Neetha – A cool introduction

One of the coldest months across all seasons being December sprinkled the idea (though not a weird one amongst a group of like-minded active sprouts) of Trekking. Oh yes, it’s not the thought of trekking that struck a chord of weirdness but the place of trekking in the coldest month – The Himalayan Terrain (Sandakphu) in the year 2013. Six friends set their foot and respective steps to the base camp and reporting place Darjeeling. A few started from Nagpur and I did from Rajahmundry and the plan was to meet at Kolkata and travel together from there to the base camp.

The date arrived when we realized the entire batch of this trekking effort comprised of 40 enthusiast participants out of which were 10 brave women! The management had allotted a single room for the women fraternity of this trek and it took us by a shock, of course not with any intention of breaking any of the mental manacles thinking of the irony of all of us getting ready at a specified time! As any other pillar to post running Day-1, ours were no lesser as we were asked to procure the medical certificates from Doctors at Darjeeling if we did not take them with us from our homes and also to assemble at 05:30 pm for an induction session.

Base camp Leader’s instructions were ringing deep in our ears that evening along with the list of DO’s and DON’T’s as we trek along. As we hissed through the chiming list that was unrolled, there walked in a young couple, quite delayed to the gathering when the strike was the girl that was so joyful and elated without a slightest of worry evading her for the delay in joining the session. Yes, you have been correct in your guessing that it is my MoIN (Mother India, if you would have ready her introductory article) alias Neetha.

The sparkle caught my eyes and ears once again while we were dining at the ground floor. Yes the same girl that was constantly talking to Ruthwik, her husband, who tried to focus munching, a little too silently in the gang of two! While we were back in our room with the hot chit-chat of the day of a girl and her boyfriend who had stepped in from Bangalore, there was a wave of air when the same girl bubbled in introducing herself and reaching out for ours!

While I had to slip away for a while to chirrup about our new companions to my mom in regional language – Telugu, with an assured heart that none around me shared the same language. Laughing my way out with my mom with Neetha besides and the topic was her! I had an attack between my jaws when I heard Neetha attend one of her calls once I was done in Telugu! I had to admit that there was nothing wrong that was conversed, though with a polite question reached out to Neetha, which received an evil smile in return – evil?..wicked?..cunning?..or just a pretention ?

Watch out!!

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Rajahmundry – The cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh

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Rajahmundry or Rajamahendravaram is a beautiful city located on the banks of the mighty Godavari River. Rajaraja Narendra, a Eastern Chalukya king has built this city in 1022 AD. ‘Adikavi’ Nannayya, the first Telugu poet, belongs to this region and he gave script to Telugu to make it a language, and hence the name ‘Cultural Capital’.

Places to Visit:

# Havelock Bridge or the Old Godavari Bridge: The construction of the bridge commenced on Nov 11, 1897 and opened for traffic on August 30, 1900. The Bridge was named after Sir Arthur Elibank Havelock, the then Governor of Madras. Having served its full life span of 100 years, it was decommissioned in 1997.

One can get the best view of this bridge during the evenings from Pushkar Ghat. Watching the sunset over the bridge during the evenings is simply a mesmerizing experience.

# Kotilingeswara Temple: The name itself indicates that this is all about the Lingas. The form in which Lord Shiva is offered prayers in India. According to the historians, the temple was constructed between the 10th and 11th centuries.

For the spiritual lovers, a must visit place. Especially on the eve of Maha Sivarathri, I don’t think there could be any other place better than this. Secondly, the temple is located on the banks of the mighty river Godavari, and the view from here is amazing. For adventure lovers, there is a ferry point here, from where one can get a country boat to travel to those small riverine islands.

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# Kandukuri Veeresalingam Town Hall: The loving son of Rajamahendravaram. Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu was the great Social Reformer, who fought for education for women and remarriage of widows. He was considered the father of renaissance in Andhra. He wrote the first Telugu novel Rajasekhara Charitam. One can find the house where he lived in, the place where the first widow marriage took place and also the printing press used by him.

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# Dowleshwaram Barrage: Dowleshwaram is the village at which the River Godavari splits into two streams or distributaries, ‘Gautami’ on left and ‘Vasistha’ on the right. An irrigation engineer, Sir Arthur Cotton constructed the barrage over this river. The total height of the masonry structure was 15 feet. A museum in the memory of Sir Arthur Cotton was constructed here. It narrates the stories behind this barrage and it is the only civil engineering museum in the state. A must visit place for the historians.

Other places to visit: ISKCON Temple, Damerla Rama Rao Art Gallery, Chitrangi Palace and Rallabandi Subbarao museum.

One cannot assume that their trip is complete, if you don’t have a ride on the river waters on that country boats. Of course those who are not that much interested in adventures, can venture out on the waters of Godavari in a cruise boat to enjoy the scenic beauty of those small riverine islands as well as the lush green fields in and around the river Godavari.

Rajahmundry is a blend of various qualities that make the place unique, interesting, and suitable for tourism for all ages. And trust me, one can enjoy the best delicacies of Andhra here. Because people they don’t just serve the food, they serve their love too..

How to reach?

Rajahmundry is well connected by road with all major cities in Andhra Pradesh. The nearest airport is the Rajahmundry Domestic airport (Madhurapudi), The Visakhapatnam Airport and Gannavaram Airport, Vijayawada.