We started at around 9 in the morning for Araku. The weather was perfect. There was a slight drizzle. As we got out of the main city, the surroundings became more and more beautiful. The lush green countryside and the forested hills with the clouds perched on top were a treat to the eyes.
After a while, we began our ascent of the hills. The view of the valley below on one side of the road was really good. Terraced plantations and a lone cottage here, a sleepy hamlet amidst green fields there, we soaked in what that moist October morning had to offer with amazement.
We encountered our first stream about an hour into the journey. Like happy schoolboys, we played with the water, washed our faces and climbed the rocks through which it flowed. It was like a mini-waterfall. We encountered more such streams on the way, one of the advantages of taking a car to Araku rather than the train where you have no control of where you want to stop.
The moist morning caused a lot of fog which made the whole experience ethereal. The dark green cedars almost touching the sky with the fog around them looked beautiful indeed. At one place, near the Ananthagiri coffee plantations, hawkers had set up small roadside shops where they were serving coffee. Sipping the piping hot coffee in those foggy surroundings was really magical.
To get to the Araku valley, we had to go down the hill eventually. We were wondering if we had just completed the best part of our trip. We hadn't.