Saturday, October 25, 2008

Visakhapatnam (Vizag) - Araku - Borra cave - Jagdalpur

Somehow managed a week break in October 2007 and we decided to go to Visakhapatnam.
We are Kolkata based. All the trains going to Southern India touches Vizag on their way We chose Koromondol Express, somehow we love to travel in this particular train. Vizag is 900 Kms from Kolkata and we reached early in the morning to Visakhapatnam. Though we didn't have to stay in any hotel, there are many hotels to choose from. Decide whether you want to stay on the beach or the city.

Hotels in Visakhapatnam (Vizag): STD code: +91 891

APTDC Hotel Punnami (2562333) non AC DB INR 850 - 900, AC DB INR 1200, Four bedded AC INR 1600.

Shree Ganesh ( 2563274) DB INR 250 - 500

Dwarka Inn ( 2712602) DB INR 600 - 900

Jubilee Beach Inn ( +919903371948) DB INR 450 - 900

We stayed on the Rama krishna Beach, in a Company Rest House. The beach there is deep blue in color but full of bolders. Though fascinated by the beauty of the beach my kids were disheartened by knowing bathing is not safe in this beach! We collected tickets for fish harbour, and reache there with their car. One can enjoy boating in the sea here. A nice place we enjoyed is Kursura, a submarine of Indian navy. This submarine served Indian navy for long 30 years and now converted into museum and is open for the tourists. Entry fee to the submarine is INR 25. It is a different world inside. Totally air conditioned this ship has seven chambers. The staffs inside explained the functions of every room and instruments to us and answered our all the questions sincerely. Delighted to see the Torpedo! the main weapon of this ship. Photography is prohibited inside Kursura.

Opposite to Kursura we then saw the marine museum, which has old paintings of ships, models of latest warship and different things used while sailing. From here we went to the Rope way station for Kailash Giri. One can go to Kailash Giri by bus or car but going there by cable car is much more fascinating. Kalilash Giri is actually a well decorated park on the hill top, where there is a sculpture of Hara - Parvati ( Shiva - Durga). The garden is full of colorful flowers and the most beautiful is the view of the sickle shaped sea beach and the city from the top.

The second day our destination was Simachalam. we hired a car to go there. It is a beautiful temple on the hill top with wonderful landscapes all around. After returning from there by the same car we saw Dolphin nose (7 Km), Light house and the quiet, pollution free and beautiful Rishikonda beach.

All of us were excited because the most exciting part of our journey is on the third day to Araku valley via Borra caves. One must not think of any other vehicle except the Kirandul Passenger train to go there. The landscapes, and tunnels throughout the journey will leave you mesmerized! There is a first class and sleeper class but if anyone the company of the local tribes, their dresses, ornaments, availing general second class is best for them. Don't forget to take foods and water for the train journey, as nothing is available in this route. The train left Vizag at 6:50 am and slowly started to climb the hills leaving the planes behind. We crossed many dark long tunnels and reached (vizag) and surroundings. The reason was to see Beaches, forests, mountains, water falls in a single trip.Borra Cave at 11 am. This is the longest cave in India and about ten million years old! Only half kilometer from the station, the entry fee is INR 25 per head. Camera charge is INR 10. The passage inside the cave is quiet wide and comfortable and the cave is well lighted. The stalactite and stalagmites formed unique designs and models, your imaginative mind can make out so many things from them. After exploring the cave we hired a trekker to go to Boro junction, from where bus for Araku valley is avilable every half an hour. There are many hotels to stay at Araku valley.

Few hotels are: STD code +91 08936

APTDC punnami valley resort ( 2492101) DB INR 900

Mayuri Lodge (249204) DB cottage INR 650, NON A/C DB INR 1600, A/C DB INR 2000.

Hotel Rajdhani ( 249745) DB INR 500 - 900

Bhimsa resort ( 249333) DB INR 600 - 1200

We checked in the Mayuri lodge, opposite the tribal museum near bus stand. The view of the valley from this lodge is nice. Visited the tribal museum in the afternoon and see the dresses, ornaments household goods of the different tribes of the region and gathered a fair idea about their lifestyle. Nothing much to be done in Araku valley after sunset. So we chatted and slept early to preserve energy for the next day trip.

Fourth day we all got up early, checked out the hotel and started our journey after a full breakfast. We hired a trekker for that day and saw the botanical garden, coffee plantation and reached Araku Railway station by 11 am. The same train Kirandul Passenger we boarded from there to reach our next destination Jagdalpur. Simliguda station, we found on the way was the highest broad gauge railway station of India till 2004. But now the highest station is Udhampur of Kashmir. We reache Jagdalpur lat in the afternoon. There are many average hotels there in Jagdalpur. We chose hotel Akash. The tariff ranges for DB room from INR 250 - 500. Hotel Akash has its own restaurant and room service facility. There is no arrangement of package tour so we had to book a car for the next day. Very cooperative manager of the hotel helped us to book our car.

Day 5 of our journey started early in the morning after a nice bath and breakfast. Driver told it will take a whole day to see the surrounding spots. The first spot we saw is Dhanateswary temple. 2 Km from the hotel. Then we visited Kutumsar cave. We had to collect ticket for the light, guide charge and entry fee from the tourist office in the city, from where the cave is 30 Kms. On the way 1o km from the cave we stopped at the check post on showing the receipt the guide with his solar lantern joined us. There is no electricity like Borra cave in this. So it is better to carry a torch personally otherwise you have to depend only on the solar lantern of your guide. The entry fee for the cave is INR 25 and for camera INR 25. It is also a cave where there are beautiful stalactite and stalagmites structures, but this cave looks more natural because of no electricity. After seeing the cave our next stop was Tirathgarh Falls, 18 kms from here. We had to step down many steps to come to the base of the falls. seen many tourists are enjoying from top, may they have problems of stepping down. Truly speaking one cannot appreciate the beauty fully unless this is seen from below. This is non like other falls, here the water is gliding over the the mountain, maintaining all the curves and ridges, a different kind of beauty.

Tirathgarh Falls

The next and the last spot for our trip was Chitrakot Falls. It is 65 Kms from the Tirathgarh falls where Indravati river, a branch of Kaveri jumped down about 90 Ft from the mountain. It is different from the Tirathgarh. The beautiful rainbow formed by the the water droplets formed by it was splendid.

Chitrakot Falls

See Importatnt tourist informations of Visakhapatnam here
See Important travel information of Araku Valley and Borra cave here