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Old 15th January 2010, 16:56   #1
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Default Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)

Vizag has been dear to our family for more than one reasons. We have spent a lot of time growing up in Vizag and Dad has spent a lot of his professional life in Vizag. The beaches, roads, clubs, hotels, etc seemed to have been calling. It was sometime in October 2009 that we decided to have a vacation to Vizag to enjoy the beaches and good old life that we had lived during the schooling days. During the thought process of having a vacation in Vizag, we pounced this idea with an idea of driving down among friends so that we have a large group to party and enjoy. It started with about 19 adults and 6 kids including tentative folks and finally we were 12 adults and 5 kids driving.

We decided on the itinerary and started to work toward the logistics in early November. I know the trip was not long, nor was the drive; however logistics for 9-10 rooms would anyways be a challenge keeping in mind that the trip had to be really economical. The initial itinerary looked like the following:

December 24, 2009: Hyderabad to Annavaram covering about 575 odd KMs.
December 25, 2009: Perform puja and Satyanarayan Katha and depart for Vizag post breakfast. 135 KMs drive. Check in at Waltair Club, Cruise through Vizag harbour during the afternoon and have a nice Naval dinner.
December 26, 2009: Beach hopping starting Rushikonda till Bhimuli, Kailash Giri and RK Beach
December 27, 2009: Yarada Beach
December 28, 2009: Drive back to Hyderabad from Vizag covering about 700 KMs.

As the days neared, the final count had become 16 adults and 5 kids. The rides were confirmed as Skoda Octavia, Skoda vRS, Toyota Innova and Hyundai Accent taking 4 families and extended families. Just a few days before the due departure, one of the family had to drop out due to a sudden demise of a relative and now we were left with 3 families in 3 cars, Accent dropping out.

Rahul, one of the friends had to attend consumer court on the 24th, and so he had decided to start by noon for Annavaram and the remaining of us were to start at 06:00 AM on 24th.

Final count, 12 adults and 5 kids aging 1.5 years to 12 years in 3 cars.

On December 23, 2009 late evening, the political commotion started in Hyderabad with the so called 48 hour bandh being announced. Now, this was not going to play spoil sport and was not going to deter our plans. A few calls at 22:00 in the night, we decided that it would be best to leave Hyderabad before the sunrise and by the time people realize, we will be out of the disturbed region. However, there was a problem, Innova was not tanked up as it was scheduled to leave around noon on 24th.

The rides:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0095.jpg

Sunrise in Vizag (From Yarada):

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0376.jpg

To be continued ...

Cheers
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Old 15th January 2010, 17:10   #2
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Default Day 1: December 24, 2009 | Hyderabad - Annavaram

Next morning, we started at 05:30 from our place, picking up Nitin (a friend) from Gachibowli along with his mother enroute to Annavaram and in search of diesel. One of the stations near Tolichowki was open and had a reasonable queue. We thought, this was it; we can not leave Hyderabad without all the vehicles brim with fuel. But fate had different plans. Just when we were 4th in the queue, the petrol station stopped selling claiming that fuel had exhausted. We departed from there after a while and debating on whether the owner stopped selling due to the fact that fuel had got over or was he just trying to clear up the long queue as it was not getting bright. Fortunately, we found fuel at one of the HP pumps under the PVNR Expressway in Mehdipatnam.

Just about to start:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0002.jpg

Long queues at Petrol Bunks:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0014.jpg

Waiting for Innova to be tanked up:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0005.jpg

Allz iss well !!!

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag_trip.jpg

The drive till short of Suryapet was like a breeze and we were making quick progress. A close friend from Hyderabad called up to check on us and if we have been able to make it out of the disturbed region and to informed that violence in some parts of Hyderabad has been reported with a few buses being burned down. Just as we were thanking our luck to have left Hyderabad quickly, we see this long queue of truckers and the first thought was “Rasta Roko”. We sped past all the truckers and came to a grinding halt. It was indeed Rasta Roko by a couple of political parties burning tyres in the middle of the road.

