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Old 15th June 2012, 01:10   #16
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

The mobile phone alarm goes off at 6.30am but it's still very dark outside and I quickly fell asleep again and when I wake up next it's 7.40am but it does not seem like that time when I look outside from the French windows, so I confirm the time again by looking at my watch, it is indeed 7.40. I quickly freshen up and step outside to the Sit out and feel that it still seems like how it felt the previous evening just before nightfall -it was a cloudy, misty morning and overcast. I called the Kitchen number on the intercom and in 10 minutes we had hot, refreshing coffee (and Boost for my daughter) served at the Sit Out. We were ready in the next 30 minutes and then quickly packed the bags and headed to the Dining room for breakfast. Another sumptuous meal awaited us, this time Idly, Dosa, Fruits, Bread, Jam & Butter. We also chatted up with the other guests and one family checked out so we bid them goodbye and wished them a safe journey back home.

We then asked Rajeev the Assistant Manager if we could see the rooms in the other building down below from where our room was. We went down quickly towards that building and saw the rooms. These rooms called Marsh & Fraser (I'd missed this one in my opening post) though of almost the same size as ours had a different layout - with a living room & Bed Room with a long Sit Out outside extending through the length of the rooms and accessible from both rooms. The only other difference was the cement flooring was Yellow coloured in contrast to the Red in the other rooms. From the Sit Out you can walk down to the estate road. This is used as a walking trail by most of the staff to access the property by foot. Slowly we headed back to the main building and the sadness of leaving the place so quickly was evident on all our faces and body language. Rajeev had the bill ready so we paid the amount and bid goodbye to all the staff. Now it was their turn to surprise us - they had packed lunch for us so we could eat on the way ! The previous day Sujatha had mentioned that maybe we can have lunch packed while leaving but this had totally skipped our mind and we had not followed up or confirmed and this was a pleasant surprise - we'd love to eat home cooked food rather than eat at a restaurant. The food was neatly packed in Aluminium Foil Containers - Lime Rice, Curd Rice, Potato Curry and just couldn't ask for anything more. This gesture made us feel ever so sad when leaving the place.
My daughter also requested for a Rose from the garden and she was given a beautiful huge Red Rose. We later realised that she took this for the Ganesha idol in the car - another great moment to cherish.

By 11:15am We headed out of Sinnadorai slowly towards Rottikadai junction and then up to Hair Pin Bend #40 where we took the turn off towards Balaji Temple. This was another scenic drive through Karamalai (PK) Tea Estates. We followed the signage for the temple till a junction from where there were no more signs. Here we found some locals and asked them and we were directed to turn to the left, a slightly steep winding road going to another part of the hill. Soon we were at a gate where we were asked to go into the parking lot since cars are not allowed all the way up to the temple. There were lots of cars parked here so we also parked and headed to the temple. The temple wasn't visible at all from the parking lot and the gate so we just started walking up wondering where it was. We had to walk up the estate road on a winding path and here suddenly the mist got heavier and was a beautiful sight so couldn't resist taking a picture. By now, lots of people were coming down the road and they asked us to hurry up as the temple would close in 5 minutes, it was only then that we realised it was 11:55am! We ran up one more bend and then we could see the temple - it was beautiful! (Photography is prohibited at the temple and it is very strictly enforced). The guards also gestured to us to quickly leave our footwear at the counter and go inside as they would close at 12pm sharp. We went inside for darshan and after paying obeisance to the deity we sat on the steps for just a couple of minutes and headed outside. As soon as we stepped out, the guards closed the gates so we considered ourselves lucky to get Darshan (and the last ones to do so that morning!). We walked back to the car and by this time the mist had transformed into a very light drizzle bringing tiny droplets of water on our faces and hands, this was another lovely experience. We were almost 2 hours behind schedule from our original plan but it was worth it.

We slowly drove down in the light rain with the temperature hovering around 21ş C heading towards our destination Bangalore but first we had to get to Pollachi via Aliyar. This was another lovely drive on the ghat road with every hair pin bend throwing up another great vista. I stopped quickly for a picture near Carver Marsh's statue (he is credited with founding Valparai). We were then going down the hill past several tea estates like NEPC(!!!), Waterfalls, Stanmore, etc. My ambitious plan to take a look at the estate bungalows of Waterfalls & Stanmore did not materialise and more importantly places like Nerar Dam, etc that we could not visit on this trip have now been added to our 'Trip Backlog' which gives us a reason to visit again hopefully sometime soon

Let's break the monotony now with some pictures...

