HOLIDAYING

IN
BHIMILI

Howto make Bhimili
Edited

(l

tourist attractton

by

Kit-an Keswarii Skdch(!s by kanaka Durgesw~t~ R..;o
&: Pt'aS.lt! Kurn r.

SW.lin

...

Bhimili is a beautiFul town People like the beach thete There ate the hills and the sea nle& houses Temple on the hill
Dutch

h istoty

This booklet is Fat people who wqnt to :
k.riow P,hlmdi

EnlOY Bhimlil Pial") Bhlmdi

Dcvci0f' Bhlmili Conserve Bhlmili
Inw'it In Bhlmdi

Tourist map

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Rhimill

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Kqlinga Bhimili Jute Mill we will only talk about those little things that sometimes get missed out in Jq)-ge tourism proposals, Much eFFmt must go into any town to make it a popular tourist destination. For Bhimili, the Visakhapatnam Tourism Development Master plan prepared in Octobe~ 1999 by the International consultants KPMG recommends the creation of a Dutch vill'lge, planning of the Clock Tower Precincts. the Dutch Cemetery Precincts, development of Be4Ch near Lighthouse as a promenade, an~ 50 on. The study outlines also tourism (qcilitators such as the civic inFJ-astrudure, amenities, tourism promotion & travel trade, ease of entry/exit, visual inFrastructure, climatic conditions <mel ancillary activrties. The)-e will be a need to "1150 desiqn maps anq to develop qood signage systems (OJ- the town,
Here.

There are on-going activities within the tourism department, the local aqmmistt-ative quthmities and also within private investor networks that will soon accornplish ma ny the above plans. Many projects will get built in the coming rutu)-e. It is essential that the various socia-economic beneh'ts o( tourism are achieved with a relatively low level investment, iF possible. Most importantly, we must ask ourselves, how will the people of Bhimili beneFit? will they be will iog to particip"lte in the planning process/

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q Summary

of the town

Bhlmill is the second oldest municip<l!ity in Incli"l estabhshedin 1861, It is located 25 km Fwm Vrsakhapatnarn city 011the coast of An~h~a Pradesh. The people here speak Teluqu. Bheemunipatn<lm was named <lFte!"" Pandava king 'Bheerna' who is believed to have lived the here. The town was a P<lrt of the Kalinga kinqdorn. dutch Fact0l""Yand Fort here in the 17th & 18th centuries. The u ntil1825 when they ceded the port to the British E2Ist India Company. The r.een in use since 1933 when the port of Visakhapatnam W<lS commissioned proposa! by the Visakhapatnam Port Trust to develop a new Fishing harbour
21

• There was

dutch were here old port has not Now, there 15 a 2It Bhl rrnl I.

As per the 1991 census, the town has <lpopulation of 42,061 and covers an area of 19 sq.krn. that tf1clucks Shimili, Taqarapuvalasa. Chittlvqlasa <lnd 13 hamlets. • Several lute mills existed in this region - in Bhimili and in Chittivalasa. Today. most of these have 105t their importance because of the entry of plastic b<lgs into the market The main Ilveli hood systems in this coastal area inel ude Fishing, Fish vendi ng, boa.t ma.kl ng. The others are basket weaving, pottery, bnck-rnaklnq, vegetable vendrnq. launclry work ane! employment in lute mills. Several Prawn Stor2lge companies ane! Hatcheries have come up near the town. This region the Teacher Government )nstitute of Technology
There are

• •

is developinq into an important center of education, with institutions such as Training Institute, the Government Women's Polytechnic College, the Degree College, the COTR Theological Seminary. ANIT5 CAnil Neerukonc\a Technology & Sciences) 21t 5angiv2l1;~s21 <lne! CGITAM) the Ganclhi Institute of and Man2lgement <It Rushikonda.

many ashrams in Bhimili inelue!ing the Anandavariarn Sri 521dguru 5ivananda 5w<lmy vari ashram. the Nookalarnma van temple; the ashram of Sownsh, the daughter of the Writer, Sri Gudip2lti Venk<!tach2l1<lm; the Durg<l ashrarnarn an~ the Sri Sharada Ramakrishna Matham. Rhimill has only two restaurants. The more Frequente~ one
15

• •

the KalingJ, g2l~den restaurant.

Tourists and visitors who do travel to Bhimili mostly on excursion trips From Vizag Find it to he a qUiet town with some n"ltur<ll beauty. Few expect it to grow into a tourist destination.

Concepts for prorno+inq

Bhimili as q tow/st atb-qction :

• BeautiFul Beach front place Bhimdi is most picturesquely situated at the mouth of the chittiv<ilaSq river, dose under the late~ite-topped Narasirnha hill. It h<ls a beachFtnnt which is a b>eauti(ui place or(e~ing a serene
environment.

