When holidaying in Vizag, you chose a place that has a beautiful sea view and the first thing you do in the morning, is draw the curtains and watch the Bay of Bengal.
We were up by 5.30 AM and the sun hadn't risen, we could see the lights at Vishakapatnam Port and the famous Dolphin Nose hill in the hazy background.
It was the last day of our Vizag holiday, we were scheduled to catch our trains by 5.30 PM, we had only planned a drive around and a visit to Kailasagiri, Vizag's popular tourist park.
It was a Sunday, which meant a walk along RK Beach road was mandatory. Instead of the 5 star coffee at Novotel, we walked to a nearby stall and relished our morning coffee by the beach. If only Novotel guys had seen us, guests from their hotel in pyjamas sipping coffee at a roadside stall ! That was followed by a walk to the beach and we cooled our heels till the sun got a bit too strong. As we went back to the hotel, our joke a while a ago seemed to come true, looking at our pyjamas, dirty beach feet and sweaty faces, the security guard at the hotel stopped us and asked if we were guests at Novotel !
We had time till 12 noon to check out and so we had a leisure breakfast at Novotel, the buffet breakfast spread was impressive and delicious. After hanging around till 11 AM, we checked out from the hotel.
Mangamaripeta Natural Arch
When we settled into the car, this writer began pestering the family and insisted on a visit to Erra Matti Dibbalu. These are red sand mounds caused by sediments, a natural formation over 12000 years. This writer pestered the family until they had no choice but to drive to Erra Matti Dibbalu. We drove to the place and realised that there was no proper entry and one had to walk a long distance. Though slightly disappointed, we dropped the idea because it was too hot and it would eat up a lot of time, the place didn't look very safe either. One can spot these red sand hills beside the road on the Bheemli road and we were content with that view and ticked it off our list !
Next, we drove towards Bheemili, a nickname for the village of Bheemunipatnam, the Bheemili beach road is yet another popular destination in and around Vizag.
While driving, we checked the internet for any other interesting places that we may have missed out, when by serendipity, we happened to read about a naturally formed rock arch near a beach at Mangamaripeta, a tiny village on the sea coast. We followed Google Maps and arrived at Mangamaripeta, we even spotted a Tourism board directed us to the Natural Arch. Only, we couldn't spot the arch any where ! There was only a fenced, empty land with the sandy beach beyond. We spotted an old lady grazing cows and asked her if there was any arch around, she pointed us towards the beach, we could only see this !
We thought we were at the wrong place, yet we decided to go further and see if the arch could be found.
And lo ! A few yards down the slope of the beach, we spotted this most beautiful, naturally formed rock arch !
The first word that came to our minds when we saw the arch - cute ! The geology behind this natural arch is interesting.
According to the information board near the arch, the rock is part of the Eastern Ghats rocks which are roughly between 1700 million to 800 million years old. Though the rocks are that ancient, this particular arch is more recent in geological timelines, it is believed that the arch began forming around 10000 to 6000 years ago due to the sea erosion of the soft rock. This particular arch is similar to the 'Silathoranam' at Tirumala but that was formed millions of years ago. The arch at Mangamaripeta is still work-in-progress, so it provides ample opportunities for geologists to study the process of formation of natural arches and erosion.
That's the technicals behind the arch but what you see before you is the work of the greatest artist and sculptor of all time - Nature ! Just imagine the waves hitting these rocks for millions of years and the rock finally budging only in the last 10000 years or so !
How beautifully the waves crash onto the rocks and flow through the arch ! You can play catch with the waves, running away the moment they catch you by surprise from beneath the arch. Like this moment when we captured this picture close to the arch and ran away before the waves came chasing us.
It was one of the most joyful moments. Mangamaripeta was not in our places to visit list but it turned out to be the highlight of our trip.
This natural arch is a nature's wonder but also fragile. If you happen to visit it, do not climb on top of the rock and pose for pictures.
Mangamaripeta beach is very close to the Buddhist site of Thotlakonda, we had visited it during our trip in 2009. Since it was already close to lunch time, we skipped Thotlakonda and headed for lunch. There are a few sea side restaurants near Thotlakonda but nothing worked for us because most of the were full and with small kids and senior citizens, we did not want to wait. So, we went back to the restaurant at AP Tourism's beach resort at Rushikonda. They did not have too many options but the food was good.
With about 3 hours to go for our train, we wanted to wind up our trip with the popular tourist hangout place Kailasagiri. This hilltop park is thronged by people, especially in the evenings. Being a weekend, the place was teeming with people and add a hot and humid day, it wasn't very pleasant at Kailasagiri. For some reason, the place too didn't seem well maintained. The kids' weren't too keen to play on the rusty, broken play equipment. Instead, we took a ride on the cable car, which goes down the hill all the way to the beach.
The cable car ride is fun, you slide down the hill slope and suddenly the sea opens up before you ! One can get a superb view of the Vizag coast.
The cable car ride takes only about 15 minutes, we found it the only worth doing thing at Kailasagiri.
There is also a toy train that goes around the entire park and since the kids insisted, we took them on the ride. Even for the kids, this train ride is slightly boring, there is not much to see, the hill side greenery through which the train passes, is nice but is mostly marred by couples who choose these parts of the park to get cosy. The train was too slow and with nothing much to look around, we wanted to ride to end soon ! This was the only view that interested us.
We were more than happy when the ride ended, it was also time to draw curtains on our trip. We headed to the railway station, returned the Zoom Car Hexa and turned back towards home. Along with our byes, we were already making plans for the next family trip.
We said this several times during our trip and we will say it again, Vizag is a beautiful city.
On board the Godavari Express to Hyderabad, we spotted the Sarada River somewhere near Anakapalle, we hadn't heard of this river and were quite excited to see the name as the train crossed the bridge. A new Geography lesson for us.
Here is a parting shot from Godavari Express.
Railways, highways or airways - here's to more journeys.
Mangamaripeta Natural Arch is near Thotlakonda Buddhist Site, you can find direction board near Thotlakonda or follow Google Maps. The place is a Natural Heritage site, do not climb on it or litter around the place. There are no timings to visit the arch, avoiding it after dark is advisable as the place is a little lonely. One would have to hire a vehicle to go to Mangamaripeta beach. We did not come across any buses or too many autos. Visit Kailasagiri only if you want to tick off the tourist places in Vizag. The cable car ride is worth though. Kailasagiri is open from 6 or 7 AM till 7.30 PM"The content and pictures on this blog are owned by the authors of http://www.highwayonlyway.com and are not available for copying or reproducing elsewhere without any written consent from us."