On one Sunday afternoon my wife told me, this time I should visit sea beach because for last few years I have seen hills and mountains. I got little disappointed as I found mountains and hills motivate me. I started searching whether there was any place in India having beach and hills in the same go. After a thorough search YES….I found it. Visakhapatnam. Visakhapatnam invites holidaymakers to enjoy a relaxed and promising stay. From a long list of ancient memorials to pilgrimage sites, superb valleys, spurting waterfalls, sandy beaches, and amusement parks and appealing shopping streets, this city has everything that you need to keep yourself occupied throughout the day. One of the most popular places to visit near Visakhapatnam, the Araku Valley claims of an outstanding hilltop site with a serene setting where we can have the best time of our life while relaxing in a relaxed atmosphere. Few hours journey from Araku, Jagdalpur includes Chitrakot Falls, Teerathgarh Waterfalls, Chitradhara Waterfalls, Kotumsar Cave, and Danteshwari Temple. Art and culture are rich in that place. Both of us came to the common consensus that we would go for Vizag Araku and Jagdalpur tour that year. Our tour itinerary was-
Day 1: Reaching Visakhapatnam by train. On arrival at Visakhapatnam Railway station, transfer to Hotel. Evening visit to Ramkrishna beach, Submarine and Kali Mandir.
Day 2: Vishakapatnam full day sightseeing conducted by APTDC.
Day 3: Visakhapatnam to Jagdalpur by train via Araku. Early morning Visakhapatnam to Jagdalpur by Kirandul Passenger. Reaching Jagdalpur at around 4.30 Pm.
Day 4: Jagdalpur full day sightseeing.
Day 5: Jagdalpur to Araku. After breakfast Jagdalpur to Araku by road. Reaching Araku APTDC Mayuri at around 3 Pm. Evening visit Tribal Museum.
Day 6: Araku to Visakhapatnam. After breakfast Araku sightseeing and visit Bora Cave. Transfer to Visakhapatnam.
Day 7: After breakfast transfer to Visakhapatnam Railway Station.
It was middle of the October and all of us were waiting eagerly for the confirmation of our railway tickets. Just 3 days before the journey, our tickets got confirmed and on a Saturday night we started our journey from Howrah railway station. We purchased ticket of 12863 Howrah-Jasvantpur Jn Exp train. We started around 8.45 pm. After boarding our train we completed our dinner and went to sleep.
Next morning the railway track goes just beside the famous Chilika Lake and it took more or less 15-18 minutes for the train to cross the entire lake. Just gave an idea how big the lake is. I opened my laptop and started my research on Visakhapatnam.
Visakhapatnam is the largest city of Andhra Pradesh. Visakhapatnam is the district administrative headquarter and state headquarters of Indian Coast Guard. Its geographical position is within the Eastern Ghats and the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Visakhapatnam’s history stretches back to the 6th century BCE, when it was considered a part of the Kalinga dynasty, and later ruled by the Vengi, the Pallava and Eastern Ganga dynasties. The city is home to the oldest dockyard and the only natural port on the east coast of India.
Visakhapatnam is a main tourist destination and is mainly known for its beaches. It is referred to by ‘The Jewel of the East Coast’. The city is famous for beaches, caves and the Eastern Ghats as well as wildlife reserves. Main landmarks in the city include Dolphin’s Nose, lighthouse, Kailasagiri, Beach Road, VMRDA Park, Visakha Museum and Matsyadarsini (an aquarium). The INS Kursura Submarine Museum is the only of its kind in the world. This tourist spot is now protected and conserved as a heritage site.
We reached Visakhapatnam around 10.45 am in the morning and shifted to APTDC Hotel. Here I booked Yatrinivas Haritha Hotel online. It is located opposite Appughar, Beach Road, Visakhapatnam. (Ph no. 8912788824). Haritha “Yatrinivas” Tourist complex, of APTDC is a impressive sea-road facing tourist complex on the beach road, with luxurious accommodation and hospitality service. The hotel has AC/Non AC ROOMS, TV, ample parking area, bar, restaurant etc.
We booked 2 Non AC rooms online at ground floor only at Rs. 1568 each. As we had sufficient amount of breakfast in train we went for lunch directly. We had our lunch with rice, dal fry, papad and fish curry. Post lunch we went to Kali Temple, R K Beach, and submarine museum INS Kursura.
First we went to Vizag Kali Temple. The temple is situated in R K Beach, Beach Road, Visakhapatnam . This temple was built in 1984 and Vijayadashami festival celebrates here with a huge devotees. This temple becomes a land mark in Visakhapatnam Beach Road and a good tourist destination.
Then we started walking along R K beach. Ramakrishna beach or R K beach in Visakhapatnam is situated in the heart of the city’s coastline. If you stand in the middle, on the right hand side you can see the Dolphin’s Nose and on the left hand side, you can see the INS Kursura parked just by the sea. Beach gets its name from the Ramakrishna Ashram that is situated across the road from the beach and I think it was one of the first public constructions there to lend the beach its name.
We saw various art installations on the beach. There were sculptures at the base of the lampposts. Many small parks were maintained between the road and the beach, where one could sit and appreciate the beach from a safe distance and I think it is a great place for both young and old. VUDA (Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority), the local authority that maintains most of these.
From nature’s perspective beaches in and around Visakhapatnam are rocky and not too safe for swimming or even venturing into. There can be rocks with a sudden cliff and the sea is also not too kind. Seen from a distance, rocks create beautiful backgrounds. In the evening, the beach comes alive when people come here for their evening walk, to have a small snack walking along or to just breathe some fresh air. We met an old man who had painted himself as Gandhiji with a donation container in front. As tourists, the movement of ships on the vista itself is a pleasure to watch.
Then we went to INS Kursura which was a submarine of the Indian Navy. After decommissioning, the submarine was preserved as a museum for public access on RK Beach in Visakhapatnam. Kursura has the distinction of being one of the very few submarine museums to maintain uniqueness and has been called a “must-visit destination” of Visakhapatnam. Despite being a decommissioned submarine, she still obtains the navy’s “Dressing Ship” honor, which is generally awarded only to active ships.
During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, Kursura functioned in the Arabian Sea and was given the patrol duties at two selected areas before the war started. Six retired marine personnel serve as guides and another one as the curator. We spent the evening around the R K beach and came back to hotel room after having dinner at the APTDC Hotel’s restaurant.
Also read ARUNACHAL DIARY-PART VI