Chitrangi Palace, Rajahmundry: Chitrangi Palace is a hotel but it has a history to it. This is the palace where court dancers resided. It has been converted into a hotel now. Chitrangi Palace is located in Rajahmundry. It is a place where tourists will find many places worth visiting. Venture for a planned trip so that you visit all the places.
Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton Rajahmundry: The idol of Sir Arthur Cotton is a tribute to the great man who made Godavari a useful water body. He devised different methods of irrigation that proved truly useful to the people. There is also a museum in memory of this great man located in Andhra Pradesh. It is a common tourist location.
I woke up at around 5AM, freshened up and was on my way, in the bus, to Gollalamamidada Temple. It was at a distance of 28 kilometres from my hotel. I had the plan to visit the Mandapalli temple from there, hence took the bus that reached there early.
As soon as I got out of the bus and headed towards the entrance, the height of the “gopuram” amazed me. It seemed that the gopuras were never-ending. I could see that even at the highest gopura, there were designs on it. The gopuram is at a height of 170 feet.
There were several stalls selling flowers, coconuts, camphor and several other worshipping materials to the devotees. I went inside the temple. The Pujari was performing a Puja and I waited until I witnessed the Arati. The main idols of the temple are Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. The idol of Sita in saree, beautifully adorned in jewellery and garland was a blessing to watch.
The inside of the temple also was very huge. I could see some devotees sitting quietly and either meditating or chanting “Hare Rama, Hare Rama.” I came out of the main temple and saw that there was a “Prasadam” counter, wherein you can buy some and buy it for distributing to people at home.
It was in the year of 1889 that the temple came into being. I learnt that on April 19th every year, there is a wedding of Lord Rama and Sita, which the Pujaris perform on a grand scale. This event attracts thousands of pilgrims and devotees from across the country. This festival starts on the 19th of April and goes on for about 18 days.
The “marriage” ceremony of Lord Rama and Sita begins exactly at 12AM. There is a chariot ceremony followed by various worship ceremonies. There are also several competitions for the devotees during these ceremonies.
The temple authorities did not allow photography inside the temple and therefore, I could only click the picture of the gopuram after coming out. I finished with the photography and was on my way to Mandapalli temple.
Having reserved a room at Hotel Royal Fort Rajahmundry, I caught an auto to take me to the hotel. It was not very far from the station and being nighttime with almost no traffic, I reached the destination within minutes.
I walked into the lobby, met the receptionist, gave the details of my booking and then filled up the address details. The well-lit lobby along with the proximity of the hotel to the railway station and the bus stand made the hotel famous amongst the travellers, the receptionist said.
By then, I got the key, thanked the receptionist and was on my way to my room on the first floor. Mine was a standard room, but that did not matter because the room was well furnished, had clean linen and bed sheets, a TV and also telephone connection.
I recall reading that the hotel had different rooms to suit the needs of each customer. There were deluxe rooms, Semi Suites and Royal Suites. Looking at the building and the number of floors, I knew that the Suites would be on the floor above mine.
I took a hot-water shower and hit the bed. I fell asleep instantly. I woke up the next day at 6AM and ordered room service for tea. I thought of taking in some fresh air and so walked outside. The surrounding was calm and peaceful. I saw that the hotel had a gym, which the visitors could use for fitness.
The hotel also had an in-house restaurant and I could see some guests already seated there, having the morning beverage. The receptionist of the previous night was not there, but there was another person, who informed me that I was eligible for a complimentary breakfast. They served breakfast by 8-‘O’ clock, he informed me.
I thanked him, walked around a bit and then went back to my room. I watched the news, freshened up and by 8.30AM, I was at the restaurant to claim my complimentary breakfast. The food was good and I was happy with the sumptuous food.
After half an hour, I was back in my room and started planning my day. I checked the distance from Hotel royal fort Rajahmundry to the places that I wanted to visit.
(Friday) I woke up at 4AM, ordered for my cup of tea and took a hot shower. I wanted to visit the ISKCON temple and decided to walk down in that early morning hours. It would serve as a good exercise for me, and moreover, I doubted if I would be able to get an auto at that early hour.
I was ready at 4.30 and started walking. With my speed of walking, I was at the temple in about 20 minutes. I reached just in time for the Tulasi Arati at the temple. The belief is that a person becomes pure for worshipping Radha Krishna, if he/she worships the Tulasi. The main idol of Krishna and Radha were inside this temple. There were scriptures in the sidewalls that illustrated the stories of Radha-Gopinath.
I read that there would be Japa meditation right after the Arati. It would start at 5.30 and ends at 7.30 AM. All that the devotees do is to chant “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama” throughout. I decided to look around the temple instead.
I learnt that the ISKCON temple in Rajahmundry is the third largest after Bangalore and Tirupathi. As I walked around, I saw that around the main temple, there were ten other mantaps, which indicated the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.
The main temple itself is two-storied and as with all the other ISKCON temples, the structure was white in colour. After visiting the smaller deities outside, I took in the view. It was so beautiful. The temple, located on the banks of the Godavari River, adds to the quietness and serenity.
The impressive thing about the place is that the temple, the idols and the surroundings have a well-maintained look. The visitor or the devotees can buy memorabilia from the kiosks located inside the temple. I wandered around the place for some time, taking in the peace and quietness. By 7.30, I went inside to witness the Shringar Darshan and Guru Puja.
I saw that the deities adorned fresh clothes, garlands and ornaments and worshipped them with an Arati. The puja was over at 8.15 and I went outside. My next destination was Ryali Temple.