, once a village, now an upcoming satellite township of Vizag. We had to meet someone there, equipped with Google Maps, we drove towards Kothavalasa.

As we were driving out of the city, we passed by the legendary Andhra University campus.

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Enroute, we spotted a board directing towards a view point of the famous “Erra Matti Dibbalu” or Red Sand mounds. This is a natural wonder in Vizag. We followed the sign boards and arrived at a place that looked like this !

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There was a board directing towards a very narrow pathway, there was no way a car could go in and probably people had to walk from there. The pathway was totally deserted and we were only two of us, not in a mood for any adventure, we drove back on the road towards Kothavalasa.

Another surprise awaited us as we reached Kothavalasa on the route showed to us by Google Maps. Finding a small village in the place of a town, we asked a lady if that was the correct route to Kothavalasa. She asked us “which Kothavalasa?” Then, it dawned on us that we were at the wrong Kothavalasa ! Who would imagine there would be 2 places with the same name, 30 kms apart ! And so, we turned back, this time setting our maps to Kothavalasa Railway station. Google Maps is solely responsible for giving us unforgettable travel memories !

We wound up our work at Kothavalasa in an hour but it was already 3 PM when we had lunch in the nearest mess we found at the entrance of the city because, the delayed lunch was already giving us a headache. When we finally checked into our hotel room, it felt like heaven.

An evening drive on Vizag beach roads – Add it to your bucket list !

A short breather and we were back on the wheels for a drive on the beach roads. The beauty of the drive begins as you drive towards Rushikonda. Vizag is surrounded by hills with the beaches at the foot of the hills. The beach roads are along these hills and the view of the sea below is unbelievable !

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We didn’t stop to click too many pictures because we were too much in awe of the views and also we were on a tight schedule as we had to return our Zoom Car by 4.30 PM. Whatever pictures we clicked were take on our mobile phone through the car’s windshield glass. If you don’t like the pictures, you know whom to blame !

Anyway, who needs pictures when the scenes before you are matchless? The roads are butter smooth and the beach keeps you company throughout.

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Though the roads are inviting, don’t speed. One, safety first and second, you should slow down, stop and savour the views by your window side.

We drove 15 kms to Rushikonda, which has another scenic beach and AP Tourism’s resort which is a great place to stay. It was tea time when we return to Vizag, the Bay of Bengal was ready to dazzle under the setting sun.

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The beach road was abuzz with people enjoying the pleasant evening breeze, this part of the road also close to Kailasagiri, the well known tourist place in Vizag. Here is a picture of our Zoom Car, enjoying the views along with us.

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The last time we visited Vizag, back in 2009, this road was a single lane with the hill on one side and a steep cliff down to the beach, it was dangerously beautiful. Cut to 2016, this entire stretch has become a happening place with eateries and tea carts. It is absolute fun to sit on the benches at the edge of the road and sip your Irani Chai watching the waves splash onto the shore !

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The only flip side, your tea gets cold very quick because of the strong sea breeze. A drive on Vizag beach road towards Rushikonda should be on your “must do drives” list.

R.K.Puram beach road – Vizag’s iconic beach

Our Chai done, it was time for us to return the Zoom Car, we didn’t seem to have enough of the beach road, so we returned the car and walked back to the beach road and took a fun bus ride to Ramakrishna Puram Beach. Sometimes, the best way to explore a new place is to walk or take a bus, you get a real feel of the place, by hearing random conversations around you.

The sun had set by the time we reached R.K.Puram Beach and the place was filled with weekend crowd hanging out at the beach. The beach road came alive after it grew dark and the lights came on.

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It was a happy atmosphere at the beach, people having a good time, refreshing sea breeze, roadside food carts, that’s the beauty of a city located by the shore. We walked on the footpath bordering the beach road. The sea was a little rough and the waves roared, raising a spray as they crashed into each other and hit the shore.

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Strolling through the buzz and vibrance and reached INS Kursura, the submarine museum located on the beach side. This submarine was part of the Indian Navy and participated in the 1971 war. After decommission in 2001, the submarine has been converted into a museum.

