After the placement season is over, there is nothing left to do in the life of placecomers. The MBA life in college is almost coming to an end and it is time to enjoy to the fullest. It is important to grab opportunities in life and there was one when rest of the class went for a field study as part of an elective ( which I am not part of ) and all the classes were suspended for three days.
There are many places in Odisha to see, but it is better to have some change in between. The port city of Vizag offers a great opportunity for all kinds of travelers. So, three of us went on a road trip to Vizag. The train journey was really boring as the Intercity Express from BBS got delayed. It is better to book tickets even in the Intercity Express as the crowds in unreserved compartments were overflowing due to weekends.
After reaching Vizag, first thing we did was to search for the AP tourism department counter on the railway station to book seats for Araku valley trip. We were told that the railway journey package is full and we can try our luck in the morning if somebody does not turn up.
We decided to go to Ram Krishna (RK) beach to look for accommodation. (After the trip, suggestion is to look for accommodation near Rushi Konda beach. Its more peaceful and scenic). The auto-fare ranges between 40 to 50 from railway station to RK beach. There is a direct bus from railway station to RK beach, the ticket is around 12.
The guest houses near beach are costlier and room rent ranges between 1000 to 1500 for decent rooms.There are dorms available near railway station but it is better to stay near the beach to experience the sea.The RK beach sea-side looks nice in the evening with all the lighting. The RK beach is not so safe for swimming and many accidental drowning are reported in the area. It is advisable to visit two / three places before deciding on one. There are a lot of eateries in the RK beach area for every budget. South Indian restaurants serve hot and delicious Idlis and Dosa in many avatars and reasonable cost.
We stayed in a guest house called Beach Guest house. The guest house has good rooms which can accommodate three people easily but the owner is not very friendly and while checking out started asking for one days extra charge. This place was just opposite to the beach.
We roamed around on the RK beach in the evening till it was dark. There is a good coffee shop from where you can enjoy the view with hot coffee. Sadly, we could not locate any good sea food restaurants in the area. There is a submarine museum near RK beach.
Next day, early morning we got up and went to railway station ( 5.30 AM). We waited for the APTDC counter to open to check if there were any cancellations. Fortunately, there were couple of cancellations and we could join the tour. I prefer not to go on guided tours but it was impossible to discover Araku valley on our own in one day, so it was a practical decision & the logistics could be managed easily.
The train journey is quite lengthy but pleasant. APTDC arrangement was good. There were lot of tunnels in the journey with longest being around 900M. Araku has a tribal museum. It was really sad to see the way the tribal people and tribal art were portrayed. The sculptures representing the tribal were really bad piece of work and did not capture their prominent features. I really admire tribal culture and art but my advice is not to spend too much time in the museum. There are few tribal handicraft shops in the periphery of the museum which sell local spices and cooperative products. The botanical garden is well maintained and the atmosphere inside is very pleasant.
The next stop was Borra caves. The journey was in a mini bus. The road is very nice and you can see coffee plantation while driving. There is chicken cooked inside available along the roadside. Vegetarians can enjoy boiled corn and sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes were especially tasty. The borra cave experience was most exciting part of the trip. The caves has natural rock formations resulting in fascinating shapes.
The atmosphere inside the cave was damp and suffocating and one can smell the bats. It was visible that many people were struggling to climb the stairs in one go. It is dark inside and better to carry a torch and not to rely on mobile for light. We Indians commercialize our religion which was evident from the bogus god-man seating inside the cave and people visiting him. In the return journey, we stopped at Tyada for break. The place has APTDC resort and is quite secluded from main area. This can be an ideal gate-away for weekend for adventure travelers and nature lovers.
Next day we went to Rushi Konda beach in the morning after checking out from the hotel (9AM). The auto-rickshaw took 300 for a round trip via Kailasgiri. The Ruhi Konda beach was better for sea bathing and water sports. There are water sports facilities available at the beach.
The view from Kailashgiri is splendid and credit must be given to VUDA for maintaining a clean and beautiful city. The coat line is well maintained , with only blemish that you can see is waste water running into sea at RK beach.The rope way ride to the kailasgiri gives you an aerial view.
Overall, Vizag was a pleasant experience without being too expensive. Few suggestions after the trip will be , at least three days are needed to see complete Vizag. It will be more pleasant experience to see the Araku valley in monsoon when it will be at its best. Local treks in Araku are good option as the place is really beautiful.