Ep 1 A day in Visakhapatnam (Vizag) | Simhachalam Temple | Nellore Vari mess-Andhra Food Tour
Namaskar Friends! Welcome to Visa2explore. This is your host Harish Bali. In the past years, for some reason or another, ... ...our tour to Andhra Pradesh continued to be delayed. Therefore, we thought to begin this year with a visit to Andhra Pradesh. Since it is difficult to visit the whole state in one go,... ...so we chose Vishakhapatnam as our starting point for this journey. From there, we will travel up to Vijayawada.
We've reached Tenneti Park to begin our day. Someone suggested that we would get a nice view of Bay of Bengal from a height. This park is named after Shri Tenneti Vishwanathan, whose statue is also here. He was a major force behind the establishment of a steel plant here. Terrific view! The sun rose half an hour ago & we're watching the aerial view of the sea. I've walked upto a side of the Tenneti Park.
You get to see an unexpected view of the sea from here. The earlier spot had a few trees blocking the view but the view is clear from here. Lovely! This is an amazing viewpoint. Let us go closer. The view from this height is just unbelievable! The beachside view is also amazing. There is also a photo-shoot taking place.
I really wish we came here in the morning to watch the sunrise. You could see a wonderful sunrise here at 5.30 or 5.45 am amidst clear weather. Ultimate! This beach is called Tenneti Park Beach. Do you see the ship in front of you? It is named 'M.V. Maa.' The ship got stuck here about a year and a half ago, while passing by. This is a Bangladeshi cargo ship.
The crew went back home but the ship stayed back. Nice! It feels good to be here. Let us take those stairs to go down to the beach.
After spending 15-20 minutes on the beach, we'll go for breakfast. The sea beaches of Vizag city aren't suitable to go into the water. The sea bed becomes deeper immediately after a few feet. You can stand atop the rocks here, click photographs, enjoy the sea waves or... ...you can walk on sand to reach the other side. Usually, clicking photographs on these rocks by the sea gives some good results.
A short while ago, we were looking at the sea from that point up there. So beautiful! We will enjoy here for another 10-15 minutes and then go for breakfast. This is where we will have our breakfast.
Vasena Poli - they serve idli and dosa made with millets. I want to order two idlis but I want two varieties. Sure Sir! I want one Ragi idli and second one.... I will give you one foxtail idli. Foxtail is good.
Sudhir Bhai, which leaf do you use to steam this idli in? This leaf is called 'bistaraku' in Telugu. Okay! So, does it impart flavour too? Little bit but no ultimate taste. The Idli has its own taste. So, these ae the different types of chutney. Ohhoho! Sudhir Bhai thank you for taking out time to sit with us.
The Foxtail millet is known as 'Kangani' in Hindi language. Now, you've seen we got three types of chutney with it. These are made with lauki (bottle gourd), peanuts and ginger. The ginger chutney is sour, spicy, and sharp due to ginger.
Though I had it alone but it would be better to eat it mixed with other chutneys. One thing I really liked here, other than the taste, is that you're using cold-pressed oil. Not many bother about it but you are thinking that deep into it. Very good! Excellent! So, your idli has now become extremely popular. How do you feel about it? You started this four years back and now everyone in Vizag knows you.
Even people coming from outside want to have idli here. Sir, I am doing this honestly. There is no addition or nothing else. We aren't adding any baking soda, either. That is the main reason all (inaudible) are coming to me only. Natural ingredient.
Yes! I've also seen that you don't require sambar while eating idli here. Tell me one thing, you replaced rice with millets. Yes Sir! So, it still has dal in it. Yes. In what ratio like? It is in the ratio of 1:3 Sir.
So, it is one-third Dal? Dal is one ratio, and three is millets. Okay! I am also taking special care in case of Dal like I am selecting very special quality of it. Quite different taste! I've tasted Ragi a lot of times.
In the form of dosa as well as a roti (flatbread) in Uttarakhand. But it tastes different when eaten in the form of an idli. Obviously, because it has Dal too. Yes, it has Dal too. And the other different thing is that he serves lauki chutney. I was expecting coconut chutney.
You don't serve coconut chutney? No Sir. Because the coconut chutney has a shorter shelf life. So, you keep changing the vegetable chutney on a daily basis? Yes, on a daily basis.
This is very tasty. I liked both the idlis, the one made with Kangani millet and the one of Ragi. The main thing is that eating these two idlis means you've had, not light,... ...but heavy breakfast. 2023 has been declared the 'Year of Millets." And we are starting the year with millets in January month itself.
Yes Sir. Right now, we are going to Simhachalam Temple. We are about a KM away from the temple. See, this is a hilly road. From the main road, we took this diversion to climb up the hill.
This road is 3.5 KM long. We will climb up this hill and then visit the temple. From here, we have the view of the Vizag city. It looks so good from this height. Do you see that road in the distance? That gives you an idea of how high we've come.