Coffee is served!
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-1.jpg

Beautiful sights around
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-2.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-3.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-4.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-5.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-6.jpg

The building below
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-7.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-8.jpg

More greenery (and some red) filled views!
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-9.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-10.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-11.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-12.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-13.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-14.jpg

Pathway at the entrance to the Building housing Marsh and Fraser rooms
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-15.jpg

Inside one of the rooms
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-16.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-17.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-18.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-19.jpg

The Sit Out
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-20.jpg

Some more beautiful sights around these rooms
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-21.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-22.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-23.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-24.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-25.jpg

A view when walking up to the Balaji temple
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-26.jpg

Near the Balaji temple - it's right after this bend!
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-27.jpg

Statue of Carver Marsh - he is said to be pointing to the location that he identified first for tea planting
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-28.jpg

Some views near the statue
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-29.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-30.jpg

Hope you've liked this so far - stay tuned for more.

Last edited by NPV : 15th June 2012 at 01:31. Reason: added captions for the pictures
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Old 15th June 2012, 14:54   #17
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Lovely pictures and narration NPV.Glad to know you had a good time.I am itching to go to Sinnadorai now.Maybe will do it during Onam when we drive to Kerala

No pictures of Athirappally?What was the route that you finally took?
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Old 15th June 2012, 15:25   #18
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

Great pics and lovely narration. Waiting for more. Also have plans to visit Valparai next Friday on the way back from Kochi.
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Old 15th June 2012, 15:35   #19
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

NPV, this is a great travelogue with a lot of lovely pictures, especially the details of the old bungalow. I think the Sinnadorai's should offer you a free stay for inspiring others to go to this place. The last time I forced my family to go with me, we only crossed Malakkapara and briefly ventured into TN upto the dam (from Athirappilly side). That is because we were going in a yellow plated Tata Sumo and had no tourist permit to go into TN. I am sure your account and pictures will certainly inspire us to make the journey again.
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Old 15th June 2012, 18:58   #20
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

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Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
NPV some great pics out there and the favourites among them for sure are those lush green tea gardens, the green grass covered back wall of the dam and of course the lawn perch outside the bungalow looking down the valley. Super effort in recording these sights!...
Thanks Girish !

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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Lovely pictures and narration NPV.Glad to know you had a good time.I am itching to go to Sinnadorai now.Maybe will do it during Onam when we drive to Kerala
No pictures of Athirappally?What was the route that you finally took?
Thanks Ranjith ! Your wish will be granted soon
Route taken as suggested by you (it was perfect!).

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Great pics and lovely narration. Waiting for more. Also have plans to visit Valparai next Friday on the way back from Kochi.
Thanks ! Enjoy your trip to Valparai.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
NPV, this is a great travelogue with a lot of lovely pictures, especially the details of the old bungalow. I think the Sinnadorai's should offer you a free stay for inspiring others to go to this place. The last time I forced my family to go with me, we only crossed Malakkapara and briefly ventured into TN upto the dam (from Athirappilly side). That is because we were going in a yellow plated Tata Sumo and had no tourist permit to go into TN. I am sure your account and pictures will certainly inspire us to make the journey again.
Thanks Biju ! The standard disclaimer that I do not have any commercial interest in this does apply here ! (I know you're kidding!)
The dam after Malakkapara must be Sholayar Dam that you're referring to. About 25Km from there you would have been at Valparai so you missed it by a whisker, do visit next time.

Last edited by NPV : 15th June 2012 at 19:07.
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Old 16th June 2012, 13:42   #21
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