. Bhimili was a settlement o( the Dutch who carried out hade In Spices & Textiles H1 South east Asia. A company known as the Vereeniqde Oosrndrsche Compagnie or VOC (United East India Company of the Netherlands) was (otmec!. It established Facto~ies at Surat, Machilipatnam and Petaplo!l. /Viachilip<ltn'lm was a world-famous centre (or chintzes and pa_!<lmpores.

A Dutch hisfoticq! town

Bhimili holds an important place in Dutch as well as Andhra histoty. Today, thet"e stil! exist the Dutch cemeteries. the light house, the Municip;,!1 Choultry, the Clock tower. ole! houses anc! so on. what is needed is to prevent (urthet" detertoranoo o( the old builqings "Inc!the sheets. Bhimili still h<lstileq root houses, verandahs with t<lpet"ingcolumns, <mel wincling streets. These elements give it <I charm th<lt holds within it an aesthetic th<lt we ate becoming less <mel less fumiliat"with. The town also has <l"shqred herit<lge" within it as a result of the Dutch, British and Indian settlements, which make it an interesting place (at" tourists.
• Fisherrnens' Qb04e

Bhimili still has a lat"ge Ashing community. Some part of the beach could be developed into <l Ashermens' Village, where tourists are <I!lowed to interact with the fishet"men and know thei~ liFestyle <lnq activities such as making nshing nets, builcling boats etc. An ambience Fm the evening could be created anq the place could oFFer- hospitality also to Fo~ejgn tounsts iust as in T':II'5 Fisher-men Cove in Chenn<li.

• Temple town The town has religious significance with the N(Jr"l'limha Swamy temple situqteel on the hill anel the duster of sma Her tern pies situated in the heal{ or the town. The holy can fl uence or Gostha n i river into the Bay Bengal in Bhimili makes this place a pilgrim center. The sacred Ardhodaya and Mahoc{<JY<l occur once in 12 <Jn~50 years respectively. Since the Narasimha swarny temple on days the hill qrForc{s also a panoramic view of the town qnq the B"IYof Beng<tl, it has the potential For being 21 destination both For pilgrims and tourists.

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A Foreign tourist or even Jnqiqns, ~ftell want to Find out more about the history of temples qnq the role of religion in the lives of the lndtan people. A museum complex For the temple could be

developed which describes the signiFicance of the deity, the evolution the temple over the centuries, the relqtionship the temple to the natural (orces, the vaastu shastra principles incorporated in the planning of the temple. The 'temple museum complex' could cover the historical & geographical backqround, architecture & sculpture, Iconography "Inc! rituals.

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Narasimha Swamy temple on the hill

10 small Stepstowards putting BhimiJj on the Tourist Map ...
1. Ch<lngePerceptions
2. Create <I History Comet
3. M<lrket (ultutql

products

4. pJqn (or Eco-tourism
5. M<lke Beach Umbrellas from Fishermen's Sails

6. Mqk.e Film shooting areas into leisure qetivity zones

7. Ofter the "Do Nothing' holiqqy 8. Design small Museums

<met l04ges in the 014 houses

9. Alternative fOHns of tourist transport 10. Whitewqsh

olet houses in Bhimili

1

Chanqe Perceptions
... of the People of Vizqg

"Developing Bhimili! Why would anybody go there! What is there in Bhimili to see or to enjoy? Wh2lt is there 50 special that is nowhere else? Maybe, a beach. But, just like Vizaq, a beach you ~n't use. 50, unlike other beach places (Kovalarn or Goa), we have a beach that you arc not supposed to go into because of the undercurrents in the water. Vizaq, Rushikoncla or Bhimili - go into the water <'Inciyou will be drowned. How cia we invite <mybocly to this beach
City?!

Its possible to create q iqgoon, to make the beach people-trlendly. When we do that, yes, tourists will come.

"Tourists qon't even come to Vizaq. Ever seen a Foreign tourist here? They qon't know where Viz'lg is. People From Bombay don't know anything about Vizaq, They think it's a Fishing Village. Some think it h'ls a Steel pl'lnt, so it must be like Rourkela. Nobody thinks that it must be a bea uti (u I town. And. wh<'lt wou lei anybody 40 coming here? "

... of the people ofBhimili
The people of Bhimili need to have a sense of ownership towards the town's naturql <'Inc!heht<'lge
resources. They would contribute frUitFully to the tourism phnnlng involvement is nurtured. It is necessary to prevent any Further structures <Jnc1the histOl"ic<J1ecrets they hold. ThiS reqUires cre<jting s who belong to the town because they can best prated their own their own uninFormed eFForts to make their town modern and more do not belong to the town and have lesser concern FOi" it.
& irnplernentatton process,
deterioration

iF

o( the heritage awareness amongst the people immediate environment Ft"Om so, protect it (rom those who

