Araku Valley is one of the most famous Hill station and tourist destination in Andhra Pradesh in the lap of nature. It is located at a distance of 112 km from the coastal city Visakhapatnam (popularly known as Vizag) in Andhra Pradesh, India, near to the Odisha state border. It has an average elevation of 911 m (2,989 ft) and surrounded on an area around 36 sq km. It is a valley in the Eastern Ghats inhabited by different tribes. The Anantagiri and Sunkarimetta Reserved Forest which are part of Araku Valley, are rich in biodiversity. This valley is surrounded by mountains like Galikonda, Raktakonda, Sunkarimetta and Chitamogondi. Galikonda hill rising to a height of 5,000 feet (1,500 m) is one of the highest in Andhra Pradesh.
Araku Valley is famous for its scenic beauty, and it is due the rich and unpolluted landscape, which is cover with different types of plantation, mainly coffee plantation all around the Araku. It has a lush green valley, waterfalls and streams flowing by the side of the train track and roads, which passes through 46 tunnels and over some bridges. The journey to Araku Valley is the most enjoying as the rail passes through tunnels, thick forests and hill sides, where streams flowing by the side. It is better to go to Araku by train and return by road. Day by day Araku Valley becomes one of the most famous tourist destination in Andhra Pradesh for its natural scenic beauty.
Best time to visit:
Araku valley is an all-weather tourist destination. Tourist comes here throughout the years. After the monsoon, the valley covered with the lush greenery all-around, so it get a marvellous looks in between October and February. On the other hand, rainy beauty of the green valley is much interesting to the nature lover. But, maximum tourist visit the Araku valley at winter, due to its cool pleasant climate along with different type of colourful glomming flowers on the greenery.
Natural beauty is the main attraction of Araku Valley, where forests adjoining the hills, hair-pin bends roads and railway tracks passes through the forests, tunnels; waterfalls and streams flows by the sides, tribal villages on the slopes and residents of it – altogether gives you an eye pleasant views and magical moments throughout the vacation. Some nearby tourist destinations are also amazing and without visit those, your tour will be incomplete.
Sri Matyalingeshwara Swamy : A century old temple situated at Matyagundam, in worship of the local deity Sri Matyalingeshwara Swamy, Its believed that the lord protect all fishermen from the attack of snakes.
Padmapuran Botanical Garden : Main attraction of Padmapuran Botanical Garden is three hanging cottages or tree hut on the top of tree, built atleast ten feet above the ground with some modern facilities, like attached toilet and water supply. It’s give you a feeling of birds rests for some time in their nest! A toy train is there for the kids. You may spend some time in the Horticulture nursery, run by the Tribal Welfare Department of Andhra Pradesh Government, open from 8:00 am morning to 5:00 pm evening.
Tyda Village and Park : Tyda is a small village and ideal for the eco-tourism, which is also a nature camp located on the way to Araku Valley about 75 km from Visakhapatnam (Vizag). This place is popular for some adventurous tourist activities like, trekking and rock climbing. It is also a bird watching point, and having opportunity for night stay.
Borra Caves : Borra Caves is located about 29 km away from Araku Valley, with an altitude of 800 m from the sea level. Continuous water stream over the limestone build this caves and different shapes inside the cave, around an area of one square kilometre. It is the largest cave in India, which is decorated with natural sculptures.
Dumbriguda Fall On way to Paderu village, water falling from an altitude of 3215 ft makes great sight and noise cleansing the mind of out-of-Araku Valley thoughts. Picnic whole throughout the day and one would still not feel satiated. This spot is only 15 Kms from Araku.
Sangda Waterfalls : In Eastern Ghats near the village of Sangda is located a fall which also has got the name of the same village due to the proximity.
Katiki Falls : Another sight to enjoy time with family and friends, offers opportunity for trekking as well as a tribal delicacy of bamboo-chicken, located near Borra Caves.
Bheemunipatnam Beach : This beach is situated in the confluence of River Gosthani into the Bay of Bengal. It is a well-developed beach having a more than 150 years old Baptist church called "The Red Church" and a Buddhist Statue on the beach.
