This is a post chronicling a part of my trip to Andhra Pradesh.
Being a port city and a naval base, Vishakhapatnam was a different treat to my eyes. While I will elaborate on the naval base part later, the port has some pretty massive sections dedicated to each kind of livelihood associated with the sea. It was no surprise that the first place we went to was the wedge in the sea called the Fishing Harbour. People usually go there at sunset, but for some reason we did the exact opposite. I guess communication with our telegu-speaking driver wasn’t quite our forte!
Nestled at the other end of the port from the naval base, the large Fishing Harbour with colorful boats as far as the eyes could see, stood in stark contrast to the emerald water and deep indigo skies. The Sun was beating down mercilessly, no clouds were in sight, but the icy breeze from the ocean compensated for the morning feeling of intense sunburn. Although the same breeze carried with it a thick smell of millions of caught fish put out to dry at every fresh spot available. To a Bengali like me, the ‘aroma’ wasn’t choking. I can only imagine the plight of those Indians visiting the Harbour who don’t have fish in their regular diet.
Right beside the Fishing Harbour, there was the Vishakhapatnam Shipping Harbour, unfortunately out of bounds of the common man. Three large container ships were moored out there, and through the torn barricade, I glimpsed the first sight of the unusally shaped Dolphin’s Nose Hill. It sloped so high directly into the sealine that it looked like the hump of a big dolphin’s head. Fitting too, being right there by the water, looking like it was ready to go under any second, just waiting for the permission of Earth herself.
Then I learned that I get to BE there at the hill itself later in the day, for a tempting visit to India’s first lighthouse of the Eastern Coast. Guess what’s it named? The Dolphin’s Nose Lighthouse still shows the way to all the naval and cargo ships safely to the port and is an important asset to the Naval Force in the Eastern seaboard. It is open to the tourists for a measley 3 to 5 in the afternoon, which I felt was a shame, since its location was revering. The whole of Vishakhapatnam is said to be visible from the top (don’t ask me, I didn’t get to, because of some snag in the really long and static tourist queue, and time was closing in so I settled for the equally amazing cliff view). The hilly coastline with ships being guided and streamed in all the time was a sight worth every step taken to reach it. I was also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a seaplane before it rapidly whizzed out of view.
Dolphin’s Nose certainly showed me the two sides of the sea at the same time: its crystal beauty along with the vantage point of the Indian Navy. It was a small taste of how strategic and unique Vishakhapatnam really is. Such postcard view with underlying strength is worth every admiration this coastal city gets. The lighthouse alone will beckon me again if I ever revisit.