During, last Dussehra holidays, we went to my granny’s place near Vizag, so that I can play around with my friends there. During that time, one day, my entire family was sitting in front of the T.V and were watching something seriously. Being a small boy of 5 years, I didn’t understand why they were watching T.V for a long time. My mommy told me that they are watching a carnival held in Vizayanagaram. So I thought, why can’t I make this #XploreBharat blog train stop at Vizayanagaram, so that you guys can also explore this place along with me. So now, come join me on this fun ride to Vizayanagaram.
Where is Vizayanagaram?
This place is in North Andhra and connects Andhra Pradesh to other Northeastern states like Odisha and West Bengal. This town is a smaller one when compared to Vizag, which is nothing but her other cousin. As per my mom, we can easily call Vishakapatnam and Vizayanagarm as sister towns. But Vishakapatnam has grown into a bigger and famous city, leaving behind Vizayanagaram, which is more famous from its cultural and historical per say.
This place has some other new form of transport called cycle rickshaw, which I haven’t seen till date. So I told my dad that I want to ride on it, and so we took one cycle rickshaw for a small ride and went to the fort.
At the entrance of the town itself, we get to see the Vizayanagaram Fort. This fort has been constructed by Kalinga dynasty kings. This fort is the oldest one and of huge historical significance it seems. My mom showed me the gate and told me that this fort has been donated by the Gajapati kings to the government and we can observe that a lot of government offices are being run out of this premises now. So we went inside the fort to have a look at its structure and other details. If we climb up and check from the balconies there, we can see the aerial view of the entire town.
Currently, this place is very busy with a lot of people. So I got a small doubt immediately. If the kings have given their house to the offices, then where will they live? And will they still wear a turban and long coat the whole day? Do you remember my school drama, in that the king and queen always wore long gowns and even I as a Solider have to wear a lot of stuff and hold the sword in my hand isn’t it? So will there still be soldiers guarding this king all the time
As soon as I started expressing my questions, everybody started laughing at me. What is so silly in my doubts, can you guys please let me know? These elders are always like that only, keep laughing for silly reasons. So now, friends, if you know answers to my above questions, can you please let me know?
At the farther end, they have few colleges also in the fort. One is the Musical college and the other two are the Sanskrit college and Ladies college. All these colleges are very old it seems. Last month only the musical college celebrated its 100th birthday it seems. All these colleges were established by the Vizayanagaram kings a
Since this music college is so old, a lot of famous musicians studied here it seems. Most of the popular music directors and playback singers in movies have studied here only. But I can’t remember all their names. My mom and dad showed me some of their photos on the walls of this college. They took me into this college and told me that walls here also can sing songs and play musical notes. Maybe, only singers and musicians can hear them, but since I am a dancer, I felt like only dancing, then my mom told me that maybe I am getting inspired from the world famous musicians who lived here. Please let me know in case if you hear any music when you visit there. They even showed me the world famous Bobbili veena here. I liked the instrument but didn’t have the courage to touch and play it. So I just left it there.
My mom and dad discussed a lot of things along with my granddad here about the history of this place, maybe when I grow big, I will understand all that. But here is the photo collage of the people, I had seen there in the college. They are Adibatla Naryanadas garu (well-known Sanskrit author and scholar, father of the Harikatha art, Dwarampudi Venkateswara Rao garu (well-known flutist and musician), Ghantasala garu (well-known Telugu playback singer and music director), P. Susheela (well known Telugu playback singer).
Gurujada Apparao gari House:
Next, my parents took me to an old house situated at the back of the fort. That house belongs to Gurujada Apparao garu it seems. He is older than my granddad it seems. He is a very famous Telugu playwright, author, and social activist. His poem on the country is very famous and sung even till date it seems. The meaning of that song is that “Stop thinking about yourself, and help others a little bit, as the Country means just not sand, but people and only when people are happy the country would progress”. I really felt wonderful after hearing that song and asked my mom to teach me.
Market Place and Ganta Stambham (Clock Tower)
There is a huge market place next to the fort and we get everything here. Everything is very cheap here. This market place is always crowded and my parents told me that this town is the business district for the northern parts of Andhra. Here comes the interesting part. There is a big clock tower in the middle of the market and its called “Ganta Stambham”. This tower is similar to Big-Ben in London. Hope you all know about Big-Ben. If not come to me again, I will give you the presentation, which my aunty has given us in the school. We had built a miniature Big-Ben too in our Montessori house.
After seeing the Ganta Stambham and having nice and famous lassi there in the shops, we went on a window shopping spree and by the time, I got tired, we reached a temple and that temple is for a goddess called Paiditalli ammavaru. This goddess is very famous and the family deity for Vizayanagaram Kings it seems. Post-Dussehra, there would be a huge carnival conducted for this goddess and that’s the one which my parents were watching the other day.
Sirimanu Utsavam (Carnival)
This carnival name is “Sirimanu Utsavam”. A pujari or the pandit who prays daily to this goddess will be tied to a big long pole and that pole would be carried over the entire town post-Dussehra. This is the tradition followed here in this region and believe me that carnival would be very crowded. You can have a look at the video below to understand it. But honestly, seeing in the T.V itself, I got scared and was thinking how brave that priest uncle should be to sit on top of a pole like this?. Please check the video of the carnival here.
After covering all the places, we went to have lunch at my relative’s place and while returning back home, my mom showed me another fort called Korukonda. That fort has been converted to Sainik school now and it seems people who study here join into Defence forces. They teach horse riding and a lot of stuff here it seems. So my mom was asking me whether I would like to join in this school? But how can I leave my mom tell me? I am such a small kid, though I like Defence people and would like to try out stunts like them, I can’t leave my mom now itself right. So I told a big NO to my mom. Hope you all agree to me.
During my last visit to Vizag, my granny told me of another new place called Ramanaryanam. This place was constructed recently and is in the shape of a Bow it seems. I am yet to go, but what I heard from my friends and cousins is that this place captures the entire essence of Ramayana in simple pictures and is very good with a lot of fountains. It seems the kids also have a good play area as well. I will visit it during my next trip along with my parents until then get more details about this place from the following videos. This is the website link for that temple.
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