Thete m~y be amongst these outsiders. a few haqe~s who w~nt to tap its business potenti<ll and theretore pl~nt shopping areas th~t may not connect ~PPtop~iqtely to the areas they meet <Itthei~ ee!ges; or sometimes people who m.~y buy up v<lcant plots of lane! to construct multi-storeyed. modern tesrc\ential complexes (o~ the growing population ...

where the square foot covetqge and its finanCial potential ate more important than the forms and open spaces qenerated, where modernity is respected and tradition is not.
It may be essential to conduct workshops with the help of local orqanlsations to genet'ate
interest

in visual ising the town ClS not i ust a place to live in but also as a key to economic and social development .
a mongst the residents o( Bhimili and Vizqg

place, but then t<1king people there ~11 the W<1y (tom Vizag. The beaches should be improved. They ate b<lQ. A place fat' an overniqht stay is needed. Some water sports .?ictivities. Certain ambience of dutch liFe. It is t'ight now Fat' From being c.?illed a tourist place, except (m the gteat dnve (tom vlsakhapatnam to Bhimili."

"Bhlrnlli is a beautiful

. . . of the people of Andhra Pradesh
About selling, so little has been done. IFthe tourism department publicisecl Vizaq and Bhimili on a gigantic scale, more people would be aware of the possibility oFVizag <lnd Bhimili as a holiday pl<lce. There has been little publicity. People travel extensively in lnc\ia to visit their relatives. Elaborate travel plans are also made when there is a wedding in the fumily at i( a dose Ftiend is to be married. Being a pan ofthe weclqing party is a must and train travel and bus travel must often be undertaken to the netqhbourinq town at' a fat' <Iway city. Local travelling in Andhra Pradesh also happens when it is Festival time, Sankranti or Pongal is a time everyone must get togethet'. These arc occasions to have (un toqether, to visit tourist spots, to eat out ancl to relax. People f~om Hydet'abad come to Viz.?ig get away (~om the pollution o( their own city .

Today, they WQuJcI travel to Vizaq insteacl of Bhuhneswat' for a holiday. They like Vizaq. Most of these travellers however, have! on a ve~ low buqget. They are looking (Ot' simple enjoyment (at' little money. But, would people Fwm Bombay come to Vizaq Fo~ a holiclay? They either don't know about the place at' think it has nothing more to o(fe~ than Lonavla or Mathet'an.

. . . and, other states, people from eqicutta

Fmel':llle~s usu"llly expect cleanliness and hygiene In J place they W"lnt to holiday in. vVhcn they come to a wate~(~ont town. they want to swim and relax on the sands Bhimili em like <iny other tOW"jst town o(re~ :

SUN SAND &:

SEA
A massive awareness cqmp.:dgn needs to be orqanrsed in Bhimili to change the sanitary conditions of the town and the beachr~ont. It may be possible to create Environment Brigades with the help schools in Bhimili and Vizaq. These Bt"igaclesarc fo~mecl with the partictpatton o( school children who patrol (m the city on +heir way to school or to pL::jyand encou~age passers-by to use the dustbin more often. Such prog~ams have already been undertaken by q local NGO, Green Vision for the city o(Visakhapatnam. Tree p!<lnt<ltion drives are also an important part of the beautiFicqtion plan (O~ Bhimili.
Foreiqn

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tourists often take the once-In-a-lttetime hip to exotic lndia. They come to Inclia to see how Jnqiqns live, to know about the cultu~e o( this country, to learn about its mClny religions, to experience (at" themselves the peace and tranquillity or an enlightened lanel. When they come to Visakhapatnarn and to Bhimili, they want to know how about andhra customs. (ClI1 we create opportunities (m them to interact with the community, to participate in am rituals. to share out" cuisine CIne!to enjoy our Festivals. A plan can be drawn Fm: a) Aqqpting the strateqies utilisecl by simi/Clr historical towns in Europe to improve tourism b) Developing visual qncl whtten rnatenal perl:"Iining to qt"chitecturql het"itClge (or mqrketil1g the town, bClsee!on rnarketinq strateqies usee! in Germany & Holland. c) Linking with tout operators Clncltravel guidebooks abroad to improve the image of the town as a tourist place.