It is nice! I've noticed that travellers tend to stop here and click photographs. Although it is a curve on the road and it isn't advisable to stop here for long. But still, it is a good point. Come, let us go straight to the temple. I've come back out after visiting the temple inside. It took me 45-50 minutes to go in and come out after having darshan inside.
Here you can see the 'Varaha-Laxmi-Narsimha" avatar of Lord Vishnu. You cannot see the idol directly because it is covered in sandalwood paste. And the amount of sandalwood paste is such that it seems like seeing a huge ling.
This sandalwood paste is removed on one day in a year, i.e. the day of Akshay Tritiya. That is the day pilgrims travel from afar to visit the temple. I was told that on Akshay Tritiya, as many as 1.5 lakh devotees visit here. Due to huge crowd that day, lot of devotees don't even get to enter temple. The story of this place goes like this.
It is said that Bhakt Prahlad did tapasya (rigorous penancy) for Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu descended to the earth from his heavenly abode and... ...he killed Hiranyakashyap. Bhakt Prahlad prayed to Lord Vishnu to grant him an idol, which he would worship So, Lord Vishnu left an idol in the form of his Varaha-Laxmi-Narsimha avatar here. After Bhakt Prahlad came the Chola dynasty kings.
They came to know of this place & got this temple constructed. For your information, the idol you see here is a joint darshan of different deities. These are the Varaha and Narsimha avatar of Lord Vishnu. I was telling you about the Chola kings. They built this temple in the 11th century.
Thereafter, subsequent rulers made modifications to the temple. Now the matter to ponder concerns the huge amount of stone inside the temple. You can't see it from outside because of these huge walls. But inside, the temple is built with a lot of stone. So, where did this stone come from because there is none available... ...in the surrounding area of 100-200 KM. We are talking of a time at least 1000 years back.
At that time, where did the stone come from? How was it brought here? There is no answer for these two questions. We got Prasad at the temple, which was pongal (khichdi) and very tasty. I saw a lot of sculptures inside the temple. Right? We are leaving here now.
For lunch we plan to go to Nellore Vari Mess (NVM). We'd a lot of recommendations of places where... ...we could explore authentic Andhra food. One of these suggestions was NVM.
Our subscribers told us to reach NVM by 12.30 pm. They said if we reached even by 1 pm, then there would be a long waiting queue. Because this is a famous joint. Since the weekends are especially crowded, we had to reach here on time.
There is rasam, sambar and a whole lot of spices. What is this? This is Majige Pulusu. It is made with curd and it has ginger, etc, everything. Majige Pulusu? Majige Pulusu.
Pulusu means gravy? Gravy. I've learnt this much here that Pulusu means gravy. Great! Dal! Dal is called 'Pappu.'
Yes, it is called Pappu. Cauliflower-tomato curry! Great. Cauliflower-tomato curry! Banana Boil Fry. Really! Interesting. About this Podi (Masala), please tell me, this is Kandi Podi, right? This is Kandi Podi.
Great! This is pickle made with Amla (Indian gooseberry). Great! (Inaudible) This is Surakkai (type of gourd) chutney! Grinder chutney. This is grinder chutney. It is called 'Road Chutney' in Telugu.
Curry leaf powder! Yes curry leaf powder. One thing that is interesting here is that though we've been seated.. ...only for 2 minutes, our food has been served already. It would be better if I try Podi first. Kandi Podi and ghee, right? Yes! I just remembered this from the Hyderabad trip. Kandi Podi is called gun powder too? Yes! Right na? So Kandi Podi.
And ghee. Is it good? That's enough. Oh fantastic. This combination won't taste as good without the ghee. This is Kandi Podi, made with Chana Dal, Urad Dal, and ginger-garlic as well.
Some people also add coconut to this Podi. So, a lot of flavours come together to form this mixed taste. And it is immensely popular in Andhra Pradesh. Don't know about elsewhere. Let me have some more. Wow! Awesome! By the way, one can't help but wonder why is it called 'gun powder.' I was just thinking, gun powder indicates it would be very spicy. But it is not.
Please share with us if you know why this is called gun powder. There is papad too. This papad also has a thin layer of masala. Very little masala! But it is delicious! Amazing! This is curry leaf powder. And there is one more thing! This is garlic in it. They have added whole garlic cloves along with the skin to it.
But I am sure these would have been roasted first. Really delicious! This combination tastes better than Kandi Podi-rice-ghee combo coz it is spicier. It has more of red chili powder. Oye-hoye! Too good! I feel both these chutneys can be eaten with idli and ghee as well. The combination would be delicious. Whenever I've travelled in South India, Odisha, West Bengal, I've observed....
