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Old 18th December 2009, 00:15   #1
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Hello Team-bhpians,

An upcoming weekend vacation to Valpari from Kochi and I need the input from you guys.

What is the best route to Valpari from Kochi?
What is the best time to drive down/up (especially with family)?
Anyone who has travelled recently, what is the road condition (especially when the convoy is limited to a sedan and a hatch back with limited or no off-roading capabilities)
Any must visit locations at Valparai (any locations to avoid)?

Earlier posts about Valpari talks of a stretch of 40-60 kms with no mobile connection or any human assistance available while some wild animals friends to be expected. Any advise?

Thanks in advance, guys.

Kris
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Old 18th December 2009, 13:53   #2
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The shortest and most scenic route is the one via Chalakudy-Athirampally-Upper Sholayar-Valparai.There are certain sections wherein mobile signals wouldnt be avlbl.but no safety concerns reported so far,go ahead and enjoy the drive,early morning fog might be an issue otherwise no problems.enjoy your trip and if you are staying back do try and secure a stay in one of the tea bungalows.

Its one of the most scenic drives in south India,if i remember rightly,there was a TBHP meet drive from kochi to Valparai as well.
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Old 18th December 2009, 23:34   #3
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Distance from Chalakudy to Valparai is 110 kms via Athirapalli, Vazhachal, Peringalkuthu, Sholayar and Malakkiparai.

At Athirapalli, you have the magnificent waterfalls.

After Peringalkthu there are likely to be restrictions on driving through at night till the Kerala border at Malakkiparai. There is lot of wildlife movement in the road. Avoid any night driving on this road after 6 pm.

There are absolutely no towns/ human settlements on this road between Peringalkuthu and Malakkiparai.

2 months ago, someone who travelled on that reported that there were some bad sections, but I think it should be repaired by now. Don't be worried, it is proper 2WD territory, no OTR here.
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Old 19th December 2009, 11:07   #4
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I think there is a shorter route which would lead you directly to the Chalakudy - Athirampally route rather than going all the way up to Chalakudy and taking a right towards Athirampally. I had done this route in the month of August.

The route upto Athirampally falls is fabulous with good road conditions all the way. Post Athirampally the road narrows down to about a lane and a quarter upto Vaazchal. After the Vaazchal checkpost it becomes just a lane. As pointed out by Kumar the road conditions between Peringalkuthu and Malakkiparai is not great. Budget a total journey time of about 4 hours atleast between Chalakudy and Vaalparai in the best of the days. You could see my trip report here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...not-taken.html (Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken)
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Old 19th December 2009, 13:09   #5
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Yes, there is a shorter route now that a bridge has been built across teh river near Athirapally. I have been on that road many years ago (before the bridge was built), ferrying the car across in a boat. A friend of mine (pbiju) who has taken the road send me this message about the shorter route:

"The main road from Angamaly side would be now Angamaly-Mookkannoor-Poothamkutty-Ezhattumugham-(Bridge)-Athirappilly. If you come from Angamaly side, this route saves you 17 km."
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Old 19th December 2009, 16:07   #6
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Thank you very much guyz! Much appreciated!

I had burnt my fingers very badly being a bit adventurous last time not paying heed to the route advice given by fellow bhpians and boy did I pay for it! Yes, I ended up in an insanely rugged, uninhabited 55kms of forest road on a hatchback and a family of five in it. It took 6 hours for us to drive 55 kms.

I think I even got bitten by an bug that trip, probably because of which, since then, I cant stop myself from admiring Jeeps and 4X4 and even mustered the courage to ask a veteran team-bhian about the cost of getting one (though seems like it will remain as a dream for some time now).

Thanks, hvkumar, ranjitp1 and pypkmsrikanth. Let the travelogue do the rest.

Kris
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