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Some of the Dutch who manne~ the outpost "ire ['UI-Ied "imong the phnt"iln g::lI-dens Jnd p-llm grDves of Kumm::tripalem, nC"i1 the 'Hollanders' bnds' and about h,;t/F a mile o(F the Fott, In the Glngle Formed by the two roads running to Viztanaqrar» "inc! Vizaqapatnam. This contains thir-teen tombstones, made of the local garnetiFewus gneiss, bearing Dutch inscriptions anc! coats-of-arms CIne!ranging in date Fwm 1661 to 1720. In the other cemetery on the beach, between the AagstaFf <Inc!the sea, are a Few mot-e Dutch tombs of LOIter !ate, c

The cemetery takes its historical name (rom the Rag stJFF srgnal that stands next to It. The oldest ~rJve 15 Dutch, in addition to the British grJves there CIne! cl<ltes back to 1762, The cemetery was Inhenteq by the BI'itish in 1f326, along with all other Dutch possessions in the town under a heaty. The presence of pirate grClves is signl (lca nt. There arc in this cemetery pynm ida] tom bs ~vith skull and crossbones In relieF. A couple of tombs have pavilrons over them which are unique In thell· aJ'chrtectmai detail. The (e<ltmes seen here are similar to some of the clutch monuments at VizlanJgJram. The St.Ann's convent W:j5 requested by the Church of South I ndia to care (or the
cemetery.'

I

Thl., lIl(orm:1tion h:y; been taken

(rom

the ,tuciy conducted

r,y Mr.S411~cI Sh<lhiq (or INTACH

in 1995-

In 1600, when the English East lndia Company was Fot"'Y)cd.the State-General of the Netherlands Fclt that In order to rnaintain the Dutch sup~em<icy or trade in the east, the diFferent companies would amalgamCite. The Dutch wantcd to monopolise the spice trade and so they concentrated their attention on the East lndles rather than Inqi<i. Wylbranc! Van Walwilck commanded the First Reet of 15 ships sent out by the v.o.c. The v.o.c. estar.lisheq Factot"ies CIthVq, Celebes CIne!other pl<ices in the East Ind ies !n J nq fa, it established Factones at SWClt, MCjCh ipatna m "l net Petaplol i il (Krishna district). The other Dutch settlements were at N<lgapanInJm, Narasapurarn. Bhecmunip<l-tnam, Chinsw-'lh (Beng<lD etc. In 1846, the Dutch Finally t"elinquished the place ane! it soon began to decay. About the same time, Messrs. Arbuthnot & Co. built a hlctot-y CItChittivalasa. about 3 miles to the north, For making iaggety From suqar-cane. This ~ctoty at one time turned out 6000 tons of sug<lt annually. At about the same period. the Fi~m set on Foot an export business in local produce, principally oilseeqs. The hlctot-y W<lS aften.--vards,in 1867, converted into a mill (or spinning arid weaving by steam the local 'iute'. The export trade origin<ltec! by Messt"s. Arbuthnot & Co. quickly attracted other European firms, and the town took a Ft"eshlease of liFe.:'

Godowns of Chfttival<lsa )(;te mills
The Chlttivalasa Jute mdl
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i~ located

near ChittivabsJ

whlc<~ I~ 5 km away rwm BheelTJlIni~")Jtnam. rt

c~Llf-,li5heq in 1926,

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hra Bl:lptlst Church This is one the oldest churches

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this reqion. It was constructed

between 1884-87 .

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This mO';-r.' '>Y.;'; hult 125 yeJI" J~~)- vvlnt [3 special also Jhout Rhrndl is that the Hindu tcmplc-. the Chrt~tun chu~ches Jnd the ,\b)lim mos'-iue h3ve co-existed ~none phce with the people it) ~)cl'(cd h,ll "",l!:\' with each oth~1

Andhra histoty The texnles of Andhra were a craze among 21/1 sections of the population flot only in South-East Asian countries but also in Englancl, France, Persia. etc. A remarkable (e.lime of the dyeq chintzes of Machi/ipatnam W'ISthat colours became more ht"ight .lfxi beautiFul :lto wqShing. During the eighteenth centwy, the te;...iile Jndushy in Andhra f10u rislied. The Dutch, the Portuguese anq the French mercha nts usee! to adva nce Iibera I su ms of money to the weavers a ne! accepted doth produced by them without Jnsistmg.on qU2ility. At Machilip<ltnam, JDout 5000 weavers worked For the Dutch. They were pqid 5000 Mae!t"'Is pqgodas anq cheap provisions. At Iniat"qm, 2000 weavers worked For the Dutch and 700 For the English. Besides the Factory at Inj<lt";?Jm, the English had Factmies <'It Macle!epalem, Bane!ammilanka, Turn, Kqkin"lq<'l, Corinka. Coliapalem and VJS.lkhapatna m. 3

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Clock Tower Example of town upliftment <lnd local selF-admmish-ation. One of the (I)'st public builclings of BhecmunJpatn<lm, constructed Dy the municipal <lqminishation through its own eFForts. They mg<ln Iscd su bSC!"iptioncam pa igns For a hospita [, sch 001 J nd ch u reb th roug h one thei I' mem bel'S.

or

, ~"Thc H,)toty or Moqern Andhra Pradesh by P. )~g~nn~clh~ Rao. publisheq in 1997.

