Located in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, Araku Valley is encompassed by the Eastern Ghats, which provide a scenic backdrop to its expansive landscape featuring waterfalls, orchards, valleys, and gardens. Known for its coffee plantations, the valley offers many tourist experiences, catering to adventurous trekkers and those seeking strolls amidst the serene surroundings. Here are the top attractions you must explore in this hill town.
Borra Cave, believed to have formed due to the flow of the Gosthani River over limestone deposits, showcases stalactite and stalagmite formations. They are considered one of the largest caves in India and were officially discovered by William King George of the Geological Survey of India in 1807. Local legends, however, attribute the discovery to a cowherd who stumbled upon the caves long ago and later built a temple here. Today, the temple attracts many pilgrims seeking spiritual solace. If you wish to explore the caves with a guide, booking a tour in advance is advisable. For those seeking adventure in Araku, a trek to the nearby Katiki Waterfalls is highly recommended.
Also known as Dumbriguda Falls, it is a popular feature in many itineraries exploring Araku Valley. Its appeal lies in its vast landscape, dominated by dense forests, waterways, and rocky pools. The natural beauty of this spot has made it a favoured location for filming movies. Visitors can indulge in various activities, such as enjoying a picnic by the water, taking leisurely walks during sunset, or just clicking pictures. For those seeking adventure, swimming and overnight camping to witness the twinkling stars in the night sky are also options.
Situated in the Eastern Ghats, this garden has a fascinating history. It was originally built during World War II to cultivate vegetables for soldiers and was known as the Botanical Garden. Over the years, it has become a significant tourist attraction, showcasing various exotic flowers and trees. Visitors can find eucalyptus and pine trees in the garden. There are also particular areas, such as rose gardens and tree huts (hanging cottages), that offer unique experiences for visitors. The toy train ride is another highlight of the park.
Araku is known for its numerous coffee plantations. The coffee museum was reportedly set up in 2006 but had roots in 1954 when a migrant set up a catering service to spotlight Arabica coffee. The museum is manned by local staff who will guide you through the exhibits that explain the history and origin of coffee and the varieties of coffee and coffee chocolates produced by the region. Here, coffee is grown in the shade using environmentally sustainable methods. Colourful murals adorn the walls at the entrance, and bright art showcases the process of coffee going from the farm to your cup. There's also an audio-visual show to give you a glimpse of the coffee culture in Araku. Besides this, there are shops to buy souvenirs and coffee.
Araku Tribal Museum
A visit to this museum is highly recommended for those interested in the history and cultural heritage of Araku. It showcases a fascinating collection of traditional art, handicrafts, and textiles that reflect the region's rich and ancient traditions. What makes the museum even more interesting is its design, which draws inspiration from native culture. From the architecture to the colours of the walls and the painted motifs, every aspect reflects the essence of the local heritage. Inside, you can delve into the daily life of tribe members, learn about important festivals, and explore the significance of musical instruments, pottery, and paintings deeply rooted in the culture.
Cover photo Padmapuram Garden, Araku Valley. Credit Unsplash
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