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Old 10th June 2009, 20:19   #16
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Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Nice start there Murali. Looks like you had a great time. I never been to Aaraku Valley and Borra Caves, would wait for its pictures.

Btw, the room at Bhimas looks quite sparse? I think they have 2 other hotels with a slightly different name? What was the tarrif?

We always have lunch in their restuarant in the basement while waiting to board the train back to Hyderabad. Nice cool place, but the meal is a bit expensive though.
I had a blast. It was a nice drive and the roads were too good. The room at Bhima's Residency was good. I paid about 1700 for the room.

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Thats a good trip you had there Murali. Looking forward to Araku and Borra Caves pics!!!
Yeah, I did have great fun. Pics will be up soon.
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Old 10th June 2009, 20:59   #17
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The following day, we had the function and it went off well. That evening, we started planning for the following day - Araku and Borra Caves. We did gather the route information and the best time to leave Vizianagaram, so that we can beat traffic.

However, before we ventured out towards Araku, we went through a serious expectation settings session by friends and relatives. As they live out there and have been to this place many times in the past, they could see the damage being done to the valley over the years. We were told to expect that the climate would be better than the plains and it might rain/ drizzle out there. Apart from that, there isn’t much left.

Moreover, this time of the year isn’t the best time to visit. They say that the best time would be October to December. In fact, some even had advised us to take the train from Vizag, which is still considered a better option that driving around the place. Apparently, the train journey to Araku goes through some 50+ tunnels and one among them goes over Boora Caves.

Here are some pics:

On the way to Araku from Vizianagaram
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Valley view - 1 on the to Araku
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Valley view - 2 on the to Araku
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Valley view - 3 on the to Araku
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Valley view - 4, over looking the railway track
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Valley view - 5, over looking the railway track
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Valley view - 6
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Valley view - 7
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Jack fruit tree. We found quite a lot of these, which apparently is a major source of income for the locals.
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I must admit that the expectation settings did a lot of good for us. We did have a very little expectations but still I feel the drive was worth it. The roads are good and maintained quite well. And as we have been told, we did experience light drizzle as were climbing up the hills. The weather was quite pleasant and it was a great feeling coming from a very hot, humid and sultry plains of Vizianagaram.

Finally, we reached Araku Valley and it was like any other tourist town. As expected, there isn’t much that we could do there. Btw, we were asked to check out a place called Chaaparai, which is about 15 kms from Araku. The attraction of this place is a natural water slide over a rock. The road leading to this place is good, but at one point, we need to take left, which goes towards Paredu. This stretch of the road is bad. It is a single road and it's quite bad. The worst part is the local commuters in the jeeps, they are all over the jeep as they show us in one of the Fevicol ad.

Last edited by muralisk : 10th June 2009 at 21:02.
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Old 10th June 2009, 21:15   #18
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Shots at Chaaparai.

Road towards Chaaparai.
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Local transport towards Paredu. People are all over the jeep.
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Finally, we reached Chaaparai.
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Thanks for the information.
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View of the upstream from where the water is flowing.
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View of the down stream.
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Man made bridge to cross over to the other side. It costs Rs. 2, per person.
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Frontal view of the actual attraction - Chaaparai.
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View of the water stream coming to Chaaparai.
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Now, this is what the place is famous for.
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Last edited by muralisk : 10th June 2009 at 21:17.
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Old 10th June 2009, 21:36   #19
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Nice pics, muralisk. Had been to Araku in December but didn't get to go Chaaparai. Went to Ketki Falls instead which is close to Borra.

Did you stay overnight at Araku?
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Old 10th June 2009, 21:40   #20
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After spending about an hour at Chaaparai, we decided to say good bye to Araku Valley and head towards our next destination - Borra Caves. Before that, we thought we could finish our lunch as it was half past noon by then. We came to one of the AP tourism guest house, which was quite decent and unfortunately, I can't recollect the name. They had asked us to wait for at least 30 mins before the restaurant is open.

From Araku, we had about 40 kms drive towards Borra Caves, so we decided to have our lunch at Borra Caves. We managed to reach Borra Caves by 1:30 pm and straight we headed towards Punnami - AP Tourism restaurant. The place was full, but we did manage to get some place and they had only veg meals. We had ordered the same, and it was bad. Really bad.

