Wednesday, June 25, 2008


One of the finest sea resorts in the country, Bheemunipatnam popular as 'Bheemli' is located at a distance of 24 Kilometers North east of Visakhapatnam. Its beautiful beach and invigorating climate coupled with the pleasantness provided by the lush green palm groves adds to its immense attraction . The 24-km. beach road from Vizag to Bhimili is one of the longest beach roads in India. The sun-kissed beaches en route make the Car/Bike drive as enjoyable as the destination. Bheemunipatnam is located on a slope which just rises from the sea and presents a beautiful background of a sea scape. The town is situated at the confluence of river Gosthani and the Bay of Bengal. There is a big laterite topped hill dedicated to Lord Narasimha. Being a sea-side resort and owing to its close proximity to Visakhapatnam city, Bheemunipatnam holds a rich potential for development. Once a Dutch settlement, the ruins of a fort and cemetery built by the Dutch are still seen. Remains of a round house close to the sea throw light on the Dutch architecture. The beach at Bheemli is one of the safest for swimmers. This tourist resort is well connected by road from Visakhapatnam. City buses carry the tourists to Bheemli. Private taxis can also be arranged from Visakhapatnam. People can carry food packets or buy food at the small cafes at Bheemunipatnam. The drive from Visakhapatnam to Bheemli is exhilarating. Places of Interest: Temple of Lord NarasimhaEntering Bheemili the Temple welcomes the visitor. As per the history, the temple is reconstructed in 1226 Salivahana saka by Mindi Rayappa Ramajogi and Murugappa Setti/Alagappa Setti have presented the brass cover in 1983. FortIn 1624 the Dutch arrived here and in the fight that ensued between the locals and Dutch, 101 Dutch soliders and 200 locals died (as recorded in the visakhapatnam Gazetteer). Later the Dutch resolved withthe locals and started business and in 1661 they have constructed a fort measuring 235 x 405 feet with four minarets, Clock Tower, Mint (in the present clock tower area). The fort was completely ruined. Clock TowerEvery visitor to this place finds this clock tower in the midst of the town as a reminder of the past. St. Peter's ChurchConstructed during 1855-1864 the foundation stone is laid by Rev. John Griffiths in the presence of Robert Reed the then Collector and Chief Magistrate and the Church was consecreated on 17-3-1864 by Bishop Gell. The architecture, furniture and the stained glass window on the east depicting the crucification of Jesus is unique in itself. The marble plaques in the shape of a scroll unfolding with its shining inspite of the ravages of time is a real feast to the eye. Old Dutch CemeteryThe cemetery situated in the west of the town speaks of the Dutch who gave their lives here. The unique feature of the cemetry is the depiction of the cause of the death on the grave enlivens the past. Ocean View Guest HouseAt present owned by Chittivalasa Jute Mills, originally it is the Imperial Bank Building which was purchased long back and maintained without spoiling its elegance. It is a remainder of the past glory of the town. It consists of one main suite and two other suites and an Annexe in the 1st floor. The view from the guest house is a worthy scene which enthralls the visitor. Municipal ChoultryThe building constructed with two stones with Madras Terrace. Municipal Office/Port Shipping OfficeThese two structures in the same compound remind the past of the Port which has seen the export and import at the distant past. The high ceiling and the serene atmosphere it offers till today stand as a testimony to the unknown engineer who selected the site and constructed this spacious building. Port Light House/Flag StaffOne of the eight Light houses built along the coast between Kakinada and Srikakulam. They are the reminder of this port which has seen the glory of the past (1868). BheemeswaralayamThis temple is situated in the main road and there are a cluster of temples in the place. Bheemeswaralayam is constructed in 1170 Salivahana Saka year. There is Choleswaralayam constructed by Cholas.

About 56 miles off Visakhapatnam is the one-million-year-old Borra Caves spread over the Eastern ghats and occupying an area of 2 square kilometers. It can be reached in 5-6 hours by train from Vizag, or, via the ghat road in three hours. November-December would be the ideal time to visit the caves. Journeying by train is the most exciting since one can traverse through the Eastern ghats crossing 30 tunnels and thick vegetation.
The Borra caves are breathtakingly beautiful and the natural formation of these caves is also unique. The limestone caves were formed as a result of the action of the Gosthani river. The river which now flows through the caves was once upon a time flowing over the limestone area. Due to the pressure exerted by the river water on the mineral deposits, the lime stones dissolved and gradually the caves were formed. It was a two-way process. The dissolved limestone trickled down drop by drop on the floor of the cave. These solidify to form the irregularly shaped stalagmites.
Simultaneously, some of the water drops from the roof solidify to form stalactites. Over a period of time, these calcium deposits of stalagmites and stalactites grow upwards and downwards respectively, and at some points touch each other to form different parts of the caves. While some of the deposits are in weird shapes, others have formed into fantastic structures which have acquired a religious significance over a period of time.
The entire region surrounding Borra caves is inhabited by tribals for whom the place has enormous religious significance. According to a popular legend, a cowherd lost his cow while it was grazing. He soon realised that the cow had fallen into a 200 feet deep hole. Assuming the cow to be dead, he peeped into the cavity. To his utter disbelief, he found the cow alive and feeding on the grass deep below. This was the first time that the tribals discovered the existence of the caves.
When the cowherd went into the caves to retrieve his cow, he found the calcium deposit in the shape of a Siva linga. He immediately attributed the survival of the cow to the presence of God. From then on, people started worshiping the linga. Later a small temple was built outside the caves where pujas are performed regularly.
There are several interesting structures inside the caves. These include a mushroom formation, a temple, a mosque, a church and many more. Along with the calcium deposits, there are traces of yellow-colored sulphur deposits on the ground. Flowing between the solidified stalagmites and stalactites is the Gosthani river which heads towards Orissa, once out of the caves.
The Borra caves are brightly illuminated by sixty-three lamps of mercury, sodium vapor and halogen lamps, which make the interior of the caves colorful and spectacular!
Beautiful vieew of Rushikonda beach

Lord Shiva Parvathi statues at Kailasgiri