Exploring the Jewel of the East Coast
Visakhapatnam, the ninth richest city in India, which also has its foot right in the list of the top 100 fastest growing cities in the world. The city mostly keeps itself busy with exporting seafood and steel but when the wheels are not turning, Vizag is a resort in itself hence aptly justifying to the title 'Goa in the East', which otherwise goes by the moniker 'Steel City'.
On my visit to this beautiful city, the first thing I came across were the roads. What strikes about them is that apart from being scenically well-kept they go along the beaches and the ports of the Bay of Bengal and there is constant ascend and descend over the hills. This beautiful mix of landscapes makes any drive in the city feel like a mission out straight out of video game 'Grand Theft Auto', sans the violence of course. The scarce number of people on the beaches; watching the fishermen making their living and sighting huge cargo ships placed a little deeper in the sea looks like diecasts are something you experience right out of the roads. And thus, making driving around Vizag my most preferred way of having a great time in the city.
My next stop was the much recommended Kailasagiri, again the drive till you reach the hilltop is smooth, a few non-threatening hairpins along the road make the drive just exciting enough. The surroundings are covered with lush green flora and the pure air present around is a subconscious threat to the lungs. At the end of the road, the forest, which now has been modified into a park has some spectacular viewpoints. From the top, you get a pleasing bird's eye view of the city's beach. In fact, you can see the entire beach in its full shape and a multitude of small fishing boats anchored to the shore. It surely makes it Vizag's best painting and if your heart is still not content you can take a ride on the ropeway to, literally, feel like a bird.
Vizag in terms of analogy is not one big bar of chocolate that has to be finished once it's open, it's a box of small assorted chocolates, which can be consumed in comfortable intervals. The beaches present are benchmark beautiful, one should just set aside an entire evening to the beach and its breeze. The naval museums offer great insights about our glorious Indian Navy, which is also a base in the same city. The Submarine Museum, which is positioned inside of the retired submarine INS Kursura (S20) is the most peculiar museum I have ever been to, firstly it's a submarine and secondly, it is submarine… I mean what is the chance of someone letting you inside one and if spirituality and peace are words that appeal to you should definitely visit Ross Hill, where the sight of a church, mosque and a temple situated perfectly individual hills is a sign of how religious peace has prevailed in the region.
One does not simply visit Vizag and not work their appetite. The fusion of seafood with Andhra's spices create gives way to a really special kind of cuisine. One of the city's most popular restaurants the 'Sea Inn - Raju Gaari Dhaba' in Rushikonda, has a canteen-ish feel. Enter the restaurant and you will see that the place is flooded with people trying to get themselves a plate of spicy prawns' biryani. This place also makes splendid crab curry amongst other fish curries. All them so spicy that finishing the meal feels like an accomplishment. I would suggest being there early or drop in a bit late to avoid the rush.
One would leave Vizag with memories of breezy hills, bright beaches and extremely spicy food and only to come back and there is more to explore.