Ever thought of going on a detox vacation. Away from the mundane routine life. No Traffic. No Stress. Araku valley, located in Andhra Pradesh could be your answer. Referred to as the “Ooty of Andhra Pradesh “, it is situated 120 km away from Vishakapatnam. The ideal time to backpack and explore the valley is from November to February. Tourists can reach the valley either by road from Vishakapatanam which will take an hour. If you feel queasy in the car you can also board a train from Vishakhapatnam which will take about 3 hours to reach your destination.
What makes Araku Valley so Alluring?
Located amidst Raktakonda, Galikonda and Chitamogondi, the valley could well be a set for a filmmaker. Situated in the lap of nature, the place is worth exploring. The deep valleys, gurgling streams, waterfalls and lofty mountains mesmerize the visitors. The colourful fields of paddy, sunflower and mustard are a visual delight. The valley is also home to tribal communities who continue to follow their ancient traditions. Araku valley is also known for its coffee plantations. The coffee from here is exported to Paris.
Plan your visit in Araku Valley
Araku valley is a haven of picturesque spots. Some of the must do and must see places are described.
Visit Borra Caves– They are located 35 KM away from the valley. Estimated to be almost 150 million years old, borra means a hole in the Oriya language. The caves have beautiful Stalactites and Stalagmites. An interesting fact is that
tourists have their own versions of the figures formed by the stalactites and Stalagmites. Some see cows, some interpret it as birds, while there are some others who see gods and goddesses in these formations. There are fascinating stories about the discovery of these caves. The most popular one is how a cow had fallen into the caves and was miraculously alive. The APTDC runs a light and sound show inside the caves and initiatives have been undertaken to develop the place further.
Must visit the Coffee Museum- If you are a coffee lover, then this place is a must visit. Visitors can experience different flavours of coffee from all across the globe. While sipping on aromatic coffee one can go through the narrative of how coffee came all the way from Ethiopia to Araku valley.
The snack bar, souvenir store, and the tribal craft store are added attractions of the museum. Don’t forget to indulge in the yummy coffee flavored chocolates and confectioneries.
Plan a picnic at Chaparai Waterfall– If picnicking is on your mind then head to the scenic spot around the Chaparai Waterfalls. If you are adventurous types you can take a dip in the chill water.
At a distance of just 15 km from Araku Valley, the place offers a breathtaking view of nature. One has to hire a car or taxi to get to this place. The road trip is worth it as one gets to see lush greenery all around. The serene atmosphere and incredible weather make this an ideal outing for visitors.
Must eat the Bamboo Chicken – This lip-smacking tribal delicacy cannot be missed by meat lovers. Locally it is known as “Bongulo Chicken”.
Chicken pieces are marinated with spices and herbs local to the valley and then stuffed in the open end of a green bamboo. It is then placed on fire from the woods and cooked until the bamboo turns black in colour which indicates that the dish is ready to savour.
Other places of interest are Padmanabhan gardens and the Tribal Museum. If you enjoy trekking then Araku Valley is an ideal place. A road trip is a great idea as you cross the coffee plantations on the Anantgiri hills. Don’t forget to count the 46 tunnels you cross when on a train journey from Vishakapatnam to Araku.
Featured Photo by Sarath.kuchi