Getting through the Rasta Roko was a 30-45 minutes ordeal, but was a welcome break to stretch, munch some packed sandwiches. Once we got through that, we were back again on the track to hit Vijayawada for lunch. Reached Vijayawada around noon only to get caught in the horrendous bumper to bumper traffic right from the foothills of Kanakdurga to Jawaharlal Nehru Bus Station.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag_trip1.jpg

Finally, we left Vijayawada at 14:00 after having lunch at a restaurant called “Kranthi” on NH5 and drove till Annavaram reaching the temple complex at 17:30.

Shank (Shashank, my cousin), who was travelling with us and has practically lived his entire life in Vizag decided to take a bus in the night itself for Vizag to spend some time with his friends. The rest of us checked into the rooms, settled down and went for a late evening darshan in temple before retiring for the day.

To be continued ...

Cheers.
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Old 15th January 2010, 17:22   #3
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Default Day 2: December 25, 2009 | Satyanarayan Katha, Annavaram - Vizag, Vizag Harbour

The day began with alarm ringing in early again. The plan was to perform Satyanaryana Katha early in the morning and the first round of katha in the temple begins at 06:00. Keeping this in mind, we all got up early, had a cold shower (thanks to gyser not working in our room), headed for the katha followed by darshan. While the grown up ones were busy in the puja – katha, the little ones were busy running around and making havoc inside the temple. The pujaries were having a tough time controlling the kids demolish the well prepared puja samagahri for the next lot of couple.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag_trip2.jpg

Following the katha, darshan and breakfast at a small restaurant in the temple complex, we packed our bags back in the cars, and started to drive towards Vizag. This stretch of drive was the best in the entire trip. Took us about an hour and half to cover distance to Vizag.

Shank joined us near Coromandal Fertilizer zipping past on his friends FZ16 and we all drove towards Dolpins Nose as our first day’s stay was arranged on top in a Naval Guest House. Though, initially we had planned to stay in Waltair Club, we were also trying to get some accommodation in this guest house and that got confirmed just a few day prior to our start. The guest house is on the hill top, facing the blue Bay of Bengal with some of the most breathtaking views of the sea and Yarada beach below. The location was such a treat that we did not want to shift out to Waltair Club for the rest of the trip. However, the place for not available for an extension.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag1.jpg

While our lunch was getting ready, we enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of the blue waters. At the guest house, we were joined by our family friends (Alok & Swati Didi) who were hosting us in Vizag. Post lunch, we were due to go for a cruise on a small boat through the harbours of Vizag, the channels are all natural formation. It was indeed fun courtesy Alok.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag2.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag3.jpg

Some additional pictures:

Annavaram Temple

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0040.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0067.jpg

Vizag Harbour

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0096.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0097.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0175.jpg

To be continued ...

Cheers.

Last edited by Ardy : 15th January 2010 at 17:25.
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Old 15th January 2010, 17:34   #4
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Default Day 3: December 26, 2009 | Yarada Beach, RK Beach

Due to the changes in our accommodation plans, we had also made last minute changes to what we wanted to do in Vizag. Early in the morning before sunrise, me and Shank drove towards Yarada Beach on the road that takes one to Gangavaram Port to click some pictures of the sunrise.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag4.jpg

On return, we had the whole bunch of people complaining for not taking them along. Post breakfast, we decided to go to Yarada Beach to spend time. The time spent there reminded us of our childhood days of late 80s when for the first time we had trekked to Yarada Beach. We must have spent about 90 minutes floating deep in the water playing with the football. Am I ready for another such break in the beach, Oh yeah.

On asking my little one regarding her experience at the beach, she cutely responded, “I loved it, but did not like water”.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag5.jpg

The afternoon saw us check out of the guest house and head to Waltair Club with the rest of the day being leisure. We took the kids to RK Beach and Aquarium. The dinner table was booked at “Horizon”, one of our old time favorite restaurant in Hotel Dolpin with live music playing. Late in the night, we decided to do some bike riding and so we collected 4 bikes (FZ16, Avenger, 2 Pulsars) from Shank’s friends and drove from Waltair Club to Ross Hill and back in the middle of the night. While we were there at Ross Hill, Shank kept on saying, “Lets go peeche” and we still laugh our hearts out on that. From Ross Hill we drove down to RTC Complex to have tea at 2 in the morning, not because we were sleepy, but just for the heck of it. The first shop that we to in the complex was shattered and looked like as if big fight has happened. We just whisked sway from there to go to the other side of the same building to have tea. The drive triggered the desire to own a bike in a couple of us, who now have got used to driving air conditioned four wheelers.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag6.jpg

The night had not ended for Shank on our return back to club. Shank was getting ready to get a tattoo embossed on his upper back after that. It took 4 hours for his friend to tattoo on our return. Hats of to the chap to do the work the whole night.

