Lambasingi: The Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh
The Voice of Chandigarh News| Travel Trade Reporter
In India, when we think of a beautiful spot, we instantly compare it with Kashmir, the proverbial heaven on earth. We could draw parallel to this hidden gem of Andhra Pradesh to Ooty, but then Ooty never had snow.
Where could we be and what are we talking about? It is a beautiful secret valley hidden in the dense forests of the Eastern Ghats, not far from Visakhapatnam.
Lots of tourists visit Visakhapatnam, marvel at its beautiful beaches, museums, parks and food. But are you looking for something off the beaten track? We have the perfect solution. 3 hours away from Visakhapatnam, nestled in the strawberry and coffee plantations is Lambasingi, the place where the temperature goes down in minus in winter. Yes, you read that right.
We suggest some sightseeing at Visakhapatnam first as to approach Lambasingi, it is the most convenient junction. Vizag is the City of Destiny, Waltair of yester years. Visakhapatnam is connected to all the major cities of India by many airlines and oh, yes, it is an international airport and a major railhead too. You will most definitely fall in love with this quaint east coast city and its offer of different trails of beaches, temples, tribes and wildlife. Clean and green Visakhapatnam has beautiful strands, gorgeous beaches and an offering of accommodation that ranges from urban to natural sanctuary, from reasonable and comfortable to the ultimate luxury of infinity pools.
In search of more, we shall proceed to Araku Valley next. Have you ever travelled in a vista dome coach? Well, this is your chance!! This is a special coach in the Kirandul Express, connecting Visakhapatnam and Araku Valley. There is a glass top coach in the train to let you enjoy the view to the fullest as you move through the dense forests and picturesque locales of Andhra Pradesh. Did you know, this train crosses 46 tunnels on the way? There is something magical about plunging into the dark and coming out again in light so many times in a journey!! Araku is at a height of 2990 ft from sea level and 123 kms from Visakhapatnam. Now, you may also choose to take a scenic road route, if you do not want a train ride. In case, you are taking the road route, do make a stop at Tyda. The famous Jungle Bells Resort of Andhra Pradesh Tourism at Tyda is a beautiful experience.
Weather in Araku is just perfect hill station pleasant. Park yourself at a comfortable stay and let’s explore Araku for sometime. Taking a dekko inside the famous Borra Caves is a must. The name comes from a hole at the top of the cave as Borra means hole in Odia. Borra Caves are the interconnected limestone caves where stalactite and stalagmites have made nature’s own abstract sculpture from the ancient times. Stop at the tribal museum to know about the local tribal culture, history and lifestyle. If you are a caffeine aficionado, then a halt at the Coffee Museum of Araku is a must for you.
70 kms from Araku is Lambasingi, the abode of clouds and green rolling hills. Once in Lambasingi, you will find yourself surrounded by strawberry and coffee plantations. The chill in the air can best be felt in the mellow morning light moments. Request your travel agent to arrange for tent accommodation in Lambasingi. Enjoy Bongulo chicken, the way the local tribes cook, the chicken stuffed in bamboo all the while sitting beside a roaring campfire. Sway with the beats of dhimsa, the tribal dance of Araku and walk into the mist of the clouds. Trekking through the small trails of Lambasingi into the forest can be very rewarding for your camera and a treat for your pollution choked city lungs. Solitary trails will take you to the hilltop through sighing rows of Eucalyptus. Thajangi reservoir nearby adds to the beauty spots of Lambasingi. Gushing water and peaceful surroundings is a favourite with the shutterbugs. The shopaholic in you wants to go on a spending spree? Shop local, shop authentic. A must buy on this trip is Araku coffee and fruit preserves. Do not forget to step into the local coffee, strawberry plantations and apple orchards. Do support the locals in keeping their livelihoods sustainable.
Important note before you pack your bags for Lambasingi is to book your accommodation in advance. Take help from Andhra Pradesh Tourism and their booking website. The locals also offer homestays. You may also stay in Araku and go to Lambasingi for a day visit. Please keep in mind that these destinations are rich in biodiversity and have a very rich tribal culture. So, leave only your footprints behind and respect the ecologically sensitive place. The best time to visit Lambasingi in December and January when it is the coolest of the year. If you are lucky, who knows, you may get to see some snowfall too!!