Once a desolate place, the Nowroji Road area in Visakhapatnam is now bustling with life

Living by the sea for decades has its fascination. Seeing it metamorphose from a desolate, sprawling, vacant land to a bustling yet quiet neighbourhood is an experience in itself. The posh Nowroji Road and Gokhale Road are quite close to the sea front and the luxury of walking down to the beach is a privilege.

Much before the star hotels emerged facing the beach front, the area is known for the birth of famous film actor Devika Rani, her father being a doctor with the Maharaja of Kalahandi. The princely families of Jeypore, Vizianagaram, and Bobbili also have large extents of land, recalls Director General of Prema Hospitals S.V. Adinarayana Rao. Buddhavarapu Estate is also nearby.

Several families like Vepa, Sonthi, Durvasula, and Emani settled down there. Property rights have risen phenomenally over the last few years.

The area emerged as an intellectual hub with several prominent personalities living there. Medical students used to take boarding in exclusive lodges with messes attached, Dr. Adinarayana who stayed at Kolluru Mansions during his student days recalls.

“I constructed my house 30 years ago. But the serenity I enjoyed is no longer there,” he rues. With growing pollution people are moving away to Lawson’s Bay Colony and MVP Colony. “Everyone’s desire 30, 40 years ago was to live here but now they don’t want because of pollution,” Dr. Adinarayana Rao points out. Things started to change when the Fishing Harbour came. And later with the coal dust from the outer harbour area forming smog, allergies and infections have gone up in the area, he says.

‘Still enjoyable’

Nonagenarian H. Maheswari Devi, former head of the Department of Botany of Andhra University, has seen the transformation of the area from a vast, empty land to the number of buildings and apartments coming all around. She constructed her house 52 years ago after getting job in Andhra University. In spite of being offered a house in the university quarters, she preferred having her own house in the area. “I was the first one to construct house here while staying in the house of the parents of former mayor D.V. Subba Rao,” she recalls. At that time there was a lot of vegetation all around. “Sometimes I used to find droplets on the window pane and wondered how they came in without rain. It was the sea spray blown by the air,” she laughs recalling her unique experience. There used to be only two buses to university and another run by SRMT from Old Post Office via Yellammathota and later bus number 10 came.

“Though there is no community activity as such the Gokhale Road residents are quiet and decent and I enjoy living here,” she says.

She is regarded as the grand old lady of the area and respected.

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