The drive on the ghat road was very nice with hardly any traffic and we used the opportunity to roll the glasses down and enjoy the breeze at the same time driving slowly to enjoy the beautiful vistas on offer. There was hardly any water at Monkey Falls so did not stop there, also I could not locate Koolangal river, definitely on the list for next time. I stopped at Hair Pen Bend #9 for some pictures of the Aliyar Dam backwaters, it was a beautiful sight. The outside temperature was rising gradually as we neared the plains and by the time the ghat road ended near Aliyar it was 31ş C ! Around 1.45pm we were outside the Garden at Aliyar Dam where there were several tourists and lots of cars parked. The sun was coming down harshly so we decided to give it a miss this time. I also wanted to try and see the Inspection Bungalow at Aliyar Dam but could not locate the road that will take us there. Since I just followed the highway, we ended up right in front of the Garden, I probably missed a turn off somewhere before the ghat road ends, so here's another one for the 'Trip Backlog'.
Soon, we were at Pollachi and due to construction work that was in progress for a flyover, we had to ask locals there for directions and make a small detour to get onto the Palladam road. Few minutes later we stopped under a large tree for lunch. The food packed by the Sinnadorai folks was awesome but they had given us large quantities. We ate just half of what they'd packed and we were left with rest of the containers unopened. I looked around and found a needy elderly gentleman with a small boy on the road, told them that it was home cooked food and unopened. I handed over the bag with the food in the containers to them and though they did not utter a word, just the smile on their faces made my day !
The lunch stop took a good 50 minutes since my daughter is a slow eater and we did not want to hurry her. By this time I'd given up hopes of reaching Bangalore by 8pm, we were bound to reach much later. In hindsight, this was good since we could beat the weekday Bangalore city peak traffic.
The rest of the drive was uneventful and we took the Palladam-Kangeyam-Perundurai route for the first time. The road was excellent with minimal traffic. Once we merged onto NH47, it was back to our known territory and route that we've taken many
times. We made a brief 15 minute stop for coffee at the Aavin Retail outlet - they've now opened up 2 of the on either side of the highway near Chithode. Before the road widening work of NH47 was completed about 3 or 4 years ago, the highway passed
right in front of the Aavin factory at Chithode and was a popular stop for travelers. Along with the widening work, the new road also bypasses the factory so it must have definitely hit their retail sales so I guess they've now set this right with the 2 new outlets. I hoped to cross Salem by 6pm since the traffic has gotten very dense at the 3 circles/signals we need to cross on the highway. Around 6:15pm were at Salem and there was heavy slow moving traffic but managed to cross the place in 15 minutes. Our next stop was at A2B, Thoppur for dinner at 8pm. We left A2B around 8.50pm and with some sedate driving we were home at 10:45pm with the trip meter reading 1257Km. The only places that really slowed us was the truck traffic on Thoppur ghats, road widening work near Krishnagiri and the usual suspect stretch of Hosur-Attibele. We took the elevated toll road (BETL) and reached Indiranagar via Koramangala inner ring road and the traffic was pretty peaceful unlike the rush hour madness.

Comparing some of my pictures like that of Aliyar backwaters and the ones posted by Fauji sir, I realised that there is definitely scope for improvement but I probably will need a DSLR and need to talk to the Home minister But then, Fauji sir is lucky to have his official photographer to handle the DSLR on his trips !

Now, for some pictures...

Views of the ghat road from Hair Pen Bend #40
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-1.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-2.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-3.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-4.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-5.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-6.jpg

Aliyar Backwaters
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-7.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-8.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-9.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-10.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-11.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-12.jpg

Pollachi-Palladam road
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-13.jpg

Windmills at Palladam
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-14.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-15.jpg

Palladam-Kangeyam road
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-16.jpg

Bumper to bumper traffic at Salem
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-17.jpg

Toll plaza madness - vehicles cutting in
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-18.jpg

Home sweet home after 5 days and 1257 Km
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-19.jpg

With this, I have completed Part 1 of the travelogue covering Valparai (Sinnadorai) to Bangalore. Stay tuned for more coming up on the earlier part of the trip!

Last edited by NPV : 16th June 2012 at 14:09. Reason: adding Caption for pics
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Old 23rd June 2012, 19:43   #22
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

With the Sinnadorai part of the trip already covered, let's now move to Part 2 of the the travelogue covering the earlier part of the trip, Bangalore-Calicut and Calicut-Valaprai.

