Thursday, March 07, 2013

Andhra Adventures VII: Train ride to Araku Valley




A morning train takes you to Araku Valley from Vishakhapatnam through a series of tunnels, with valley on one side and hillocks on the other. Everyone starts with an attempt to count the tunnels but soon loose count as they get lost in the the views and small stations that come on the way. Thankfully the tunnels are numbered and you can start again. There are 52 tunnels on the route, the longest being 896 meters and shortest being only 26 meters, and average length about 400 meters.




Keep an eye out for Tunnel No 10 where the train enters at a right curve and you can actually see the train entering the tunnel from the window. This East Coast rail link was built in 1958 by HCC through an Indo-Japan collaboration to transport the Iron Ore from the state of Chhattisgarh to the port at Vishakhapatnam.  This train ride takes you from a height of 5.6 meters above mean level to a height of 996 meters at Shimliguda. Shimliguda station on this route is said to be the second highest rail station in India after Udhampur near Jammu. Just before Borra Guhalu station the train runs over the famous Borra caves and you would see a sign of it when you visit the caves.

APTDC runs a Rail cum Road package that takes you to Araku via train and brings you back by bus after covering major attractions. They even serve you breakfast and tea in the train while a guide gives you the tit bits on the train and the region. You have the option to come back the next day too...


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