Monday, September 14, 2009
Araku Valley and Borra cave – Travel information
In Odissi language Araku means red clay or soil. Araku is the land of red soil. Araku Valley is located on the Visakhapatnam-Kirandaul branch railway line, 118 km off from Visakhapatnam, 85 km before Koraput at an altitude of 1166 metre. Under the shade of silver oak, pine and eucalyptus trees, the quiet and colorful Araku Valley is unique.
Surrounded by five hillocks the picturesque beauty of Araku Valley offers serenity. In winter the temp is 4° C and during summer it is 34° C. The climate is moderate. The highest Peak is 1700 meter high Galikonda, i.e, hills of air. Sunset in Araku is a wonderful experience.
The beauty of the road is unparallel. Bonda. Maris, Muria, Gond and other 19 tribes live here. Apart from natural beauty, Araku is also blessed with the talent of singing, dance and music, particularly Dhimsa & Peacock dance of tribals.
What to see in Araku valley:
Now-a-days potteries, silks are being produced in Araku. Opposite to Punnami Hotel there is a Tribal Museum, a symbol of tribal culture.
One may visit Padmapuram, Orchard with an area of 26 acre developed in 1942 about 5 km away from here. 35 species of roses along with numerous trees & plants, herbs with medicinal value are grown here. An amusement park for children is also there. Accommodation is also available in the Tree House.
The beauty of Chhaprai Shooting Spot at a distance of 15 km is eye soothing.
Tourist department offers Araku Valley package tour from Visakhapatnam.
60 km ahead of Visakhapatnam in the midst of fascinating nature nestled in Eastern Ghat, Anantagiri Hill Station at an altitude of 1168 meter may also be visited. The main attraction is a cave made of lime stone created by drops of water on the lime. The largest railway bridge 1 ½ km is on the Kolba river of Anantagiri. Coffee is also produced here.
Accommodation is available at Traveler's Bungalow.
Bora Cave: On Visakhapatnam-Araku Road, 33 km from Araku and 99 km from Visakhapatnam and about 1 km from Bora Guha Railway Station, one will find the longest cave in India. Water containing calcium carbonate dropped for a million years and formed deposit of stalactite which hang like icicles from the cave ceiling. Another formation led to stalagmite or crystal pillers of calcium carbonate. This is an architectural dream created by nature. British Geologist William King discovered this dream cave in 1807. Tourists have been visiting the place since 1970. There are 118 stairs in the cave 300 meter wide & 40 meter deep at an altitude of 722 meter. Apart from Shivalinga & Kamdhenu there are other idols too. It is fascinating to see the drops of water falling naturally on top of idol of god. Locals believe that Rama, Lakshmana & Sita resided in this cave during their exile period. They worshipped this Shivalinga. Electrical connection to the cave was given in 1992. However, the light is inadequate. It is better to carry a dry cell torch. Gostani river is flowing near by. There is scarcity of hotels but railways have Retiring Rooms in tribal dominated Bora Guha. Food is available in road-side Dhaba. Visitors are advised to visit the wonderful creation of nature at Bora Guha from Visakhapatnam & to return there at the end of the day. One may visit Bora Guha by Jeep from Araku or, Bora Guha with Araku (5point sight seeing). Service jeeps are available from Araku to Bora Guha. Interested tourists may visit Ranjildo Water falls by auto or jeep.
Tyda Jungle Bells, 43 km from Bora Guha is another attraction. The hilly forest environment at an altitude of 3000 ft is a dream place to spend your holiday. Tyda is famous for Eco-tourism Project, Nature Camp, Rock Climbing, Trekking and Bird Watching. Accommodation is available in Log Hut, Igloo and other cottages.
How to reach and see around Araku valley:
Through the forest and tunnel created by penetrating hills, the only 1VK passenger train arrives at Araku at 11 -15 am via Bora Guha, from Visakhapatnam 7-45 am. At 3-30 pm the 2VK passenger train leaves Araku and arrives at Bora Guha at 4-40 pm & finally reaches Visakhapatnam at 8-15 pm.
Share jeeps are also available for Bora Guha Package. Bus for Bora Guha leaves from Araku at 11 -30 am. From Araku APSRTC runs 18 buses between 5-00 am 7-00 pm. Express buses leave at 6-50 am, 8-25 am & 9-00 am. Buses for Onka velhi leave at 9-15 & 4-20 pm. Only bus for Jeypore leaves at 6-00 pm, Anantagiri at 8-00 am; Vijayanagaram at 1-45 pm. All the buses return to the base regularly. The Express bus from Visakhapatnam goes to Jeypore-Koraput-Jagdalpur-Raipur. Except Thursday the cave is open all other days. Timing: 10-00 am to 1-00 pm & 2-00 pm to 5-00 pm.
Accomodation at Araku Valley
1 ½ km from railway station on the left of bus terminus APTDC owned Punnami Hotel (Mayuri), Araku, Ph:(+91 8936) 249643, There are cottages also in Mayuri complex.
About 1 km from Mayuri on the right is Punnami Hill Resort (Yatri Niwas), Ph: 249490, Advance Booking : Regional Tourist Information Bureau, Ground floor, Nehru nagar, office-cum-shopping complex, Visakhapatnam or Manager, APTDC, Araku Valley, Dist Visakhapatnam. In Kolkata APTourism, 4/ 1 Middleton Street, Kolkata 17, Ph: 22409686 or, 22442051 or, Diamond Tours Ph: 22376714.
PWD Inspection Bungalow, Forest Rest House, Zilla Parishad Hotel, are also available in Araku.
Besides bus stand near Mayuri, Arunodaya Hotel, Apsara Hotel, Hill Park Tourist Home are there.
From Mayuri 1 km by bus Hotel Rajdhani Ph: 249745;
Near Yatri nivas, Hotel Sri Sai Krishna Ph: 249056
Sri Nivasa Holiday Home Ph: 249088
Vikash resort Ph: 249746
Venkateswara Holiday Home
Kolkata Booking for all these is at TTMI Ph: 22442051.
In addition to those above, about 5 km from the city in ITDC's Saderu huts are available.
The small calm and quiet Araku Railway Station under the shade of numerous trees also has a 6 bed dormitory.
The Orissa style Dhaba in Araku offers good food.
Travel journal of this circuit read here
This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel