My Vizag story is one interesting piece… Go for it!
2016 has been blessed so far. I have been traveling every month. While March was about the hills, the birthday month April turned out to be all the more special. I had a chance to visit two different states of India for unique experiences. While in the first week, Maruti Suzuki’s Desert Storm took me to Jaisalmer and Jodhpur in Rajasthan, the third week brought me a refreshing holiday at Vizag, the largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India.
Located on the coast of Bay of Bengal, Vizag has left me impressed me with its beautiful mix of mountain ranges, temples, beaches, museums and Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Also known as the ‘city of destiny’, it houses the oldest shipyard and stands as the only natural harbor on the east coast of India. Nevertheless, it happens to be the headquarter of the eastern naval command too. Its been more than a week since I have returned from Vizag aka Vishakhapatnam, but I am yet not done with expressing my love for it. I found it a very attractive city to spend holidays, plan a destination wedding or more. Even though it was hot and humid during 15th to 19th April (duration of my stay) and I could not explore it as much as I would have loved to do, I am absolutely smitten by its scenic beauty and coastlines.
Taking its name from God Vaishaka, Vizag humbly reflects it rich historical connect. In 6th century, it was part of the Kalinga region and by the 18th century, it was already a bone of contention between French and British colonial rule. The past says that Kalinga had lost this region to King Ashoka in the most gory battle. It is due to King Ashoka who embraced Buddhism in later part of his life, that we see Buddhist influence in the surroundings of the city. Today, Vizag lives an image of an industrial city, an accomplished naval port and fifth cleanest city in India. I also learnt that after the International Fleet Review that took place from 04 – 08 February 2016, the city has been shining at its best. Navies of 46 countries took part in this International Fleet Review (IFR) 2016. Yes, I did notice it for myself. The wall art all over the city looked newly done, fresh and bright in colors.
My 5 days!!!
I visited the city for five days and here is a brief account of all that I did.
So what took me to Vizag? – A story of two states took me there. North Indian bride decided to marry South Indian guy. Yes, I was from the bride’s side and it was my best friend’s wedding. I was supposed to be there for three days for the main events but I planned my trip for good five days and I am happy I did that.
Since there are not many direct flights, I booked an early morning Indigo flight from Delhi. It flies at 5:20 a.m and lands at 7:30 a.m. If you take this flight, don’t forget to opt for a window seat. And before you doze off, keep your eyes open for a lovely sight of the sunrise. It was a beautiful experience to see the sun and the sky unfold in gorgeous colors of the morning.
Places where I stayed in Vizag – Trust me, they were the best in town.
For the first 3 days, I lived in one of most beautiful properties of Vizag. It is known as Visharanti at Dolphin Hills (It is a Naval Guest House, exclusive to the naval guests). Now, here I must reveal that both the bride and bridegroom are Naval officers.
Next 2 days, I was hosted at The Park, Vizag. It was a blogging collaboration with ‘The Park Hotels’ and I must tell you I was lucky to bag this. This five star property stands at one prominent place on the beach road. With a huge space to itself, it overlooks the Bay of Bengal and boasts of a private beach to itself. It is famously known for its food, music, grooving nights, sprawling lawn, huge chess board and more.
Since it was a destination wedding for my friend, there was hardly anybody on the girl’s side who was well versed with the city. Google map came to our rescue at all times whenever we had to find our way to the guest houses, venue locations and the attractions in Vizag. Here are the memories just as they happened….
Day 1 : Hubby and I landed at the airport at 7:30. The driver picked us and took us to the Navy mess where my friend had been staying since a week and looking after her wedding arrangements. Soon we freshened up and our first breakfast was an authentic idli sambhar treat on the banana leaf. In sometime, we drove down to get the first view of the city. My husband was quick to replace the driver and in the next few days he was all over the Vizag roads picking and dropping people from railways station and the airport to the venue. Initially he had a problem with the three lanes but in few hours, he knew how to tackle it.
After some essential stop-overs, later in the day, we decided to go to the Dolphin hotel for a meaty lunch with the bride and the bridegroom. The mutton biryani, Bisi Bele Bhaath and the special keema dosa is a much do here. By later evening, we had already done an uphill drive to the breath-taking dolphin hills. When I learnt that we were staying at Vishranti, I was already doing a happy dance. Trust me, destination weddings are not easy. Even when you outsource every work, you need people to monitor them. Hubby and I loved playing this role with the bride and the bridegroom. By the time, we were done with some of the important things, we realized that it was already 10.30 in the night. And here began our hunt for dinner. Since we were away from the beach road, it was difficult to find an open restaurant in this part of the city. Thankfully we did get lucky with the last order. But more or less, I must tell you that the city closes by 11 p.m. on the weekdays.