The olel Lighthouse This was the Fjrst of eight light houses built along the coast between Cocanada aoq Snkakulam to help the seaborne trade. The structme has remained unchangeq except (or the replacement the older light with a more powerFul one in 1903. It has a circular tower 36 Feet high. The light is visible upto a q ista nee 0(11 miles out at sea qming dear weather, The lighthouse has q halcony with q steel railing around the glass panels (or easier maintenance .

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Lig hthouse

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M un icipa I P<ll·k

"Red Dudcling"

(J

private residence) opposite

VVDA rnim-stadiurn

on Taqarapuvalasa

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3

Mqrketing Cultural products

The Mu n IClpaI Ch<lIrma n at Bhim i!i is now encou ragi ng the local potters to develop <l l:it<lds In day r th<lt can be marketed within <lnd outside the town. It is hoped th<lt this will be an <lctivity th<lt will :jttr,lct tOUI·IStS. he potters have been given <In outlet to clispl<lytheil' G<lft on the Bhimili Beach T 1'0.1<-1, ncar the Dutch cemetery. An exchanqe progr<lm IS being orqanised with the Department at Architecture at Andhra University to allow interaction between the potters "lncl the architecture students The architects learn the skill (rom the potters and the potters learn new designs and new pattems From the architecture students.

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The marketing at cultural objects to tourists has become a prominent component at the tourism industry. When travel! ing, tourists devote approximatelv one-third of their expend iturcs to 'ihoppi li9. HavI119 created new deSigns i11 pottery, the next step 15 peJ"l1::] to Jtttact the tourists r.y . ps
• •


AI"I".lngtng the merchandise in 'I unique w'ly Enhancing the shops with indigenous cultural elements, such a) rqskds, melts, lute cloth, n'ltlvIC costumes aod textiles. l.ocal musIc Coloured interiors for the shop l~ nterns (at the evcninq shoppers ~Isrby samples 2)t local hotels 'Inc! restaurants 'Inc! at bsddis or klmb

4

pl~H1 fat Eco-toutism

vvhat do v«: u ndersta nd by "Ecotou risrn" I M<ll"kB.o~<lms has stud ied severa I deR n rtions. Accord ing to him. the positive images associated with the term 'eco , (o~ example. in ecology, ecosystem. e.:osphere and eco-sensitive com bined with the activity o( tou ns m has created the term .E:::otomi srn. Natl! re- based tau risrn 15 mea nt to be protective o( nature. wh i lst en loyi ng it. Pa'iSlve ecotounsrn seeks to minimise damage .:mel Active ecotourism contributes towards the protection of resources. In some cases, ecotounsm m<ly well be nothing more th"1n a new rnc:p-ketln9 g 1 m m rck wh rch dresses up existing tau risrn attractions 1 n 21 n attempt to I no-ease the market share. It is qesil'able to implement rnanaqernent strateqies which try to shift the 'ecotourist experience' (rom Simple enjoyment and satis(qction through stages of greater understandinq. attitude change and Finally mote environmentally responsible behaviour.

In Bhimili,

what

are the natuJqi resources ?

The seq, the beach. the hills and the vegetation. prc~ervecj.

These can be enjoyed

and these need to be

Cleaning of the beach Tree p L,mting Creating rain-water barvestinq strategies to conserve water Action on the implications of aquaculture in the region A detailed stucly undel't2lken by vtkasa in Bhimili reveals that this l'eglon does not have any shrimp Farms r,ut only 3 small private shrimp-processing unit. This unit obtains q Fresh harvest c1qily From aqu3Farms Jt Kakinqqq, Machdipqtn<lm. Bheernavararn and seasonal catches From jetties and the tlshlng harr,ow at Vtsakbapatnam. A Fqvourable market inFrastructure, hade openings Clnd price envr ron ment are ava ilable in Vizaq. The study states th<lt the impact on socia I envi ron ment is thqt hracklsh water qquaculture has qttr2lded urban entrepreneurs anc! small Farmers have been marglnalised. Although it brings in Gjpit(ll, beneFits to small Hshemen in the rural areas al'e m.rumal The impact on the physical environment is the destruction mangrove Forests. which protect the sho-e (wm erosion and impact of cyclones and conserve the marine Fauna- Excessive pu rn pi ng For aq uacu Iture ca n result in grou ne! water depletion a ne! sa lin ISqtion of su rrou ne!Irlg I,md s ,1 nd (11-1 n klng water sou rces.