The evening before we started on our trip I did the usual routine of preparatory tasks like washing the car, tanking up the car with petrol (this time just more than 1/2 tank), checking tyre pressure, filling the windshield washer tank with water, etc ending with loading the boot with the bags (this saves us an awful amount of time and enables us to start quickly the next morning).
I wanted to try the Kanakapura-Chamarajnagar-Gundlupet route this time so that we could avoid the traffic of Mysore Road as well as bypass Mysore city. On a recent trip I had driven to Shivanasamudra so I knew the roads till there were good. Confirmed again with Fauji sir and decided to stop at Nijaguna Residency, Chamarajnagar for breakfast.
Next morning, we left home at 5:00am and after picking up my brother in law from his home, we were soon on Hosur Road heading to NICE Road. At NICE Road junction, we met my colleague and his family who would also drive alongside in their Indica till Gundlupet and then on to Ooty and we would proceed towards Calicut. Soon we were at Bannerghatta Road junction where we had to get to the other side of NICE Road. There were a lot of trucks already and cars were zig zagging and cutting other vehicles to the toll gates (sadly, this impatient city driving habit will never go away!). From here it was a breeze till we took the exit to Kanakapura Road. Once we were on Kanakapura Road, there was truck traffic mostly in the opposite direction and we were surprised to see cops at this hour stopping them - turned out to be a morning moolah drive for them !
A very good, scenic drive ensued and it was definitely worth missing the Mysore Road madness. Going past Kanakapura, Malavalli, Kollegal we were at Chamarajanagar around 8:30am. We stopped at Nijaguna Residency for breakfast (they had sign
boards all along the highway from about 80Km away!). The restaurant and toilets were clean and well maintained. We had the regular Idly, Vada routine with the kids having Dosas. The food was decent, nothing extraordinary but we were happy that the place was neat. This place also has rooms and seems like they do attract tourists as the place is located close to Bandipur, MM Hills, BR Hills, Mudumalai. The kids also had a play area in the garden so it was an extended stop. After more than an hour, we headed out towards Gundlupet. Another good scenic drive and good road conditions got us to Gundlupet about 35Km away in about half an hour. At Gundlupet, we bid goodbye to my friend's family as they proceeded straight towards Mudumalai and we took the right turn towards Muthanga. The drive through the forest was good with very light traffic, we heard the birds chirping, saw some deer and langurs but no other wildlife. At Sulthan Bathery we stopped to tank up the car with Petrol which was a good Rs.6 cheaper (good decision to start from Bangalore with just more than 1/2 tank!). By 12:15pm we were near Kalpetta and thinking it may be too early for lunch if we stopped at Woodlands. My wife quickly called her cousin at Calicut to find out alternative options further away and we got Upavan Resorts just after Vythiri. However, just 2 Km before Woodlands, Kalpetta traffic came to a complete stop owing to road work that was in progress. It took close to 20 minutes to clear and by now we decided to stop at Woodlands since it was getting close to 1pm when crowds would grow at restaurants. We had a good, tasty Vegetarian meal and by 1:45 pm we were back on the road. I could not resist a quick stop at the beginning of the Thamarassery ghat road for some pictures. The ghat road was in pristine condition making the drive very enjoyable. By 3:30pm we were in Calicut at our relative's home - this time I was pretty confident of the route since it was the third time there (on earlier occasions someone would guide us from the Malaparamba junction). The evening was spent playing cricket with the kids and chatting up with everyone. We went out to a popular local restaurant called Dakshin where we had dinner followed by good, fresh fruit juice at a popular fruits & juice place nearby. My wife managed to sneak some time for a quick round of shopping as well
Returning home, there was another round of banter and we crashed to sleep by midnight. A good day overall, now for some pictures.

Cars at Nijaguna Residency
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-1.jpg

Nijaguna Residency from the parking lot
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-2.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-2a.jpg


The restaurant - from outside and inside
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-3.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-4.jpg


Lovely fields along the Chamarajnagar-Gundluptet Road
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-5.jpg

Petrol, Dear Petrol - cheaper by Rs.6 as compared with Bangalore
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-5a.jpg

Traffic in one direction only at Kalpetta due to road work
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-5b.jpg

Views from beginning of Thamarassery ghats - notice the pristine condition of the road!
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-6.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-8.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-9.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-10.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-11.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-12.jpg

Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-13.jpg

A quick round of shopping in Calicut for this new possesion - a Micro Puttu cooker !
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-14.jpg

Last edited by NPV : 23rd June 2012 at 19:49. Reason: added pic captions
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Old 24th June 2012, 09:57   #23
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

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I had in mind was Valparai since I was inspired by some great travelogues he recommended Sinnadorai's Bungalow where he'd stayed recently.
Valaparai ? This one place had me puzzled all these days whether it is worth visiting at all. Think i am convinced seeing these amazing pictures.

