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Old 18th May 2012, 01:23   #1
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Default Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

As summer temperatures were rising in Hyderabad, we wanted a quick get away to some place cool. So we planned to go to Kodaikanal. We checked club mahindra and it was full. We checked a couple of other places and those were very expensive. We wanted a budget trip. Our target was to find a stay with less than 500 Rs per day per head. Since it was peak season in Kodaikanal, no decent places were available at such ridiculous costs.

We were about to cancel our trip altogether 3 days before the scheduled departure date. But a team-bhp member suddenly came to the rescue. It was Fauji posting his amazing experience at Valparai
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-valparai.html (Fauji's Drivologues :- Beat the heat II - Escape to Sinnadorai's Bungalow in Valparai)

All of us had been to Kodaikanal, but none of us have ever been to Valparai. Although the bungalows at Valparai were expensive, we could find lot of alternative inexpensive options to stay. We did not need resorts or bungalows. All we needed was a clean place to stay for 2 nights.

Day 0 and Day 1: The onward journey.

We were 8 and we had 2 cars. My very own Safari and my friend's dear Swift petrol.
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2877.jpg

Due to our office commitments which are very common for us, we could only leave in night at 10 PM. A long 22 hour journey awaited us.

As usual, the Hyderabad - Bangalore journey was uneventful. From Bangalore, there are two routes available.
1. Via Salem - Coimbatore - Pollachi - Valparai
2. Via Mysore - Chamarajanagara - Sathyamangalam - Coimbatore - Valparai

I have done the Salem route many times during our Munnar trips. And so we took the route via Mysore. The Salem 4 lane route was saved for our return journey.

Bangalore - Mysore was the usual 4 lane road loaded with traffic. We had breakfast at one of the coffee days on this highway.
After crossing Mysore, we were treated with some lovely and harsh rains. At this point, we felt that Gods would be on our side and we would truly enjoy the trip.

The roads in and around Chamarajanagara are littered with potholes. This route sees very less traffic. But due to condition of road, it is difficult to go with speeds in excess of 60kmph

One of the better stretches of the road
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_1728.jpg

A railway crossing somewhere near Chamarajanagara
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-27042012639.jpg

Then there was more rain. One of my favorite pics of my ride
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_1752.jpg

But after the rain, the road looks absolutely splendid
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-27042012646.jpg

Once we crossed Chamarajanagara, Closer to Sathyamangalam, the roads were much better. Absolutely beautiful roads to drive on. However, we saw a lot of Police Interceptors on this stretch. (Minimum 3). Since we were enjoying the vistas and going slowly, we were not caught. However we saw bus which overtook us getting caught by the police, along with couple of other vehicles. It looks like the police in Karnataka are very strict in enforcing the speed limits. This I find extremely good because it is very unsafe to go at high speeds in these twisties.

Pics of some of the beautiful roads.
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2766.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2784.jpg

We had tasty Parathas after crossing the Karnataka Border for a late lunch. The Parathas are very famous in Tamil Nadu

Absolutely straight road
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2780.jpg


By the time we reached Coimbatore it was 6 PM. So there are no more pics of the onward journey. We crossed Pollachi in the dark and went about the famous 40 hairpin bends in the dark. We did not regret taking this route in the night because we were sure to enjoy this drive on our return journey.

Towards the end of the ghat, we were shocked to see the visibility levels fall to below 5m in the night that too in hot summer. We saw lot of signboards that said mist spreading zone. It was quite cold and we enjoyed every bit of the night drive in these ghats.

After thoroughly enjoying the ghats, we reached Valparai at 9 PM and we went to checkin the hotel we booked online. After getting into the hotel, we were absolutely shocked by the condition of the hotel. It was filled with cockroaches. We somehow managed to sleep that night thinking that the first we would do the next day is to shift to a new hotel which is much cleaner.

The hotel name is Treat Hotel. Do not be fooled by the awesome photographs shown in their website. Treat hotel is absolutely horrific in Valparai.

To be continued...

Last edited by himavanth_m : 19th May 2012 at 01:07.
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Old 18th May 2012, 08:23   #2
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

That must have been a nice drive. Kanakpura road is always beautiful to drive in rains. Did you have had trouble crossing
CBE? Did you take Annur-Avinashi-Pollachi or went through the city?

On the mist, yes it spreads very fast at night here, A friend of mine was there last week and he went in a bike. And he said it was
impossible to see. Visibility was quite low.

