The Valparai-Athirampally expedition

Trip Start May 01, 2006
1
Trip End May 05, 2006


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green hills hotel

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Friday, May 5, 2006

Hi,

This time I planned my weekend journey from Chennai to Valparai-Athirampally.Since there is no direct transportation between Chennai to Valparai,I took a bus to Coimbatore and from there reached Pollachi( about 40km from coimbatore ) by another bus.From Pollachi regular buses fly to Valparai every half an hour.But instead i preferred to take a cab to travel the 64KM journey from Pollachi to reach Valparai.Though Valparai is just 64KM's away from Polloachi It takes more than 3 hrs to reach the destination as there are about 40 hairpin bends enroute which goes through a thick forest clouded with mist every now and then which makes driving through this 64km journey somewat difficult.I started by 12.00 noon from Pollachi and reached Valparai at 4.30 in the evening ( I halted my taxi every now and then wherever i see a waterfall or a good hill view point which took me extra couple of hours to reach the top.Thank God,My cab driver was so very patient that he stopped at all the points i was asking him to ).Then we finally reached top by sunset and went to my room in the hotel i booked before starting my journey from Chennai( Good Lodging places are hard to find in this yet to develop hill station.But I was fortunate to find one good hotel ( Green Hills Hotel )where i lodged.So its always better to book in advance during seasons.The next day morning i started my expedition to Athirampally which is about 85km from Valparai.I hired a cab the day before and informed my cab driver about all the places i wished to visit ( I made a rough planner about some places worthy of a visit from Valparai by doing a small amount of research on the net ).To my luck this cab driver was a native of this place born and brought up entirely here who was very well versed with all the routes through the thickest of the jungles to all the curvy-curvy routes through the Tea plantations( A first time traveller can get lost in such a confusing route through all those tea plantations ).So by 5.30 in the morning we started our journey to Athirampally.We took the Chalakkudy route ( the only route from Valparai ) to reach Athirampally.The stretch of about 85km journey to Athirampally from Valparai through this Chalakkudy road was fully through thickest of the jungles.There are Forest-Checkposts every 35km's or so.On reaching Malakaparai ( We had a cup of tea here & this small teashop is beleived to be one of the best around there ) we reached the borders of Tamilnadu .So on the other side was Kerala and so from here on we have to take the Kerala permit ( about Rs300,All these formalities will be taken care by the cabdriver ) to travel further to reach our destination.From here on the route to our destination was through the thickest of the jungles.No longer we were able to see the teaplantations which was all along from the start of our journey at Valparai.The route through the Chalakkudy road was absolutely breathtaking.Full of dense green jungles ,calm,silent ( even we have the possibility to get trapped in between a herd of elephants ).I was having the feel of a forest range officer travelling through these decidous forests.Enroute I stopped my cab driver whereever i found wild Jackfruit trees( these sightings are a common thing in this route ),wild mangoes etc.My cab driver was such a very nice person that we soon bonded like brothers who were not born in the same womb.He stopped at a particular place and we tried to pluck mangoes that were hanging high enough that we have to throw stones to make them fall.We tried our level best to make atleast one mango to fall but they wre sky high that our aim was not perfect in making even a single mango to fall on ground.But to my luck there were some mangoes lying on the ground that were somewat half bitten by squirrels and could have fallen off from the top during that time.My cab driver narrated stories about encounters with the wild when he goes to the town to drop some emergency cases during night and while returning to the hills ( As there are no proper hospitals that could treat major emergency cases which were treated only at hospitals in Coimbatore which is the nearest city from Valparai about 90kms ).Like that when he used to go down for such emergency situations and travel back alone he narrated his encounters with Wild Elephants which would block roads in large numbers.He told that if the vehicle's engine and head lights get switched off these wild elephants are sure to topple up the vehicle or stab them ).In such a situation he would keep his car's engine running with headlights on close all the windows and stay there silently hours together ( For this reason he would always have 10 litres of diesel extra when he travels at night )till those elephants disperse themselves their own.Frequent encounters happen with Leopards( there are incidents of leopards killing small children,house goats,cows etc as many houses were close to these jungles.I was also puzzled why should these people have homes near such dangerous jungles.But when it comes to work we should adapt anywhere as most of these people were Teaplantations workers,Dam workers etc.I feel real pity for them. )Elephants ( regular instances of wild elephants toppling up vehicles,stabbing people who go out at night,crushing locals houses etc,Bisons ( around 4 to 5 people are killed by Bisons every year with their dangerous razor sharp horns they can tear down a human's liver and cause spot death,Wild Boars which attack in groups ( I heard that these boars run between a humans legs and thrash the abdomen area with sparkling force causing horrible deaths ),snakes of different types.I encountered a 5 foot snake ( I think it was a trait snake with a reddish brown colour ) and I also found a 4 foot small cobra which was just crossing the road .Other frequently sighted animals here include Mongoose,Lion tailed Macaque ( monkey ),Giant Squirrels,Bears,Hornbills,Falcons etc.I was chilled upon hearing all the stories i heard from my driver and I was feeling a vivid imagination that a leopard is always behind somewhere near a tree whenever i getdown from my cab ( My feeling of imagination that a leopard was sitting somewhere in a tree top was also stimulated whenever i remember about the movie "Ghost and the Darkness" that i saw sometime recently,though the killer was a Lion in that movie,I substituted that with a leopard.Finally we reached our hotel at 7.30pm and came to a halt for that day.After a good rest for about 6 to 7 hours we began our sightseeing journey at 6.30am to areas in and around Valparai and covered all prominent places such as Lord Balaji temple,Nirar Dam( gives you a feel of Ireland or Scotland ), Chinnakalar dam,Chinnakalar waterfall ( breathtaking scenic spot for which we have to walk about a km up and down ),Velankanni Church,Siddhi Vinayak temple inside Jay Shree estates,Suicide point near Vagamalai estate( a breathtaking view from 4000 to 5000 feet height ,which is a bit dangerous too since it is skiddy ).We visited Sholayar Dam enroute to Athirampalli falls.Other prominent places which one should visit while coming to Valparai include Aaliyar Dam and Monkey falls which can be covered enroute from Pollachi to Valparai.There are a number of small streams and waterfalls enroute to Valparai from Pollachi and also through the route to Athirampally from Valparai.Also dont miss out to see the statue erected in memory of the founder of Valparai "C.E.G.Carver Marsh" and do read the information given on the stone about his life history. So having covered all these places will wrap up my weekend journey to Valparai and Athirampally which will keep me recharged for about a month or two.So I came to Pollachi to board my bus at 8.15 and reached Chennai at 9.15 on the fourth of morning.

