Wondering what to do when in Araku? Here's your itinerary.
In the Town
Coffee Museum - Before you set out for the coffee plantations of Araku Valley, do not forget to visit the coffee museum. A unique concept, it was built in 1930 by Prakash Rao to promote the Araku coffee. Through an audio-visual tour, the museum traces the journey of our much loved aromatic beverage from it's origin, history across continents, social implications to the present day culture. It also highlights the changing patterns in coffee production with advanced technology and aims to preserve the traditional way which is a livelihood for many.
Interestingly, most locals refer to it as "Araku Valley Coffee House" rather than a museum. And why not, for at the coffee museum, you can also:
Buy coffee souvenirs
Enjoy the trademark Araku filter coffee - Arabica (Mild version) and Peaberry (Stronger version)
Relish on varieties of locally made chocolates or head to one of the food stalls
Watch an occasional live Dimsa dance performance
Timings - 8 AM to 8 PM (Open all days of week)
Entry fee - Rs 10
Tribal Museum - This museum is unique in terms of trying to preserve the traditional way of native tribes. It beautifully showcases their lifestyle, customs and socio-economic patterns. Built with mud and various metals; the walls are decorated with tribal art forms.
While one section of the museum displays rare artifacts, traditional handicrafts, delicately detailed ornaments; the other serves as a platform for local artisans to display their creations to visitors. In addition, the museum has a cafeteria, a small boating area, amphitheater and in-house accommodation. Photography is only allowed in the outer premises of the museum.
Timings - 10 AM to 5 PM (Open all days of week)
Entry fee - Rs 40
Coffee Museum and Tribal Museum lie right next to each other within meters near the bus stand and no transport is required. Around the Town
Chaparai waterfalls - It is less of an actual waterfall and more of a picnic spot. Endless streams flowing through wide rocks provide the desired effect. The surrounding forests are a treat to the sight of overcrowded tourists. There are no direct buses to reach the spot with occasional ones plying till Paderu. Most visits are part of a day tour or with personal conveyance.
Distance - Around 15 kms from Araku
Entry fee - Rs 10
Padmapuram Botanical Garden - Not far from the railway station, this garden is home to a horticultural nursery with varieties of rare plants and flowers. The history goes back to World War II when it supplied vegetables to soldiers who fought the war. It has developed a lot since then. The key highlights within include an exclusive rose garden, tree top huts and a toy train available for a tour of the area.
Timings - 8 AM to 12:30 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM
Ananthagiri Hill station - Hidden within lush greenery, this hill station provides serene views of the Eastern Ghats. It is mostly base to backpackers and bikers on the lookout for adventure. With amazing trekking trails, night camping and stargazing activities; it makes for an ideal destination. Small hikes (and local transport) will lead you to nearby villages. The roads can be seen thronged with vendors selling coffee beans, fresh vegetables, and varieties of aromatic spices.
Nearest railhead - Srikakulam (Train no 58501 from Vishakhapatnam)
Direct buses, Shared autos, Private taxis are easily available from Araku.
Stay options - Ananathgiri Hill Resort and Haritha Valley View Resort The major attractions are the famous Coffee Plantations and Ananthagiri waterfalls.
Galikonda View Point - Located at a high altitude, this view point is an unanimous choice to enjoy the valley; however, the crowd leaves little room. It lies just besides the road enroute Ananthgiri. Do not get confused when they list it as an actual tourist spot.
Borra Caves - 32 kms away from Araku, your trip will remain incomplete without a visit to this mini adventure land, a natural wonder. Read a detailed account on "A Day Tour to Borra Caves".
The information provided is based on firsthand experience. For any further queries, feel free to leave a comment below or email. I will revert at the earliest.
Araku Valley – Monsoon Destination in “Eastern Ghats”
**All images used in the article are courtesy From My Lens