Tourism has not yet gt into Valparai. Its still only tea estates. So hardly any hotels in the place.
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Old 18th May 2012, 09:45   #3
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

Wow almost 22 hrs of driving, I am guessing there were more than one driver in each of the cars and it was a all guys gang. But really nice photographs especially of the rain soaked road. So there are interceptors on highways as well? Did you see any speed limit signboard?
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Old 18th May 2012, 23:38   #4
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

Day 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
That must have been a nice drive. Kanakpura road is always beautiful to drive in rains. Did you have had trouble crossing
CBE? Did you take Annur-Avinashi-Pollachi or went through the city?

Tourism has not yet gt into Valparai. Its still only tea estates. So hardly any hotels in the place.
I have gone right through Coimbatore and I was stuck in traffic. I was further delayed because an actress 'Namitha' decided to open some saree shop in Coimbatore and we were stuck in a traffic jam that costed us precious 1.5 hours.
I took Annur - Coimbatore - Pollcachi road. We got confused because each of the locals gave different directions for us. Some preferred Avinashi road while others preferred Coimbatore road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Wow almost 22 hrs of driving, I am guessing there were more than one driver in each of the cars and it was a all guys gang. But really nice photographs especially of the rain soaked road. So there are interceptors on highways as well? Did you see any speed limit signboard?
Yes we were 3 experienced drivers and 2 Newbie drivers overall. Needless to mention that whenever a Newbie driver was driving, the experienced driver was on his toes. The experienced drivers ensured that the newbie drivers never crossed 80kmph
We saw speed limit signboards near the villages.
There was one interceptor near the Bangalore Airport. They were sleeping and not checking as it was in the early morning. Bangalore - Mysore road there were no interceptors. After that, and after taking diversion from Nanjangud, there were a minimum of 3 interceptors that I could recall and everyone was actively checking all the vehicles. However after crossing the Tamil Nadu border there were no Interceptors.


Continuing my travelogue.

The next day we got up a bit late tired from all the journey. Half of us were lazy and wanted to stay put in the shabby place while the other half wanted to move to a clean place. Finally we found a clean place and decided to move there. All this took a lot of time and by the time we were ready and had lunch it was 2 PM.

There are a lot of places around Valparai to visit, but we had only 1 and half days for enjoying the place.

We wanted to visit a place called 'Grass Hills' - as the name suggests its hills just covered with grass. But we found from the locals that one needs prior permission to visit this place. So we decided we will first go towards Nerar dam and visit a rope bridge.

We missed a route and ended up at Anaimudi peak view point. We did not regret the missed road as we enjoyed going into the tea plantations.

Some pics of the same:

The wrong route took us towards Sholayar tea estates and dam. On this way was Anaimudi View point. So we decided to continue
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_1798.jpg

Where should we go is the question?
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2871.jpg

Lets head straight and see what is there
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2884.jpg

Some of the beautiful vistas
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-28042012682.jpg
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Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2862.jpg

Its time to go for a U-Turn and visit the Anaimudi peak view point
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-28042012718.jpg

But wait, even this point is splendid. Totally mind blowing. The wrong route took us to all the right places.
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-wp_000130.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-wp_000132.jpg

Parking near Anaimudi View point
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And the fantastic view point
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2912.jpg
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Then it was time to visit Nerar Dam. It was 4 PM by then. So we found the correct route and went all the way. But to our disappointment we found a checkpost signboard which said Open from 9 AM to 4 PM. But the good part is if we miss one part in Valparai, there is another place to visit.

So we changed our direction and went to a place called tunnel view. There isa 6 km long tunnel through the hills that starts at the Upper Nerar dam. The exit point of this tunnel is where we went.

Parking near Tunnel View.
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-28042012824.jpg

The tunnel view
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_1928.jpg

The downstream side of the tunnel
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-wp_000149.jpg

After the tunnel view, we returning to our hotel. On the way there is Kooringal river where one can go close to the water through the tea plantations. it is also possible to sit on the rocks while water flows on either side. It was bliss and we enjoyed a lot.

On the way back near Kuringal River
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2950.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2808.jpg

The kooringal river
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2814.jpg

Through the tea plantations, the way leads to this
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_0283.jpg

If one is not bothered about getting wet, one can sit for hours inbetween the river. The water is cold and its absolute fun

By the time we reached hotel it was 9 PM and it was time to sleep so that we can get up early morning and enter the famous Anaimalai rain forests.

Last edited by himavanth_m : 19th May 2012 at 01:05.
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Old 19th May 2012, 00:35   #5
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

Day 3: Trail Driving at Valparai.

The next day we wanted to visit Anaimalai tiger Reserve and so we got up early. Well we got up in the morning. We checked out of the hotel and headed straight to the checkpoint

At the Checkpoint we had to pay Rs 1245 for 2 cars and 8 people. We got permission to visit Upper Nerar dam, Rope bridge and Waterfalls. We drove through one of the thickest jungles we have ever seen. and it was a splendid experience for us.