Day 2 : I got up with the sun. I was very excited to accompany my friends for their pre-wedding shoot. A team of photographers had flown from Kolkata. They are known as FotoSutra. Initially I was not sure about their work, but now when I have seen some of their pictures, I can easily vouch for their work. That day, we all huddled together and drove to Sagar Nagar beach to discover it as one of the best places to go for a pre-wedding shoot in Vizag. It was quaint and uncrowded. Trust me, it was utterly clean and unspoilt. While the photographers played with their cameras, I spent some quality time strolling around the beach. If given a choice, I would have loved to sit their for hours. Apart from our gang of ten, there was only one family on the beach. Back from the beach, it was time to catch up with some breakfast and then accompany my friend to the parlor. I would recommend Studio11 Salon & Spa in Siripuram if ever you go to Vizag to attend a wedding and need help with dressing up. By 8 we were all decked up. It was the cocktail night (hosted together by the bride and the groom). The venue was Naval Officers Institute. All friends and family members from Lucknow and Mumbai had flown in and we all danced and partied till 12 in the night. And after that we drove down to Vishranti. The late night uphill drive was beautiful. The city sparkled with lights.
Day 3 : When one my Dad’s colleague learnt that I was in the city, he was quick to arrange a city trip for me. He sent for a driver who arrived at sharp 9 in the morning. My husband decided to skip the city tour but I did not let this chance go. Within five minutes, I was in the car all set to explore the city. The next six hours were great fun. The driver was a local and he showed me some of the famous attractions. From the famous Kali Mandir to RK Beach to the Kurusura Submarine Museum to Rishikonda to the famous Kailashagiri, I did the best that I could manage in the half day on Sunday. I had to skip some of the other attractions but I was happy at what I had achieved. It was an extremely eventful day and one of those which made me fall in love with Vizag. For the next half of the day, I was back with my gang of friends and we were all geared up for the Mehndi and Sangeet ceremony.
Day 4 Early morning, we went to explore some of the scenic views around the Dolphin hills. The beaches in the surroundings are pristine and gorgeous. As civilians we did not have access to them but other guests from Navy took us around. After this, we vacated Visharanti and drove down to the The Park Hotel at the beach road. It was time to shift to another beautiful property of Vizag and enjoy my closeness to the R.K. Beach Road. Soon, I checked in my room and within an hour I found myself enjoying at the swimming pool. By lunch, I had walked around the whole property to make my first impression. I could easily conclude that it was one lovely property at a great location. The chess board opposite to the beach became my favorite almost instantly. After relaxing in my room for sometime, later in the evening I went to meet my friend just before she was preparing to get decked up as a South Indian bride. ‘Gajra in the hair’ was one thing that we all friends were looking up to. Yes, it was the D day. We were all super excited. The venue was the next door, Palm Beach Hotel. On the rarest of rare occasions, I wear a saree and today was the day.
For more than twenty four hours, we had not slept. The wedding celebrations had kept us busy all night. At 8 in the morning, we returned to the hotel after the Bidaai. Next thing, I went over to Vista to catch some hearty breakfast. It was one amazing buffet spread. For the next one hour, I ate like a Queen and after that I snored for next two hours. All fresh and up after the nap, I went for a walk around the property with one of the team members of the hotel. She introduced me with the reading lounge, spa area, aqua, tribe and other beautiful aspects of the hotel. Next, I did some photo-shoot in the lawn and other areas of the hotel and then sat down to order some luncheon. My flight from the airport was scheduled at 6 in the evening. After having a relaxed day at the hotel, we checked out from the property at 2:30 p.m. On the way we stopped at my friend’s in laws place to meet everybody and wish the couple for a blissful married life. The trip to Vizag will always remain memorable for their wedding, for the quality time spent with my (always-on-the-go) hubby , for the lovely beaches and for more.
Hope you enjoyed reading a round-up of Vizag Holidays. Keep following for more refreshing stories from there.
P.S. Whenever you are in Vizag and are looking for some sweets and savories, do ask for Laddu Gopal Sweets shop and pick some delighting stuff. I do not know about other sweets shop but I loved the stuff from here.
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