A brilliant lion, one eye painted a striking green and the other blue, stares at us as we drive past the Government General Hospital, while a horse curves its head gracefully on the next wall. A little way away, jackals roam the landscape, while storks settle into a tree, silhouetted against a bright orange setting sun, for the night.
These are some of the paintings that have sprung up on the walls of Vijayawada’s public buildings in the last few days, as the municipal corporation has undertaken a drive to beautify the city.
This is part of the Swachh Vijayawada initiative, and as many as fourteen artists have been roped in to transform the city. B Ganapathi Rao, who is supervising the artists, said that almost all major buildings in the city will sport these paintings. "The themes selected by the authorities showcase nature, wildlife and local culture," he said.
The walls of three major canals in the city – Ryves, Bandar and Eluru – are also being transformed.
Earlier in October, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu made a surprise visit to the city to inspect the state of sanitation and the roads. He had recommended that relevant authorities should take steps to beautify canals and public walls.
Koneru Sreedhar, mayor of Vijayawada, told TNM, "The CM, at the time of his inspection, suggested we take measures to transform the city. Many walls were looking dull, while some even had graffiti scribbled on them. The newly-painted art will not only make the city look beautiful but will change its vibe too."
The paintings have already captured the attention of people, and several youngsters were seen taking photos in front of them.
The mayor also said that the city will have designated selfie spots soon, but a detailed plan is yet to be worked out.