Would you please tell me if the Cellphones work here ?, i mean the signals. My self employment demands that i am reachable 24x7
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Old 24th June 2012, 10:13   #24
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

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Valaparai ? This one place had me puzzled all these days whether it is worth visiting at all. Think i am convinced seeing these amazing pictures.

Would you please tell me if the Cellphones work here ?, i mean the signals. My self employment demands that i am reachable 24x7
Thanks @nandans2005, Valparai is definitely worth visiting.
Our cellphones (Airtel) did work at Sinnadorai but there are places in and around where it blacks out so can't be 100% sure of being reachable at all times.
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Old 26th June 2012, 21:10   #25
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

The next morning was spent doing the family visits at Calicut and then it was time to drop off my brother in law at the airport for his flight back to Bangalore. My cousin drove his car to the airport and for a change sitting in the passenger's seat gave me a chance to understand some of the important junctions in and around Calicut and also part of the route that we would take the next day on our way towards Thrissur, Chalakudy and then to Athirapilly and Valparai. The rest of the day was mostly spent playing cricket with the kids, watching TV and just lazing around the house. In the afternoon I did a quick review of the route we would take the next day. When I showed the detailed directions I had (of course courtesy TBHP!), my cousins were surprised and said it was perfect, they also gave me few more landmarks. That evening we washed the car and by 10pm we were fast asleep as we wanted to leave by 5.30am next morning.

We woke up early, getting ready and starting on the drive on time and as planned. Soon we were on NH17 going past Feroke, Ramanattukara and the University. Near the University campus there were cops stopping trucks coming in the opposite direction (very similar to what we saw on Kanakapura Road when leaving Bangalore 2 days ago!). The road was in good condition and well marked so there was no problem though it was my first time driving on this route. We just followed the directions to Thrissur and by 8.10am we were at Perumpilavu. From here I slowed down looking for the turn off to the Kechery Road at Akkikavu (I felt like a local when I found this place and this was only because of perfect directions given by @ranjitp1 and @ajithbr) . The Kechery Road was very good with hardly any traffic and very scenic with lots of greenery around (and houses which co-exist in Kerala!). By taking the Kechery road we could avoid Kunnamkulam town and soon we were near Amala Hospital on the outskirts of Thrissur. We stopped 3Km ahead for breakfast at Aryaas right next to Sobha City around 8.30am. After breakfast we started around 9.10am, made our way to Poonkunnam and then joined NH47 by following directions for Kochi. The next 2-3 Km seemed to be widened recently and still not asphalted but after this stretch it was good 4 lane road. Our next landmark would be the Mannuthy toll - my cousins had explained the Mannuthy toll and how most locals never pay the toll by using an old road that connects to the service road and merges with the highway right after the toll !
As we approached the toll I could see a bridge and a sign saying Toll plaza was 1.25Km ahead and there was a service road here going beside the bridge to access the perpendicular road below the bridge. I took the service road and almost at the junction of the road below the bridge I saw another road to the left that was like a jug handle ramp and it merged back with the highway ahead. However, this road was crowded with lots of trucks parked on one side and vehicles jostling with each other in both directions. I did not want to get stuck in the melee there so continued on the service road leading straight to the toll plaza, paid the Rs.55 toll and immediately on crossing the toll plaza I saw the other road merging on the left. At this junction vehicles coming in the opposite direction were making a right turn to avoid the toll. Now, this must be one unique highway toll plaza in our country, it's robbery for people who don't know about it and a joke for the ones who do ! All kinds of vehicles including large heavily loaded trucks to private cars were taking the road to avoid the toll. Adding to the woes, immediately after this junction there is a traffic light

