Rail cum Road package ( popularly known as RR package ) of AP toursim is one of the best tour to cover Araku. One of the main attraction of visiting Araku is the train journey up to Araku where train passes through tunnels, bridges and hills. This exciting train journey along with the return road journey becomes one of the best way to visit Araku and Borra caves. This package of AP tourism includes train journey upto Araku and then return by road including local site seeing at Araku , borra caves including food and snacks. This tour starts from Visakhapatnam Railway station at morning 6 AM and ends at same day night 8 PM at Visakhapatnam city. All entry tickets for the Padmapuram botanical Garden Araku, tribal museum Araku, Borra Caves are included in the package.
The RR package includes train journey at the starting so the reporting time depends on the departure time of the Visakhapatnam - Kirandul passenger train ( number 1VK ). The present departure time of this train is 6.50 AM from Visakahaptanam ( April 2011 ) so the reporting time at AP tourism counter at Railway station ( Near the entrance to Platform Number 1, Opposite to Enquiry counter ) is 6 AM. Package tickets are available at different locations throughout the city through the agents or you can directly buy from AP tourism offices.
The Price is Rs 700 /- for adults and Rs 550 /- for kids (during all seasons).
Huts at tree top After the train started from Vizag station South Indian breakfast ( two idlis and one Vada ) packets with one bottle drinking water were given to us. The guide was alerting us before any waterfall or valley coming on the way. There are total 52 tunnels. The first tunnel starts at around 9.15am and the next one hour journey will be through tunnels. After 44th tunnel Borra caves station comes. People who don't want to visit Araku and only wishes to visit Borra caves can get down here. Private vehicles are to be booked separately for this. No booking facility available at Borra caves. Vehicles are to be booked at Vizag and to be asked them to reach Borra caves at 10.00 am. They can return to Vizag by the same private vehicle after visiting Borra caves. People who wish to do so, have to come by the same train without any package. They need to take the normal train ticket (INR 20 only) at Vizag railway station and board the train.
Finally we reached Araku at 11.30 AM . The altitude of Araku is 3100 ft above MSL. You can read about our train journey here. Three buses were waiting outside the station for all the tourists coming by this package. Our bus number & seat numbers were given to us at the train itself. Araku temperature used to be less than Vizag always so it was a perfect temperature at Araku for the tourists to enjoy. Our first stop was Tribal museum where the life style and culture of the local tribes were displayed in a two stored building. After a brief stay here we left for Padmapuram botanical Garden, inside this garden there were good collection of various plants and flowers. There is a toy trains to take you around the garden. One of the main attraction of this garden is tree top huts available for booking. See the picture gallery for more pictures of this garden. Our next stop was at Punami resort for lunch.
South Indian Lunch was arranged at this AP tourism resort. After lunch it was time for the Dhimsa dance , visit the picture gallery for more photos of the dance. Many toursites also joined the dancers , the dance is very simple and one has only to match the hand and foot sequence of the tribes.
The speciality of Araku area is that, out of 473 tribes in India, 33 tribes reside in Andhra pradesh and 15 are in Araku. Land selling and purchasing is not possible for out side people. One need to marry a tribal girl in Araku area to become the land owner. The land is normally registered in the name of girl child in Araku under ITDA (Integral Tribal Development Authority). Only leasing of land is possible for outsiders.
After the dance program we left for Borra Caves passing through the coffee plantation by tribal development authority. On the way we stopped at Gali Konda View Point. This place is highest point of Visakhapatnam district and gives a spectacular view of the valley and hills around. This is the second highest peak in western ghat which is at an altitude of 4320 ft above MSL. The highest peak of western ghats is in Srikakulam called Mahendra Konda which is at an altitude of 5317 ft above MSL. The train track was below the view point. After a brief stop at Anantagiri tourist resort for tea we reached Borra caves at 5.00 PM. The distance between Araku and Borra caves is 40 Kms.
If you have time constraint then this one day rail cum road package is good for you. Carry an umbrella with you as the weather can change any time at Araku.
Dumbriguda Chaaparai is not included in this package. If anybody wants to visit this place, there are other packages conducted by APTDC. People can hire private vehicles and see this scenic waterfall and forest area which is only 15 Kms from Araku.
The rail and road package of Araku started during 1992. Best time to visit Araku with Rail and Road package is from October to January. The valley will be with full of yellow flowers which makes the entire view color full with greenery all around. The distance between Visakhapatnam and Araku is 132 Kms. The total number passengers who can book through APTDC is only 90 for one coach. APTDC is trying to have one more coach from Railways and may happen soon.
TYDA – An eco-tourism project
This nature camp located at a distance of 75 Km from Vizag is right place for bird watching, rock climbing, trekking and over night stay.
There is a rail with road journey package available by AP tourism with same day return or with one night stay.
For reservation and further details contact
Central Reservation Manager
Central Reservation Office, No 46A, RTC Complex,
Visakahaptnam Phone: 0891-2746446, Telfax 2713135
Mobile 9848007022, 9848185775,9848023948
There are few waterfalls in Araku, Katiki waterfall is near Borra caves. Thatiguda and Chaparai are other waterfalls tourist can enjoy.