Some important information

How to get there

From Chennai take a train to Coimbatore ( best option )and a number of buses fly to Pollachi( 40kms from Coimbatore ) from Ukkadam about 5kms from Coimbatore.

From Pollachi take a bus ( there is one evry half an hour ) to Valparai.But taking a taxi is the best option as there are regular waterfalls and sightseeing spots enroute.

Good Lodging places are hard to find at Valparai.Green Hills Hotel & Lodging is a good choice ( As it has all the amenities ).

Two buses a day are there from Valparai to Athirampally.But taking a taxi through Chalakkudy road is the real best option and its an unforgettable experience in life.

Take lots of snacks as its a 4 hour journey to Athirmapally and there are no hotels in and around these areas.

During rainy season there are lots of leeches in those grasses,tea plants etc.So carry salt which can be used as a weapon against leeches ( or even a lighter but u get your skin too burned ).

Dont make noises inside forests while travelling as it can act as some signals to animals.

Do not throw plastic covers,bottles inside forests as plastics can have a drastic effect in due course of time and turn hazardous substance which can destroy the eco system.

Do not use soaps or shampoos while bathing in waterfalls.Please try to preserve natures beauty.At the sametime do take care while bathing in streams or waterfalls as its full of skiddy and uneven rocks many of which contain algae.

Do try to visit Grass hills at AkkaMalai in Valparai.This is an amazing spot where you can find a rich wildlife.But entry to this spot is through permission from forest department officer which has to be taken well in advance befor startin the journey from your place.
Costs Involved

Pollachi to Valparai - taxi - Rs 1000 - Rs 1200.

Valparai to Athirampally - taxi - Rs 1500 + Rs 300 Kerala Permit

Valparai In & Around Sightseeing - taxi - Rs 1500.

