Sunday 26 September 2021

Travelogue: Vishakhapatnam, Jewel of East coast of Bay of Bengal, Pristine Beaches and Golden sand

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – (Ibn Battuta)

Train Journey from Hyderabad to Vishakhapatnam

While I was in Hyderabad, the travel bug was biting me again. So one day we packed my bags for Vishakhapatnam. we boarded in “Vskp duronto express Train” from Secundrabad railway station. Train started its journey for Vishakhapatnam at 8.15 pm; After getting into train we all took our respective berths. It was about 11 hours, one night 699 Km long journey. Next morning we were in Vishakhapatnam at 7.00 am.

Pristine Beach Rishikonda from Top of Kailashagiri hills 

I preferred to stay in retiring room at railway station. After some rest and showering, we were ready to roam in Vishakhapatnam, but it needs energy. Crispy special South Indian Dosa and a cupp of aromatic hot coffee energized me to roam in city.


Visakhapatnam’s other name is Vizag

Visakhapatnam, Jewel of East coast of Bay of Bengal got its name from Lord Visakheswara. Temple (also known as Karthikeya, second son of Lord Shiva) which is now located beneath the sea waters of the city.


During British reign, government built a port in Visakhapatnam along its natural harbor. English men  found it difficult to pronounce the word Visakhapatnam and they used to spell it as Vizagapatam (pronounced as Vee-Zaag-ah-paat-ahm).


in later years the name eventually transformed and was cut short to Vizag. However, the republic India recognized Visakhapatnam as the original name of the city and continued to use it after independence.


Popular mythology: That Visakhapatnam was named after Visakha

The God of Valor and the son of Lord Shiva, more recent revelations indicate that the town was named after the Buddhist princes Visakha since Andhra Desam during the 3rd century B.C was the strong hold of Buddhism. The recent archaeological findings of a few Buddhist sites lying between Bheemli and Vizag, are also pointers to this.

Roads of Vishakhapatnam

Why I liked Visakhapatnam for my travelling

From a small fishing village half a century ago, Vishakhapatnam has converted into a flourishing harbor, a glorious city of Andhra Pradesh. Call it The City of Destiny or the “jewel of the East Coast of Bay of Bengal”.Now Visakhapatnam is a busy sea port.


Nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and facing the Bay of Bengal, Vizag as it is called is also the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.


Bounded with long and never-ending pristine beach stretches with golden sand, on one side and undulating green hills on the other, the destination is considered paradise. Surrounded by small fishing villages.

A View of Vishakhapatnam City-Pristine Beaches with Golden Sand 

Vizag is all blue for me, not simply for its seascape but for the complete calm and spiritual feel it compellingly bestows upon you, uninvited!


Our three days travelogue of Golden Sand and Pristine beaches of Vishakhapatnam the, Jewel of East coast of Bay of Bengal is as ----



Our first visit was Kailashagiri, located around 10 km from the Visakhapatnam Railway Station, a hilltop park in, a well-manicured park perched at a height of 360 feet above sea level. Kailashagiri is a favorite location among the filmmakers all over India.

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi Statue in Kailashagiri-Vizag

The Government of Andhra Pradesh awarded Kailashagiri as its "Best Tourist Spot" in 2003. A cable car connects to the top of the hill, the first of its kind in Andhra Pradesh.

The moment we set foot on the hill, we were greeted with a breath-taking view of majestic hills stretching out to Bay of Bengal. From this height, the waves thrashing the sea-shore looked no more than gentle ripples caressing the golden sand. The entire city of Vishakhapatnam, the houses, the buildings, the roads, was all visible at a glance.


The major attraction of the park is two apocalyptic statues of Lord Shiva and Parvati made of pure white stone, carved to perfection. The idol of Lord Shiva is tall at a height of 40 ft. The surrounding trees, the clear blue sky, the God sitting with his Goddess, watching over us.

