Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Eastern Ghats, Araku Valley is a hidden gem in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. This serene valley not only offers breathtaking views but also provides a gateway to the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous tribes that reside here. One of the best ways to delve into the vibrant tapestry of Araku Valley’s culture is by visiting the Tribal Museum, where you can immerse yourself in traditional art, witness the indigenous way of life, discover historical artifacts, and understand the significance of preserving this cultural legacy.

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

 

Regal Odyssey: A Luxurious Train Journey to Araku Valley

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Sometimes the journey to get there is more memorable than the destination. A trip to Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh is one of those. A special train number 58501 UP starts its journey towards Araku from Visakhapatnam railway station at quarter to seven in the morning. Some of the broad-gauge coaches are air-conditioned and have large glass windows. The roof has also been glazed to let in natural daylight. Red carpets on the floor, comfortable push-back chairs, fine-quality upholstery on them, automatic opening and closing doors between the two coaches, etc. all give the passengers a royal feel.

Scenic Splendor: 58501 UP Train Journey to Araku Valley

Araku Valley4

The real beauty of the 58501 UP train is not inside the coach, but the mesmerizing natural beauty seen outside. There are delightful views of waterfalls, green tree-covered mountain ranges, bright yellow flowers known as Ramtil and vast paddy fields. Hence, travel feels very refreshing. Some adventure seekers and solo adventure tourists prefer to reach Araku by renting a motorcycle from Visakhapatnam to experience more of the freshness.

Unveiling Eastern Ghats: A Journey through the Hidden Beauty of Borra CavesUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Just as the Western Ghats range from southern Gujarat to Kerala, the Eastern Ghats range from Tamil Nadu to Odisha in south-eastern India. The hills here are moderate in height and also not in a consecutive queue. The continuous erosion of rocks by the four rivers Maha, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri has created faults at many places in the Eastern Ghats. The mountain range is, therefore, scattered. With a maximum height of 1,500 meters and 4,950Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond feet, this range has not received much publicity in the field of tourism, as the number of hills can be counted on one’s fingers. However, in terms of natural beauty, the Eastern Ghats are not inferior. About 110 km from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the Araku Valley near Odisha is unique. Located at an altitude of about 1,100 meters, this area is spread over a length of 36 kilometers. A natural wonder, besides its natural beauty, is the attraction of Araku. The name is Borra Caves!

 

Borra Cave in Mountain and the hole in the CaveUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

One of the largest natural caves in India, Borra Caves on the Visakhapatnam-Araku route, hidden for years between dense forests and mountains, was discovered by British geologist William King by accident in 1807 AD. Inside Borra, the erosion of limestone by water has created artistic features in the form of stalactites hanging down from the ceiling and stalagmites standing above the ground. Geologists believe that it was formed by the erosion of rocks by the water flow many years ago. About 650 feet long and 100 feet deep, Borra has a large opening in the roof of the central part.Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

According to the folklore associated with the hole, once a cow fell from the hole while grazing grass. Miraculously, she was unscathed, even though the fallout was severe. A cowherd who went in search of the lost cow found the cow in this huge cave, and a shivling was also seen in the cave. Well, then the religious importance of the cave increased greatly among the local tribes. Odisha’s Oriya language word Borra for hole was chosen, and the cave was named ‘Borra Guhlu’ from the Telugu word Guhlu for the cave. On the upper side of Shivlinga, a river emerges from the limestone rocks created in the shape of a cow’s udder; the sub-branch of the river came to be known as Gotani.

Timeless Marvels: Exploring the Geological Wonders of Borra Caves

Talking about geology, Borra Caves are believed to be about 15 million years old.

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond
Interiors of a cave, Borra Caves, Ananthagiri Hills, Araku Valley, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Anthropologists from here date back to the Middle Paleolithic (30,000 to 50,000 years ago). Stone tools from that time have also been found. The mostly dark cave, even during the day, has been beautifully decorated with colorful lights by the tourism department. With it, the various rangolis formed in limestone remain the center of attraction. Moreover, naturally carved in stones are Shiva-Parvati, mother and child, saint’s beard, crocodile, human brain, animals, etc., which are ashtonishing. . One more surprise about Borra: the Kottavalsa-Kirandul track of the East Coast Railway passes right over it! If you want to see the beautiful places of Borra calmly, it is imperative to allocate 2 to 3 hours. Avoid visiting during the winter and on Saturdays and Sundays, as they are very crowded. Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Katiki Waterfall