Immediate steps :

or

Ecotourism may De developed in Bhimili <llongwith community-based toumm which supports the Iivehhoods of the local people. Inputs are needed F~om environmentalists Iike Green VIsion ~)nd (tom organisations such as vtkasa who understand the needs oFthe Fishing community. the potters and the basket-weavers in Bhimili. It IS with their co-operation that the InFrqstructure Fm these livelihoods can he improved and marketinq systems introduced to Increase their economic levels.

5

Make Beach Umbrellas from Flshermens+satls

The beach at Bhimili needs shelters that provide shade. Whqt should these be?
At Bhcery)lIllip~tnam, 25 km hom Visakhapatnam city, the same beach continues. The hshel"men, when not (Ishing and <It shore make theil"" own shelter to repair their fishing nets next to their anchored boats. These shelters are made with their sales and their oars The oars become the vertical support and the boat sails become the roof These .;jre (ixeq qlon~ the wincl clireciion. 'A sail is not <l sym rnetncal shape un like a conventiona I beach um brelia The Fishermen uSLIa rna ke the sa tls out Ily o( recycled, plastic rice bqgs thal: are opened out and stitcheq to make a sail. it is 'In inexpensive but appropriate solution (or a sail it
C41l

• •

• •

also be an appropriate solution For a new kind of beach umbrella because it can : Provide good shade Withstqnd strong winds It is inexpensive It is locally made, out o( recycled material

A beach umbrella as we conventionallv

know it. is a western concept. It uses metal poles and new plastic sheets. it is therefore also not an environment-tricndlv solution. It is however, collapsible. It ISJ. brge umbrella that can be dosed and stored easily.

Shade f1-omthe Sun

6

Mqke Film shooting areas

into leisure activity zones

',Vh.lt do the local people of Bhimili do on weekends or In their sparetirne? Some say, there IS ilnit:' f1\ll hIt they do love watching the "film shootmqs'. Since Bhlmlil ha') natured r,eautv, rTlany II<U:jL' rill,) dllCctO!'S like to shoot here, It IS a leisure activity for some of the l-c~ldcnt5 o(Bhlmtil to \'hit the most popular shooting spots l.e the Beach, the Erramitti dlDDalu (red earth mounds) "Ind :r;JI\'ld:lai hou~e5. which are usually used (O!' (tim settings, The Red ravines O!' clay dunes are nJtw-::d 'd!-'--'-),1h-H1) Tht~ deep valleys and mounds formed I->y sad erosion and the ,\"Inc\s :::n~atc In "r~~h,l n tt n~ place (or Fil m rna kers

7
Go~

Offer the "Do Nothing" holic\qy

sells Its beaches. Kerala sells its Ayurvedic massages and the backwaters, its greenety and its boats. What should Vizaq sell? Nothing happens here. Thel"e is an innate sense at contentment '>vhlChprevents the local people fwm making ch:mges in theil" lives, tram bringing in a new culture - .1 cu Itu re at (un and enjoyment that thrives on money-spending. !t is not a "happening" place, as most Bombayrtes who have done business here put it. So, why not sell the "not happening" ~henomenon?l Sell the "Do nothing" holiday!

and Vizaq to lido nothinq" to unwind, to relax , f4t aWqy nom the
Come to Bhimili

world you know,
Any visitor to Vizaq and Bhimili would soon realise that the local people are a contented people. So, let's package this "contentment" and sell it to the tourist! An inSight into the way at liFe here, v"hlCh has elsewhere largely disappeared. and which has much of value to otPel" may perhaps lead us to a n a nswe} to how to ma ke Bhimi Ii a tau rist athaction. This cou Id mea n se+ti ng up of medltatton centers and yoga villages in anel around Bhimili. It could mean developinq Health dubs and Beach Spas. It could mean making cott<lges along the eelge of the shore with wooden deck and reclining chairs. Let us explore these possibilities.

(otta':lc~ that are desiqned using indigenous

_..c:.:-~

technologies

-

8.

Design small museums and lodges in the old houses

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'

.

...............

Some of the old houses have little courtyards within them. It may be possible to ~eadapt some of the sroa I I hu ile\! ngs as museums, tau rist lodges or cu rio shops. Some of the loca I residents may be Interested In o(Fe~lng paying guest accommodation to +ou rists. Instead o( building a [2Irge museum (or the town, It may be interesting (or tau rists to visit many small museums designee! within some of the old houses, with arched verandahs and tilecl roofS. A separate stucly IS neecled o( the old houses In Bhim j Ii, to know the spatial patterns, the n iehes, the errtra net's, the (orm ane! cha ~2Ictel'of t he houses a nd the natu re of materia Is usee! in the construction, The small museums could be a Historical Museum, a Port Museum (that tells you about the hl~torv o( the pOi"t :1nd the activttles in the two centuries when Bhimtli was a dutch port), JI1 J I.:.:hl tedUi al COI15CI"VJtlon useum, m a (Ishermen's museum and 50 (1). Pukh records eXist Ll1)td todav that deSGIDe the Technology, the textile production, the Spice hade, Ship-making, Banking huuses. ad rrnnistration and political development in this region d Uf'1 ng the entire period of the d uteh stay on the Coromandel coast. These ca n be stud ied to p repa re the eollectio n (or the
nl useu rns.

