If you want to rest in the serenity of nature and enjoy the undulating meadows with the cool breeze of the mountain, Araku is the best place for you. It is basically a tribal village of Andhra Pradesh and an offbeat weekend destination for the people live in near Orissa and Andhra. But, the mesmerizing beauty of the valley now attracts the tourists from all over India. I visited this place during my College excursion. It was a memorable trip for me as I enjoyed it with a gang of friends
On the way to Araku:
We started our journey from Kolkata by Coromandel Express and reached at Visakhapattanam on the next day morning. We took the typical South Indian breakfast with the Idli and bada. It’s quite unnatural for the people of Eastern India to adopt the South Indian food, easily. So, the idlis couldn’t satisfy our stomach with its taste.
We bored to the meter-gauge train to reach Araku. It was an adventurous journey as the train crossed 58 tunnels and 84 bridges of the Eastern Ghats Hill range. The tunnels were so scary that we screamed in a loud voice to share our panic from the unknown darkness of the tunnels. Every time, as the train crossed the tunnel, a mesmerizing scenery of lush green Anantaghiri forest and sparkling waterfalls amazed us with its beauty. I’m sure if you travel this route, you couldn’t wink for a moment when you cross the forest.
The train was packed with the people of the remote villages of Andhra, located at different places of Anantagiri hill. They got surprised to see such large group of girls, especially, who are not like them in terms of looks and language. They asked us so many questions in their native language ( probably Telegu) that we didn’t understand. We couldn’t communicate with them as they are unable to express their words in English or Hindi.
Our Araku Days:
Experiencing Tribal Culture:
We reached at Araku in the afternoon after 5 hrs of amazing journey. After taking lunch, we went for a stroll. We visited a Tribal museum and some shops of local handicrafts. The valley is basically a tribal village and covered with the emerald Anantagiri forest. The Araku Tribal Museum houses enriched with tribal tradition and number of artifacts and displays related to Eastern Ghat Tribal Culture. The evening falls fast in the hilly regions. There is no activity in the evening in such tribal village. We came back our hotel. A surprise was waiting for us in the hotel. And it was a Campfire with the tribal dance. Patralekha Mam (Lecturer of our College) arranged all of this for us. It was an amazing experience to dance with the tribal women in the rhythm of Dhimsa. It reminds me the scene of the Bengali film, “Aguntuk”, where the actress Mamta Shankar performed a dance with the tribal women. I never thought that I can do it the same once.
Next day morning, we went for the sightseeing. We visited Padmapuran Botanical garden. The garden was riched with the unique floras and beautiful flowers. We spent a lot of time here as it was an excursion tour of Botany. There was a wonderful treehouse in the garden. We loved it so much and decided that we must come here for our honeymoon trip and will stay in this treehouse. It’s so funny and now it makes me smile.
After taking lunch, we visited some coffee plantations and some beautiful waterfalls on the way. Then we came to the Galikonda viewpoint. It’s beautiful viewpoint from where you can experience a panoramic view of the valley in the canvas of Anantagiri hills. We reached hotels in the evening. The cook made a delicious Bamboo chicken for us in the dinner. It is a must-have dish in Araku.
Next day morning we went to Vizag via Borra caves. The caves in Anantagiri hills are located at the 36km distance from Araku. These are the oldest cave in the Asia and largest cave in India. It is a splendid creation of nature. The caves were formed when the river waters flow through a limestone area and the calcium carbonate turns into calcium bicarbonate, which is easily washed out by the running water.The most striking feature of the caves is its delicate variety of speleothems ranging in size and irregularly shaped stalactites and stalagmites. The Breathtaking beauty of the hilly terrain, mesmerizing landscape, lush green moist deciduous forests, and wild fauna of the Borra Caves are a visual feast for the tourist and a great place of photography.We enjoyed the trekking in the mystic caves.
It was really an awe-inspiring journey for me. The beauty of forests, hills, caves and the waterfalls content my heart and soul. Hence, bidding adieu to Araku was really touch for me.
- Best time to visit: Summer and Autumn
- Always carry cash as there is no ATM facility.
- Carry medicines.
- Please behave well with tribal villagers.
Theme: OFFBEAT TRAVEL DESTINATIONS OF INDIA