We had a long weekend and hubby and I decided to get away for a long deserved vacation. We wanted to get away from the hustle bustle of the city and go somewhere quiet. We decided to go to Araku Valley which is roughly around a 141 kms from Vishakhapatnam(that’s where we live). A friend suggested that we bunk at Ananthagiri and visit Araku and other nearby places from there. And we were glad we took her advice.
Anathagiri is 80 kms from Vishakhapatnam . We made reservations at APTDC’s Haritha Hill View Resort and drove down at 6 am. The roads were good once we left the city behind. There were a lot of hairpin bends with breath taking views all along. We reached the resort at 8am just in time for breakfast. The rooms were not ready yet, the manager asked us to go visit the waterfalls nearby while he got our room cleaned up. We drove to the falls, some parts of the road being a little perilous. It was beautiful beyond words. We parked our car a little ahead and walked down to the waterfalls. It was slippery and mossy and very narrow when we tried walking with our shoes on dry patches of land and rock. Then we took off our shoes and it got easier, although the moss and algae did make the riverbed slippery. We sat on top of the falls on rocks that exposed their backs to the sun. The cool waters that tickled our feet gave us instant rejuvenation making us forget every care we had in the world. After an hour of frolicking in the water, we headed back to the resort.
We could choose our room and we chose the one with the best view. Breath taking is an understatement. All I could see was hills and valleys. A little cottage below our room spewed smoke from something a man was cooking over firewood. And I thought, the only thing missing was a light drizzle to make it perfect. And , it was as if nature heard me. I said let there be rain, and there was rain. A lovely light drizzle in the middle of March, which is unheard of. It was so magical, i got goosebumps.
We decided to go to Araku after lunch. Araku was a valley around 50 kms away from Anathagiri. The drive was again mesmerising. We saw mango trees whose trunks were as thick as banyan trees. Little grey monkeys sat on every milestone picking lice from each other and nursing their even smaller babies. A little spring trickled unexpectedly from the hill, it was like a little secret hidden , waiting to be discovered. The smell in the air was blissful. The flowers that dotted the hills were of varied colors and shapes and sizes. We entered a tribal village. The weekly fair was on and the villagers were buying and selling vegetables and fruits and meat. A baby cow, so tiny that I mistook it for a dog, ran helter skelter towards its mother. A hen strutted about pecking for her little chicks that were no larger than my thumb. A tribal lady massaging a new born infant. Spring was in the air.
We reached Araku and to our disappointment, there was nothing much to see. We headed for the tribal museum that was a little informative. We decided we’ll head back to our room and relax for the rest of the afternoon. The resort manager had told us that there would be a tribal dance performance for us in the evening. We wanted to head back in time to catch it. Besides, hubby didnt want to drive these unknown hair pin bends after dark. We stepped out of the museum and there was this downpour. The rain drops were so huge they stung. We waited near the exit of the museum for the rain to stop. After about an hour, it came down to a drizzle. We headed towards the handicraft store where there were a lot of wooden toys and show things. There were wicker baskets and purses. We didnt buy anything though.
As we tried heading towards the car park, the rain started again. Hubby asked me to wait by the security guard’s shelter while he ran to get the car. I ran out when I saw the car and the camera that hung from my neck got wet. Hubby was upset no doubt.
We drove back to Ananthagiri, the rains making the drive even more spectacular. We reached our room and ordered for tea and some snacks to be sent up. Sadly, we were informed the tribal dance was cancelled that evening. Hubby decided to watch some television while I sat on the balcony drinking in the view along with my tea. Sadly for hubby, none of his favorite channels were on. No news, no sports, no movies. Just some Telugu channels, the language which he never understood. As for me, I seldom watch TV so it didn’t bother me in the least.
We decided to spend the rest of the evening with him playing the guitar and me singing off tune. We fell asleep very early and checked out soon after breakfast the next day and headed towards Borra Caves which I will talk about in my next post.