Araku Tribal Museum – Places To Visit In Araku Valley


Araku Tribal Museum is located in Araku, a small town in the valley surrounded by hills and many waterfalls, about 110 km from Visakhapatnam. Most museums are famous for what they showcase and the galleries they curate for visitors.

Araku Tribal Museum entrance gate
Landscape view from the entrance gate to the tribal museum

Araku Tribal Museum

What makes Araku Valley Tribal Museum stand out in my mind is its very structure which is indigenous, and absolutely native, right from the architecture, to the material used, to colors and contours. A double-storeyed round building in red, with white motifs, painted on it. White window frames and white outlines standing on green lawns. One look and you know it represents the essence of an Indian community.

Collage depicting tribal womens daily activities and terracotta elephants
Collage of images depict the daily activities of tribal women and the terracotta elephant figurines made by them

Tribal Musical Instruments, Masks, and Pottery

Step inside and it is like being in the world of local tribes. You see the setting of their homes with dioramas depicting day-to-day activities. There are scenes from the market and dances from various festivals. A small board explains the tribe and scene. The walls were full of masks and there was a scene depicting makeup being done for the drama. Musical instruments, clay pottery, and wall paintings with local motifs keep the eyes engaged. For once I felt the museum is too crowded with lots of articles around.

Collage of dioramas at the museum
Diorama of a tribal potter, ongoing metal figurines work, and a tribal lady grinding spices in the traditional way

Soon realized that this was part of creating the ambiance and that is how the houses in Indian villages and tribes were. A ramp inside the building takes you to the next floor seamlessly. The design is integral to this museum, something I have not seen very often in India.

A piece of wooden Tiger mask prepared by the tribals
A piece of wooden Tiger mask prepared by the tribals on display

Tribal Paintings at Araku Tribal Museum

Take a close look at the tribal paintings maintained at the museum. They revolve around the day to day life activities.

Tribal Paintings at Araku Tribal Museum
Tribal Paintings depicting their day-to-day life

They are colorful and display animals and birds found during day-to-day life, teams, activities, musical instruments in use, and so on giving viewers an insight into the life and times of the tribal life of the region.

Tribal painting on display at Araku Tribal Museum
Colorful tribal painting on display

In-progress Installations

When we visited the Araku Tribal Museum, art installations were being prepared in its lawns and corridors. We saw the artisans working on the wrought iron, cutting thin iron sheets into various shapes and sizes. Then joining them by welding and creating stories in metal. In the corridors, there were artisans making clay tablets, delicately carving figurines on wet mud. I wandered around the area, sat, and observed the artisans.

Display of tribal wares at Araku Tribal Museum
Display of tribal wares at Araku Tribal Museum

Spoke to the supervisor who told me that they have come from Bengal to create these art installations, though the workers were all local.

Clay Figurine design work in progress at Araku Tribal Museum
Clay Figurine design work in progress on the campus

Another structure stands in the form of an ornate hut with a pillared corridor around it. Beautifully painted walls are in black, red, and yellow colors. It had some other ethnic scenes depicted with white and red being the prominent colors and longboats in the middle.

Open Space – Amphitheater, Waterbody

An amphitheater-like setting, along with space for tribal shops is being set up. If used properly, these can be instrumental in making it a living space through a bazaar and platform for performing arts.

The campus landscape view of the Araku Tribal Museum
Landscape view of the well-maintained museum campus

A small water body has been created in one part of the campus with modern bright-colored boats floating in it. The idea of boating is good and gels well with the concept of living cultural space. But the bright colors of the boats did not merge with the rest of the ambiance. Probably a bit of design thinking would have helped. I would have preferred a storyteller to explain the culture depicted in the museum, along with local stories and highlights. Written documentation is disorienting, you feel I can always go to the Internet to read it. It is the people who make all the difference to a traveler’s experience.

It was a pleasant visit. I definitely recommend this museum to anyone visiting Visakhapatnam. A trip to the valley is a nice weekend getaway from Visakhapatnam.

Recommend you to read the following travel blog on places to visit in this region.

Train Ride to Araku Valley

Coffee Chocolates


Araku Valley Bamboo Chicken

Borra Caves


  1. Wow Araku Tribal Museum is awesome.. Araku vally is beautiful place to visit in Andhra pradesh.. Thanks for sharing interesting infermation..

  2. Visitors r selfish, they coming to araku making a idiotic fun with local tribes. No body caring fr the health and wealth of the tribes. No one thinking of economical uplifting of the tribes. NOWADAYS ARAKU VALLEYS MADE BY DRINKERS AS OPEN AIR BAR&RESTAU RANTS. SO MANY accidents r occurring. Police patrolling is required throughout the ghatroad.

    • Dr Tamaraba, Visitors do come to enjoy and they contribute to the local economy by way of spending on staying and engaging in activities. They do not come to uplift communities, but they open up channels for locals.

      However drinking and misbehaving is something that must be discouraged.


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