Monday, July 15, 2024

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Araku Valley

Place : Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Altitude : 3200 ft above the sea level
Temperature : Summers: 28°C°- 18°C ; Winters: 23°C to 5°C.
Significance : Famous for Borra Caves
Best Season : November to February
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Araku Valley, one of the state's most sought-after travel destinations in the state of Andhra Pradesh is a perfect destination for people opting for off-beat holidays. It is situated in the Eastern Ghats, it is 30km north from Borra caves and 112 km southeast of Vishakhapatnam close to the Odisha state border. Eventhough, the valley has immense tourism potential, it is one of the least polluted and less commercialized tourist destinations in South India.

Popularly known as Andhra Ooty, it attracts people, mainly from Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Stands at an elevation of approximately 3200 ft, the Anantagiri Reserved Forest and Sunkrimetta Reserved Forest are a part of this valley. The Raktkonda, Sunkrimetta, Chitamogondi and Galikonda mountains (highest mountain in Andhra Pradesh) form a protective wall around the valley.

Spreads over an area of 36sq. kms, the Araku Valley is blessed with pleasant climate, lush greenery, waterfalls and streams.

Known for their distinctive cultures, festivals and outfits, the valley is the home to many indigenous tribal communities. Their ancient culture is also summed up in a tribal museum here. They are also known for their hospitality. The tourism deparment conducts a demonstraton of Dhimsa - a traditional folk dance known for its rhythmic beats and colour of the region perform by the native Adivasis to entertain tourists.

There are few sightseeing spots in Araku valley like Tribal museum, Padmapuram Gardens, a botanical garden, Coffee museum and Borra Caves. The natural beauty of the valley is the main attraction. There are also quite a few streams and waterfalls hich which are visited by tourists. The Sangda waterfalls and Katiki waterfalls are some among them.

The valley is perfect place for a trekers also and the area offers several interesting trails. One can trek through the Ghat road amidst thick forests and visit the hill top. Trek to Sangda waterfalls and Katiki waterfalls are very popular.

The million year-old limestone Borra Caves, at a height of 1400 mts above sea level and occupying an area of 2 square kilometers is filled with fascinating stalagmite and stalactite formations of calcium deposits. The Gosthani river flows through the caves between the formations. This natural caves were discovered in1807 by William King George of the Geological Survey of India. Among the formations can be found a 'Shivalingam' and an idol of a cow (Kamadhenu) which has given a religious significance to it. The caves are beautiful and are brightly illuminated.There is a small temple at the top as well. The best time to visit the caves is November- December.

The Araku Tribal Museum is situated very close to the Bus terminus and the Mayuri Hill Resort managed by APTDC. It is a 10-acre Museum, established in 1996. Built with mud and clay, it houses rich tribal tradition and number of artifacts and displays related to Eastern Ghat Tribal Culture like clothes, utensils, musical instruments weapons etc. Chaaparai, a picturesque place about 15 km from Araku is another picnic spot in this region.

The museum also encompasses a Tribal Art and Crafts Centre, where workshops and exhibitions are held regularly. In the museum, accommodation facilities, eateries and stores selling indigenous souvenirs like handicrafts items made by the tribes can be found. Timings - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day , Public Holidays: 9.00 AM - 6.00 PM. No photography is allowed.

Araku Valley has a pleasant climate throughout the year, which is neither too hot nor too cold. However, the best time to visit is from November to February, the perfect for trekking and spending the day outdoors exploring the valley.