Visakhapatnam - a beautiful beach city
When I was studying in Chennai, I would take the train from Chennai to Howrah twice a year – summer break and winter holidays. Somewhere in the middle of the route the train would enter Visakhapatnam station and stay there for about 20 minutes. What was interesting about this place was how the train started backwards, like we were going back to where we came from, after it left this station. I always imagined the station like a dead end of the route, sitting at the edge of the map right next to the sea where waves came and hit part of the platform. Of course only a part of it was true.
At that time, I never imagined Visakhapatnam as a holiday destination. Despite having a vast coastal line, it was after all an industrial city. However someone used the word beautiful to describe the city and I was intrigued. I had to see it for myself. What did I discover? It is indeed beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a city with its vehicles and tall buildings and noisy crowd. But the beauty of that flawlessly blue water splashing continuously against the roughed up brown rocks is undeniable. And being a city only adds delicious and authentic local food to the list of attraction.
I won’t get into the details of my trip, but here’s the highlights of what I enjoyed, what I devoured and a bit of what I missed.
|Early morning at Hotel|
We stayed at The Park hotel, which we had decided after reading a lot of reviews and seeing enough photos of the place. It didn’t disappoint us. The hotel is located right next to Ramakrishna beach (main beach of the city), less than a kilometre walk from the Submarine Museum. Even most of the good restaurants are within 6 km of the hotel.
The property is quite big with five different restaurants/pubs, a swimming pool, a gym and plenty of space to walk around. The best part is the private beach which opens to a rough sea with scattered rocks and an old lighthouse erect by the side. It’s a nice place to see sunrise from and for enjoying the evenings.
|Hotel from the back side|
|Gateway to private beach|
On our first day we headed to Rushikonda Beach, further away from the city towards North. The road to Rushikonda beach lies next to the sea and you can enjoy 10 kilometres of blissful view of the ocean. There are a few other beaches on the way which are less popular and hence scarcely visited and if we had a private vehicle we would have definitely stopped at one of them. Unfortunately we travelled by a Ola cab and so off we went to Rushikonda instead.
|View of the southern end of the Beach|
Rushikonda is probably the most popular beach amongst the locals and tourists alike and we found it to be very crowded. It’s quite vast though and so it’s still possible to find a small corner for yourself. We enjoyed the view of the sea for a bit, had a tea in a beachside stall and headed back to hotel in an Auto (paid 150 bucks).
|Enjoying our tea while staring at the moon|
INS Kursura Submarine Museum
|The sumarine in the evening|
I was interested in the museum because I had never been inside a submarine before (obviously!). Reaching there, however, we found a big queue outside which made me re-assess my plan. Finally we saw the line moving (turned out they only allow certain number of people at a time) and bought tickets for 10 bucks each (+50 bucks for camera) and went inside. And good thing we did so, because it was worth it.
|Hallway to walk across the sumbmarine|
|Stairway to basement where they stored foods and supplies|
|A set of pressure gauges|
|An incomprehensible Wall|
Biriyani at Alpha Hotel
We enquired to some local people about where they like to eat and came to know of a few places. For first night dinner we chose a place called Alpha Hotel which was famous for biriyani. The place was crowded, but only with locals which is exactly the kind of place I wanted to try. We wanted to order one biriyani each, but was sternly discouraged by the waiter and were definitely grateful for it afterwards. The biriyani was tasty with soft cooked muttons and it was indeed good enough for three people.
|Front of Hotel - sitting on the first floor|
Veg Lunch at Sairam
Another hotel we were recommended to was Sairam Parlour near Jaganadhapuram. We went there for lunch and once again found quite a lot of crowd waiting for table. We managed to get a table within 10 minutes and were served thalis. It was authentic Andhra meal along with sambar, podi and . I was most impressed by the sweet dish at the end of it which was fried with coating of rice flour/daal with some sweet stuffing inside. After a little research I came to know that it’s called Poornam Boorelu or Poornalu.
|Getting Ready for Meal at Sairam Hotel|
Riding through the hilly suburb
Second day of our stay we decided to rent bikes for travel. We found a few numbers in Google and finally went with “Royal Brothers” where we got an Activa for 400 bucks. It’s an online platform which is available at multiple cities.
|Riding through the smooth roads|
Later we rode through the roads of Visakhapatnam with a few destination in mind. We crossed some long flyover, lost way and ended at the entry to a high security defence place (guided by Google), rerouted through a suburban area, reached the base of a small hill and climbed through the rough hilly roads. We spotted many Indian Roller birds on the way and the view of the whole city from one side of the hill. Unfortunately the day was foggy and so both the city view and the view of Yarada beach was blurry and disrupted.
|Blurry view of Yarada Beach from the hill|
Dolphin’s Nose Lighthouse
This was the first disappointment of our trip. The lighthouse on top of hill is known for its beautiful view of the coast. However we could never witness the same. The lighthouse stays open between 3 pm to 5 pm. We reached the gate a little after 2:30 and were prepared to wait outside for half an hour. But reaching there we found a notice saying lighthouse is close for maintenance. And so that was that. We headed back to other destinations.
|Notice at the gate of lighthouse|
|Beautiful palm trees on Yarada Beach|
The best part of our trip was definitely Yarada beach. We first got glimpse of the beach from top of the hill that we came through. The view was blurry due to fog. As we went down on that way the village around the beach came to view. A smooth and curvy road slithered through the middle of the village leading towards the beach, around the road laid many small houses and a lot of tall coconut trees. We went down soon and took that road towards the beach.
The road turned right upon reaching near beach and we started driving parallel to the sea. It was completely deserted with very bright sands and deep blue water. There were many coconut trees on the beach and on the other side of road adding beauty to the whole place. We drove till the other end on a rough and dusty way till we reached the other end where there are some people enjoying the water. That's where we got down and ventured into the beautiful sand made paradise.
|Late afternoon sun shining through the sky|
|We found turtle carcasses all over the beach - could not decipher the reason|
Navy Day Celebration
We were riding through the narrow lanes heading towards RK beach, where we planned to enjoy the evening preferably sitting at a café. As per the map we were near, when I first spotted the helicopter flying above. A man was hanging with a rope from it and using some smoke which left an orange trail behind. I figured it’s a practice session for the main event next evening, where the smoke would get accompanied by two more colours.
We rushed towards the beach where a crowd had gathered to see the navy day celebration. We parked ourselves briefly to see the remaining of the show which consisted of a few more helicopters and a few batch of fighter flights whooshing right above our heads. Later we settled down at café overlooking the sea and enjoyed the view of lit up navy ships at some distance.
|Lit up Navy Ships sailing in the evening|
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