Kailasagiri is a hilltop park within Visakhapatnam city, Andhra Pradesh a wonderful tourist place with pristine beauty. The place was developed by the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (popularly known as VMRDA) and spread over to an area of 380 acres of land covered with exciting landscape gardens consisting of rich flora and tropical trees. Kailasagiri is located around 10 kilometers from the Visakhapatnam Railway Station and around eight kilometers from Visakhapatnam Bus Station. The Government of Andhra Pradesh awarded Kailasagiri as “the Best Tourist Spot” in 2003. The hilltop is well connected by all means of transport. It was reported that on average, three lakh Indian and foreign tourists visit the park every year. To protect the environment, VMRDA has declared the hill a plastic-free zone, a praiseworthy step. A cable car connects to the top of the hill, the first of its kind in Andhra Pradesh which I had the opportunity to enjoy. Also, it is pertinent to mention that Kailasagiri is a favourite location among filmmakers all over India. In addition to the eye-catching and holy statues of Bhagawan Shiva and Goddess Parvathi, the hilltop has many wonderful attractions such as the Titanic viewpoint, floral clock, Shanku-Chakra Namas of Bhagawan Venkateswara of Tirupati, gliding point, delicious food courts, etc. The floral clock one of the biggest in India with a diameter of 10 feet is located here. There is a Shanti Ashram on the top of the hill, where one can get huge peace by spending time in meditation. A number of wonderful viewpoints have been developed all around the hilltop. A capsule lift has been provided to fascinate the visitors to view the beauty of blue seawaters and the city along with the stunning beauties of the hilltop from further heights.
During my Kailasagiri visit in the month of September 2022, apart from watching the natural pristine beauty by the train, I felt happy that the train resolved many issues as many senior citizens can enjoy the beauty by sitting on the train as both sides were open so can watch through the windows. Also, those who had leg/knee/ankle problems or other health problems need not walk for long distances. While moving by train as I was in a non-airconditioned (non-AC) coach, observed beautiful butterflies, a few flying insects through windows entered our coach and came out. I personally felt as if these were well-coming us. It is pertinent to mention that altogether five coaches were attached to the train engine. Out of these, three were non-AC coaches and two were AC coaches but all had only chair cars. Each coach can accommodate 50 people. And the journey period was 20 minutes that is every after 20 minutes new people could board the train. Also, it may be mentioned here that the cost of a ticket per person for an AC coach was Rs. 150 and for a non-AC coach it was Rs.100. The most significant advantage of the running of such a train was that it generated employment for many youths such as ticket sellers, ticket checkers, train maintenance, cleaners, etc. The train was operated under the banner of ‘Sarada Roadways Kailasagiri Hills Tour’. Also, another noteworthy point is that there were many shops in the tourist place selling different items and some shops were owned by minorities (Muslims) which is the beauty of our country depicting religious harmony. Anyway, I suggest to all the State Governments wherever technically feasible and economically viable such a project (train journey of 20 to 30 minutes) may be implemented in the tourist places.
(The author expresses his gratitude to Dr. P L K Murthy, Proprietor, Visakha Ads; Chairman, Public Relations Society of India, Visakhapatnam Chapter and Sri T. Lakshmi Pathi, former Chief Engineer, Vishakhapatnam Port Authority for arranging the visit to the place as well as in carrying out the study)
Dr. Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad