Araku Valley

Araku ValleyBeautiful hill station famous for coffee plantations

Araku Valley is beautiful hill station that lies in the Vishakhapatnam district in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The town is situated amidst beautiful locales of Eastern Ghats and has a rich cultural as well as traditional past.

Situated at a distance of 112 km from Visakhapatnam, it is famous for its scenic gardens with lush green nature, valleys, waterfalls and streams and still remains unspoiled by commercialism of tourism. The beauty of the valley has been showcased in Telugu films. Movies like Happy Days, Darling and Katha have been partly shot at the place.

The journey to Araku valley on the Eastern Ghats with thick forest on either sides is itself highly interesting and pleasant. The place is over 3200ft. high with a bracing climate.

The valley boasts of the Ananthagiri and Sunkarimetta Reserved Forests which are known for their rich biodiversity. The valley lies surrounded by the mountains of Raktakonda, Chitamogondi, Galikonda and Sunkarimetta. The Galikonda hill has the distinction of being the tallest in the state.

Apart from being a beautiful hill station, Araku Valley is also famous for its rich coffee plantations. The aroma of fresh coffee beans is in the air of Araku throughout.

The coffee plantations have been responsible to a large extent for the rehabilitation of the many tribes that stay in and around Araku Valley. It was in 2007 that the first organic coffee brand by tribal growers was launched in India. This organic brand was named ‘Araku Emerald’ and it enjoys domestic as well as international popularity. Now there are thousands of tribal people who work as farms hands and helpers in these plantations.

Tourist attractions

Araku Valley has some interesting places to visit including the Tribal Museum, Tyda, Borra caves, Sangda Falls and Padmapuram Botanical Gardens. These plus Government Silk Farm with Mulberry gardens are the live examples to know the socio-economic conditions of the area. Tribal Museum is a big attraction of Araku.

Chaaparai, a picturesque place about 15 km from Araku is another picnic spot in this region. One must experience the climatic conditions and the natural beauty of this Valley. The natural beauty of this valley comes alive with the aboriginal tribes who dwell here and who have to this day kept their tradition and culture alive. About 19 tribes inhabit this area. The Dhimsa dance, an age-old folk dance normally performed during ‘Itikala Pongal’ is now offered in tourist’s packages everyday.

Best time to visit

Araku Valley enjoys a moderate climate throughout the year. The summers are not hot unlike those of the plains, and the winters are nice and cold without the temperature falling below freezing point. People from towns and cities around the valley prefer to visit the place during summers when it gets too hot in the plains. However, the best time to enjoy the beauty of the valley is during the winter season when one can enjoy sports like hiking, rappelling and trekking.

How to reach

The hill station is connected to the rest of the country via good roads and a good railway network. There are two railway stations; one in Araku and another in Araku Valley. Both the railway stations are connected to the railway station at Vizag. The railway stations fall on the Kothavalasa-Kirandul railway line that is part of the Vishakhapatnam division on the East Cost railway.

Shimiliguda railway station has the highest broad gauge line in the country. The railway station is at a height of 996 meters above sea level. The station has no airport though the roads leading to the hill station are in a good condition. Travelers can take a private taxi from any of the towns and cities in Andhra Pradesh to reach Araku Valley.

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