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Old 17th March 2015, 10:16   #226
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

Good to read about that. I had made a trip in the first week of January

I spotted just one sambar doe on the way back from Athirapally. Did you make that drive? It has a lot of beautiful vistas to shoot.

Had an elephant trumpet warning experience near the Nirar dam. The TANTEA stall there serves delicious tea and bajjis.

Do post more photos from the drive especially the sambar kill and elephant charge.





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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Thanks. I reached around midnight, the checkposts didn't stop me. Stayed at Waterfalls. Had good sightings of the endangered primates. Went for an interesting evening drive on a restricted road (with forest department permisson). Had elephants charging at our vehicle, and saw a Sambar deer kill. Fruitful, hectic trip.
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Old 24th March 2015, 20:32   #227
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

My small contribution to this thread:

Our first visit to Valparai was in 2010, route was Chalakkudy-Valparai (forbidden route those days!). Accommodation was booked at Monica Bungalow through their Head Office at Coimbatore. More details about these Tea Bungalows are available at sites woodbriargroup.com and teabungalows.com Beware! There are a couple of other Tea Bungalows around on the net. . Hence search for Briar Tea Bungalows with booking available only from their Coimbatore Office. Their propertiess at Valparai are Monica and Stanmore Bungalows. Reviews can be read at tripadvisor.com

Most of these bungalows are built during the British Raj and have a history of their own including Monica Bungalow! Monica Bungalow has 3 suites, each of them with Dressing, Powder room, Large bathroom etc. As we had hired all the three suites, the entire bungalow with the other rooms like Living room, Dining Room, TV, all round varandha etc were completely at our disposal. A butler (who had worked for the Brits) and an assistant who stays at the adjoining Servant's quarters were attending to us round the clock. Advance order has to be placed for the next meal, so that they can get the fresh provision supply from the market. Hence, the menu will mostly depend on the availability at the local market. After all Valparai is a very small township! Food will be prepared as per your choice and tastes. There is one common Manager for all these Bungalows, who stays in Stanmore Bungalow and visits this property once or twice during a day.

An estate tour on a 4WD is available for additional payment, usually this is arranged early in the morning for possible wild life seeing. On our day, it was heard that a herd of Bison was sighted at the premises of Stanmore Bungalow and after an almost one hour of a treacherous drive, when we arrived there, all we could see was the hoof marks of a bison. Disappointed! However, en route we did see some deer and a lone bison. Then, we visited another bungalow also. On return to our bungalow, we had our late breakfast.

Around the bungalow, we could see a few LTMs, squirrels and birds on the trees. Beware of Blood Sucking Leeches (BSLs), which are plenty in the woods beyond the lawns around the bungalow!

Then, it was in the afternoon the surprise package came in! I was lazing around in the Living room and suddenly through the window I could hear a big continuous clatter of hoofs near the gate and thought it was a herd of stray cattle. Well, it was not cattle, but a herd of Bison! They were six or seven adults and a calf. They marched in through the driveway, galloped on to the lawn which was about 2 feet higher and started grazing at the front lawn. By the time, I alerted all my team members in different rooms (having their afternoon siesta) and came back with the camcorder and started shooting (Not with a rifle, but with a camcorder!) They were there for the next 5 minutes or so on the lawn, just 6-8 ft away from the window and after doing a good job of the nice lawn, they all moved on to the adjoining bushes. They were very much there in that area with in our sight till around midnight, when I went to sleep.

My next trip to Monica Bungalow was in 2013 with a slightly different team. This time, there were a lot of changes at the Bungalow. Most important one is that there was a new Solar Power Fencing (electrically charged wires) all around the bungalow premises including the gate. Then the Bungalow was totally refurbished both inside and outside. On enquiry, it was told that a herd of elephant had walked in and destructed some part of the property including the bungalow and then they installed the fencing and refurbished the destroyed building.

By evening, we were informed that some elephants are in the adjoining forest. We could hear their sounds and I could even smell them! (Ask me how!) Just made sure that the removable Power fencing across the gate was in place before dark and spend the remaining night lingering on wildlife talks and stories.

With the refurbishing, the old Colonial nostalgic part is partially lost but the toilets and associated pluming etc have improved. As we were planned to vacate this place after breakfast we could not go for the morning estate tour. Thus it was single night stay but we all enjoyed it
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Old 25th March 2015, 14:46   #228
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

Hi Guys,

I'm planning a trip to valparai on the 13th of May 2015 from Chennai. Google maps shows 3 different options.

1. Ulundurpet - Salem - Perundurai - Avinashi - Pollachi - Valparai

2. Ulundurpet - Perambalur - Musiri - Dharapuram - Pollachi - Valparai

3. Chennai - Trichy - Dindigul - Palani - Udumalpet - Valparai

I know the road condition of Trichy-Udumalpet to Palani since I have done it multiple times. Also which is the most scenic or the enjoyable one to drive.

Which of the 3 options you would suggest to take? How are the road conditions to Athirapally and rest of the areas in and around Valparai?
Will it be humid during mid may? Booked my stay at Waterfall estate - Valley View Room. Do you guys suggest Tennis Court cottage or Valley view would be fine. Thx for your help.

Rgds,
Karthik

Last edited by Jack Sparrow : 25th March 2015 at 14:53. Reason: Spelling mistake
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Old 25th March 2015, 15:24   #229
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

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Originally Posted by Jack Sparrow View Post
Which of the 3 options you would suggest to take? How are the road conditions to Athirapally and rest of the areas in and around Valparai?
Will it be humid during mid may? Booked my stay at Waterfall estate - Valley View Room. Do you guys suggest Tennis Court cottage or Valley view would be fine. Thx for your help.
Fastest would be a modified Option 3.


