About 100 to 115 kms from Vizag (Visakhapatnam) lies Araku Valley, situated at a height of 600 and 900 metres above the sea level. Though it’s an all year round destination, I recommend monsoons as a good time to visit Araku. The drive up the Ghats amongst the mist and clouds with the backdrop of the lush greenery is a perfect breather for a weekend.
Araku offers a much needed weekend break. It’s neither too far nor too close to the city and I have personally liked Araku for a day trip as well. You can visit the Tribal Centre, which is a museum created by the tribals themselves. You can pick up souvenirs from the museum gift shop. Araku is a neat place for trekking. You may come across lots of tunnels and bridges en route.
Places to see
You will cross Ananthagiri Hills en route Araku, which is known for coffee plantations.
I recommend that you visit Borra Caves first and then go to Araku. Borra Caves is situated 29 kms from Araku Valley. Borra Caves is one of the largest natural limestone caves in Asia.
Don’t miss this place. I also recommend that you hire a guide for round about Rs. 30/- and he will show you around in the cave with a torch.
You can see various rock formations by water falling on the stones for several years. You can also see beautiful stalagmites and stalactites and this place is a wonder for all geography students and professors!
As soon as you step outside Borra Caves, you will find an APTDC run restaurant called Harita. Its USP – great food and courteous staff – I don’t think you want to miss it.
Where to Stay
You can contact the Central Reservation Manager
Central Reservation Office, No 46A, RTC Complex,
Jungle Bells Nature Camp
Phone: 0891-2713135/ 2746446
Aerocon Cottages (4) Rs.450/- per day
Wooden Loghuts (2) Rs.500/- per day
Log huts (2) Rs.400/- per day
How to get there:
Air: Visakhapatnam airport is at a distance of 112 kms.
Rail: Araku has a railhead. Otherwise, Visakhapatnam Railway Station is about 136 kms from Araku.
Road: You can drive up from Visakhapatnam or take an APTDC Bus
Best time to visit:
Araku Valley is an all-year-round destination, but best visited during monsoons.