We did not concentrate on what places we got permission for and so we headed straight to Lower Nerar Dam first.

Our way to Lower Nerar Dam
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012850.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3078.jpg

and then we finally reached the Lower Nerar Dam
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012867.jpg

and The reservoir
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012872.jpg

But when we realized that we did not get permission to visit the Lower Nerar dam, we headed back disappointed.

Climbing our way back
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3129.jpg

As is the case with us mostly, we missed the route again and we went into deeper jungles.

The road that is not taken by tourists
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-wp_000172.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-wp_000188.jpg

The Swift was taking the bad roads without complaints
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012909.jpg

However we did not regret this. It lead us to some of the most beautiful places we have been to.

It led us to this
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3112.jpg

This ( One of my favorite pics of my Safari)
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012933.jpg

and this
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3093.jpg

We decide it was time to head back in the right direction. So again a U-Turn to head towards Upper Nerar Dam

Upper Nerar dam (Place where the tunnel starts). Apparently the tunnel starting place is absolutely beautiful. But we did not get a chance to visit this.
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2066.jpg

After crossing the Nerar dam, the road was in a bad shape
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012974.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3138.jpg

But the views are fantastic
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012968.jpg

Finally we reached the point of Rope Bridge and the Watefalls. At this place we found that a forest department official stays with each group and that person acts as a guide. He will take you through rope bridge and waterfalls and will ensure that we do not spoil the environment. Now we realized why they charged so much for the entry. To maintain all these forest guards and to accompany the individuals. I liked it and it is a good way to maintain cleanliness of the place. Also I did not mind paying the hefty amount upfront for this.

The rope bridge. This was actually disappointing. I expected an actual rope bridge with those brown colored ropes
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012989.jpg

The watefalls. There was less water but we were not disappointed. The weather was splendid throughout
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2091.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-wp_000212.jpg

The pic of waterfalls and ropebridge
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_0353.jpg

Some more pics of the beautiful surroundings
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_0362.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-290420121005.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-29042012984.jpg

After visiting this place, we headed back to Valparai and it was time for the return journey. By the time we reached valparai it was 3PM. We had a quick lunch and headed back to Hyderabad.

Pics of the return Journey in my next post

Last edited by himavanth_m : 19th May 2012 at 01:06.
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Old 19th May 2012, 01:03   #6
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Day 3: The return Journey

The return journey was again through the same ghats we traveled. But this time had had the pics

The Ghats on the return
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3211.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3219.jpg

It is now time to enter the Mist spreading zone
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3247.jpg

The fog gets thicker, but the visibility was better. The night journey on our way up was far worse.
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3237.jpg
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3245.jpg

Somewhere in this zone, we found a temple. We stopped near the temple for some time to catch up how the other car was doing.
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3251.jpg

After the Mist spreading zone, it was time to tackle the famous 40 Hair pin bends that Valparai is famous for.

One of the 40 bends
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3309.jpg

Maruti Swift tackling one of the hair pin bend
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3317.jpg

More pics of the ghat
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3332.jpg

Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_3336.jpg

On this route itself one will find Monkey Falls. But there was no water. So we did not stop here and we did not take pics here.

Now it was time to say good by to the ghats and hills
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-img_2173.jpg

and say hello to the plains
Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai-wp_000239.jpg

After crossing Pollachi and Coimbatore, we wanted to reach Hyderabad as fast as possible and the best way to do it is to take the 4 lane road. So we took the Pollachi - Coimbatore - Salem - Bangalore Road.

Once we cross Coimbatore, there was some construction going on on the Salem - Coimbatore highway. Here we lost a bit of time but not too much. We eventually touched the 4 lane and from there on it was smooth sailing. We finally reached Hyderabad the next day in the morning at 10 AM. The return journey was 19 hours, 3 hours faster than the onward journey .

We were totally exhausted, but we had to go to our offices. A quick shower and off to work. Needless to say, all of us had a terrible day at work, but it was worth the trouble. We always do this and we will do more such trips in the future.

Last edited by himavanth_m : 19th May 2012 at 01:06.
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Old 21st May 2012, 13:37   #7
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st May 2012, 14:43   #8
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

Nice travelogue - wrong turns taking you to splendid spots!!