Chennai - Trichy - Dindigul - Palani - Mukkonam - Aliyar road - Valparai

Here is what I mean: Route Link


Roads around Valparai are very good. They typically deteriorate around KL side of the border. But otherwise quite good.
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Old 25th March 2015, 16:28   #230
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Fastest would be a modified Option 3.

Roads around Valparai are very good. They typically deteriorate around KL side of the border. But otherwise quite good.
Thank you Ampere. Will trouble you again before I start my trip to know the places of Interest and other options to squeeze in....

Rgds,
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Old 25th March 2015, 17:21   #231
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Thank you Ampere. Will trouble you again before I start my trip to know the places of Interest and other options to squeeze in....

Rgds,
There are not many places to see. There are Sholayar, Aliyar and Nirar dams with upper and lower levels. Water levels may be very low as its summer. There is a Balaji temple. Its worth visiting this temple. Absolutely beautiful location and so is the temple. The place is more for relaxing at one of these estate bungalows doing nothing! The long walks in these estates is soothing indeed. But do check with locals about wild animals before you venture.
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Old 15th August 2015, 18:24   #232
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

Hi folks, what would be the best route from Thekkady to Valparai? I am planning to take the one via Athirapally falls. How much of drive time should I budget, including quick stops at Athirapally falls and Vazhachal falls? Also, do I need to go all the way till Chalakudy or can I turn off before that?

Thanks in advance...
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Old 15th August 2015, 20:24   #233
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Originally Posted by cool_dube View Post
Hi folks, what would be the best route from Thekkady to Valparai? I am planning to take the one via Athirapally falls. How much of drive time should I budget, including quick stops at Athirapally falls and Vazhachal falls? Also, do I need to go all the way till Chalakudy or can I turn off before that?

Thanks in advance...
Kumily-Vagamon-Thodupuzha-Muvattupuzha-Peumbavoor-Angamaly-Chalakudy-Valparai

Dont know how the interior road via Kalady is in its present state.
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Old 15th August 2015, 22:08   #234
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Kumily-Vagamon-Thodupuzha-Muvattupuzha-Peumbavoor-Angamaly-Chalakudy-Valparai

Dont know how the interior road via Kalady is in its present state.
Thanks amp. How much time should I budget for this drive? Or am I better off going via Pollachi?
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Old 15th August 2015, 22:58   #235
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Thanks amp. How much time should I budget for this drive? Or am I better off going via Pollachi?
- Pollachi is way too long.
- But at the same time, roads via KL will be crowded.
- At least account 6-7 hours minimum
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Old 16th August 2015, 18:53   #236
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- Pollachi is way too long.
- But at the same time, roads via KL will be crowded.
- At least account 6-7 hours minimum
Thanks again, Amp. I am also toying with the idea of staying overnight at one of the resorts near Athirapally. Any recommendations?
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Old 16th August 2015, 19:13   #237
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Thanks again, Amp. I am also toying with the idea of staying overnight at one of the resorts near Athirapally. Any recommendations?
Not many that I am aware of. Here is one:

http://www.riverokvillas.com

I think its a decent place but not a great one. Need to check with others.
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Old 16th August 2015, 20:23   #238
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

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Thanks again, Amp. I am also toying with the idea of staying overnight at one of the resorts near Athirapally. Any recommendations?
From what I know there are not many options in that area maybe some small local homestays. There are couple of water theme parks nearby and do attract a decent crowd.
if you're headed to Valparai you're just at most a 3 hour drive away so might as well stay there. Plan to complete your visits to Athirapilly and Vazhachal by noon, have lunch and start to Valparai. Would recommend not driving on this route post 6pm, especially near Malakkapara where there are chances of fallen trees blocking the road. The checkpost folks will let you go past 6pm only if you have a reservation in one of the estate stays at Valparai but still not a great idea to drive beyond 6pm, do this in good day light.

Last edited by NPV : 16th August 2015 at 20:24.
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Old 16th August 2015, 21:42   #239
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

I was able to book tent houses in Monica Bungalow and Sirukundra Bungalow one night each on 22nd and 23rd August 2015. Plans are yet to be plotted.

Athirappally & Vazhachal (KL side) is lowest priority since it can be done again anytime being at Kochi.

Not looking for a very relaxed trip, but can try and cover some memorable drives. Thinking of going Topslip & parambikulam for Sunday. Any pointers?

Also on getting approvals for visiting Grass hills or other serene places in Valparai. How should I go about?
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Old 17th August 2015, 13:18   #240
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Default Re: Valparai - Staying Options And Other General Info..

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I was able to book tent houses in Monica Bungalow and Sirukundra Bungalow one night each on 22nd and 23rd August 2015. Plans are yet to be plotted.

Athirappally & Vazhachal (KL side) is lowest priority since it can be done again anytime being at Kochi.

Not looking for a very relaxed trip, but can try and cover some memorable drives. Thinking of going Topslip & parambikulam for Sunday. Any pointers?

Also on getting approvals for visiting Grass hills or other serene places in Valparai. How should I go about?
What time are you planning to reach Valparai and when is your return planned?

No idea about Grass hills. Other places worth visiting are

Lower Nirar Weir (Chinnakallar falls)
Nallamudi Pooncholai
Sholayar dam (On the way from Athirapally to Valparai, if you are taking this route)

A very useful link (The blog details the best way to enjoy Valparai - the lazy way)

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...e/38/tpod.html
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