As we traveled by the train from Vishakapatnam to Araku,our excitement knew no bounds.
The long train weaved in and out of the many tunnels along the route and we screamed for fun whenever we passed through the pitch dark tunnels.
Araku valley was considered to be an offbeat place in those days and not many people used to visit it. So there weren’t many options available when it came to accommodations. During a time when home-stays were not heard off ,a kind acquaintance of ours invited us to stay with them for the entire duration of the trip.
We rented bicycles and rode around the valley exploring the nearby villages. The valley was covered in mist and small stalls serving hot tea and snacks opened up early in the morning. Most of the day was spent leisurely strolling around, playing with the fluffiest most chubby puppies we had set our young eyes on or cycling casually in the valley. We were lucky enough to witness the celebrations of the tribal people who lived there performing their famous dhimsa dance; they also sprinkled water that was presumably mixed with plant dyes as we passed by and asked for coins in exchange.
There is a special museum showcasing the lifestyle of the tribes that live there, their artwork, cooking utensils, their head-gear etc. The museum is spread over two levels and is quite unique as it has been constructed with mud and clay.
Our host had children who were our age which worked out great for us since we had playmates throughout our stay at Araku. The next day our host took us as well as our playmates to chaparai waterfalls, it wasn’t exactly a waterfall in context of height; it was more of a stream cascading over smooth rocks. We were lucky to be the only ones there and we spent the entire day frolicking in the water and had a small picnic on the banks of the river.
I hear its overcrowded these days and could use some cleaning up, thanks to all the litter left behind on the banks by inconsiderate tourists.
Araku valley is perfect for just relaxing and enjoying the simple things in life. Located just 115 km away from Vishakhapatnam, it can be reached by bus, train and the newly introduced vistadome coaches which are glass roof coaches that provide a panoramic view while traveling to Araku.
Borra caves are also a must see while visiting either Araku or Vizag as they’re one of the largest cave systems in India.Home to irregularly shaped stalactites and stalagmites it was discovered in 1807 by William King. The caves are open from 10 am -5 pm with lunch break from 1pm -2pm.
Araku valley is definitely one of my favorite places that i have been to as a child and i am curious to see how it has changed as time has passed; Has it been exploited by the uncountable hotels and resorts that seem to be springing up like mushrooms or have they managed to preserve the integrity of this place that was once only frequented by the zany traveler, who visited and quietly went by without disturbing the balance of this place.