It was on the insistence of my friend Tommy Singh that I accompanied him to Vishakapatanam also called as "Vizag", a beautiful port and the second largest city of the state of Andhra Pradesh, South India. It was a beautiful drive to our hotel "The Park Visakhapatnam"
A totally different refreshingly and exotic experience than any other metro town of India.
Town is situated near the Eastern Ghats facing the Bay of Bengal to the east of India. The capital city, Hyderabad is situated 625 km from here, towards the east. The other nicknames that the city has are “The city of destiny” and “Goa of the east”.
This port city was under the British who developed the city and used it as a trading center. The port used to be a place where tobacco, ivory, muslin and other products were exported by the English East India Company.
We explored Vishakapatanam town visiting places of interest like: The War Memorial, The Matsyadarshini aquarium, The Simhachalam, The Ross Hill, The Jagadamba centre, The Kailasagiri, The Submarine Museum, The Bojjana Konda and The Buddhist remains in addition to beautiful beaches!
A JOURNEY TO ARAKU VALLEY
Next day, we took a train to ARAKU VALLEY at 7AM.
Oh my God, what an awesome hill station it was! We saw and fell in love with it. This place can be named as heaven on earth. The beauty of Araku vally can't be expressed in easy words, you need to experience the beauty. And the best part was the train journey. In India most of the hill trains run in a meter gauge or narrow gauge lines but this is a broad gauge. The line passes through Shimiliguda station which is the highest broad gauge station of India at 996.32 mt above MSL.
The train line passed through 84 bridges and 58 tunnels. This broad gauge electrified line starts from Kottavalasa, a small station located between Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam stations of Howrah and Chennai main line. After crossing two small stations , the train started climbing up the hills through tunnels and bridges. Most of the time valley fell in right side of the train while going towards Araku from Vizag and waterfalls remain at left side. On the way, we saw small and big water falls. The green valley and river combination gave a spectacular view from the train. The train also passed above the World famous Borra caves, eventually reaching ARAKU at 11.30 AM, ending our dream sequence of 4 hours!
We stayed at Punnami Hill Resort with awesome location at Araku valley witha tarrif of Rs.2000.
In the afternoon we visited Padmapuram Gardens. Wow, what a garden! The gardens had a good collection of appealing plants and flowers. Welcomed by a Toy train, which starts at the entrance, these gardens provided a novel atmosphere with unique flower gardens and numerous hefty trees like eucalyptus, pine etc. One of the top-most attractions of Padmapuram Gardens, which we enjoyed was the incredible hanging cottages.