Mode of Transport: Indian Railways and Road Trip
Visited: September 2017
Vizag has a special place in the history of our family for the dear husband was born here and he feels a sentimental connection with the place. So it was high on our travel list ever since we moved to Hyderabad and also because it is a beach destination and we love beaches.
We decided to travel by train for we had heard a lot about the railway station of Vizag and also because it was just an overnight journey from Hyderabad which made it all the more convenient.
As we reached Vizag we were pleasantly surprised to see the spick and span railway station and whatever we had heard about the cleanliness quotient of the railway station here was actually true. We were staying with our family friends here (for the first part of our trip) and were happy to see Uncle had come to receive us at the station. As we reached home we were in for a culinary delight for Aunty had prepared authentic south Indian dishes like Pessarattu dosa, upma, and so many chutneys; and this delight continued as long as we stayed. There is nothing like the authentic home cooked food and that too which is made with so much love.
The first day Uncle suggested we travel to Simhachalam Devasthanam and we followed. Little did we realize that it was the first Navratri but thankfully it wasn’t too crowded. This temple is dedicated to Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu and is set atop a hill which is a scenic drive. As it was the first Navratri the lord was all decked up in his finery in gold. It is centuries old temple and the beautiful and intricate carvings on the stone pillars suggest that it would have taken years to build this temple.
After darshanam at the temple, we headed back home and were again treated to sumptuous lunch which Aunty had kept ready. It was a feast and we ate to our heart’s content.
In the evening we hit the road again and went for a drive to Dolphin Hill, Naval Dockyard and while returning enjoyed a ride on the RK Beach road which was so lively and bustling with locals who had come down for a post dinner walk it seemed.
It was the most awaited day of the trip as it was the day reserved for Araku Valley. Vizag is a beautiful town with a bit of everything from mountains to the sea. The ride to Araku valley is beautiful with green hillocks and various interesting plantations on the way. Uncle showed us black pepper vines, coffee plantations and more on the way but the best was the breakfast which he had arranged for on the way. This is a quiet little kiosk which you cannot locate if you’re a tourist for it doesn’t have any board.
We were treated to the most lip-smacking Pessarattu dosa with coconut chutney that is incomparable to the best of the dosas you get in the city. Such fresh ingredients and piping hot from the traditional wood-fired stove. I love this basic aspect of my country, one feels at home instantly.
After eating too much yet again we headed towards Borra Caves in Araku Valley.
Araku Valley opens at 10 and we reached before time hence we were the first ones to get the tickets to the caves. And we clicked pictures without any one photo bombing our pictures. As you climb down the stairs you see a small tribal open air temple and then the caves with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. Condidered to be the deepest caves in India these caves are a must visit when in Vizag for two reasons – first, it is one of its kind of a place and second – the drive to these caves is so beautiful.
RK Beach and Rushikonda beach are the two most famous beaches here with lovely views. While RK beach is more of family evening outs, right in the middle of the city with lots of eateries and kiosks, a submarine museum and an aircraft museum (when we visited in September it was being installed right next to the beach) and various other beautifully built animals like elephants, dinosaurs etc. Rushikonda beach can be visited for water sports.
On Day 3 we drove to both the beaches a couple of times and enjoyed the beach by the road. That’s the beautiful East Coast Road or the ECR as people know it.
But big on today’s agenda was a visit to the Naval Dockyard (it helps if you have people who have served the forces) and the first-hand experience of INS Rajput – oldest in service destroyer in the Indian Navy and INS Sindhushastra – a submarine in the Navy. It was a moment of pride and we were truly honored.
After bidding goodbye to Uncle and Aunty who had made sure that our stay was at a home away from home we headed to Novotel Hotel at Varun Beach. This is an awesome property right at the beach with lovely views of the city and the sea. We had dinner at the Infinity Bar at the terrace here. Sea food here is something that should not be missed and the ambience here definitely adds to the dining experience.
After a fabulous dinner here we were on the road to another beautiful property by Novotel and spent the next day (Day 4) at The Bheemli Resort which was the last leg of our journey in Vizag.