Rope Way to     Kailashagiri

Other important points are Shanku Chakra Naama, Floral Clock, Jungle Trails, Food Courts, 7 Wonders of Vizag, Shiva Temple, Titanic View Point, Shanti Ashram, View Points, Art Gallery, Road Train, Gliding Base Point, Children Play Park, Conference Hall, and Telescopic Point.

A view of Vishakhapatnam city from top of Kailashagiri 

The floral clock one of the biggest of India with a diameter of 10 ft. The floral clock gives an artistic impression on the lush green patches on the backdrop of the Shiva Parvati statue. It stands as a landmark and attracting huge crowds.

Rail Track of Toy Train-Kailashagiri-Vizag

The Toy train offers breath-taking views of the surroundings as visitors take a circular trip of the garden. An attractive draw of the garden is the floral clock with a diameter of 10 feet. Tourists engage themselves in paragliding amidst the serene atmosphere.

Tot Train at Kailashagiri

This train takes a circular tour of this garden at the hill top. This train journey of 20 minutes duration costs Rs 75/-.


The compartments are fitted with transparent glass at the top (roof) and at side. Within the compartments clear view is available from any location.


Tickets are issued at the platform and seat number is allotted at the time of buying the ticket. The compartments became hot during noon time because of hot sun rays passing through the transparent roof. Winter it will be comfortable. Take a seat at left side if possible.

Cold Drink stall at Kailashagiri

Anyone who enters the gates of Kailashagiri goes to a Cold Drink Stall, set up in the best place. Everyone who takes the steps has to go there to buy water and cold drinks.


(2) Rishikonda beach

Rishikonda beach is located at a distance of just eight kilometers from the beautiful port city of Visakhapatna,known as the Jewel of the East Coast of Bay of Bengal.


This pristine beach is beautifully set along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Traveler's often flock the beach for the stunning sunsets and to enjoy the iconic stretches of sand.

Pristine Beach Rishikonda-Vizag

Owing to its unparalleled natural beauty, the unspoiled beauty of the beach is its main attraction and offers a unique opportunity to relax and enjoy the golden sands and gentle ocean currents.

Pristine Beach Rishikonda-Vizag

The Rishikonda Beach comes across as a real treat for travellers who love to explore the offbeat and spend some quality time in the company of the most picturesque places on the face of Earth that are blessed by the providence of Mother Nature.


Vivid blue turquoise waters and striking white sand with the dramatic green hills around them make it a perfect beach to visit. Tourists can engage themselves in activities like swimming, Scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skiing and windsurfing.

Pristine Beach Rishikonda-Vizag

With a backdrop of green hills, this beautiful beach is a quieter and cleaner alternative to Ramakrishna Beach. It’s also a good stretch for swimming, and water sports such as wind surfing and jet skiing.


There are pony rides on the beachfront in the morning and evening. The Yachting Association of Vizag organizes sailing in the sea, and also conducts week-long courses on sailing for beginners. Surrounded by seven hills, the 14th century Sapta Rusheswara Temple is also located in Rishikonda.


One can come to this beach and spend the entire day enjoying the sun, the golden sand and the pristine beach. The beach is a haven for water sports lovers and is popular among windsurfers and jet skiers. However, it is the scenic beauty of the beach that lures visitors throughout the year, who come to enjoy spending time amidst greenery, golden sands and azure waters.


Besides, what makes the Rishikonda Beach so beautiful is the presence of lush green hills of the Eastern Ghats in the backdrop. The true beauty of the Eastern Ghats exhibits itself beautifully through these lush green hills surrounding the Rishikonda Beach.


(3)Dolphin’s nose: The lighthouse 

entry fee to visit Dolphin’s Nose Light House in Visakhapatnam is INR 10 per person.


A strange but popular tourist attraction, Dolphin's Nose is a huge rocky headland 174 meters high and 358 meters above the sea level, protruding out into the sea, like the shape of dolphin, at approximately 25Kms drive from main city of Vizag.


