Visakhapatnam is a unique city. It has a rare, unconventional combination of beaches and hills. I mentioned about the tourists places along the beaches in my last post which includes the one of its kind INS Kurusura submarine museum, the maritime Visakha museum and the beautiful Ramkrishna beach. You can read about them and my other experiences of the 1st day here :
In this post I will talk about the trips on the 2nd day which included 2 hills – the Kailashgiri and the much revered Seemanchalam temple. On the 2nd day I got up little late and after having a sumptuous breakfast, I planned for the day. I freshened up, packed my stuff and by the time I was ready, it was already quite late. The plan was to visit Kailashgiri first.
Kailashgiri is a hill top park. It can be reached by car/bike and there are city buses plying to Kailashgiri from selected stops in the city. However, the more popular route, at least among the tourists, is the rope-way. The rope-way offers panoramic views of the city and its beautiful beaches. However, since Kailashgiri not is located at a very high altitude, the rope-way experience is not as great as the other rope-ways which you might have experienced in other parts of the country. The charges are not very high and tourists should opt for the rope-way as it is more economic and aesthetic than the road route.
Kailashgiri is more of a picnic spot than a tourist destination. At the top, there is a nice park which may be a good place to spend some casual time in the afternoon with family. The place has lots of amusement options for kids. There are horse rides, children park, gardens, lawns etc. An additional attraction is a toy train which takes the tourists on a short trip around the hills. There is a point called the Titanic Point where you will definitely find couples posing for photographs in the iconic Titanic pose. There are cafeterias where you can have meals and other refreshments.
The focal point of attraction in the park from which perhaps the park derives its name is the large statue of Lord Shiva with his consort Mata Parvati.
For me the only good thing at Kailashgiri was the scenic views of the beautiful Rushikonda beach. It was amazing to see the long sea beach with the waves crashing against the shore. However, the place is not worth the effort and you can skip it without any regret if you are visiting Visakhapatnam on a short itinerary.
After Kailashgiri I went to the Seemanchalam temple. Seemanchalam is one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Narashimha and the presiding deity is worshiped as Lord Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swami. The idol is covered with sandalwood paste which is believed to subside the anger of Lord Narashimha (a wrathful incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Seemanchalam temple is situated on a hill at about one hour drive from Visakhapatnam. There are city buses available as well. However, they stop in the foothills and from there the devotees take another bus to reach the temple.
On reaching the top there are separate deposit counters for shoes, luggage and electronic gadgets. The devotees are expected to deposit them at the respective counters and collect their tokens before joining a queue that leads them inside the temple. There are people selling flowers and prasad outside the temple. The crowd is less on usual days and you wont face any trouble going inside the temple. Inside the temple, there is an atmosphere of divinity and tranquility which immediately engulfs the devotees. You can hear occasional chanting of the mantras. However, there were hardly any people who understood Hindi/English which made it difficult for me to learn more about the history and rituals of the temple. Anyways, Seemanchalam temple saved the day for me as I didn’t enjoy Kailashgiri much. I would suggest anyone with a religious inclination to definitely visit this ancient temple of Lord Narashimha.
By the time I completed, it was already evening. I clicked few photographs before boarding a bus from the bus stop below the hill which took me directly to the railway station. I had my train around midnight. It was a satisfying weekend. Although I went there with an intention to relax and spend some quality time, I have no regrets replacing it with 2 days of exploring the beautiful city of Visakhapatnam. If you have been to Vizag or are residing there please feel free to drop your feedback, suggestions in the comment box below.