About 15 Km ahead around 10am, near Chalakudy I took the turn off to the left which is well marked for Athirapilly - you cannot miss this. There are also several sign boards/flex boards for 2 water theme parks nearby called Dream World and Silver Storm. I enjoyed driving on this road, another scenic road with almost no traffic. About 11 Km ahead, we saw Dream World on the right (seemed deserted!) and 10 Km ahead we saw Silver Storm on the left. There were lots of cars here and the place seemed to be popular. Right opposite Silver Storm I saw a bridge over the river (Chalakudy River?) and a road to the right. This place was too good to resist skipping so I made a right turn and stopped on the bridge to get some pictures. I also saw steps leading down to the river below so we quickly went down and got a feel of the fresh, cold water. This place offered some really good vistas and the camera was happy. I was wondering where the road beyond the bridge would lead to - seemed scenic as there were hills ahead with lots of greenery. After a 15 minute stop on the bridge, we headed back towards Athirapilly which was another 13 Km away. On this stretch, the road was surrounded by greenery as it was a forest area and the river was running parallel on the right side - the sound of water flowing along was like music and made this an extremely enjoyable drive. By 11am, we reached the Athirapilly Tourist Information Centre run by the Kerala forest department, bought the tickets and paid for parking and camera. The weather though not hot was extremely humid. On enquiring with the forest department staff we were told the falls was just 'nooti ayymbadhu metre' (150 metres) away, really? We then found that they really meant the distance to the trekking entrance! From there you have to walk about a kilometre at least to reach the head of the falls and another kilometre to get to the base of the falls. We were soon at the head of the falls where there were lots of rocks and forest department personnel to control, manage and protect the crowds - the over enthusiastic ones mostly wanting to run all around like they'd never seen water before! There was an outpost there with a few of the forest department staff seated and watching the surroundings. Luckily they also had ropes running around the periphery marking the place beyond which the tourists must not venture. We spent about 30 minutes here before we decided to trek to the base of the falls. It was not easy with lots of uneven stones and steep inclines but once we reached the base it was an awesome sight and well worth the effort. The water from the falls was creating a misty water spray on our faces and it was cool, the ideal answer to the humidity around. My daughter loved this place and did not want to return but did we have a choice ? The trek up from the base was tiring and the sun getting brighter and warmer did not do us any favour. When we reached the car it was 1:15pm and from here I estimated a 2 hour drive to Valparai so we could reach by 3:30pm (!) for a late lunch there - more on that later, some pictures now.

Breakfast stop @ Aryaas
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Traffic Light just after Mannuthy toll
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Awesome drive on Athirapilly Road
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River, Bridge and Vistas from the Bridge & Below
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Silver Storm Theme Park
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Dizzy on the Bridge! The road ahead seemed very scenicDizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-3s.jpg

Athirapilly Falls Tourist Information Centre - Ticket counter
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Children's play area, Park and other amenities for tourists - was not functional & it seemed neglected
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First view of the falls from the road
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Last edited by NPV : 26th June 2012 at 21:31. Reason: added pic captions
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Old 26th June 2012, 22:13   #26
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

Very nice snaps NPV. One never wants to take one's eyes of lush greenery.

I was there last year, and walking around the tea estate was really fun.
The best way to enjoy such a place is to park one self for 3-4 days.

If one can club with another family, the stay becomes even better with a round the clock picnic like ambiance !
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Old 27th June 2012, 07:18   #27
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

Here are some more pictures of Athirapilly (previous post hit the limit for maximum pictures)...

The entrance to the Athirapilly Falls trekking trail
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-6.jpg

Notice the blend of bamboo and white rope used for signage
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-6a.jpg

The Trail leading to the falls, well laid out on this stretch
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Bamboo huts with seating inside - there are quite a few of these where the visitors can relax and some have eateries too
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The trek first leads to this place, the head/top of the falls
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Various vistas of the falls and surrounding
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Don't wanna go back!
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Trail leading to the base of the falls, starts out nicely but there are no hand rails after the first flight
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Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-8a.jpg

Views from the rocky base of the falls. There were 3 streams, am sure it'll be a wonderful sight in monsoons
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Bye from Athirapilly!
Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!-9z.jpg

Last edited by NPV : 27th June 2012 at 07:28. Reason: added picture captions
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Old 27th June 2012, 10:12   #28
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Smile Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

Awesome! What a scenic beauty this Valparai place is! I am sure the holidays must have been rejuvenating for the entire family...not sure about dizzy though .

The TL is developing very well with pics of some breathtaking views. Rating 5*.
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Old 27th June 2012, 10:54   #29
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Here are some more pictures of Athirapilly
Ever seen Athirapilly waterfalls on a sunny day during monsoon from an aeroplane proceeding towards Cochin Airport for landing? You will never forget what you see for the whole lifetime
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Old 27th June 2012, 11:28   #30
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Default Re: Dizzy DriveŽ : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more!

Great pictures comprising everyshade of the color green. I was there a couple of weeks back and the bunglow is just amazing. Thanks for sharing as I just lived thru my trip all over again.
Regards.
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