It is visible from 64 km away in the sea. Dolphin Hill falls under the Indian Naval Base and there are a few restricted areas on the hill but tourists have access to most picturesque spots. 

Dolphin Nose Light House-Vizag

The rock projects out into the sea, forming a headland on which is the lighthouse. The nation's powerful beam of the lighthouse directs ships 65 KMs away. Whole of Visakhapatnam city can be seen from this place.


The highest peak of this place is called Rose Peak. There is a temple in Venkateshwara hill situated nearby constructed by Captain Black More during 1886. There is a Masjid (in Dargah Hill) called Ishak Madina.


A church called St. Johns, constructed during 1844 by Sir Arthur Cotton can also be seen. This place was an Army base camp for Britishers during 18th Century. The earlier lighthouse got damaged during 1876 due to cyclone. The present lighthouse also has the facility of cyclone forecast.


It is a popular spot for viewing the city’s natural harbor. It also has an impressive 19-metres-high lighthouse, the oldest in the city, whose powerful light beam is visible far out in the sea.

Dolphin Nose-Light House-Vizag

The lighthouse belongs to the Indian Navy. The view from the lighthouse balcony is simply breath-taking. You can see the Vizag city kissing the sea at three famous beaches – RK, Rishikonda and Yeravda. 

These areas are strictly for the Naval Officers. Small but beautiful little enclaves, along with grocery stores, party clubs and hang out areas. Finally, we reached the place, known as the lighthouse.

Standing on top of the lighthouse, looking into the vast mighty ocean, you fail to realize where it merges with the blue sky.

Dolphin Nose-Light House-Vizag

Vizag has a rich legacy of maritime commerce and has had trade relations with the Middle East and Rome, back in the day. The monumental lighthouses in the city, which played a significant role in the maritime trade, are the standing testimonies to the bygone era.


The first lighthouse in the city was erected on the Dolphin Nose Hill, over an Old Dutch tower, in 1873. The work was commissioned in 1874. The structure, which had a fixed red light, was installed 640 feet from sea level. But just two years later, it was ravaged by a severe cyclonic storm in 1876.


Noting that Vizag did not house another lighthouse until 1903, the Flagstaff Lighthouse was erected on a 52-feet long masonry tower a 52-feet structure was commissioned at Flagstaff, in front of St. Aloysius School.


The lighthouse flashed white fixed light of second-order, every 20 seconds with brightness levels equivalent to 4,250 candlelight power and was visible from 12 miles in clear weather.


The existing lighthouse on the Dolphin Nose Hill, came about only in 1957, just a little south of the old lighthouse was inaugurated by Lal Bahadur Shastri, the former Prime Minister of India, this lighthouse has optical equipment of 700 mm revolving inside which flashes light every 10 seconds.

(3) Ramakrishna beach (R.K.Beach)

Ramakrishna Beach, popularly known as RK beach, is the closest beach park you can reach from the heart of the city. The long beach lies facing the Bay of Bengal.


Named after the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, this busy beach is crowded with hawkers and shacks selling everything from snacks, balloons and toys. It’s the ideal spot to watch beautiful sunsets and sunrises.


Spreading through the edge of the sea, the R.K.Beach is a great spot to spend time with your loved ones. Singles of course always get mesmerized in their dreams sitting at the beach shores.

 Pristine  Golden Sand  Beach Ramakrishna -Vizag

A visit to the beach will surely free your mind of tensions and bring in new energy. Sipping a soft drink or biting corn, you can walk on the beach sands or just lie down and de-stress your mind experiencing the cool breeze, looking at the waves and the ships that appear to be moving as slow as a snail.


As we walked further on, we came across a beachside stall named ‘Sukh Sagar’. It looked like a fruit shop, selling fruit juices.

Rama Krishna (R.K Beach)

As we were thirsty, we decided to have some juice. Later, we learnt that the shop specializes in various types of fruit milk shakes – apple, pineapple, grape, guava etc. All of us ordered a different fruit milk shake, so that we could try them all.

