(If you haven't read the first article please go to my author profile and read it. Without further ado lets see the second leg of my journey)
My adventures in Andhra Pradesh began from Tirupati. In my almost 22 years of existence, I had never seen so many people in one place. The crowded town Tirupati and its commercialised hill Tirumala hold a religious symbol with an inexplicably great value. The diversity of this region is reflected in its food, culture, lifestyle and almost every other aspect of it.
Travel: As there are more trains and buses available from Chennai, I decided to travel to Chennai which is at 60 Km from Mahabalipuram, spent a night at a hostel there and took a bus to Tirupati from Chennai. Tirupati is at 133 Km from Chennai. A free bus runs on Tirumala hill, it takes devotees around the place and many APRTC buses go from Tirupati to Tirumala.
Accommodation: For my spare night in Chennai, I chose the delightful Red Lollipop Hostels. Accommodation in Tirupati can be found from Rs 50 to Rs 500 or more.
Food: From Dry Gobi to soft Idlis, the region’s diversity has a great influence on its unique cuisine.
My surprise city Nellore was everything that I had not expected it to be. In Nellore, I got the opportunity to travel around the village areas of Andhra Pradesh and explore the secluded wonders of this region. The lonely beaches and unfrequented religious shrines make Nellore an unpopular tourist destination.
Travel: I took a bus from Tirupati and travelled 132 Km to reach Nellore. Trains are available and are cheaper but they’re also the most crowded option. Local buses and share autos can be found to travel in and around Nellore.
Accommodation: Budget hotels can be found in the area. Unfortunately, I took shelter in one of the hotels that had also sheltered a hundred mosquitoes.
Food: Andhra style veg and non-veg dishes are prepared with authenticity and served hot in many restaurants.
Vijayawada is the city closest to Andhra Pradesh’s capital – Amaravati. The crowded city has a number of caves, forts to explore in the area. Spending an evening watching the lights dance to religious music on Prakasam Barrage is an experience I’ll never forget.
Travel: Vijayawada is at 280 Km from Nellore, I chose an over-night train to commute from one destination to the other. Like most places in Andhra Pradesh, travelling inside the city is possible through local buses and share autos.
Accommodation: As I had decided on taking a train to Vishakapatanam the same night, I did not book a hotel in Vijayawada. However, many budget hotels are available for accommodation in the city.
Food: As a developed city, a variety of cuisines can be found here.
Araku valley is the place that both thrilled and terrified me. Compared to other tourist destinations in Andhra Pradesh, Araku is the one spot that is quite used to tourist. The calm hill station is best categorised as a great Road trip destination. The curvy path leading to the tribal village is gifted with an abundant amount of greenery and calmness.
Travel: As I couldn’t find any direct mode of transportation between Vijayawada and Araku Valley online. I took a bus from Vijayawada to Vishakapatanam and from there changed another bus to Araku Valley. Vishakapatanam is at 347 Km from Vijayawada and Araku is at 114 Km from Vishakapatanam.
Accommodation: Even though there are no hostels, many cheap guest houses can be found as soon as one enters Araku. I stayed in a well-constructed but badly maintained Tribal Guest house.
Food: Hot jalebis that are prepared on the road side are a must try. Finding decent food here at night for a reasonable price can be an adventure of its own.
My first experience of this year’s monsoon was in Vishakapatanam. After roaming around the hot regions of South India, Vishakapatanam’s weather was a blessing to me. With kind locals and beautiful beaches, this coastal town is indubitably one of the best locations of Andhra Pradesh. Yarada, a small village next to Vishakapatanam and its serene beach warmed my heart during my vist.
Travel: Vishakapatanam is at 114 Km from Araku. There are regular buses and very few trains that operate between the regions. Train journey from Araku to Vishakapatanam is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Accommodation: A few hostels and budget hotels can be found for accommodation in Vishakapatanam. However, I had not booked one.
Food: Authentic Andhra’s coastal style cuisine can be relished in Vishakapatanam.
Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana and is a very popular tourist destination. Along with the very well know tourist spots, Hyderabad is also a hot shopping point. The busy city is visited by individuals from all walks of life. With ancient forts to brand new pearls, Hyderabad has a wide variety of attractions. Even though I was sad that my fellowship was ending in this destination, Hyderabad and its wonderful people cheered me up on the day.
Travel: An over-night train took me 618 Km from Vishakapatanam to Hyderabad. Being a very well developed city, travelling inside Hyderabad is made convenient with local buses, trains and autos.
Accommodation: Since I took an overnight train to Bangalore, I did not book an accommodation in Hyderabad. However, many budget accommodations are available if necessary.
Food: Since Hyderabad has a high number of Muslims population, Biryani and other non-veg food items are extremely popular in the region.
This is an article from the Aao hostel travel fellowship series