Trekking options in Araku Valley are endless. A popular trek is from Borra to Katiki Falls. ItUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond takes one and a half hours to travel on foot, but if you want to shorten the journey and time, you can do motor travel in a local jeep by spending around 200 rupees per person. The last half-kilometer of the trek through the forest also starts with railway tracks and tunnels, which add an element of thrill to the journey. Falling from a height of about 50 feet, the water of the Mukti Gostni river splashes along the rocks and turns into small water droplets. Their touch on the body imparts freshness. The cool breeze blowing gently, the dense green forests all around, the gurgling of the waterfall, and the melodious chirping of the birds sum up the hard work done to reach here. While the beauty of Katiki falls naturally increases manifold during monsoons, adventure lovers can also enjoy camping on their own near Katiki.

Tyada and Anantgiri hills

The true beauty of the Aku Valley region is to be enjoyed by trekking. Tyada, a small village about 40 km from Arku railway station, is a great place to enjoy the beauty of the Arku Valley and the Anantgiri hills, along with the dense forest for nature lovers to experience the rural culture.Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

One can take advantage of the natural beauty of the surroundings by staying at the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department’s Jungle Bells Resort. Wooden log huts, tree huts, and igloo huts with air-conditioned rooms are also available for accommodation at the resort. Many nature lovers head out for trekking on different trails every day during their two- to three-day stay at Jungle Bells.

Anantatigir is a small hill station at an altitude of about 1,170 meters. The surrounding area is famous for its coffee plantations. Among the many small and big waterfalls near here,Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond Tatiguda (Tadimaala or Anantagiri) waterfall, which is about 80 feet high and has a natural formation like three steps, is a huge stone waterfall. A ladder has been arranged by the tourism department to descend down to the falls.

Apart from this, there are other trekking options in Araku Valley. Like, the highest peaks of Eastern Ghats, Armakonda and Galikonda, Akamma Chellamma Falls at Paderu, etc. Moreover, the 26-acre Padmapuram Botanical Garden, Galikonda View Point, long slide-like Chaparai Falls, Matsyagundam, known for the Matsyalingeswara Temple, etc., can also be included.

Tribal Museum: A Glimpse of Tribal CultureUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

In order to see all these features in one place, the Tribal Museum was established in Araku Valley in 1996 AD by the Tourism Department of Andhra Pradesh with the aim of making it known. Divided into two parts, the main section of the museum consists of two floors, in which many replicas depict the local people’s lives, ritual practices, customs, events, festivals, hunting methods, etc. Apart from this, various traditional instruments like gumra, tuduma, kinnera, dunduni, keeridi, etc. are also displayed, showing the types of their art, paintings, rangoli, samples of art, household utensils, hunting weapons, etc.

Immersing in Traditional Art and CraftUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Araku Valley is renowned for its exquisite handicrafts and artwork, which reflect the creativity and artistic prowess of the indigenous tribes. The Tribal Museum provides a platform for local artisans to showcase their talent and preserve their traditional artistic techniques. Visitors can witness live demonstrations of pottery, weaving, wood carving, and painting, allowing them to appreciate the intricate craftsmanship behind these remarkable artworks.

Discovering the Indigenous Way of LifeUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Stepping beyond the boundaries of the Tribal Museum, visitors can explore the indigenous way of life by interacting with the local communities in Araku Valley. The tribes warmly welcome visitors and offer a glimpse into their daily routines, customs, and rituals. From participating in traditional dance performances to tasting authentic tribal cuisine, immersing oneself in the local way of life is a truly enriching experience that fosters a deep appreciation for the cultural heritage of the valley.Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

A visit to the Tribal Museum in Araku Valley is a fascinating journey into the history, traditions, and lifestyle of the tribes that have inhabited these lands for centuries. The museum showcases a vast collection of artifacts, artworks, and exhibits that give visitors a glimpse into the diverse cultural heritage of the region. From ancient implements to traditional attire, the museum offers an in-depth understanding of the tribes’ customs and rituals.

Unearthing Historical ArtifactsUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Araku Valley is not only a treasure trove of living traditions but also a repository of ancient artifacts and historical relics. The Tribal Museum houses a remarkable collection of archaeological finds, including ancient tools, pottery, jewelry, and sculptures. These artifacts provide valuable insights into the region’s past and help archaeologists and historians piece together the story of the indigenous tribes that have called Araku Valley home for generations.

