Here is the second post in the series titled “Visakhapatnam trip”.
28th Oct 2008 – As I told in part 1 that we had booked a tour of Araku Valley and Borra Caves. We were supposed to report to APTDC counter at station at 5.45 am. That we did with groggy eyes only to know the train leaves at 7.00 am! Aarghhh! There were lots of other tourists too on the same tour. The rail-cum-road tour included breakfast, lunch and evening tea + snacks too. We were served delicious idli along with chutney for breakfast. The train journey comprised of 46 tunnels, glorious view of the valley and hills of Eastern Ghats. One of the tour guides kept informing us of interesting facts regarding the journey.
From Araku railway station we boarded one of the 5 buses of APTDC. First we went to Tribal Museum which had various aspects of tribal life on display along with various tribal handicrafts. We bought some souvenirs from a nearby shop.
Then we were taken to APTDC resort for lunch. Lunch consisted of plain rice, pulao, dal, rasam,curd, papad, chhole, sabzi and halwa. I guess roti is hardly available down south.
After the excellent lunch, we were taken to see the Padmapuram Botanical Gardens. The sweltering heat was not allowing us to enjoy anything. It was supposed to be a hill station but it was not at all cool. The tropical sun is the biggest adversary of tourism, I tell you! We just rested, clicked some photographs and waited for the bus to leave. Our guide took us back to the resort to see tribals perform their folk dance Dhimsa.
The route to Borra caves from Araku was through the coffee plantations of Anathgiri Hills and was a thorough Ghat road. And thus started my trouble. I suffer from motion sickness and the turns made by bus aggravated it. Our bus stopped at Galikonda view point. Dad bought coffee beans and pure coffee powder. Then we stopped at APTDC’s Anathgiri rest house for tea and snacks. I didn’t have any as I was feeling nauseated. Borra Caves comprise of million-year-old stalactite and stalagmite formations. Illumination of the caves has been done by APTDC. The 300 ft. thick roofed wonder spread over one square km., presents a breath-taking display of natural sculptures of Mother Earth. There are some 400 steps inside to go deeper and more down there. Mom didn’t go and gave me company while I rested at a restaurant outside. Dad went some 100 steps and came back. Old age prevents one from such strenuous adventures. It had started to get dark by then.
Then as more winding road came, my motion sickness got worse. Thankfully I was not alone in this suffering. Most of the women passengers were in same condition. The twists and turns of hilly road and darkness made the journey scary. By the time we reached city outskirts I was totally dizzy from vomiting reflexes and weak due to hunger. We had our dinner and hit the sack. And that is how I spent my Diwali. It was a mistake to go to Araku on such a short trip. It gets too much hectic especially with parents and motion sickness patients.