9.
A<; ,l

Alternative forms oftoutist transport

designer. one would like the town to stand still In time, so that one can study these difFerent ~ads of the meaningFul whole and bring them into the future designing of am towns. And, also, <o that people can enioy the town and Its beauty For some mare years to come. ln order for the town to stand still in time, we need to prevent further deterioration of the houses and demolition o( the structures. The streets need to be retained without being subieded to "road wideriinq" and ·'development#. However, Development must take place because Bhimili is a living town, with people and they must grow, with the rest of the surrounding towns a nd cities. So, the 'development" here must be diFterent. Development of a town usually implies first the physical development. This would consist of the Reframlng of byelaws, the Repair of the drainage systems. the Waste disposal system, Transportation to the town and within it, the Water supply network and so on. In Bhimili, we must work towards Not "bigger roads" but better wads - a diFferent road system perhaps that IS not motorable but is useable in some parts by a horse-buggy, (or instance. There could be a ring wad a nel some arteria! roads meant (at" vehicular haFFic. Not all roads need to be for cars. Several of the stone-paved. winding sheds can thus be saved and utiliseq by pedestrians only.

10. Whitewqsh old houses in Bhimili
Shimdl h~s an a~chitectura! character 'Inc! urban (ab~ic that is now not seen anymore in Vls~kh~patnam .::mc!even less in the !a~ge~ cities like Bombay and Delhi, Bhimili still has tileq roof houses, vera nc!ahs with ta;peh ng colu m ns a; nd wi ndi ng streets, These el ements give it a cha rrn that holds history within it and an aesthetic that we are becoming less and less Familiar with. It costs little to whitewash a small house and yet it can make so much diFFerence to the town.

Can we undertake this task for 20 houses to begin with?

( I. I

-

,~-------~~ ~-..

DEVELOPMENT
Inf1.c;shuctute development

&: Tourism

WHY? Is the existing inh'astructure adequate Fm the present local population? IF we expect the town of Shimi Ii to have more visitors and to have mote tourists, we must understand iF the present In fi.::Jshuciu re avai la ble wi I! su (fiee For this Futme A oati ng popu !ation. Perhaps, the pu b!ic tra nsportatron to Bhlmi!i From Visakhapatnam could be improved, public toilets are needed, water supply systems need to be improved and adequate 9qrbage disposal systems to be devised <lnci Implemented. HOWl How much of the mFrashucture needs to be chanqed or improved? Maybe the sheets Gill be retained without being subjectecl to 'road widening' or 'development'. However, development must take place because Bhimili is q 'living town'. 50, development here must be diFFerent. Development of a town usually implies, the phYSical development. This would consist of reF!"aming the byelaws, the repair of clrainage systems, the waste disposal system, transportation to the town and within it, the water supply network and so on.
In Bhlmlll, it is imperative to not work towards 'bigger roads' but better roads - a cliFFerent road system perhaps that is not rnotorab!e but IS useable In some parts by a horse-buqqy or q rickshaw, For Instance. There could be a ring road and some arterial roads meant For vehicular tramc. Not ali roads need to be For cars. Several of the stone-paved, wincling streets can thus be saved and utilised r.y pedestrians only.

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Entrepreneurship development
WHY?

If Bhimth isto become a tourist destination. it is the loeql people who

must

benefit HtSt.

There will be many small enterprises needed to support a tourist town. It could be a restaurant. 'I cofFee-shop, a CI"'IFts entre, a travel <lgency, q tourist information orflce, a bus service, a taxi service. c a medical shop and so on. With the help of NGO's workinq in this I'egion, the locq! youth can be encouraged to start some of these small businesses.
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Can we create a lively bazaar that houses many of these small enterprises anq that wiIl be a place for social Interaction and cultural activities?
TOUl"IStsusually enjoy spending thej~ evenings in a Bazaa~, to shop (ot" crafts or to savour the local cuisine. And, fm foreign tourists, the bazaar has always been an exciting experience. In India, you don't have to visit Museums to see art. A walk thwugh a market in qny village, town or city in l!ld ia wou Id esta blish the fqet that here, a rt is indeed a way Iife. It is not easy to rqthom what th Is way of liFe is, It 15 qiFficult to define it. It is a complex but very thoughtFully developed way th3t rasci nates and enth ra 115 as you u ndersta nd it better. !n the market or 'b<lza<l ', there is art <l nq r culture evident in the mannerisms at the vendors and the buyers, in the costumes, in the baskets that hold the goods, in the wares that are sold, whether it is Rowers or camphor. It may be possible to recreate tbts aesthetic once again For the town at Bhimili, an aesthetic thqt is native to the region, that cannot be uprooted for use elsewhere.

or

BHIMILI

...

wh'tt it is, and

what it can

be ...