 New Sukh Sagar restaurant-Vizag

Sukh Sagar has its own unique way of making milk shakes. The milk is stored in small packets and frozen in a chiller. That milk is then blended with fresh fruits in a mixer and served semi - frozen with a straw.


Slowly the frozen shake melts and all you drink is bliss. If you are with a group of friends, sitting on the beach, watching the beautiful waves, as the moon bathes you in its celestial light, and your sipping in Sukh Sagar’s milkshake, you will feel you are in paradise.

(4)Submarine museum

Entry Fee: Adults: Rs.40, Children: Rs.20, Camera: Rs.50 and Video Camera: Rs.200.


At a distance of 6 km from Vizag Railway Station.  To Explore the life of warriors have a visit of the Submarine Museum located on the RK Beach. Vizag is known not just for the amazing beaches, but many other places that attract visitors from all over the country.


One such place is INS Kurusu submarine museum, a museum established at the beach of Rama Krishna. INS Kurusura is a submarine constructed by Russians in the year 1969. It reached Visakhapatnam in 1970 via the Baltic Sea and since then served the Indian Navy.

Submarine Museum -Vizag

INS Kurusura served the Indian Navy for 31 years and then it was decommissioned and turned into a museum in 2001. With a length of 91.3 meters and breadth of 8 meters, the INS Kurusura submarine played a vital role in a number of wars including the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Inside View of Submarine Museum

The INS Kurusura submarine museum at RK beach is the first submarine turned into a museum in the whole of Asia and second in the world. Various parts of the submarine like the radar room, sonar room, control room, and the weapons used during war are in display in this museum.


The museum depicts the milestones of the evolution of submarine through artifacts, photographs and written scripts. The museum showcases the life inside a submarine and hardships faced by the submariners in the sea.


There are around 6 guides in the museum who explain the history and activities of the submarine in great detail to the visitors. INS Kurusura submarine museum is a matter of pride for the Indians.


(5) Fishing Harbor Vizag

Our first point the second day was fishing dock at a distance of about 16 Km from railway station.

Fishing Harbor-Vizag

Out of all the places to visit in Visakhapatnam, the Fishing Harbor is one such place that remains over-crowded all the time. Spread over an area of 26 hectares, it was opened in the year 1976 and is under the control of Visakhapatnam Port Trust.


Every day since 4:00 AM in the morning, lakhs worth of fish trading was done there, at the docks. Various types of fish are exported to everywhere in India and abroad. There was also, a boat ride there for tourists, which would give a ride to 20 people at a time.

Fishing Harbor-Vizag

Nestled on the east coast of the city, Fishing Harbor is considered as one of the largest fishing harbors in India that gives you a chance to witness the mesmerizing view of the Bay of Bengal. Here you can also enjoy a mix of sea, land and hills from a distance.

Fishing Boats-Vizag

If you are a fish lover, this is absolutely the right place for you. With a wide variety of fishes available, you can bring some fishes along with other sea food back home to prepare a mouth-watering dish for your family members.


Enjoy a boat ride to make the most of your visit at Fishing Harbor. Perfect for people of all ages, the Fishing Harbor offers the facility of boating so that you can enjoy a unique and different experience.


(6)Ramanaidu Film Studio: Capturing history at Museum of Cinema

It is Rs 35/ per person entry fee. There is a fee of Rs 40 for camera but for professional shooting Rs 1000 is to be paid.


A valuable phase in cinema history is now being captured at the ‘Museum of Cinema’ in Ramanaidu Film Studios in Vizag. This one’s a visual treat for movie lovers. Ramanaidu Studios stands on around 35 acres of land near Timmapuram on the way to Bheemunipatnam.

Ramanaidu Film Studio-Vizag

Walking into Ramanaidu Film Studios in Vizag is like entering multiple film sets at the same time. You see the hospital at one end, a bungalow at the other and a police station by the corner of the road.