Pictures of sunrise from just a little above Yarada Beach:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0363.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0381.jpg

Shank on FZ16:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0356.jpg

To be continued ...

Cheers.
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Old 15th January 2010, 17:41   #5
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Default Day 4: December 27, 2009 | Bhimuli, Thotlakonda, Rushikonda, Avatar

This was to be the last day of our trip, but fate had something else stored in for us. During the course of the day someone threw up the idea of extension of vacation by another day; and that made everyone ponder. By evening, it was decided that the vacation was getting extended by another day, however there was this issue of accommodation for the following night. Alok & Swati Didi were kind enough to accommodate all of us in their house for the following night.

Coming back to the day itself, we had plans to visit Bhimuli, Buddist Sites and another Naval establishment during the day along with Kailash Giri Hills. Started with the Naval establishment, followed by Thotlakonda; a buddist site which is on top of a small hillock and then lunch & some boating at Rushikonda.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag7.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag8.jpg

Since, we had decided to extend our trip visit to Kailash Giri was rescheduled to the next day. Now the evening was free for some relaxation and an early night. But that was not to happen, as Alok promptly suggested that we go for a movie followed by mid-night biryani at Green Park, Vizag. So, we ended up going for “Avatar” in Jagdamba and some of us were watching the movie sleeping. No wonder, none of us really enjoyed the movie. After the movie, as we entered Green Park in the middle of the night, the hotel was deserted; there were just another couple of cars in the parking lot; reception was empty; and barring us there were 3 more guys in the restaurant. Oh boy, only 3 people of 8 were to have food; but 6 of us end up having and of course, the rest two had their share of deserts as complimentary.

Some additional pictures of Thotlakonda, a Buddist site:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0518.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0535.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0536.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0537.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0538.jpg

To be continued ...

Cheers.
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Old 15th January 2010, 17:46   #6
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Default Day 5: December 28, 2009 | Kailask Giri, Tenneti Park

Ever since we started from Hyderabad, none of the cars were cleaned, so the early morning task was to find a car wash and the cars cleaned. Found a very reasonable chap who charged us 100 bucks for each car wash which included interior cleaning. After the car wash, Shank decided to take Octavia for a spin on the beach road, while I decided to return back to the club. The Innova was still getting washed.

The moment I reached club, I get a call from Shank stating that he is having some trouble with the car while shifting into the gears. I smelled something fishy in clutch and the fears did come true. After clocking 66K on Odometer with over 15K on petes box, the clutch plates and flywheel on Octavia had worn out or should I say fried. Had to drop the vehicle at the workshop and I must say the guys were good enough to ensure that I get the delivery of the vehicle back by sunset. The parts changed included Flywheel, Clutch Plates and Pressure Plates.

The decision to stay on for another day, came as a boon in disguise as we could have got into trouble with the car on the way to Hyderabad had we started in the morning. Or may be not. Thanks to the trouble, the entire morning was wasted not just for me, but for others as well. Once sorted out, we got ready to go to Kailash Giri, only to reach there and find that the cable cars are closed for lunch and none of us wanted to drive up. So, we opted for lunch ourselves as well and drove to Palm Beach Hotel for a buffet lunch after which we returned to Kailash Giri.

After the visit, we broke into two groups, one returned back to the club and the other went down to Tenneti Park and the beach below to have some fun. On return, we checked out of the club and drove to our host’s place. Imagine a 3 bedroom house accommodating 14 adults and 5 kids. All the elders got a bedroom for themselves and the rest of us got carpets to sleep in a row. It was decided that we would get up by 4 in the morning and depart by 5 in the morning for Hyderabad.

