Next day very early in the morning we set off for Jagdalpur. Two passenger trains from Vizag could take you to Jagdalpur. The train to Jagdalpur from Vizag passes through one of the most scenic routes in India. The train passes through 50+ tunnels, several bridges offering astounding valley views, and multiple curves. There were only two trains which pass through this route twice in a day. The trains start from Visakhapatnam at 6.50 am in the morning and 9.35 pm at night. They reach Jagdalpur at 4.30 pm and 5.30 am respectively. Visakhapatnam to Jagdalpur rail journey by Kirandul Express was one of the most scenic rail journeys in India.
Although catching the train at 6.50 am was too early for us but somehow we managed to reach the station on time to catch this train. The amazing thing about Indian Railways is that it can be economical beyond imagination. The one way fare for about 300 Kms, 10 hours journey through a difficult terrain was just Rs. 80 for second class sitting, Rs. 145 for second class sleeper and Rs. 505 for 3AC (newly added). I booked 4 tickets for second class sleeper from IRCTC online. We got one cabin with two windows as we had to witness scenic views outside.
This rail route which was full of scenic beauties should be in the list of must do activities among Vaizag-Araku holidaymakers. When the Vishakhapatnam-Kirandul Passenger train initiated from Vishakhapatnam Station, the first one hour of the journey felt as usual like any other rail journey in India. But as soon as the train starts climbing the hills, we felt the sudden change in the ambiance around. A cool breeze touching my face alerted me that the time has come to visualize the beauty of the valley. I heard a lot about the scenic beauty of this route beforehand but getting spellbound more and more as I went forward.
I could see the train approaching the hills. After a few minutes, the first tunnel was waiting for us to pass. As the initial compartment entered in the tunnel, the enthusiastic screams grew louder and suddenly the compartment went dark and we were hearing loud screams of enthusiastic passengers from all corners.
It was not long when the train moved toward the second tunnel and again the screams continued. My excitement dropped after 20 or so tunnels but the overall excitement level in train increased with each passing tunnel. I tried to count the number of tunnels initially but, later I lost count somewhere in between. As the train moved out of a tunnel, beautiful valley view’s kept the excitement levels pumped.
Numbers of tunnel en route will surely added spice to our food. So those who has a idea to make a trip to Araku from Vizag make it sure that this one should not be missed out. Book the tickets well in advance to have a confirmed reservation.
However, the most important thing of this tour was that you have to occupy a seat by the window in your right hand side of the similar direction in which the train moves. Otherwise the entire entertainment is subject to nil.
As per my research this train line passes through 84 bridges and 58 tunnels. This train line is built particularly to carry iron ore to Visakhapatnam port from the mineral reserves of Chhattisgarh (place called kirandul). This is a broad gauge line that passes through Shimiliguda station which is the highest located broad gauge station of India. It is located at an altitude of 3,271 ft above sea level.
After crossing Chimidi Palli rail srtation we reached Borrah Guhalu rail station. One could visit Bora cave from this rail station. This station reminded me hit telegu movie ‘Manasantha Nuvve’ Scenes. Again train started running and we crossed Karakavalasa station. Around 11.30 am our train reached Araku and maximum passengers got down there.
Situated at a height of 911 m above sea level, Araku is a must visit destination for tourists visiting Vizag. Araku valley is mainly inhabited by tribal and the Tribal Museum is one of the main attractions there. The tribal dance known as Dhimsa dance with tribal dressed in colorful attire is a must see for visitors coming to Araku.
On the way we saw many big and small waterfalls, orchards, gardens, the green valley and rivers. There was board at the each platform with details of height and saying about the specialty of that station. The train again filled up by passengers at Koraput station.
Now I have been informed that this train has air conditioned tourist compartment also. This had cushioned seats, wide windows, and LCD TV. This coach is separated at Araku and again linked in return journey from Araku to Visakhapatnam. Ticket price is Rs 670/- per person. We reached Jagdalpur around 5 pm. We took one auto and reached our pre-booked Hotel Akansha.
Hotel Akansha was not a luxurious Resort but just a normal Hotel with average stay. The rooms were clean but don’t provide any kind of pleasant views. Staffs were polite. The food options were limited and only vegetarian dishes were available. The best part of the hotel was that it is within the heart of the city and we got an easy access for shopping or strolling in that small city.
Room tariff is little bit in higher side. Food also I found costly. I booked 2 double rooms online from MMT. They charged around Rs. 1900 per room which includes complementary buffet breakfast. Breakfast was good, mind it was veg. Credit/Debit Cards were accepted there. Quantity of food was also sufficient.
Hotel Akansha was located at Motitalab. Rooms were large and cozy with beautiful king size bed. The hotel provided free parking for the guests. The bathroom had geyser and separate taps for hot and cold water. The travel desk used to organize local sightseeing tour on demand. Our rooms had satellite television, intercom telephone connection, 24 hours room service and lots of more facilities.
Only the problem was that no Wi-Fi facilities in the hotel and the network of cellphone were poor in Jagdalpur. The hotel was 3 km away from Railway Station and the Bus Stand.
After freshening up myself, I opened my laptop and connected internet with the help of my cellphone. Jagdalpur is a city in Bastar district in Chhattisgarh. Jagdalpur is the headquarters of Bastar District and. It was previous the capital of the former princely state of Bastar. Tourism is one among the most sources of income for the town. The town is actually said to be the paradise of tourists trying to find fun and frolic in Jagdalpur. The town is a residence of the many wildlife, temples, waterfalls, caves, lakes, museums, historic monuments and what not. Some of the must-visit places in Jagdalpur are Chitrakote Falls, Teerathgarh Falls, Kotumsar Cave, Tamda Ghumar waterfalls, Kanger Ghati National Park, Indravati National Park, Danteshwari Temple, and more. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has acknowledged Jagdalpur-Teerathgarh-Chitrakoot-Barsur-Dantewada-Teerathgarh Circuit as one of the 45 Mega Tourist circuits in India on the ground of footfalls and their future tourism potential.