TravelWithacouple, Araku Valley

Welcome to Eastern Ghats – Tyda

We have not come out of the magic spell that Western Ghats casts on nature lovers.  And we will never be able to come out of it. Yet, the Eastern Ghats, which run parallely to the east cost of India, from West Bengal in the north to Tamilnadu in the south, have been seducing us for some time. Not as tall as the Western Ghats,  these are discontinuous ranges with a few hill stations thrown in.

(map courtesy:  wikipedia)

Araku Valley had been on our radar for more than a year. Known for its highly fertile soil, sprawling fields, tribal hamlets, the famous Borra caves, and the numerous tunnels through which trains magically disappear and emerge (train-spotting in Araku is a term someone coined), Araku lies at the Andhra–Orrisa border and is about 115 km from Vizag. There is a misconception that Araku is a hill station though it has a ‘valley’ tag. Climbing down to Araku starts after Ananthagiri hills, which is the hill station, known for its coffee plantations.

About 30-odd km before Araku (on the Vizag–Araku route) is Tyda, a village with a non-descript one-shop bus-stop and railway station. Our decision to stay in the APTDC-owned Jungle Bells resort at Tyda turned out to be perfect. Rightly named Jungle Bells, the resort is set in the middle of a jungle.

Lonely Planet magazine mentions Jungle Bells resort as an option to stay,  but  cautioned visitors to be beware of creepy crawlies and ‘indifferent cooking’. While the food was not ‘great’, it was perfect for the not-so-foodie type like us, we enjoyed the company of the creepy crawlies and were happily clicking them.

Tyda is a place where you can get lost in nature; do some trekking or hiking, have wildlife for company; and listen to the gurgling stream and sleep. The first day evening we just walked along the road, then on the railway tracks, climbed a few hills, and spotted a few chameleons who were busy camouflaging themselves.

Next day started with an invigourating 3-hour trek through the jungle with Apparao, the guide at the Jungle Bells. As he led us, he kept clearing the way by removing fallen bamboos, shrubs and some logs. Looked like not too many people trek here. Apparao also spotted the nest and eggs of munia hidden in the undergrowth. He was also eager to explain the medicinal properties of various wild plants. We passed some tribal houses and farms growing urad dal, millet, and vegetables.

Most tourists stay in Araku valley or Ananthgiri and there are quite a few spots that fall in the regular itinerary. We wanted to see some uncommon destinations apart from the regular. Moses, the driver who drove us around in a good Bolero was perfect sport. More on that and the rest of Araku valley later.

13 Comments on “Welcome to Eastern Ghats – Tyda

  1. I will be visiting the Tyda by 21st July 2011… Have done my bookings for 3 nights…

    Booking for Tyda Jungle bells can be done at the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Website “”

    My Plan is to Start early in the morning from Hyderabad and reach Vijayawada for breakfast, move on from Vijayawada to Vizag via. Rajamundry. Lunch at Vizag and reach the Tyda Jungle Bell by evening. Will post the travel blog along with the new photos shortly.

  2. The description and the photos are beautiful. Especially, the railway track photos are amazing. This seems to be the place to get ourself refreshed and recharged. Can you please let me know:

    How you contacted and reached jungle bells?
    Will you recommend it for family (as it seems to be very isolated)


  3. @Nisha & @Anu: Thanks 🙂

    @Rama: We have heard that the drive through that route is very interesting. Hope to do it some time. 🙂

    @KP: We didn’t touch the crawlies, neither did they. 🙂 We just clicked them.

    @Snow Leopard: We need to see more of eastern ghats. 🙂

    @Pattu: Regular tourist spots are also beautiful, otherwise it won’t become popular. 🙂

    @PNS: Train journey through Vizag-Kirandul route is supposed to be very good, but we couldn’t do it because the train timings didn’t match with our schedule. Thanks for sharing the interesting rail history. 🙂

    @Sandeep: Those parts are yet to be explored by us. Maybe we’ll do it soon. Too many places and too little time. 🙂

    @Savari: Do visit. 🙂

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  5. luved the writeup. i was planning to visit this place long time back (in 2005) when i was in vizag. never got a chance since then.

    apparently … eastern ghats has a lot of interesting hills down south (northern TN and southern AP), some of them with good trekking trails

  6. Oh! a wonderful post indeed. This has brought back my old memories when tourism related activities were totally absent. We used to find accommodation in Govt. rest houses. Incidentally the railway link between Visakhapatnam and Kirandul was supposed to be the highest broad gauge link in Asia primarily constructed to carry iron ore from the Bailadila mines to Visakhapatnam harbour for export to Japan. To fill a ships belly, eight train loads of ore was needed. They experimented carrying one ship load of ore in one go by adding eight engines to a single train. Perhaps that was the longest train. The experiument could not succeed because of 45 degree curves on the track which could not be negotiated.

  7. Hi,

    Though I had been to Araku “to the spots that fall in the regular itinerary” , I liked what I saw. Your photgraphs brought back those hills and valley memories. I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to more.

  8. The area looks beautiful. Quite some beautiful snaps there. And though western ghats are famous as a bio diversity hot spot, the eastern counterparts can also hold their own.

  9. Though I have travelled between Chennai and Kolkata innumerable times but this is the first time I know of this beautiful place.The narration and the exquisite photos bring vividly the scenes and give us the feel of being present there.But the crawlies scare me a lot.How do you secure yoursleves from their touch?
    I look forward to knowing more about the scenic spots that Eastern ghats have to offer.Thanks a bunch

  10. Nice post!! I was in Visakapatnam for three years and did this route several times! Next time around you must head to Vizag and Bheemlipatnam – it’s one of the longest beach routes in India and absolutely stunning

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