We managed to finish the lunch somehow and then stood in the queue for the tickets. The entry charge to Borra Caves is Rs. 25 per adult and Rs. 10 for kids. And they charge Rs. For still camera and Rs. 100 for video camera.

As we enter inside the Borra Caves, there is lot of information on Borra Caves and that’s quite good. As we descend towards the entry to the Caves, we were spellbound by its natural beauty. The snaps that I had taken tell us very little when compared to what we see with our own eyes.

Btw, the caves are infested with Bats and it smells awful in there. There is a constant and pungent smell throughout the caves and at one place, it does get worse.

Here are the snaps and there isn’t much that I can write about these as most of these are quite self explanatory.

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This pictures says - Borra Caves Tourist Guides Association along with the year of establishment and registration number.
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Attachment 146633

Last edited by muralisk : 10th June 2009 at 21:44.
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Old 10th June 2009, 21:52   #21
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Nice pics again, Muralisk! I've visited Araku 5 times and Borra caves around 7 times so far. It is good to see changes in Borra caves---there wasn't any good eating joint till last year. We used to have food in a lousy shanty.

The trip to Araku is great---whether by road or train. The train route gives you the thrill of tunnels, but you need to be prepared to mingle with labour class people--sometimes even in First Class! I'd anyday prefer the road journey.

BTW, the place is Paderu, not Paredu! It's a pity that road aint all that good now. I've returned to Vizag on that route once, and found it more desolate and equally scenic. It was 20 kms longer upto Steel Township, but 40 to Vizag City. Only issue is that you'd need to take a left at Paderu--the straight road takes you to Chintapalli forest that is Naxal infested. It also connects to Bhadrachalam.
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Old 10th June 2009, 22:30   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by straightdrive View Post
Nice pics, muralisk. Had been to Araku in December but didn't get to go Chaaparai. Went to Ketki Falls instead which is close to Borra.

Did you stay overnight at Araku?
Thanks Straightdrive. I wanted to check out Ketki Falls, but they said that I need to hire one of the Jeeps and I cannot drive down in my car. Hence, decided to pass it. We did not stay at Araku. However, I am planning for another trip to and that would mostly during the winters and may be then, I would stay there for a night or two. Just to chill out and do nothing.
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Old 10th June 2009, 22:35   #23
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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Nice pics again, Muralisk! I've visited Araku 5 times and Borra caves around 7 times so far. It is good to see changes in Borra caves---there wasn't any good eating joint till last year. We used to have food in a lousy shanty.

The trip to Araku is great---whether by road or train. The train route gives you the thrill of tunnels, but you need to be prepared to mingle with labour class people--sometimes even in First Class! I'd anyday prefer the road journey.

BTW, the place is Paderu, not Paredu! It's a pity that road aint all that good now. I've returned to Vizag on that route once, and found it more desolate and equally scenic. It was 20 kms longer upto Steel Township, but 40 to Vizag City. Only issue is that you'd need to take a left at Paderu--the straight road takes you to Chintapalli forest that is Naxal infested. It also connects to Bhadrachalam.
Thanks vnabhi. I guess it was my typo regarding Paderu. Thanks for pointing it out. Even I prefer to drive to any place and that would be my first choice. even I heard about Chintapalli forest area and the naxal problem. Hope this would be taken care soon, so that we could explore those areas as well.
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Old 11th June 2009, 17:37   #24
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We spent about an hour or little more in the caves and went all the way till the end of the cave.

There is one thing that I would like to add here and am sure that people who are aware of it would agree with it. Before the lights were installed inside the caves, the tourist guides would take you inside with the fire torch. People who have experienced that, feel that there is very little excitement now with lights and staircases.

Well, that's where we leave this and move on to the penultimate day.

We left Vizianagaram around 10 am and started our journey towards Bhimli. Very quickly, we got on to the Bhimli - Vizag route and it did revive my memories of that drive I had back in 1993. Then, it was on a bike and the road was much norrower than what it is now and there was much less development as well.

Nevertheless, this was one drive that I always wanted to do again with my family and I did realize my dream. I was quite happy about it.

