If you are planning a trip to Andhra Pradesh and wish to spend a couple of days in a blissful location, then you must include Araku Valley in your travel itinerary. It is an exceptionally amazing hill station in Vishakhapatnam, blessed with breathtaking landscapes, lush greenery, coffee plantations, million year old caves and spectacular waterfalls. With its scenic beauty and pleasant weather, Araku Valley is recognized as one of the top places to visit in Andhra Pradesh. This less commercialized hill station is also a home to several tribal communities who cultivate the finest organic coffee in the country that has created ripples in the global market. Araku Valley is an ideal location for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. Listed below are some of the best places to visit in Araku Valley for a memorable weekend getaway.
Places to Visit in Araku Valley
Araku Valley is a small hill town, and if you have a time constraint, the travel schedule can be modified and the sightseeing of major places can be completed even in a one day trip; but, ensure that you never miss the following must-visit places.
1. Borra Caves – a Tempting Travel through Time
Located at 90 km from Vizag, the Borra Caves can be reached in 3 hours by train. The caves are located at a short walking distance from the Borra Guhalu railway station. The naturally formed caves which are believed to be 150 million years old were discovered by the British Geologist William King in 1807. The caves are located in the Ananthagiri Hill ranges of Eastern Ghats at an altitude ranging from 800 to 1300 meters. The length of the caves is about 200 meters but you have to trek a distance of 350 meters inside the caves to explore it fully. The interiors of the caves are well illuminated with color lights and every sight inside are absolutely amazing.
The stalactites and stalagmites formations in the caves appear in different shapes and people give them different names of gods and goddesses based on their imaginations. It is stunning to see a brain-shaped stalagmite formation at the center portion of the caves. Excavations by the Anthropologists of Andhra University have discovered stone tools dating back to 30,000 to 50,000 years indicating human habitations. A naturally formed Shivalinga deep inside the caves attracts thousands of tribal people who visit there during every Shivaratri festival. Borra caves are undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in India.
2. Katiki Waterfalls – Silky Canvas on the Lap of Nature
Katiki waterfall is located at about 4 km from Borra Caves and one need to travel by jeep through a narrow, rugged and tricky road, followed by another half an hour trek to reach the base of the waterfall. The trekking is quite tough and not recommended for elderly people and young children. The waterfall, which has its source from Gosthani River, appears like a white silky canvas spread from a height of over 50 feet and offers a stunning view. There is a water pool at the base where the visitors can take bath.
Outside the Borra Caves and on the way to the Katiki Falls, there are several small shops where the local tribes sell delicious bamboo chicken. To prepare this oil-free dish, small pieces of chicken marinated in spices are stuffed inside a bamboo stalk and roasted over a slow wood fire.
3. Galikonda View Point – Most Scenic and Mesmerizing
Araku town is still 30 km away. You can travel by taxi and on the way you can view the Ananthagiri Coffee Plantations and the Galikonda View Point. Galikonda View Point, located at an altitude of 4320 feet above MSL, offers spectacular views of the entire valley, misty mountains, railway tracks, and cottages. You can enjoy the enchanting scenic beauty and capture some memorable photographs. It is a photographer’s paradise and one of the best places to visit in Araku Valley.
4. Coffee House & Museum – An Aromatic Trip
Araku Valley India is renowned for its coffee plantations that produce the globally famed premium organic Araku Emerald brand coffee. The Araku Valley Coffee House located behind the APRTC bus station at Araku is more of a museum, which will take you through the history of coffee plantations in India, Africa, and European countries. The Light and Sound show for 15 minutes will be absolutely an enthralling experience. At the coffeehouse, you can have the best cup of coffee you have ever sipped and the best coffee flavored chocolate cake you have ever tasted.
5. Tribal Museum – an Insight into the Tribal Heritage
Very near to the Coffee Museum is the Tribal Museum, which is one of the most important places to visit in Araku Valley. Built in 1996, the museum reflects the traditional lifestyle, culture, and customs of the native tribes of the region. The museum displays some rare artifacts belonging to the tribal culture of the Eastern Ghats. A kitchen displays utensils made of mud and iron. Walls of the museum are adorned with drawings and artwork made by tribals. The museum also displays beautiful models of the tribal dances Dhimsa and Mayur with their colorful traditional attires. It has a Tribal Arts and Crafts Centre which promotes and showcases the unique tribal art of the region. An artificial pond inside the Tribal Museum complex is provided with paddle boating facility.
6. Padmapuram Gardens – Fascination of Hanging Huts
About 2.5 km from the Tribal Museum is the Padmapuram Gardens, which is one of the wonderful places to visit in Araku Valley. The hanging cottages are the main attraction of the Garden. These tree houses are built 10 feet above ground level and offer a thrilling experience. The garden has varieties of plants and trees, orchards, flowers, a rose garden and several beautiful sculptures that attract visitors of all age. A toy train is provided for the visitors to go around the garden.
7. Chaparai Water Cascade – Cool and Relaxing
Chaparai water cascade at Dumbriguda is located 15 km away from Araku Valley town. It is not exactly a waterfall but endless streams of water flowing across wide rock formations, which everyone can enjoy. The beauty of water gushing through natural rocks is an exciting sight. Surrounded by lush green forest and refreshing landscapes all around, this beautiful picnic spot is one of the most visited Araku valley tourist places and also a preferred shooting location for Telugu filmmakers. The rainy season may be avoided because the high water flow will be dangerous.
How to Reach Araku Valley?
Araku valley is located at about 120 km from Vishakapatanam and can be reached by rail or road. Most people prefer to travel by train because the rail passes through a number of tunnels and bridges that make it an exciting journey. There is a passenger train from Vizag to Araku, leaving Vizag in the morning hours. Depending on the travel plan, one can get down at Borra Guhalu station, and commence the Araku Valley trip from the Borra caves.
You can also enjoy an exciting journey by road, by taxi or own vehicle. Another alternative is to opt for the 1-day or 2-day rail-cum-road tour package organized by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC).
Where to Stay?
Apart from two APTDC resorts, there are many other hotels and resorts in Araku Valley suitable for all budgets. Haritha Valley Resort, Haritha Mayuri Resort, Tribal Cottage, Dhimsa Resort, Ushodaya Resort, Punnami Hill Resort, Holiday Inn Vihar, etc., are some of the best options for a comfortable stay. It is suggested to book the rooms in advance, especially during the peak seasons.
When to Visit?
The best time to visit Araku Valley is the winter season, from October to February, when the temperature is at its lowest. The day temperature will come down to 20 to 25 Degrees and the nights become very cool with temperature going below 10 Degrees. It is the peak season and the best time to cover all major places to visit in Araku Valley. The Monsoon season is between June to September when the valley will be in its full glory with lush greenery all around and abundance of water in the waterfalls. However, frequent rainfalls will make the trip challenging and adventurous. Lone travelers who seek some solitude may prefer this season. During the summer season, from March to May, the day temperature may go up to 30 to 35 degrees, though the night will be slightly cooler and comfortable. Those who stay in cities and yearn to escape from its scorching heat and seek some solace in the lap of nature for a day or two prefer summer season.
Whichever time you visit Araku valley Vizag, do not forget to sip the finest cup of Araku coffee which has spread its aroma in Paris, and taste the unique bamboo chicken, the delicious delicacy of Araku Tribals, which will make you addicted to this beautiful hill station.