If you haven’t been able to figure out a trip down south, thinking there isn’t a lot to do, this article is just the wake up call you need. Because no, Goa doesn’t count as a trip to the South. There’s SO much more that South India has to offer. Take a look at these stunning places that are still fairly unexplored.
A small village located right on the bank of the river Pennar in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, Gandikota is also known as the Grand Canyon of India. Getting there might be a bit of an adventure, but once you’re inside the place, there are no means of transportation. Thank god for that. One really needs to spend time enjoying what Gandikota has to offer. There is a great downhill trek through the canyon leading to the riverbed.
The closest railway station is 26 kms away at Muddanuru in Cuddapa district. The nearest place to take a bus ride would be Jammalamadugu (nearest town) Old Bus Stand (Gandhi Statue Junction).
A coffee enthusiast would know the importance of Araku valley. Famous for its coffee plantations, India’s first tribal growers’ organic coffee brand was launched in the Araku Valley in 2007. The premium organic “Araku Emerald” brand of coffee sells globally. Inhabited by different tribes, Araku is a hill station in the Vishakapatnam district. A perfect getaway from the hustle-bustle of the city, this valley is surrounded by mountains like Galikonda, Raktakonda, Sunkarimetta and Chitamogondi. The valley is connected by both rail and road to the city of Vishakapatnam. There are two railway stations at Araku on the Kothavalasa-Kirandul railway line of Visakhapatnam division of the East Coast Railway, on the Indian Railways network. Shimiliguda railway station is located at an altitude of 996 meters above mean sea level. Beautiful, and mostly untouched, this one’s been waiting for you to be explored.
Make no mistake, the Belum Caves are the second largest caves in the Indian subcontinent, and the longest (3229 mts) caves in the plains of India. Formed in black limestone, the caves have long passages, spacious chambers, fresh water galleries and siphons. The constant flow of underground water helped forming caves that have their deepest point at 150 feet. Engulfed in mystery, there are 16 different pathways, including the main entrance. Moreover, there are deposits of quartz in the caves. The nearest rail-head to reach Belum Caves is Tadipatri, which is 30 kms away. There are daily trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Tirupati, Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore and Goa, which halt at Tadipatri railway station. From Tadipatri, one can catch a bus to Belum Caves. If you feel somewhat like Indiana Jones, this one must be explored. (More places here…)