A doubt - The Anamalai Tiger Reserve check post you talked about - how far is this from Valparai? I didnt know you can reach the Tiger reserve directly from Valparai ( though it is contiguous with Valparai)
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Old 21st May 2012, 14:51   #9
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Hey Himvanth, It was a good trip and nice to see you guys had a blast. How come you did not visit Sholayar? Lack of time? Did you happen to see any Lion tailed Macaque?

This place should be heavenly immediately after rains with many waterfalls around.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 13:16   #10
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@himavanth nice travelogue there. Surely the cool Valparai is hotting up among our TBHPians now. We are also planning to join the bandwagon and visit Valparai.

On accomodation, so did you guys change the hotel afterall or drove back home straight. In terms of budget accomodartion (read your range), what are the better hotels / properties out there and did you get a chance to check them if you changed over from the first resting place.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 15:39   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Nice travelogue - wrong turns taking you to splendid spots!!

A doubt - The Anamalai Tiger Reserve check post you talked about - how far is this from Valparai? I didnt know you can reach the Tiger reserve directly from Valparai ( though it is contiguous with Valparai)
We can enter the reserve through Valparai. Within the forest reserve there are enough places to visit that would take about 4 to 5 hours minimum. However, I am not sure where these routes lead to if one continues in these trails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Hey Himvanth, It was a good trip and nice to see you guys had a blast. How come you did not visit Sholayar? Lack of time? Did you happen to see any Lion tailed Macaque?

This place should be heavenly immediately after rains with many waterfalls around.
Yes. We did not have enough time to Visit Sholayar as we wasted half day in looking out for other accommodation and shifting. Another reason is that we had a long 22 hr journey. So we were tired to get up early morning the following day.
Yes, we could only imaging how beautiful this place would be during monsoons. Totally worth spending 3 days.

Also let me take this opportunity to thank you. Your travelogue at the right time and your patient responses to me in your travelogue were very helpful. Thanks for all your help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
@himavanth nice travelogue there. Surely the cool Valparai is hotting up among our TBHPians now. We are also planning to join the bandwagon and visit Valparai.

On accomodation, so did you guys change the hotel afterall or drove back home straight. In terms of budget accomodartion (read your range), what are the better hotels / properties out there and did you get a chance to check them if you changed over from the first resting place.
Yes we did change our hotel. There are plenty of options in our range. Do not expect 3 star hotel type of places though. Ensure that you find a neat place to stay by checking the room before paying any advance.

All the best for your Valparai trip. For accommodation, I would suggest go to Valparai directly. There are a lot of places in 400 to 500 Rs per head per night. Dont be fooled by the pics through online booking unless its a bungalow which are very expensive.


More details of places to Visit in Valparai:

1. Cinchona Direction ( Anamalai Forest checkpost direction)
  • Koolangal River - 2km
  • Lower Nirar Dam - 14km
  • Ministers view - 10km
  • Chinnakallar Dam, Upper Nirar Dam - 16km
  • Lawson Falls and Rope Bridge - 17km

We went all the way upto Lawson falls and rope bridge. The entry fee is 1245 for 8 people and 2 cars. At lawson falls and rope bridge, one has to park car and walk for about 3-4 kms up and down. A forest guard will accompany the group for this visit to ensure everything is kept clean and we dont walk into the jungle too much or take up dangerous tasks like jumping from the waterfall top.

2. Mudis Cochin Direction
  • Birla Falls - 3km
  • Sidhi Vinayaka temple - 6km
  • Nallamudi Valley View - 15km
  • Anaimudi peak view - 11km - ( South India's highest peak - 8841 Ft - 2695 mts)
  • Number Parai (Vagamalai) - 15km
Once we cross Anaimudi peak view, the road deteriorates. So we did not head till Vagamalai. We actually missed the first route and ended up in this route. We went upto the Anaimudi peak view.


3. Akkamalai Direction
  • Concreve falls (Nadumalai) - 3km
  • Vellamalai tunnel view - 9km
  • Balaji temple - 12km
  • Annai Velankanni Shrine (Karamalai) - 7km
  • Irachal Parai Falls - 7km
  • Grass Hills - 13km - (Akkamalai - One of 7 natural wonders - Comes under Indira Gandhi National Park) - For this one would need prior permission. I am not sure how one can get this. Any information on this would be greatly helpful

In this route, we went upto the Tunnel view. We did not have permission to visit grass hills. Apparently one needs permission from wildlife warden to enter the grass hills. Not sure from where. Someone at Valparai said it has to come from Chennai . Anyone from team-bhp who can give this information would be good.

