India on the Road

From Vishakhapatnam to Gopalpur

Berhampur at sunset
Berhampur at sunset
19 DEC 2016
by

Route: Vishakhapatnam – Srikakulam – Bendikonda – Ichchapuram – Brahmapur – Gopalpur.
Distance: 283 Kms.
Driving Time: 6 Hours.

Vishakhapatnam

The city of Vishakhapatnam is one of the major ports on the east coast of India. It is the “Brighton of India”. Here the renowned ship-building factory – the Hindustan Ship Building Yard has been set up. Vizag is also the headquarter of Indian Navy’s eastern region. The city is beautifully located amidst the undulating hills of the Eastern Ghats and facing the Bay of Bengal. The evolution of the city from a sleepy fishing village to an industrial hub is the stuff of legends. The city owes a lot to the ingenuity of the British East India Company who were in dire need of a port so as to transport the rich minerals from rural areas to the mainland that prompted them to develop Vishakhapatnam as a port and the rest as they say is history…

What to See:
Kailashagiri, Beach Road, VUDA Park, Rushikonda Beach, Simhachalam, Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Buddhist sites like Thotlakonda, Bavikonda, Sankaran and Pavuralakonda.

Where to Stay:
Taj Residency (Tel:0891-2567756), The Park Hotel (2754488). Dolphin Hotel (2567000), Green Park (5515151), Garden Bay Hotel (2560101), Daspala Hotel (2564825), Executive Court (2717300), Royal Fort (5567575), Meghalaya Hotel (2755141), Sai Priya Resort (2790333).

Where to Eat:
Alkapuri Deluxe (Tel:0891-502314), Brindavan Restaurant (517936), Bombay Garden (595759), Naaz Restaurant (502870), Hotel Sri Laxman (2704404), Moghul Darbar (2746624), Chit Chat Tandoori Food (558467), Shri Divya Restaurant (517927), Green Apple Family restaurant (511687), White House (564449).

What to Buy:
Wooden toys, printed fabrics and wall hangings.

Srikakulam

From Vishakhapatnam as you drive onwards on the NH-5 via Bheemunipatnam, you will come across the town of Srikakulam, which is located at a distance of 112 Kms. In the days of yore, Srikakulam used to be the capital of Muslim rulers. Remnants of tombs dating back to more than a hundred years can be seen in this picturesque town. If local folklore is anything to go by, Srikakulam used to be the “Gulshanabad” or the Garden City of the Muslim rulers. Over the years Srikakulam has emerged as one of the important districts of Andhra Pradesh. The picturesque locale of Srikakulam with the border of Orissa on one side and on the other hand by the Bay of Bengal makes it an ideal tourist destination. The best part of being in Srikakulam is that its breathtaking natural vistas are nicely complimented by a cluster of Buddhist pilgrimage sites like Salihundam and Danthapuram.

What to See:
Suryanarayan Swamy Temple, Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Santoshimata temple, Ayappa Swami Temple, Ilyaspur Mosque, Roshansha Wali Dargah, Kodanda Swami Temple, Indira Gandhi Park, the villages of Danthavarapuri and Ravivalsa, Kalingapatnam Beach.

Where to Stay:
Nagavali Hotel and Vijetha Inn Hotel are two of Srikakulam’s best hotels. Visitors may also avail Priya Darshani Lodge and Sri Satya Lodge.

Where to Eat:
Although there is no dearth of roadside eateries, it is advisable to dine at either Nagavali Hotel or Vijetha Inn Hotel. Both of them have their exclusive in-house multicuisine restaurants that serve a variety of dishes.

What to Buy:
Khadi garments and a variety of food products manufactured by the local “Grama Swarjaya Sangham” and “Khadi Bhandar”.

Bendikonda

From Srikakulam go straight on the NH-5 and cross Tilaru and Tekkali and after a beautiful 73 Kms. drive you will arrive at the quaint town of Bendikonda. It is a typical South Indian village with a Post Office and a local Panchayat office. There are numerous shops dotting the Main Road. Visitors on their way to Brahmapur and Gopalpur make a brief halt here and have refreshments.

