Araku Valley is a famous hill station and a Mandal in Visakhapatnam district in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located 115 km from Vishakhapatnam, close to the Orissa state border. This place lures people with pleasant weather, hills and valleys. The natural beauty of this valley comes alive with its rich landscape. The locals are mostly tribal are quite friendly and their villages around green valleys offer excellent opportunity for trekkers and holiday seekers. The area of the valley is roughly 36 km², and the altitude is between 600 and 900 meters above sea level, the average elevation of the place being 911 meters (2992 feet). The place is located in the Western Ghats and the local people are mostly tribals and the place also offers a Tribal Museum which also deserves visit.
The major place close of Araku is Vishakhapatnam, which is 115 kms away and most inbound tourist come from Vizag itself. The journey to this place on the Ghat road with thick forests on either side is in itself interesting and pleasant. One can have a wonderful trekking trip to Araku and the journey to this place on the Ghat road with thick forests on either side is in itself interesting and pleasant. One can have a wonderful trekking trip. 46 tunnels and bridges will greet guest on the way. Rolling grass lands, lush orchards and pleasant climate makes Araku Valley a wonderful place to spend a night or two.
Traveling on train would be a better option which will definitely provide you with some memorable experience. A total of fifty-seven tunnels and numerous bridges standing on the way, the journey is really a pleasant one. The Ananthagiri hills on the way to Araku Valley are famous for coffee plantations. The Borra caves, located 29 km from Araku Valley, are a nearby tourist attraction full of stalactites and stalagmites.
The valley is also connected through road to the city of Vishakapatnam, but most of the tourists prefer the Kirandol Express journey. Andhra Pradesh Tourism also offers day trip to Araku Valley and Bora or Boralu Caves and this can be done by traveling through the Kirandul Express. There are two railway stations at Araku and Araku Valley on the Kothavalasa-Kirandul railway line of Visakhapatnam division of the East Coast Railway, on the Indian Railways network. The most popular route for tourists from Kolkata is after touring Vizag, come to Araku, stay for a night, next day proceed to Jagdalpur, see Tirathgarh falls and Chitrakut falls thereat, proceed to Raipur in MP and board Mumbai Mail or some other available trains for Howrah from Raipur.
Borra Caves – The Borra Caves, also called Borra Guhalu in Telugu language (‘Borra’ means something that has bored into the ground and ‘guhalu’ means caves), are located on the East Coast of India, in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku valley. In 1807, William King George of the Geological Survey of India discovered this caves.
Borra (hole in oriya) caves are naturally formed and believed to be 150 million year old. The humic acid in the water reacts with the calcium carbonate in the limestone and dissolves the minerals breaking the rock gradully. The perennial water flow over a period of time results in the formation of caves. Small streams from hillocks going towards Gosthani River *Gov-Cow, Sthani-Udder) carved out the caves. The water percolating from the roof containing calcium bi carbonate and other mineral sfrom mounds on the ground called “Stalagmites” and spear like structure hanging from the roof called “Stalactites”. The stalactites and stalagmites acquire diferent shapes inspiring the imagination of the tourists and local sand earing in eresting names and characters like Shiv Parvathi. Mother-Child, Rushis Bears, Human Brain, Crocodile, Tiger Cows udder etc.. The formation of brain shaped stalagmite at the central part of Borra Caves can be sai das the gift of nature.
The main entrance of Borra Caves is at an altitude of 705 meter MSL while the interior goes down to 625 meters MSL. The total length of Borra Caves is about 200 meters, but the distance you trek in the caves is about 350 meters. The Caves are basically Karstic limestone structures extending to a depth of 80 m (262.5 ft) (considered the deepest cave in India). At the entry, the cave measures up to 100 m (328.1 ft) horizontally and 75 m (246.1 ft) vertically.
The DBK – (Dandakaranya-Bolangir, Kibur) train track is laid over the caves. The Gostani River that takes care of the thirstiness of the Vizagities takes birth at Borra Caves areas. Breath taking hilly terrain, beutiful landscape, semi evergreen moist deciduous forests, and wil fauna of the area are a visual feast. The hill tracks are inhabited by the tribals, Jatapu, Porja, Kondadora, Nookadora, Valmike etc.,
Anthropologists of Andhra University, who conducted excavations in teh cave, found stone tools of middle Paleolithic culture, dating back to 30000 to 50000 years, indicating human habitations. There is natural Siva Linga deep inside the cavs and thousands of tribals visit the caves during Sivaratri festival every year. This cave is one of its kind in India and is a pleasure for every tourist coming to Visakhapatnam to vist the caves.
(content courtesy – Visakhapatnam District Tourism Promotion Council)
HOW TO REACH
By Air :- The nearest airport is Vishakhapatnam at a distance of 112-km.
By Train :- Araku Station (136 km from Viskhapatnam).
By Road :- One can drive up from Viskhapatnam or take any of the buses plying here. (117 km from Viskhapatnam).
WHEN TO GO
Best time to travel Araku Valley is October To February.
SUGGESTED ITINERARY FROM KOLKATA
Day 1 Start from Kolkata preferably by 2863 Yesvanthpuram Exp (next alternative 2841, Coromondal Express), departing at 20:35 from Howrah and arriving Vizag at 10.40 next day Stay at Rishikonda Beach or near Daba Garden, Vizag Evening – R K Beach trip
Day 2 Stay at Vizag , Trip to Kailashgiri, Simachalam, Bheemunipatnam, Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, VUDA Park, INS Kurusura Submarine, Dolphin’s Nose etc.
Day 3 Stay at Vizag
Day 4 Proceed to Araku Vally by 1VK Kirandaul Exp, Starts Vizag at 6.50, reaches Boralu Caves at 9.41 and Araku at 10.50 Stay at Araku Tour Boralu Caves and explore Arakku Valley
Day 5 Stay at Araku
Day 6 Board on Kirandaul Exp (leaves Arakku at 10.55 and reaches Jagdalpur at 16.35 Stay at Jagdalpur
Day 7 Stay at Jagdalpur and see Danteshwari Temple, Tirathgarh and Chitrakoot falls
Day 8 Arrive at Raipur by Bus or hired vehicle (distance 300 kms, takes 7 hours approx.) Board at 2859 Geetanjali Exp (leaves Raipur at 23.40), another option is 2833 Howrah Express
Day 9 Arrive at Howrah (at 12.40)