Preserving the Rich Cultural LegacyUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

The preservation of the cultural heritage of Araku Valley is of utmost importance to ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate and learn from the traditions of the indigenous tribes. Alongside the Tribal Museum, efforts are being made to establish cultural centers and galleries to showcase the region’s cultural heritage. These initiatives not only preserve the traditional art forms but also empower the local communities by providing them with a platform to sustain their unique way of life.

In the second room, there are ornaments, costumes, masks, etc. worn during festivals andUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond dances. The garden outside the museum has statues depicting Dhimsa and Mayura folk dances. Archery and boating in a small artificial lake can be enjoyed.

As visitors to Araku Valley, we have a role to play in preserving this rich cultural legacy. By supporting local artisans and craftspeople, being respectful and sensitive to the traditions and customs of the tribes, and promoting sustainable tourism practices, we can contribute to the preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Araku Valley.

Araku Coffee Museum: Address of the unique Fragrance

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

A visit to Araku and especially the Anantagiri region is not complete without experiencing the soothing aroma of Arabica coffee, which cools the eyes along with the breath-stimulating nature. In the period of 1898 AD, coffee plantations were started in Araku by an Englishman named N. S. Brodie. Many coffee hotels and stalls were established in the years that followed. In the mid-twentieth century, an entrepreneur named Prakash Rao set up a small coffee stall in Araku. Prakash Rao had a deep love for coffee. It was his desire that other people also be aware of coffee, which he started in 2006 near the railway station Completed with the establishment of a museum.

Coffee Chronicles: Exploring the Craft at the Coffee Museum

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

A special must-see is the Coffee Museum, which provides detailed information on the various rituals that go into making coffee, from planting to the cup, and offers tastings of different types of coffee. As soon as you enter, you see beautiful three-dimensional figures on the wall. Women dressed in local costumes of green, red, and yellow are shown picking scarlet seeds from coffee plants. Their family, the fermentation and drying of coffee beans, and the subsequent roasting and final grinding of the seeds are vividly depicted in various diagrams. Apart from this, the journey of coffee from the African country of Ethiopia to India and the different utensils used in earlier times—kilns, modern machines used for making coffee, etc.—can be seen here.

Coffee Symphony: A Sensory Experience at the Coffee MuseumUnveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

An audio-visual program is organized in a large hall of the museum. In the green hills of Anantgiri, the plantation of coffee plants under banyan trees, along with pepper vines and informative knowledge of the methods of making coffee, is available in the program. Around 600 types of coffee, chocolates, and various coffees are worth relishing at the museum’s restaurant outlet. Among the various coffees that can be tasted here, the most special one is Kopi Luak, which is considered to be the most expensive coffee in the world. In the production of that coffee, which is considered to be extraordinary in taste, the coffee beans that have been eaten by an animal called Asian civet are used. Such seeds are sourced from the surrounding areas of Araku. Museum Timings: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Good to know:

Perfect timing:

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond
Entrance of a railway station, Borra Guhalu, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India

The best time to enjoy the nature of Araku is from the end of the monsoon to the end of winter. Go from November to January to see the scarlet coffee fruits.

Transportation:

The nearest airport and railway station to reach Araku is Visakhapatnam. Four tracks leave for Araku daily from here. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is like traveling in a train called Vistadome. Apart from this, local taxis and motorbikes can also be hired from Visakhapatnam to explore Araku and surrounding areas.

Accommodation:Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department’s Harita Resorts is a great option. For booking, visit www.tourism.ap.gov.in/home or contact 0891-2788827 or 09848007022. Apart from this, there are many options for private hotels available here that are much cheaper as compared to other tourist destinations.

 

 

Conclusion

Unveiling the Cultural Heritage of Araku Valley: Hills, Falls, Museum and Beyond

In conclusion, a visit to Araku Valley is not just a journey through breathtaking landscapes but also an opportunity to uncover the hidden cultural gems of the indigenous tribes that reside there. The Tribal Museum serves as a gateway to this cultural heritage, offering a delightful immersion into traditional art, the indigenous way of life, historical artifacts, and the importance of preserving this unique legacy. So, pack your bags and embark on a cultural adventure to Araku Valley, where the past and present


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