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Araku valley and Borra Caves
Known as the "Food Bowl of south India", the Araku Valley is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of Andhra Pradesh. The Borra Caves are the major attraction over here. The pristine sceneries and the marvellous views make this place a hot favorite of nature lovers and photography buffs. The coffee plantations are a sight to behold as well. the other attractions in this beautiful valley are the Padmapuran Botanical Gardens, Tyda Village and Park, Dumbriguda Fall, Sangda and Katiki Waterfalls, Matsyagundam village and Bheemunipatnam Beach. The Araku Tribal Museum is a place where you get detailed information about ancient tribes, their culture and lifestyles in a very organized manner.
Araku Valley Coffee Museum
Next I went on to visit the Araku Valley Coffee House. Located behind the main bus stand, this popular spot is quite a charmer. Housing various varieties of coffee, it takes your through the history of coffee not only in India but other countries including Africa. I was surprised by an enthralling sound and light show taking place here and immediately signed up for it. And what a pleasant surprise it was!The best part of course is the best cup of coffee you will ever sip along with the best bite of chocolate cake ever! Yes, ‘best’ really is the only adjective for this absolutely enlightening foodie moment (it is said that good food can instantly increase the happy neurons in the brain)!There is a tribal museum here that helps one understand the culture, the lifestyle, the traditions and also the way of life for tribals. Unintentionally the museum also awakens feelings of sadness and helplessness as one realizes how dependent the human race is on technology and how unnecessary it really is.
After a well spent day, we made our way to the Andhra Pradesh tourism office to book our tickets for a trip to the Araku Valley - a hill station located about 114 km from the main city. Although the AP tourism website offers package details about the tour, it is not updated and there is no option to book the tickets online which is a little trying. However, it is advisable to book the government tour package only at their office and not go by yourself if you haven’t already been there. We made reservations for two days later and headed back to explore the town.Whilst roaming around, we stumbled upon a small local restro bar (Zoom bar) opposite RK beach which was to be our go-to drinking hole for the next few days what with its cheap liquor (read Budweiser), sumptuous fish, chicken, prawn fry and view of the endless sea.Think Local!