Anathagiri Hills : Your Araku tour will be incomplete, if you avoid or miss to visit at Anathagiri. This place is known for the coffee plantation and for its surrounding green forest, orchards and pleasant environment. It is also situated on the way to Araku Valley from Vizag and about 30 km away from Araku.
Kakinada : If holidays are on mind, 167 Km are not so much to cover and this destination on your travel list would make you decision to visit it all the more worthy.
Araku Tribal Museum : Araku valley is mostly populous by local tribal ethnic groups. Araku Tribal Museum is rich with a large collection of tribal handicraft and artefacts of their lifestyle.
A moderate climate has to be experienced in the Araku Valley. But cooler than Visakhapatnam. It is a hilly region, but don’t expect a climate like the Himalaya. Summer is comfortable and temperature range vary between 18° to 28° C, sometime it is recorded as 40° C or more in May and due to the close proximity to the Bay of Bengal, humidity increase rapidly in summer. On the other hand, temperature may decrease around 5° C. June to October, it is the time of monsoon and quite heavy. The average rainfall in Araku valley is 170 cm, so land-sliding is common phenomenon here, which interrupt the normal routine of tourist activities.
The valley is connected through both rail and road to the city of Vishakhapatnam, but most people prefer using the railways since the ride is considered to be one of the best, passing through a range of tunnels and valleys. The view by the side of the tracks is stunning and allows travellers to get a glimpse of the unexplored sides of the area.
By Rail : Araku Valley has two railway station – Shimiliaguda and Araku. It is a great way to journey to the valley, as the views from rail are quite enchanting passing through bridges and tunnels. Every day morning a passenger train has left Visakhapatnam at 6:50 am for the Araku Valley and reach at 10:40 am after cross 15 stations within 3 hours and 50 minutes on the way.
By Road : You have to reach at Visakhapatnam (Vizag) by train, flight or road to reach at Araku. And then you have another 114 km road journey by bus, private cars or taxi to arrive at Araku valley, it may take around 2 hours and 45 minutes, and this heavenly journey will be the greatest experience in your life. APSRTC busses are very frequent in this route, but it will be better if you hire a car, that gives you freedom to stopping over the breath-taking destination on the way to Araku.
BY Air : Nearest airport is at Vishakhapatnam, which is 115 km road distance from the Araku Valley. It is a domestic airport and connecting with major cities in India with Air India, Kingfisher Airlines and Spice Jet passengers’ airbus. Nearest International airport is in Hyderabad.
After arrival at Vishakhapatnam, tourist can hire a taxi to reach Araku Valley with a cost around Rs. 1500/-. And there have regular private bus and government run, APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) bus service in between Vizag and Araku valley. Tourist may also booked a train ticket to travel with train to reach at Araku.
Getting Around Araku Valley : Araku Valley can be easily explored on foot. But you can always hire a car if walking is too tedious for you.
Accommodation are easily available in Araku valley with different budget, where you may get a hotel with Rs. 250/- per night to Rs. 3.000/- per night for a person, depending on the facilities available and location. But don’t asking for a high-end hotel, which are not available here. Some hotels name are listed below, which help you to find out as per your needs.
Haritha Mayuri Resort - Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department Corporation (APTDC) run resorts, situated nearby the tribal museum and opposite to the Araku bus stand, having cottages, deluxe rooms, suites and non-A/C rooms with multi-cuisine and bar facilities.
Punnami Yatri Niwas - Another APTDC run hotel, situated near to the Araku valley police station, about 3 km from the Araku railway station. This Yatri Nivas has 58 rooms with 20 A/C suites, 20 non-A/C suites and 18 deluxe non A/C suites.
Araku Valley Resort , Jungle Bells in Tyda, ITDC tribal cottages, Dhimsa Resorts, Mayuri Hill Resort, Padmapuram Hanging Cottages, Ushodaya Resorts, Rajadhani Hotel, Chandrika Guest House and Holiday Inn Vihar are some other popular hotels and resort for accommodation in Araku valley. Pre-booking is always suggested, especially during the peak seasons.