A 6.5 hour road trip on a single road – NH16 – covering 350 kms. is what Google showed. From one major city in Andhra Pradesh to another – Vijayawada to Visakhapatnam. An early morning start saw us to Annavaram at the 250 km mark around 5 hours later.
People we spoke to said Annavaram temple is very special as it has Veera Sathya Narayana Swamy, a form of Lord Vishnu as the main deity but also has Brahma and Shiva at the lower level. It was a surprise to see that the hill itself was like a mini tirupathi and had plenty of lodging facilities as well. We had a quick darshan spending around 1.5 hours at the temple(being our anniversary) and we were on our way out onto the same NH16.
Another 2 breaks plus a lunch break later(at a BPCL petrol bunk – GHAR Dhaba was a surprise with extremely tasty biryani!), we entered the port area of Vizag around 315 pm. A fairly relaxed drive, looking around, we just couldn’t spot the city itself as the road was lined with containers and huge fort like walls. As we doubted (not each other’s sense of direction but Google!) and kept quarrelling about the route, the city rose in front of us.
Through the railway station road, a major shopping area and a few big colleges, we reached Beach road and entered our hotel, The Park. A sprawling location that was quiet and perfect for some ‘honeymoon’ time! The building itself was away from the road and all the rooms at the 4 levels were facing the beach and as a bonus, our room at the top floor was also facing the swimming pool. A complete view of the property with a beautiful beach view! Yay!
Our first night there, we had a nice, almost candlelight-ish dinner by the sandy beach. Very romantic! We spent an hour lazing on the couches on the sand with absolutely no light, just the sound of waves rolling and crashing, over and over. HEAVEN!
The next morning, our plans for a sunrise view failed miserably as the tiredness of the long drive made us sleep in. We started at 1030 am towards Kailasagiri. The hill had many parks, playgrounds, a train ride, a museum and also a 5 minute cable car ride from the top to the foothill.
Recommended to visit the hill just for the magnificent views from all sides. There were more locals there spending their Saturday leisurely in the parks’ lawns. The fun train ride, AC or non-AC you can choose, goes once around the entire hill covering all views from the top, worth it! The view from the cable car is also very calming, because all you see is the city at a distance with the miles of shores stretching on one side with hills on the other.
Lunch was at the famous Sea Inn/ Raju Gari Dhaba opp. Gitam University on the Vizag-Bheemli road. It’s a small place but extremely popular and crowded. So be prepared to wait and order the rice with non veg gravies, do not go for the biryani here. The heavy lunch meant rest before going off to the INS Kursura submarine museum.
This is a piece of Indian Naval history that you must visit at least once. Right from the missiles that are shot under water to the complex working of the submarine, you can see it all here inside the submarine that’s been decommissioned and opened up for public viewing. Guides available for Hindi and Telugu languages only so that was a small issue but most of the boards are self explanatory by itself.
Then was an hour long dip cum contemplating time at the Rushikonda Beach that was completely crowded and getting noisier and dirtier by the minute. We then took the road towards Bheemli for a long drive only to stop at a go karting place on the verge of closing – Hub for Youth. We quickly took turns to drive though it was an exorbitant Rs.400/- per person for the only kart that was available, which also happened to have lagging issues at the turns. The other games seemed to be in bad condition as well and they were almost closed so off we went.
Dinner had to be simple and fuss free so we chose the highly recommended Venkatadri Vantillu for delicious dosa varieties. It has self service and you need the skill of a marksman to spot yourself a seat but it was well worth the wait. We were done for the day.
A must at Vizag is definitely catching the sunrise so the next day at 5 am we set off for the RK beach adjoining the Park Hotel. An old abandoned light house was the perfect spot for us to sit and watch the sunrise together.
The next one hour at the beach, on the rocks, in the water, the perfect holiday came to a perfect end!
Lunch at Kamats hotel again was recommended and boy! That was one of the best non veg food I’ve ever had! Even though it was a chaotic Sunday lunch time, the service was impeccable. You will not regret going there ever, trust me! And so we were all set for a long drive back home though there was the wrong turn issue.
Google maps has to be appreciated because it helped us get through everywhere with the least hassles. But on the drive back, it showed us a shorter path that took us through multiple villages with slow moving lorry traffic and even a railway crossing.
My advice is stick to highways even if they’re slightly longer because you can make up for it by going faster(within speed limits of course!), less traffic and easy manoeuvring(read overtake). Vizag is full of beaches so do take plenty of spare clothes as well. Between Vijayawada and Vizag, there are no big hotels on the way so if you spot a place you might eat at, just go eat.
Let me know what you think of this travelogue in the comments below.
If you’ve been to Vizag, do share any information I might have missed out.