You are heading towards Bhimili and then suddenly you realise you are already into the town. There is a biFurcation at the entry point. You wandel' which way to go. No signboards I'ight now. A ':10od map at this point and the tourist would be enthusiastic about explorinq the place. Bhimili looks beauti FuI From the top oFthe hill nea rby. But, it wi II be a wh iIe beFore you get to the hill IF you arnve by eat', you cirive around the town a little before you can decide what to cia anci where to stop. Mostly, <lvisitor must bring with him someone From Viz<lg or elsewhere, who has been to Bhimili beFore. They will usually take you hrst towards the Clock Tower, then to the Municipal O(hce and the Port O(f[ce. These are the herrtaqe buildings in the town and you make your First stop here to look at the most serene and beautiFul sight of the river meeting the sea. After h<lVing absorbed the beauty of the estuary, you either stroll into the Gautarn Boat house or begin to drive around the town <lga.in. Here is where you would [ike to be (01' yoUI' 'do nothing hal iday'. with cottages A oaf ng on a ba rge Or thatched huts along the waterfront. with benches a nd an avenue of trees along this stretch <lnd perhaps a Coconut grove (or a scintill<lting music evening.

Yom FHends F!"Om Vizaq will show you the "clutch cemetery'on Beach wad, which has few dutch tombs. The older dutch cemetery at kumarapalern IS seldom visited by tourists. This cemetery can be landscaped well with a little c<lFetaria of aiel-world charm close to the cemetery <lnd it would become <I n Interesting place Fortourists to visit. Usually, you would drive into the center of the town, which has interestingly, the unoFFicial busstop, Five barber shops, tea-stalls qne! what-not. This is the place to interacr with people. The old municipal choulhy or dharamshala (qces this central space. Here, it would be, good to have little shelters with tilee! roots For people to rest whilst they walt. !Fyou have read abo.rt the history of the town beFore you arrive, of course, you know what to see and where to go. Walking through the sheets is the only way to Feel the character of the town. There are a Few ole! houses and some structures which are now in ruins. You would dnve down to see the St.Peters church. A landscapinq plan For the surroundings of the church would make it a good pl<lce to spend a quiet morning or a corrternplative evening.
A<; you walk or qrlve around, you also come across the "pucca structures - the modem, box-like RCC slab roof houses which pierce qimlessly into the historic aur::j of the pl<lce. Two old houses and one new house, a nd then, one aiel white-washed Iitt!e structu te and then <igain, fau r new houses

down a sheet that is still covered with stone paving sorneplaces. Suddenly, you see a street corner made of a whitewashed aiel house, <In open drain anc! <I thatched hut. These sheet cornet's can be ,'edeslgned to retain the beautiFul parts of the old house and to I ncorporate in the plan, little elements that enhance the corner, maybe a bench. maybe a patch of green, maybe a stone sculpture or perhaps, a drinking water fountain In stone. A tea-stall or a paan shop could be planned to have tiled roots - country tiles, and white walls WIth little niches I n the style of the vcrandahecl houses of the town.

People who spoke/wrote for this book are v.Rarnesh
Madhu Nair Adlnarayana Rao Ravishankar Patnaik B,Suresh Banashree B<l erjee n Ch<litanya
GI rqa

Joh nson Titus S, BaiaSubr::)mqnyam Oliver R3;yl

qnd others

Thls booklet has been based on l.aune Baker's report on Alleppey in kerala. Kanaka Durqeswara RJo & Prasad Kumar Swain, Hrst yeat" students at the Fine Arts Dept. o( Andhra University In Vls<lkhap<ltn<lm have made the numerous sketches (or the booklet. When we started the booklet on Bhimili, we wanted to explore the town and know the people who knew the town. We will continue our search (or history 'Inc! (01· (un whilst holic!aying in Bhimill and hope that you will too.

....___~.,,-.
,

:..

Send your thoughts,
Ki fa n Keswa n I'
A'chltc(:\ & V,b~n Deslgllet

corrections,

anq suggestions

to :

B-1 Ma nasa apts.

·ro Dutch Layout
Visakhapatnarn - 530017 ph : 0891-533567 E IT) 'I iI kr ra n keswa n i@recijA1n<lil.com