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-vizag9.jpg

Kailash Giri:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc05199.jpg

Lawson's Bay:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0574.jpg

View from Kailash Giri:

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0634.jpg

Vizag : An Extended XMas Vacation (Dec 09)-dsc_0636.jpg

To be continued ...

Cheers.
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Old 15th January 2010, 17:48   #7
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Default Day 6: December 29, 2009 | Vizag - Hyderabad

At 4 in the morning the 3 drivers were up and ready. But the rest of the gang, which had the option of sleeping even in the cars were getting up at their own pace.

By 05:45 we all were packed, luggage in the cars, and ready to hit the roads. The drive early in the morning on 4 lane GQ was amazingly quick. For the first 400 odd KMs from Vizag to Vijawada, the tripmeter on my car showed 5 hours and 38 minutes of drive time. Of course we did stop for natures call and breakfast at Ravelupalem after Rajamundry.
Between Vizag and Vijayawada, you are bound to get on coming traffic in a 4 lane road; thanks to some dumb idiots. At one point, I lost my patience, stopped and on coming auto in the fast lane and asked the guys in if they did not dear their lives. I was surprised to see, the auto driver quite and passengers saying mind your way.

Anyways, the drive from Vijayawada to Hyderabad was really bad in comparison to morning drive. The 2 lane road was full of truckers, and I guess they were just trying to cross the region before the start of complete shutdown (bandh) the following day. This last 200 plus KMs were the most tiring part of the entire vacation and took us seven and half hour to cover the distance from Vijayawada to Home (Nizampet, Hyderabad) with an hours break for lunch at Suryapet.

We were at home at 1930 in the evening and the tripmeter showed 716 KMs of drive with 12 hours and 40 minutes of driving time.

A fantastic vacation came to an end, but enthusiasm for fun did not. What followed was New Years Eve and fun packed another long weekend drive to Bidar.

Hope you guys have fun reading this travelogue as much as we had in the trip.

Cheers.
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Old 15th January 2010, 19:15   #8
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Nice writeup ardy, You must have had great time driving your VRs on the roads of vizag, I love that place specially the roads.
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Old 15th January 2010, 22:06   #9
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Great write up. I've spent close to 5 years in Vizag. Revived memories of good old days.
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Old 15th January 2010, 22:38   #10
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@kingoftheworld: Thank you. More than the roads of Vizag, I loved the drive on GQ and on the beach road from Teneti Park to Bhimuli.

@nvldvr: Thank you. I guess, people who have spent time in Vizag really appreciate that place. The whole reason for a vacation there was to re-live the time spent there earlier in life. IMHO, it indeed is one of the most under-rated cities in the country in terms of tourism opportunities and especially the beaches.

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Old 15th January 2010, 22:44   #11
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You should have spent a day more and covered borra caves also.
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Old 15th January 2010, 22:47   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofmyworld
You should have spent a day more and covered borra caves also.
Well, we could have covered Borra and Araku Valley. But the intention of the trip was to have a relaxed vacation and left these two as a reason to visit Vizag again.

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Old 15th January 2010, 23:03   #13
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Haha, Good reason to visit again. After reading your thread I feel like going to vizag agin. Though i have lots of family friends and relatives out there in vizag I hardly go there. Maybe this year I'll go there.
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Old 15th January 2010, 23:58   #14
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Hi Ardy,

A very cool and lively travelogue there. Another one from a hydeez!!!!
Seems like the travelogue section is taken over by hyd TBHPians. hehe...
Pictures are good. IMO pictures are too many in the collage to enjoy fully.
Your travelogue has come in time. Planning a trip to Annavaram next month.It seems there are decent accomodation options available??
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Old 16th January 2010, 00:48   #15
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Default Great travelogue

Hi Ardy,

Great travelogue. Sad to know that the bandhs etc. affected you but, loved the way you dealt with them by adjusting your plans and working around the bandhs instead of letting your plans become a victim.

The use of collages is a great idea to convey a total feel of the trip. Nice pics and sceneries.

Cheers,
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