Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag, is where I was born and is therefore very close to my heart. My home lies amidst the wonderful, serene hills of this beautiful city. Vizag is one of the fastest developing cities globally and is soon to be made into one of the Smart Cities (The IT capital of Andhra Pradesh) of India.
I have never experienced any discrimination concerning caste, culture, or religion. The majority of the population who reside here are the ones who have migrated from elsewhere in search of a job or for the sake of livelihood. You will find many Punjabi, Bengali, and Oriya people residing here. All glory to the Naval Base situated here as Vizag is one of the most important port cities on the east coast. The city embraces people of varied cultures and regions with open arms, natural splendor, and resources.
Having said that, I would love to share with you the incidents and tales about my childhood, my upbringing, my experiences in life, and the influence of this city’s culture and uniqueness. My house lies very close to the majestic 11th century built shrine, praised for its excellent architecture called Simhachalam, known for Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy (always covered in sandalwood paste and replaced annually during the eve of chandanotsavam celebrations), situated on the mountains. These mountains stand tall, depicting the traditional values and their eternity in this city. One might ponder on the fact that mountains surround every nook and corner of the city.
I have grown up hearing about the pastimes of the various forms of Lord Vishnu and their significance in religion, which has further cemented my faith and a firm belief rather than just getting rubber-stamped into traditions and customs, as I believe in the saying which goes like “what matters is to look around with your own eyes and see where your heart takes you.”
The culture and lifestyle of Vizag are imbibed in the above-mentioned words. Interestingly, there lies a hill at the heart of the city, atop which one can find a church, a temple, and a mosque situated beside each other. Yet, there is utmost harmony, integrity, and peace in the city. I would proudly say that Vizag is the only city in India with no history of communal riots or caste clashes.
On the other side of the city lies the sea, which shows the dynamic, calm, and adventurous virtues of nature. Vizag is a great place for those who crave serenity, and the beaches’ scenic beauty is stretched long and vast like nowhere else.
The Beach road (Ramakrishna beach, Rushikonda beach, Bheemili Beach, Yerada beach, and Sagar Nagar) is like a ‘Jewel in the Crown’ for the city those who love to get away on a long drive. Some added attractions on the sea stretch are the gorgeous Kailashgiri hill (a picnic spot/tourist attraction), Tenneti Park, Vuda Park, Dolphin Nose, and many.
Life has been great with every rejuvenating weekend spent at these wonderful places that define nature’s subtle magnificence, ease out the stress of life, and teach me to take it light and easy and embrace it the way it is. No one ever gets bored as the sea is calling you. It is ancient and yet, as intriguing and blissful as love. A cool and breezy early morning spent at the seashore, watching the sunrise, capturing it into immortal frames (digital photography is one of my hobbies) is the secret of my creativity, rejuvenation and it has taught me to be comfortable in my own body, time and space in life.
Painting is another hobby of mine, and the culture of Vizag has vastly influenced this hobby. The lush green hills and the deep blue sea are incorporated with art, music, beautiful monuments, and age-old shrines, and the culture brings out the variety and diversity of this city.
One of the recent developments in the city, other than the Industrial hub and the megapolis, is the IT(Information technology)hub situated on the beautiful hillocks of Rushikonda in between the fresh green flora and picturesque valleys.
It has always been a pleasure, be it the warmth of the people, the misty mornings of the winter or the wet drizzles on the seashore on a rainy evening. Vizag has and always will be very dear to me.