The 150 year old Ayurvedic shop in the city of Vizag

oldest stores, visakhapatnam

Having retained its old-time look, charm and values, the Ayurvedic shop of Pacchipulusu Venkata Sannaiah continues to be a landmark on Kurupam market main road for the past 150 years in Vizag.

It’s just one among the many small shops that line the main road near Kurupam market. But ask anyone, right from auto drivers to Vizag’s old-timers and locals in the region, and they will helpfully guide you towards the shop. An antique-looking store with a board proclaiming it to be the ‘Pachipulusu Venkata Sannaiah & Son’ ayurveda shop meets the eye. With two customers waiting at the entrance, a man with a long beard sits at the counter and introduces himself as Pacchipulusu Venkata Rama Satya Sannaiah. He is the third-generation owner of this store and shares that it was started in 1850 by his grandfather Sri Pacchipulusu Venkata Sannaiah. It was later manned by his father, his brother and now him. ‘I have been here since 1975’, he states adding that he has seen Vizag grow ever since.

But more than business interests, one can easily make out that this tiny shop is more about upholding traditions. From ever since the store started, it has been selling Ayurvedic medicines, chemicals for fireworks and puja samagri for ceremonies and functions like house warming and marriages to even uncommon ones such as dhvaja stambham for temples. ‘We have a range of usual and unusual products, and procure everything from different parts of the country’ he reveals. He also adds that his customers come from different walks of life, diverse age groups and some come from different states and countries too.

An MD in Ayurvedic Medicine, he explains that the knowledge is generational, and he learnt it from his forefathers. In the process of now training his son, Venkata Rama conveys that customers come for various items, and Ayurvedic medicine enjoys equal popularity. Ranging from bath ingredients for babies to treatments for various health conditions, they offer herbs, roots and drugs; charging only for the product and not for consultation. They are also the licensed sellers for sulphur and salt peter, chemicals, special herbs and fireworks.

The store is a window into our traditional past. ‘The revenue isn’t much’ he admits, ‘but is enough to feed my family and that of the four workers I hire’. He also stresses on the importance of quality and says that they get only the best items and use them during the time frame they’re meant to be used in.

‘We don’t compromise on quality, as that is of utmost importance when it comes to Ayurveda’.

Talking of future plans he says that the store is being run in the same way as it was 150 years ago, and that wouldn’t change.  Occupying the same space, he would perhaps renovate the interiors and take up the necessary repairs. Most importantly, he says, that like his forefathers, he too would maintain the quality and variety, making this a shop that stands the test of time in Vizag.

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