( While choosing a taxi Tata Sumo is the best option as it is the only vehicle which can get inside some very steep narrow roads through hilly regions such as Suicide point and many other places around ).

So enjoi Valparai.Enjoi nature at its pristine best.Bon Voyage.

I hope you found all those details useful.For further queries mail me at

pcr_kishan@yahoo.com
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Comments

cyberwarrior
cyberwarrior on

Hi
Read ur blog.... So u have had a great time.....

indianature
indianature on

Valparai
Nice reading but you have not said anything about Athirampally falls, did you reach there?. Did you see any of the liontailed macaques or nilgiri tahr which are supposed to be very common there? Also can you post phones etc of Hotels. Thanks.

Ashok kumar on

Hi dude.. It"s a pleasure to read this.. Me and mates ve planned to visit valparai by the end of this Nov. I'm sure the details given by you will help us a lot to enjoy our holiday there..
Hope the best for ur future.. Continue posting ur travelling experiences.. Bye.

Ramki on

Interesting to read about your experience in Valparai. Your informations are very valuable especially I was looking for a visit to pollachi and valparai.

kuthup on

Nice to know more info. about valparai.
Thanks :)

ramu on

such an aws place....itz real gift from god...and mostprobbly one of the most memrbl trip in my life

Ritesh on

Nice blog.....i visited valparai last month.....its worth going there ,i stayed in Treat hotel valparai, It is a decent hotel, they arranged me transport for my visit and guided me correctly about all important tourist spots. You can book even by phone that's how i booked.
Treat hotel
9443322981
04253222381

Krish on

I love the Valparai because i am valparai citizen , Each every one see my native ok . Its wonderful place and wonderful people living there , Can Can try it now.

Francis John CHAZHOOR on

30 years ago I had visited Valpari because one of my was temperorily employed with the Kerala PWD Department working at Valpari for measuring the water flowing over a weir. I have visited several countries in the world but the beauty of nature in and around on the way from Chalakky to Pollachi via valpari is immense. During that time I travelled by a KSRTC bus.

SHIBU on

GOOD EXPERIENCE RIGHT!

I AM BORN AND BOUGHT UP IN VALPARAI. SO FOR US IT IS ALWAYS A REAL HEAVEN IN EARTH, EVEN I LEFT VALPARAI BEFORE 30 YEARS THOSE LOVELY SCHOOL DAYS ARE STILL IN MY MIND.
LAST VISIT TO VALPARAI WAS IN 2008, I MET MY BEST FRIEND JUST IN FRONT OF THE HOTEL YOU STAYED. (PHYJO TAILORS, PHILIP).
JUST VISIT HIM WHEN YOU GO NEXT TIME.

puchu chow on

valparai is real great and very very green. if one is lucky , they can spot tigers too. the waterfalls are very majestic , but stand underneath the falls only at designated spots else one may fall down. i was brave enough and tried to stand under strong falls.i was carried away and smashed on rocks. my foolishness caused me fatal fall and i died on the spot. one must b real careful. i do go to valparai even now , but since im already dead , im not scared anymore

Davis on

Have been visiting valparai since 1991 and first time i went to Valparai with my 2 friends and we ended up camping near shplayar dam catchment area. We were having a cook who prepared food for us but understand that the place we camped were the place burried 22 people recently killed by a tea lorry accident. The children from nearby village who were with us watching our cooking shows warned about the thiefs from the villages and they were looking each other and wispering something. Close the doors of the jeep and dont open during night even if we see or hear something strange. We drank couple of brandy (were running short ) and had food then slept. There we had the unforgettable experience at that night. I jolted up by hearing something and couldnt see anything due to heavy fog.. i called my friend and came out for a leak. Suddenly we were blasted with some heavy wind kinf thingone the faces and we fell down. Saw some dark shadows were moving towards us and somehow we manged and got into the jeep and put the headlights on.. other 2 guys also woke up but we didnt go out . We drived out fromm the dam site and parked on the side road. Spend the night somehow and never went that point again. Since you are also dead.. appreciate to check on the ghosts occupying that dam site and say hello..

davis on

Have been plying between Valparai and Fort Cochin for the past 20 years but never came across any Tigers or heard about Tigers in that area. Have seen many Leopards ,Bisons,Elephants ,Monkeys, Wild Squrells etc .. If you take a trip through the forest during early morning (6 am -8am ) from Athirapilly to Sholayar you will experience the magical scences of nature. The water in the dam site will be covered with fog and you will see its going up slowly..

