Wired to ignore what we have readily available to us, we travel far and wide in search of the elusive as well as the obvious. But what should be really obvious is the charms of our hometowns and our villages, the beauty of our ignored backyards.
I've made it abundantly clear over the years that Himalayas may be my first love but it was Western Ghats that inspired me to take the offbeat path. But what about Eastern Ghats? I grew up in the shadow of these forgotten mountain ranges along the east coast and lived amidst them for almost 75% of my life so far. Yet, it never occurred to me to go back to these mountains once I started travelling. I've explored nooks and crannies of the country but I have somehow found it very hard to return home and explore the surroundings I knew so well.
I remember watching the green slopes of seven hills of Tirumala covered in low hanging rain clouds during monsoons from the roof of my school in Tirupati. I distinctly remember elatedly counting the number of cascades that would trickle down the slopes after a torrential downpour. Back in Vishakhapatnam, I remember watching streams form out of nowhere after every squall or downpour. I have known this all along yet these memories were tightly wrapped up in some obscure corner of my brain, refusing to surface every single time I marvelled at the Western Ghats. They are certainly not the same, but older than the Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats are unique have their own charm. We do not crave for duplicates anyway.
Of late, I've been taking time out to explore Andhra Pradesh and I'm happy to report that I'm pleasantly getting surprised at how much awesomeness is hiding in plain sight. There is very little zero tourist infrastructure to be fair but I'm having fun anyway. When a recent assignment required me produce images on a short notice, I decided to chase monsoons in the wonderful vicinities of city of destiny, aka Vishakhapatnam.
Here's a glimpse of the amazing landscapes that welcomed me around Araku Valleys and Tatipudi Reservoir.
|An idyllic church in the rustic countryside of Araku|
|Stunning roadside greenery on the route to Araku Valley|
|Lost in the glorious view unfolding in front of me at Tatipudi Reservoir|
|A vantage point reserved for gods with the most gorgeous view of Tatipudi Reservoir|
|Dark storm clouds tease the mountains, on the way to Araku Valley|
|Cannot get over the beauty of this church in Araku Valley|
|The tribal belt of Araku Valley thrives of agriculture, gorgeous fields dot the entire valley|
|Hairpin Bend no - 6 with a stunning view of the mountains of Eastern Ghats|
|Look at them layers, Eastern Ghats have officially staked out a claim in my heart forever|
|A beautiful stream and a lovely view of the mountains beyond on the way to Araku Valley|
|Eucalyptus, water guzzlers and nothing but an invasive species. But hey, they smell lovely.|
|Lush greenery on the banks of Tatipudi Reservoir near Vizianagaram|
|Tatipudi Reservoir, best find on the recent recce trip. More to follow for sure!|
|The gorgeous curves on the winding road to Araku Valley|
So, tell me, how green is my valley? ;)
Also, have you ever gone back to your roots to travel only to find something incredible?
, by Neelima Vallangi