4. Sholayar Dam - Cochin Direction
  • Selali Parai view - 7km
  • Old Valparai valley view - 6km
  • Old Valparai Trucking Point - 6km
  • Manomboli Power house - 26km
  • Meen Parai - 29km (Permit required)
  • Manomboli Watch Tower - 26km ( Permit Required)
  • Sholayar Dam - 25km
  • Sholayar Power house 28km

I have not been in this direction. And I am not aware of the kind of permissions required.

5. Pollachi Direction
  • Carver Marsh View - 12km
  • Sakthi Thalanar View - 14km
  • Poonachi Falls - 20km
  • Tiger Valey View - 21kms
  • Attakatti View - 32kms
  • Kadam Parai - Upper Aliyar and Vandal Dams - 44kms
  • Kadam Parai Power house - 42km
  • Navamalai Dam/Power house - 43km
  • Monkey Falls - 36kms
  • Aliyar Dam Park - 40kms

In this route, we traveled up and down. Among this Monkey falls had no water. We did not go to any of the power houses. But the drive in this route is fantastic. Totally worth it. Aliyar dam park is not worth spending time as there was a lot of rush from the locals.

Top Slip


Top slip itself is a place for a separate trip. However, we heard from the locals that it is very dry in summer and it is not worth visiting. In order to spend the night at Top Slip, one would need permissions. However, one can just visit for the day at return back without any prior permissions to this place. I will return to this place sometime after monsoons hopefully.

All the distances that I mentioned above are from Valparai.

All this information is from a pamphlet I got when I went to Valparai. Hope it will be helpful for all future visitors to this place.

Last edited by himavanth_m : 22nd May 2012 at 15:47.
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Old 24th May 2012, 11:17   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
... Hope it will be helpful for all future visitors to this place.
Excellent T/L, himavanth! Crisply written with enough details and photos. Enjoyed reading this. Definitely helpful, and I have bookmarked it for planning our Valparai trip.

You've had a good solid drive both ways. The Safari does look impressive in those surroundings.
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Old 24th May 2012, 14:15   #13
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

This is a great travelogue ! Thanks for the wonderful pictures, especially the one of the Safari in the rain !

I need a little more info...

1. Based on your experiences, can you suggest some neat hotels around this area that can be visited with families ?

2. Do any of the forest-crossings have night-time restrictions ?
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Old 24th May 2012, 14:24   #14
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

Here is a picture of the "real" iron rope bridge made by Britishers.

Taken on 29/3/2009.

The charm has gone now but it is a lot safer as seen in the new images.
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Last edited by Skyline GT-R : 24th May 2012 at 14:26.
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Old 24th May 2012, 17:59   #15
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Default Re: Exploring the Anaimalai Rain forests around Valparai

Quote:
Originally Posted by raghunandanj View Post
This is a great travelogue ! Thanks for the wonderful pictures, especially the one of the Safari in the rain !

I need a little more info...

1. Based on your experiences, can you suggest some neat hotels around this area that can be visited with families ?

2. Do any of the forest-crossings have night-time restrictions ?
I love the pic of the safari in rain

I do not remember the hotel names. But there are many hotels for stay with families. If you are travelling with family, I would advise you to reach Valparai in the evening by 5 PM so that you can visit multiple hotels and finalize the stay. There are many neat hotels in that area. I would definitely suggest not to do online booking as the photos are misleading. For starters, I would suggest that you do not stay at Treat hotel.

For the luxurious trips, there are Bungalows where the cost is in excess of 10k per night for 6 people. I am not sure of the costs involved in the homestays at tea plantations as I have not seen one. But it looks like there are a few such homestays when you do online search.

From the Pollachi side, there is no night time restrictions. I do not think there are any restrictions from the Cochin side as well. However, the timings for entering into Anaimalai forest is 9AM to 4 PM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline GT-R View Post
Here is a picture of the "real" iron rope bridge made by Britishers.

Taken on 29/3/2009.

The charm has gone now but it is a lot safer as seen in the new images.
Wow. This looks completely different. I can see why you said 'the charm of the rope bridge has gone'. Also there are a lot of bushes around too. Now they have cleared it all and it is plain land there with very little wild grass.

During your trip in 2009, was there a forest guard to accompany your group while going to the Lawson falls? Also what were the entry charges then to the reserve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damu View Post
Excellent T/L, himavanth! Crisply written with enough details and photos. Enjoyed reading this. Definitely helpful, and I have bookmarked it for planning our Valparai trip.

You've had a good solid drive both ways. The Safari does look impressive in those surroundings.
Glad that it is of help to you. The onward journey for us was much more pleasurable as we went through the forest and it rained.
Now a days during the trips, I concentrating on taking the pics of my Safari in various backdrops. Never before I used to concentrate on taking the pics of the vehicle. That is what a Safari can do I guess.
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