Ichchapuram

From Bendikonda to Ichchapuram is 54 Kms. Go straight on NH-5 via Sompeta. Ichapuram is a municipal town in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. Legend has it that the native people of this village of Ichchapuram whose presiding deity was Sri Swechchavati Ammavaru decided to name the village in the goddess’s name and over a period of time, people began to pronounce it as “Ichchapuram” instead of “Swechchapuram”. One of the town’s most enduring landmark is the Peerla Hill and a festival takes place every year wherein people belonging to the Hindu and Muslim community both participate in the “Peerlotsava”. The town itself is well spread out and extends to all of 25.2 square kilometers. Over the years, this strategic town has evolved as one of the busiest cross border transshipment areas, due to its proximity to the border of Orissa.

What to See:
Swechchavati Temple, Dhaneswari Temple, Jarada Jagannatha Temple, Rajugaari Kota, Paluri Parvatam, Peerla Konda, Kanuma Hills, Siberian birds at Telukunchi, Ganesh Temple near Randa, Ma Bhairavi Temple, Purushottapuram Sai Baba Temple.

Where to Eat: Roadside eateries abound in Ichchapuram that serve traditional Andhra cuisine. They are moderately priced and served hot.

Brahmapur

From Ichchapuram to your penultimate destination - Brahmapur is a journey of a mere 30 Kms. as you continue on NH-5. Brahmapur is also referred to as Berhampur in Oriya and this coastal city is ideally located in the Ganjam district of Orissa. The city is popularly referred to as the “Silk City” for its high quality silken fabrics. This is perhaps one of the best place in Orissa to appreciate the rich Oriya culture. During the days of the British Raj, the city of Brahmapur was an integral part of the Madras Presidency. A testimony of the city’s importance and significance can be gauged from the fact that a court was established here right from the commencement of British administration. In the present times, Brahmapur is the third most populous city of Orissa and it has been granted the status of a Corporation.

What to See:
Taratarini Hill Shrine, Hillpatana, Maurekalua, Dhabaleshwar Beach, Maa Bhairavi Temple , Aryapalli.

Where to Stay:
Hotel Mayuree (Tel:0680-2207881), Hotel Moti (2225386), Hotel Radha (2211283), Hotel Satyasagar (2200157), Hotel Nandan (2220232).

What to Eat: Brahmpur is renowned for its Pappad (popadum), Aachara (pickles) and variety of Badi. A variety of Mangoes can be found in the marketplace, a majoriy of them arriving from the Mango orchards located in Andhra Pradesh. For sumptuous meals, it is advisable to dine at any of the town’s up-market hotels like - Hotel Mayuree (Tel:0680-2207881), Hotel Moti (2225386), Hotel Radha (2211283), Hotel Satyasagar (2200157), Hotel Nandan (2220232). A variety of dishes are available.

What to Buy:
Silk fabrics, brass works, carpets (Chandragiri) and coir mats.

Gopalpur

On the last leg of your journey from Brahmapur to Gopalpur, you only need to travel another 14 Kms. Change to NH-217 and go straight. This bewitchingly beautiful place with its silvery coastline has evolved as a much sought after holiday destination in Orissa’s Tourism landscape. Gopalpur is renowned for its virgin beach. Even during the British Raj, Gopalpur used to be a much preferred beach retreat. Most visitors to Gopalpur also make it a point to visit the hot springs of Taptapani, which is believed to have curative properties. The advantage of Gopalpur’s beach is that it isn’t as violent as the one in Puri and it is not surprising to see the enthusiastic beach bums having a whale of a time in the beach waters. In the days of yore, the Kalinga dynasty who ruled over this part of Orissa, became enormously rich by trading in pearls with countries like Java, Sumatra and Bali.

What to See:
Backwaters (Khari), Gopal Mandir, the old jetty.

Where to Stay:
Hotel sea Pearl, Hotel Song of the Sea, Oberoi Palm Beach, Hotel Mermaid, Sea View Lodge, Hotel Holiday Home, Hotel Rosalin, Hotel Wroxham, Waverly House, Hotel Kalinga, Lobos Lodge are some of the prominent hotels of Gopalpur.

Where to Eat:
Jagadish Coffee House and Hotel Nagesh are quite good. However for wholesome meals, Holiday Home is much sought after. Try out the local seafood delicacies.

What to Buy:
Ethnic jewelry and handicraft items.