However, the greatest attraction in this place right now is their newly added ‘Museum of Cinema’. It showcases the equipment and technologies once prevalent in cinema making. From halogen lights, to the silent camera and advanced versions, video analysers, ultrasonic cleaners, and winders, one is taken on a trip through the laborious task that once cinema making was.


As soon as you walk into the hall, a huge array of equipment catches your eye. A guide patiently tells you that all this equipment is part of the Suresh Production’s legacy of film making. Starting from the camera spotlights at the entrance, he tells how famous stars once shined under its light.


Once the movies were shot, came the post-production process, a task that has thankfully transformed with time. What took eight months using this equipment, is now just a matter of 30 days, with most of the technologies digitized. The equipment, showcased at the museum, dates back to the 1960s, the time when color cinema had entered the market.

Ramanaidu Film Studios-Vizag

Scenes once shot would have to be checked for errors which was tough to do as one meter of the film reel could hold only 3 seconds of cinema. Scenes which did not turn out well had to be reshot, while the redundant ones were simply cut off using blades, and then glued together.


The technologies used to do this evolved with time, and as you walk through the hall you can see the various devices and know their purposes. Other popular equipment during those years were the winders used to wind the reel on large spools and ultrasonic cleaners which would keep the reels dust and scratch-free.

Perhaps these were the reasons why films made using such elaborate technologies stood the test of time and can be viewed even today. A major pride of place at the museum is occupied by the extremely high-end equipment of the yesteryears.


As you walk out of the museum into the lush green environs of Ramanaidu Studios at Rishikonda in Vizag, you’re humbled to understand how detailed the process of film making can be. And how judgmental we become while passing our reviews of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ within three hours of watching a film.


It makes you want to dig out some old cinema and watch it again, and this time when you do, you’ll feel a sense of familiarity knowing that you stood under the cameras that shot this film.


(7)yarada beach

Next on our list was the Yeravda Beach. Just 12 kms away from fishing dock harbor. Yeravda beach is one of the top 10 beaches in Asia. Beautiful and well maintained by the locals, it truly will take your heart away. A beautiful garden surrounded by Cashew trees, breakout areas, small playgrounds for children and restaurants.


A perfect beach to have a holiday out, Yeravda beach, offers wonderful scenery with the magnificent greenery around and soft golden sands. The beach is surrounded by picturesque hills on three sides with Bay of Bengal provides the exotic waves from the fourth side.


yarada beach offers a calm and secluded atmosphere to those looking for solitude and mental peace. The beach maintains its cleanliness and majesty, attracting lots of tourists. The water is clear blue, clean, carrying pretty distinct sand particles that would probably go away after a wash.


People along with their families had come for a picnic. You would see lovers, holding hands and bearing the water a testimony to their love. The tip of the island known as Dolphins nose (Got its name from the shape it resembles, that of a dolphins nose) has huge rocks opening out to the sea.


Strolling lazily along the beach pavement, we saw many hawkers selling ‘bhutta’, ’jhaal muri’, ’pakoras’, but we just kept walking along the pavement. You will see people of all ages there at the beachside.


College lovers counting stars, Senior citizens talking about their youth, Children playing around making sand castles and tourists like us, squatted lazily, watching the inexorable waves beat the shore, and cherishing the timeless.

Ishaq Madina dargah (Prior to 1706)

The dargah is nestled between crowded houses at the end of a narrow street, but opens up to a spectacular view atop the hill, from where a large portion of the Old Town area is visible, including the port.


The 'Syed Ali Ishaq Madina Rahmatullah Dargah', holds the tomb of a holy Muslim saint Syed Ali, who is believed to have arrived from Madina with his followers. 

While the exact date of the dargah's construction is unknown, there is historical evidence that a Muslim ruler granted two villages as a 'reward' to this dargah for its upkeep, around 1706.

