So after an amazing journey via train you will reach Araku. Situated at an altitude of about 3000mts above sea level, Araku is a well know part of the Ananthagiri Mountain Ranges on the Eastern Ghats. Araku is habitat to mostly tribals and all the land, assets belong to them. Most of the administrative work is done by ITDA or Integral Tribal Development Authority.
You’ll realize that you’ve come to a great place just after exiting the railway station, tall Eucalyptus trees swaying in the cool breeze. Araku itself doesn’t have many places to visit. Few of the places include a botanical garden which is more of a forest with name plates on each plant/tree. Apart from flowers, plants you can also come across some strange looking insects, like the one below. You need to keep your eyes open to spot this one.
Next is the Tribal Museum which is located in the heart of the town. The museum has an entry fee of Rs 40 for adults and Rs 20 for children. Cameras are allowed inside the campus but you CANNOT use the cameras inside the buildings. Boating is available too. Inside the buildings you will learn about the lifestyle of tribals. The walls have good Worli paintings. there are shops selling souvenirs.
Post the museum, we had lunch at the Haritha Resort that is just behind the museum. The lunch was a simple vegetarian buffet very high on taste ! Post lunch there was a performance by the tribals.
There is a coffee shop before the resort which sells freshly ground coffee powder, coffee chocolate and coffee beverages. Post this wou could take a drive to Burra Caves. On the hilly roads, you’ll come across Coffee plantations and Pepper plantations. after a short drive you’ll reach a “view point” which is apparently the highest point in Araku with an altitude of 3700mts above sea level.
After driving for about an hour, you’ll reach the famous Borra caves. To give a brief intro, these caves are naturally formed and are rich in calcium. The caves are about 280mft deep and the entrance itself is about 100ft. There is an entrance fee of 40 Rs for adults and 25 Rs for a tablet, mobile are free to carry.
One surely needs good stamina to go around the cave. It has lots of steps that just keep going down and down. So if you are a heart patient, have breathing problem or are an expecting mother then please take care and don’t overdo.
The caves are beautiful and cool, the deeper you go the cooler it gets. A lot of beautiful natural formation of rocks is visible. Plus the lighting makes it amazing. At a point there is a small opening which leads to another cave, at first I backed off thinking that I would get stuck 😛 but people told it isn’t that small (maybe I’m not that huge) to get inside. But once on the other side, it’s simply amazing. Though at one point the smell of Bats could be irritating.
And as usual in India, if you see a rock, it is ought to be a form of God-(Remember PK ? Aamir just puts a rock with pan on it and people start praying) there is a small temple at the top, I didn’t go there but just heard from other who went upstairs. One of the best part about the caves is the belief, the locals believe that there was a shepherd who lost his coward started searching. When he reached the top of the mountain, he sea a hole and realized his cow had fallen down and thus the hole at the top.
So that’s brings to the end of series of posts on Visakhapatnam, Places to visit In and Around Visakhapatnam – Araku and Burra caves. So I hope you enjoyed the whole experience. As always if you want to share your experience, have feedback, suggestions, corrections do let me know !