The title of this post is inspired by the latest campaign by Indigo Airlines- one of the finest airlines I’ve ever been on. Not only there promotions have a sense of humor, the airline has great service, even when it is a low-cost airline. Indigo’s latest advertisement said ‘NO ZIG ZAG TO VIZAG!’ Unfortunately for me, it was only a zig and a zag as there weren’t any direct connections from New Delhi.
Vizag, or Vishakapatanam, as it was called before, is the second largest city of Andhra Pradesh. At no point of time, does it look that big, even when it has one of the largest ports of the country. The city itself has all the perfect ingredients to make it a tourist as well as a commerce destination- the sea, beaches, hills, museums, adventure sports and its most important aspect…shipping. It was my first time in Vizag and I loved it from the moment I landed.
Vizag is spread over various hills and valleys and the airport is situated in one of these scenic locations. The drive to the city is about thirty minutes; though I headed straight to meet an artist I admire a lot- Mr.Ravinder Reddy. Mr.Reddy is one of the most popular contemporary artists from India, with numerous exhibitions all over the world and works in envious collections. His large sculptures of women (either portraits or full body) are made of polyester fiberglass covered with gold leaf. Though the sculptures come across as erotic, for me it’s the gaze these ladies have, looking straight into the viewers face. These sculptures range from 21 inches to 8 feet, sometimes even bigger.
Meeting Mr.Reddy was the highlight of my trip, having read about him in college and following his work during my career as a museum professional. His studio is located away from the hustle and bustle of Vizag. He also has a residency space another 15 minutes out-of-town, towards the new IT Park, where he hopes to start some interactive classes for the public.
If you are looking for a good hotel in Vizag, there is no shortage as most of the top names in hospitality have a branch here. Be it the sea facing Taj Gateway, or the Novotel (boasts if sea view from each room) or my personal favorite The Park- an exquisite property on the sea front. Though I didn’t spend much time exploring the hotel (like I always do), I can recommend everyone to drop in for a meal, preferably dinner, at The Shack, right on the sea. I managed to get a bite here, thanks to friends from Round Table, Vizag. Do try the Rabari Paan; it got me going for second helpings even when I don’t like this desert!
One hotel you may want to skip is the Green Park. Though I have stayed in the Chennai property, this one was very disappointing. Though the price is good, the rooms have no ambience and are sparsely done up. While I stayed here, there was a big goof up with the security as I found my room open upon returning from my day’s meetings. Luckily, noting was stolen and the management, to my disappointment, didn’t may much importance it. They simply replied…”Nothing was stolen!”
Vizag may have the best beaches on the eastern cost of India. To find them, go beyond the city, even beyond Rushikonda beach, which is a tourist’s delight. As time was limited I satisfied myself with a visit to Rushikonda, with a lunch at Andhra Pradesh Tourism’s restaurant. Nothing fancy, but great views. The drive itself from the city offers inspiring views of the sea; roadside stalls swarming with food buffs, and as my driver excitedly pointed out- lovers! For some reason, he wasn’t interested in showing me around till the time he came upon a road, which connected the highway with Rushikonda, nestled between the Kailashgiri and the Zoo. “Sir, this road after 7pm is filled with lovers”, he grinned. Inquisitive as I was, I wanted to know the name of the road. “Shortcut!” he said! Right, so there we were on ‘shortcut’ to the city, stopping once in a while to enjoy the cool breeze from the sea! Whatever happens, I need to go back to Vizag!