...this raw banana dish is very popular though the recipes differ.... ...everywhere from east to the west. Whatever spice quotient there is in food, it comes from these separate chutneys. At some places in Andhra, they use imli (tamarind) in Dal. But this Dal doesn't have imli in it. It has tomatoes. Give me rasam. Thanks! Earlier, I thought I will taste rasam mixed in rice. But it is good like this also.
This rasam is spicy as usual because of black pepper. It also has coriander & imli. Uff! Too good! So far, I've been unable to figure out whether to have rasam before or after meal. You need to tell me the right answer to this query. Sambar is piping hot. Terrific! Amazing! What to say! Today I'm experiencing so many myriad tastes in my meal. Each taste is better than the previous one! This sambar's texture is proof enough of its quality.
But what I can tell you for sure is that it tastes brilliant. Lovely! For me, the best tasting part of today's meal is this curry leaf powder, at No. 1. It is unrivalled though rasam also shares the No. 1 position. The overall food experience here has been magnificent.
Customers have started to pour in slowly. Okay then, I will join you again after I finish the food. I've come to eat a famous sweet in the MVP Colony of Vishakhapatnam. This is the shop, Lakshmi Ganapathi Sweets. The sweet that I've to eat here is called Bobbatlu. What is this Bobbatlu? Is it stuffed with Chana dal? Yes, it is stuffed with chana dal and jaggery.
Jaggery, chana dal. Yes! Give me a single piece first. Lovely! This is ghee. This is ghee.
Nice! After talking to him, I've now understood that this sweet is similar to ... ...the Puran Poli in Maharashtra. It is just different in size. And there might be a slight difference in taste as well.
It is ultra-soft. What an impressive taste! The main highlight is that it is being cooked live and served with ghee on top. Inside, it has the sweet flavour of jaggery and chana dal. Oye-hoye! Too good! Let me take a bite.
Hmmm! Oye-hoye! You must eat Bobbatlu when you come to Andhra Pradesh. I really enjoyed its flavour. Terrific! What a pleasure! We are on our way to Yarada beach. Talking of distance, Yarada beach is 22 KM from R.K. beach, Vishakhapatnam. You will enjoy the last 10 KM of this journey. There is lots of greenery on both sides of the road.
We are slowly travelling through a hilly area. We stopped at a point from where we could see Vishakhapatnam from a height. It felt good! Now we are going to the Yarada beach. Finally, we've reached Yarada beach.
I am feeling so awesome out here! Cannot express in words. It is a beautiful sea beach. Between 2 & 4 pm, the sun feels hot. Not hot exactly, but sunlight feels unpleasant. But otherwise, the weather is pleasant. Amazing! A lot of people told me I must visit Yarada beach. They said I would like visiting here & the first impression is exactly that.
Looking at the sea beach, I really want to walk in the water now. Somebody just cautioned me not to go deeper because the sea bed is steep. I mean going beyond a feet or two into the sea is a risky thing to do. Wow! Lovely! We have been here for the past 45 minutes. But to tell you the truth, I am enjoying every moment here.
Let me tell you what I've been doing for the past half an hour. First I was walking along the beach. Then I liked it so much that I started running. It felt so good when the waves touched my feet. The sand turned into a sponge when a wave rushed in. I enjoyed to my heart's content.
I cannot express my feelings in words. There is just one bad aspect of such a naturally-rich environment here. It is my duty to share it. As soon as we arrived at the beach, I mean, when we parked our car.... I saw a lot of discarded plastic strewn across.
It looked like someone has partied hard and spread the plastic all over. Nobody needs to be told how bad this is for the environment. Now it is upto the government to take a strong action to preserve these places. On the road, we have traffic police to handle nuisance and impose fine. But why cannot we have a similar arrangement on the beaches as well. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
It is only when we take this up seriously that things would take a better turn. If public were conscious on its own, then this would not have been the condition. But there is one thing that I cannot shake off. If I had missed coming to Yarada beach, I would have felt really bad. Such a lovely place! There is a restaurant and bar on the beach. I didn't go there but I saw chairs outside, a hut-like structure.
You can sit there, enjoy the sea view while having your food and drinks. There are no adventure sports activities here. To sum up, this is the place to come if you enjoy nature but not the crowds. You can look for yourself the beautiful visuals, the blue water & sand.
To sum up, you'll have a great time if you come to Vizag. Right! We will stay here for another 15-20 minutes. We'll enjoy the beach for some more time and then we will return. Back to Vizag. We had come to visit the light house here.
But we came to know it is going to reopen tomorrow after 10 days of maintenance. Since it is locked, we cannot look at it from the outside as well. So, now we are going back to our hotel. It will take us about an hour to reach. This is it for now.
We will meet again soon. Tomorrow we are going to leave for Araku Valley early in the morning. We will spend tomorrow night in Araku. Right! Now send in your comments about today's episode. As always, I shall wait for your comments.
That is it. Thanks for your time.