Alastair Craig on

The Statue of Carver Marsh is also his grave stone. I managed Akkamalai Estate for 12 years and my first manager Mr McCosh who was there before the war had the job of digging out the rocky soil before the cortege arrived from the NIlgris. The statue was made in italy by a well known Italian scupture but was held up by the war and spent that time at the docks in Milan before transportaion to the Anamalais after the war

Rajesh Edakkandiyil on

Thanks for this description...it is very informative.

Prasanna on

Wonderful description and good informative post im going to valparai tomm will check all these out :)

vidula on

Its very nice and informative for me.will plan this trip soon.

reshmi on

great! A feel of personal visit.THANKS
Any 5 star hotel in valaparai

reshmi on

any contact no 's of good hotels & cottages in the prime area

Czaneil on

Wow what to say...i live in valparai for almost 13 yrs, i had the best and unforgettable time of my life there. now its been a almost 12 yrs since i left Valparai . i really miss that heaven on earth.

Frank on

Has anyone trekked downhill Vagamalai 4000 feet and stayed in a naturally formed cave or in a tent close to the river and a 100 feet waterfall, and on the way back stay in a tribal village and get to see how they live their life in the thick jungle and you can stay there overnight too!? Believe me it is truely paradise. Checkout my profile Frank Benjamin in facebook for pictures and if you want to get there get in touch with me. Take care. 9488876568

Davis on

Reshmi.. regret the delayed reply. In Valparai town there are many lodges but most of them are not clean at all. We used to stay in "Green Vally" in the heart of Valparai town which is better than nothing. Recently we found a beautiful report near Malakkiparai (22 Kms from Valparai) - Chalakudi road and stayed there couple of times. Name of the resort is DEEPIKA'S which has two cottages , which are very spacious and neat. They have nice garden in the front and their web site says there are kitchen fecilites etc etc but we didnt offered any. We are impressed with the spot and its setting but the staff was not that ambitious ... You can try there ..if you want the mob nos I can give you.. for the time being land line.. 0425 3223456..

sangeetha on

vaalpaarai make devils..
specially ones.. and they tread on the earth with their foot in the air..
walking ghosts wt ghose thots and feelings..
brrrrrrr...
run away from them..

Frank on

Get in touch with me for accommodation, cab, sightseeing, trekking, tent camping, naturewalk, birdwatching, wildlife watching, for a comprehensive corporate package, family package, honeymoon package etc. 9488876568. Connect with me on facebook Frank Benjamin

Frank on

FOR NATURE LOVERS. I am organizing a trekking and camping event on Jan 21,22 and 23, and also on Feb 11, 12 and 13. Bookings are open and these 3 days events could be altered to 2 days too depending on guest requirement. Call me for more details; 9488876568.

ganesh on

Place as explained seems to be good . Would be travelling during pongal hoildays will post my experience after i come back.

Davis on

Check post at Malakkiparai are very friendly and they will allow your vehicle to cross by paying rs.50/-. The forest check post nearby will ask lot of questions to you but no need to answer , just give rs.10 or 20 then they will allow you to enter...

lakshmi on

thanx for the information

gautam on

i am planning for a valparai tour on november 7th...so please give details like where to stay , what is the important location to see...

Davis on

In Valparai town there are many lodges but most of them are not clean at all. We used to stay in "Green Vally" in the heart of Valparai town which is better than nothing. Recently we found a beautiful report near Malakkiparai (22 Kms from Valparai) - Chalakudi road and stayed there couple of times. Name of the resort is DEEPIKA'S which has two cottages , which are very spacious and neat. They have nice garden in the front and their web site says there are kitchen fecilites etc etc but we didnt offered any. We are impressed with the spot and its setting but the staff was not that ambitious ... You can try there ..if you want the mob nos I can give you.. for the time being land line.. 0425 3223456..


Davis

rajesh kalakanti on

good information for first time visitors.Iam planning to go there in the month of july,can u suggest me the route to reach from kerala side

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