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At the ticket counter, we were in for a surprise when the person incharge gave us change for Rs.2000/-, Vizag was like a saviour during the cash crunch !

The museum tour begins with an introduction to INS Kursura by a retired Naval Officer, who explains the various parts of a submarine, the functioning of torpedoes and other technical information. We are allowed to take a walk inside the submarine. It is shocking to see maze of wires, cables and pipes !

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It is a mind-blowing feat that the Navy officers know each and every wire and cable ! You are shown the engines, the controls,

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communications, hydraulics and the mechanics.

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It is like walking into a Physics textbook !

This where the crew would sleep.

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Washroom !

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It is all ok for us to visit the submarine but imagine people spending weeks inside this ! What a tough life it must be !

As if to confirm our thoughts, we met another retired officer who was incharge of the museum. He had been a part of the INS Kursura crew. He shared some more technical information and his experiences inside the submarine and how they wouldn’t know whether it was day or night and they had no means of communicating with their families. Sometimes, they would have to stay for a few weeks, sometimes it would extend to months, a life amidst all the mechanics and cables, several hundred feet under the sea !

We really need to be grateful for our Navy. Recently, we happened to watch “The Ghazi Attack” movie and thanks to our submarine museum visit, we were able to relate to a lot of things in film. Visit the INS Kursura museum and watch the film. Our Armed Forces should be our pride.

Overwhelmed, we made our way out of R.K.Puram Beach and headed for dinner at one the many food joints on the beach road. We indulged ourselves to junk food and walked back to our hotel room. We spotted some trendy cafes and coffee shops on the way, it was good to see such hang out places, always a great idea for a tourist place.

Morning by the beach

All we wanted to do at Vizag was walk by the beach ! Early in the morning, just a little after sunrise, we took a walk from our hotel to the beach. In December, catching the sunrise is not easy, given the cloud cover, so there was no point waking ourselves up too early.

When we stepped out of our room, we could see the sea in the horizon, already shimmering under the sunlight.

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It was a pleasant morning walk to the beach, passing by sprawling bungalows that made us stare wide-eyed ! The cityscape was beautiful, with the sea peeping out between buildings.

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Sunday mornings, R.K.Beach road is closed for traffic, only cyclists and pedestrians are allowed and the morning was merry with people taking a walk, jogging, kids cycling, stalls and groups of people having a chat.

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The sea also joined the morning fun !

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We spotted a stall selling herbal, green tea and bought a cup of refreshing tea, though a tad less hot because of the sea breeze.

It was time for us to leave Vizag and after a nice breakfast of Idly, Poha and toast, we checked out of our hotel and took a cab to Vizag bus station to catch a bus to Anakapalle and attend the family event later that day and the same evening, we boarded Godavari Express back to Hyderabad.

We spent about 24 hours at Vizag but the city had floored us, this short trip will be listed in our favourites.

Info tidbits

  • Vizag is great spot for a weekend holiday. If you can do it during a long weekend, you could visit Araku Valley and Anantagiri Hills also.
  • Driving on the beach road is a must do, you can rent bikes too but always be careful of over speeding. The roads are too good and tempting to race through but it is more fun if you ride slowly taking in the lovely scenes. Of course, nothing like taking a long walk on the beach.
  • INS Kursura submarine museum is open from 2 PM to about 9 PM, with a holiday on Monday. The entry fee is Rs.40/- for adults and Rs.20/- for children, camera also attracts a fee of Rs.50/-.
  • On the Vizag beach, you can rent beach benches for Rs.30/- per hour, simply put up your feet, forget the world and watch the waves !
  • Kailasagiri park which has a cable car to the top of the hill and some amazing views of Vizag coast, Thotlakonda Buddhist centre, Erra Matti Dibbalu, the very scenic Yarada Beach, Bheemli Beach are some of the popular places around Vizag.

 

 

 

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Categories: Andhra Pradesh | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Coasting on Vizag shores

  1. CH N V MURTHY

    Well written travelogue on your visit to Vizag. Entrance arch of Andhra University reminded me of student days in early seventies. RK beach and Dolphin’s Nose at a distance. Regards.

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