I will post the pictures tonight and will also try and conclude my travelogue.
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Old 11th June 2009, 19:58   #25
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Originally Posted by muralisk View Post
We spent about an hour or little more in the caves and went all the way till the end of the cave.

There is one thing that I would like to add here and am sure that people who are aware of it would agree with it. Before the lights were installed inside the caves, the tourist guides would take you inside with the fire torch. People who have experienced that, feel that there is very little excitement now with lights and staircases.

Well, that's where we leave this and move on to the penultimate day.

We left Vizianagaram around 10 am and started our journey towards Bhimli. Very quickly, we got on to the Bhimli - Vizag route and it did revive my memories of that drive I had back in 1993. Then, it was on a bike and the road was much norrower than what it is now and there was much less development as well.

Nevertheless, this was one drive that I always wanted to do again with my family and I did realize my dream. I was quite happy about it.

I will post the pictures tonight and will also try and conclude my travelogue.
+1 to what you said about the flame torches----it was far more exciting and adventurous.
I fully agree regarding the Bhimili drive---have done it 100s of times on my Lamby and M800.
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Old 11th June 2009, 22:00   #26
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Bhimli pictures.

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As were cruising along the road savoring the beauty, we saw this place on top of the hill from a distance (as we were driving towards Vizag, this place comes on the right side). We saw a very nice road leading to the top of the hill and were contemplating if we could drive so that we would get a great view of the Bay of Bengal.

So, we decided to check it out. As we took a U-turn we saw that it is Dr. D Ramanaidu's studio. We did read about this, we were not sure and definitely it was not in our agenda. We were not sure we would be allowed to get inside and with apprehension in our minds, we slowly pulled towards the entrance and we saw that they do allow people to visit the studio and there was an entry fee for the same. I guess the entry fee was Rs. 15 or 25 per adult and Rs. 10 for kids. Not sure though.

I must say that the road leading up to the studio was truly amazing both in terms of the quality of the road and the steep climb. The view from the top was awesome. Here are the pics:

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Old 11th June 2009, 22:29   #27
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We spent an hour at the studios and while we were there, we did see a Bhojpuri song shooting. From there, we visited a friends house, where we had our lunch. After taking a break for couple of hours, we decided to hit the road on our return journey to Bangalore.

With ease, we were back on NH5 and the traffic on a Saturday evening was quite light. Our plan was to make a night halt at Vijayawada around 10:00 pm. And to this effect, we did stop once for fuel at Anakapalli and reached Rajahmundry around 8:00 pm. We decided to finish our dinner at Anand Regency and this time, we tried the veg restaurant. They had a tiffin's buffet, which is price at Rs. 127 per person and they had a host of tiffins - two kinds of Bajji's, Dhai Wada, Idli (plain and Rava), Upma, uttapam, poori, chats, two kinds of fruit juices and an ice cream. Apparently, this is their Saturday special. They were quite decent to charge just half the price for my kid, who had very little.

We did take some snaps on our way back:
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We did wrap our dinner in 30 mins and around 8:30, we did hit the road again and we had about 200+ kms to reach Vijayawada and that meant that we would not make it by 10:00 pm. Instead, we reached Vijayawada by 11:30 pm and checked into Hotel Garuda on MG Road, which is opposite Hotel Gateway. I must say, Garuda is quite decent when compared to Bhimas. This room costed us Rs. 1200.

The following day, we hit the road at 5:00 am and had a very pleasent and great drive back to Bangalore. We reached home by 3:30 pm.

In all, I drove about 2500+ kms in the last 6 days and I must say, it was quite exciting and satisfying.

Ending Odo reading:
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So long, until the next travelogue.
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Old 11th June 2009, 22:44   #28
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Nice trip log and pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12th June 2009, 11:39   #29
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Nice trip log and pictures. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Ravi and you're welcome.
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Old 12th June 2009, 20:51   #30
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Muralisk,
I have not been to Araku, Borra and Vizag. Your text and pictoral coverage has inspired me to make a visit there as soon as I can.
Particularly I love the Andhra meals( non-veg) and people who are so well mannered and soft spoken, I understand 80% telugu and speak about 60%, but one thing I do understand is the difference between well spoken Telugu and the other kind.
Thanks for this coverage, it was very helpful.
Regards,
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