Dargah Sharif of Hazrat Syed Ali Ishaq Madani (R.A )

The board outside reads:

The dargah has been a place of veneration for both Hindus and Muslims and sailors of all faiths. It is said that every vessel entering or leaving the Harbors, used to pay respects to the saint by lowering and hoisting the flag three times. Some speculate that the town was originally known by the name of this saint as 'Ishakpattan' which over time, was changed to 'Vizagapatam'.


A little above the dargah on the same hill, is a mosque known as 'Alamgir Mosque' also known as 'Aurangzeb Masjid'. Legend has it that when Aurangzeb's army came here, they found an old Masjid already at the spot. They renovated it and named it 'Alamgir mosque'. Interestingly, a grave stone found here and recorded by the Epigraphy Department of the Government of India, indicated that a burial took place in 1257 AD.

(The mosque atop the dargah)

This is the Dargah Sharif of Hazrat Syed Ali Ishaq Madani Aulia (R.A) in Visakhapatnam, A.P India. Hazrat Ishaq Madani (R.A) came from Madina (Saudi) and was the first great Muslim saint in the coastal area of Andhra Pradesh. The Dargah Shareef is at the beautiful location at the top of a Hill, which is adjacent to the sea Harbor and there is a flight of wide steps leading up to the Dargah Shareef.


A stone found in this Dargah Shareef is recorded by Epigraphy Department of Govt of India, indicates that the burial took place in the year 1257 AD, from which it is evident that the Dargah Shareef existed even before 1257. The Dargah of Hazrat Ishaq Madina (R.A) is the oldest building in Visakhapatnam built before 1257, which houses the Mazaar e Mubarak (mausoleum) of Hazrat Ishaq Madina, a respected Awliya’Allah (friend of Allah)

City Visakhapatnam is on the coastal belt of Bay of Bengal Sea. Prior to Ishaq Madani (R.A) settlement in Visakhapatnam, high-altitude sea waves always drowned the coastal belt of Visakhapatnam, however, the Awliya’Allah (friend of Allah) still choose this place for his settlement, which was right adjacent to the Sea Harbor.


Almighty Allah has blessed him with so much mystic power that, Ishaq Madani (R.A) hit at a place with his scepter (stick) and ordered the sea, NOT to cross that Marking. This Marking place is still recognized and respected by the people of Visakhapatnam. The marking is on the flight of steps which leads to the Dargah Shareef.


After he got settled in Visakhapatnam, the entire coastal belt became a lively environment and people lived without any danger of high altitude sea waves, however sea level of Visakhapatnam is still 45 M above the actual ground level but the Sea does not enter the Visakhapatnam city due to the blessing of Hazrat Ishaq Madani (R.A)


Ishaq Madani (R.A) mostly lived along with the poor people and especially fishermen loved and praised him. A historian in 1869 documented that every vessel (ship) entering or leaving the harbor would lower and hoist the flag 3 times, in this way the sailors of all faiths, offered they respect to the Dargah Shareef, as his blessing bestowed the safe passage.


King Aurangzeb who ruled in the late 17th century, used to send Salam to every Dargah (Mazaar) he visited. Aurangzeb sent his Salam (Salutations) to this Dargah Shareef but got back the reply late from this Dargah Shareef. Hearing back the reply to his Salam, he renovated (rebuild) the Dargah Shareef.


There is also a very old Masjid, besides the Dargah Sharif, which was renovated (rebuilt) by Aurangzeb's army and named it as Alamgir Mosque in honor of the ruler. There is also historical evidence that a Muslim ruler granted two villages, namely Yerrada and Devada as Inam (gift) to the caretakers of this Dargah Shareef.

Now I am ending “Travelogue: Golden Sand and Pristine beaches of Vishakhapatnam: Jewel of East coast of Bay of Bengal”. Next destination is Araku Valley which is about 120 Km from Vishakhapatnam. We will meet in Araku Valley.

The End