Do you love the idea of spending days in lush green coffee plantations and sipping on some aromatic coffee? Sure you do. Then just head to Araku Valley. Famous for its coffee plantations, India’s first tribal growers’ organic coffee brand was launched here in 2007. The premium organic Araku Emerald brand of coffee sells globally. Inhabited by different tribes, Araku is a hill station in the Vishakapatnam district. A perfect getaway from the hustle-bustle of the city, this valley is surrounded by mountains like Galikonda, Raktakonda, Sunkarimetta and Chitamogondi. The valley is connected by both rail and road to the city of Vishakapatnam. Shimiliguda railway station is located at an altitude of 996 meters above mean sea level. Beautiful, and mostly untouched, this one’s been waiting for you to be explored.
Distance From Chennai : 900 kms
Nearest Major City : Vizag
How to reach : Train from Vizag
One of the main attraction is tree top cottages located in the middle of green surroundings of Araku valley. These tree huts (hanging cottages) are ten feet above the ground level and one can experience rare swing along with trees. Huts are attached with toilet and continuous water supply.
Tribal welfare department has one horticulture nursery cum training centre at Padmapuram.
At the Araku town behind APSRTC bus stand there is a coffee house. Here you will get all variety of coffee. This is more of a museum of coffee-plantation and production of India and world. There is a light and sound show on coffee plantation for 15 minutes. Inside you will get history of coffee plantation in Africa, Europe and India.
But the most popular place in the area is Borra caves. It is situated on the east coast of India in the Anantagiri Hill range of the Araku Valley. Spread across an area of about 2 sq km, the caves are situated around 1,400 m above sea level. In 1807, the caves were discovered by William King George of the Geological Survey of India. Considered to be one of the largest caves in India, the caves have karstic limestone structures, which extend to a depth of 80 m. A small temple inside the cave was believed to be constructed by the locals in respect to the religious incident that once happened in the region. According to the popular story narrated by the tribal people residing in this area, a cow which was grazing on the top of the caves dropped through a hole in the roof. When cowherd was searching for the cow, he came across the caves and found a stone inside the cave, which resembled a Shivalingam.
The cave is highly valuable for anthropological research, as excavations carried out earlier have unearthed stone tools of middle Paleolithic culture dating between 30,000 and 50,000 years, which confirm human habitation in that area.
Featured Image Source : 500px/Anand Dhar