When one thinks of backwaters in India, Kerala is usually the name that comes to mind. But did you know that the eastern coast of south India - especially the Konaseema delta region of the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh - has some tranquil backwaters as well? The sleepy village of Dindi in the East Godavari district is one such place; the same beauty of Kerala's backwaters but much less frequented. If you're the type of traveler who likes to holiday away from the crowds, Dindi may be just your thing.
Despite not being very well known, Dindi isn't really difficult to reach. By private vehicle, it's a 90 km (2 hour) drive from the airport at Rajahmundry; the nearest big city. Most of the major Indian airlines have daily flight service to Rajahmundry from Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The drive is extremely scenic as the road cuts through lush paddy fields so keep your camera handy.
Things to see & do
As you might expect from a backwater destination, boating along the Godavari river is a popular activity. Aside from boats for day hires, the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) also offers houseboats. Many of these are air-conditioned, fully furnished living quarters with attached bathrooms and are a unique way to experience the natural beauty of Dindi.
For the culturally inclined, the village of Antarvedi is located about 20 km from Dindi. The famous 15th century Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is situated here. There is also a light house with an observation deck from where you can get excellent views of the bay. You can also hire boats to travel to the point where the Godavari meets the Bay of Bengal. The color difference between the waters of the river and the sea is dramatic and you can easily see the point of confluence. The beach at Antarvedi is rather dirty and not a nice place to relax. Across the river, there is a much cleaner and more secluded beach called Chinamainavani Lanka. While there aren't any facilities on this beach, it is a great place to watch the sun set.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary might be of interest to the more adventurous. While not exactly nearby (it's about a 2 hour drive towards Kakinada), it's a fantastic place to see a wide variety of birds. The park is home to over 120 species including critically endangered ones like the white-backed vulture and the long-billed vulture.
Where to stay
There are only a handful of resorts in Dindi. We stayed at Sterling Holidays' picturesque Dindi by the Godavari resort for 2 nights. The resort is centered around a large artificial pond featuring lilies of pink, white and the occasional purple. Most of the rooms either open out onto or face the pond. We stayed in one of the ground floor Premiere Suites which had an attached balcony that opened out onto the pond; a great place for an evening cup of tea. Our hotel room was well appointed, clean and came with the usual amenities.
The resort itself is quite sprawling and surrounded by palm trees. At the back of the resort, there is a large lawn overlooking the Godavari river, a swimming pool and a bunch of outdoor activities. By the riverside, there's also a sit-out called Sunset Bar which is a very peaceful place to have a drink or two. Our favorite things were the hammocks on the lawn which made us want to curl up with a book and laze under the palm trees. There are also indoor activities such as a game room, a table tennis table and an activity center. There are plenty of things here to keep you occupied without needing to step out at all!
The multi-cuisine restaurant was another highlight of our stay. We asked to be served a traditional Andhra thali and the hotel arranged for the meal prepared by a local cook. We were delighted by the flavors of each dish and the resort's chef spent some time with us explaining how certain dishes were prepared.
The staff really took excellent care of us; from arranging our transportation to accommodating our meal preferences. Our thanks to the resort manager Mr. Tulsiram and his team for making our stay a happy one. This was our first stay at any Sterling resort and we were pleasantly surprised by our experience. We would recommend it if you're planning a trip to Dindi.
You can book Sterling Holidays, Dindi viaBooking.com or on the Sterling Holidays website
This article was originally posted on 'Siddharth and Shruti'