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Old 5th August 2013, 15:26   #1
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Default Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Came there those final moments when we confirmed our maiden kerala trip during the last week of july.
Place: Athirapally, cherai via valparai, sholayar.
Route: Coimbatore-Pollachi-Valparai-Malakkapara-Vazhachal-athirapally-Chalakudy-Cherai-Chalakudy-Thrissur-Palakkad-Coimbatore
No of persons:4
[L] Manikandan & Manoj Kumar;[R] Myself & Nirmal Kumar
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-members.jpg

Vehicle: Mitsu cedia select-self driven
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-car1.jpg
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-car2.jpg

Days:02(3rd & 4th Aug)
Total kms: 500kms
Few nuts & spices of the trip:
  1. The route was clear except some minor landslides and trees fallen on the road.
  2. The climate was so nice that our trip was not spoiled by heavy rains, only drizzling throughout.
  3. To our astonishment we met some hill goats in Sholayar eating the chicken pieces(from chicken biriyani) we took with us. The goats even tried to enter the car to eat the food kept inside.
  4. Never stay in the rooms we stayed (details below).
  5. My friend brought a computer extension box by which we all charged our phones from a single plug point provided in the room( is this in the list of travel essentials posted in TBHP?). Really thoughtful.
  6. Since the water flow was heavy we were not allowed even to go near the water. That’s a great disappointment. Just got my feet wet in Cherai beach.
  7. For some 20kms after Thrissur on way to Palakkad, I experienced the worst road in my life. Calling it the NH, its not even worth for a village road. 2nd gear was the maximum I could do (&rarely 3rd) for the whole 20kms.
So the wait was over. I had been planning for long long time, a trip with my school friends but due to various reasons we couldn't arrange one. Finally got a two days time and we planned for a trip. After lot of options, arguments, references we finally decided to move ahead with the above said places. The Basic plan is mine with little modifications from my friend.
I haven't travelled a lot even during my college days so i had to plan everything with someone or needed a guidance, referred to TBHP for two days and finally packed everything the day before(2nd Aug).

02nd Aug: The day went receiving my friends who came from various places. I reside in Coimbatore for the past 7 yrs, so it was planned to start from my home. I got every whips and mocks from my wife for leaving her at home. But she helped me pack my things. Filled the fuel in my car, checked coolant levels, tyre pressure, and made sure its ready for the trip(its a new car anyway).

03rd Aug: We started at 9AM after bidding good bye to my wife and my MIL. Got food packed for lunch and dinner. The travel was as usual until Aazhiyar. At the forest check post the guards warned us not to enter the monkey falls as it was falling heavy. Disappointment set in.

A view of valparai hilltop from a turn just after the Azhiyar forest Check post.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-valparai-view.jpg

We were in no mood to enter valaparai so we took a right turn to sholayar dam 6kms before Valparai. Again we took the right as shown here.
This is a junction of two roads: One to Sholayar as shown and the other is the exit road from valparai. As we skipped valparai town, we saved quite a distance & time.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-bye-pass-sholayar.jpg

The scenery was swashbuckling to see. With fresh rain droplets falling, everything we saw seemed to be a bliss. We made regular stops for some snaps and leisure. Just a few kms before sholayar, there was a check post where they made note of our car license plate number and few details.

Sholayar Dam:
We spent a lot of time here unaware of the real magnificent view further down.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-sholayar1.jpg

We reached Sholayar dam at 1.30PM. Had lunch there. It was here where some goats came near us and ate the pieces we threw after eating. The goats even tried to jump upon us to taste the food we were holding. Few goats tried to enter the car as the door and food was kept open. After some tea, snaps and fun, we headed towards Malakkapara.

This is a small water stream looking like a falls near Sholayar.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-sholayar3.jpg

Another view of the dam.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-sholayar2.jpg

The superb view of Sholayar.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-sholayar4.jpg

Just a two turns downwards we saw the bliss of the sholayar dam. We were not aware of this view point. Enjoyed the most. After some time we started our journey. Stopped by the Malakkapara forest check post and police check post. Here they gave slip which would contain all the details including no. of plastic bottles, polythene bags. They checked for liquor bottles. After the check post we started our trip to Vazhachal. The 60kms in between had lot of surprises. Small to medium waterfalls, streams crossing the road, Deer, Fallen rocks, trees, landslide, rivers, so and so.

Here is a picture showing various obstacles we came across.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-roads1.jpg

The scenery all along was superb. I can convincingly explain this only by recording a full route video!
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-scenary1.jpg

All the 4 of us were awestruck seeing the less explored parts.

This picture shows a family living in the middle of the lake. The inlet picture shows the closest possible view of their home. There was even a man fishing on a catamaran.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-scenary5.jpg

Made a lot of stops regularly and enjoyed the beauty of nature.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-scenary2.jpg

We saw only Deer & another unknown animal during the entire trip. The rains made us unlucky.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-deer.jpg

10kms before Vazhachal we saw a small place with few shops and had tea there. We reached vazhachal check post at 7PM.

The road at night was awesome. I felt fear creep down my spine.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-night.jpg

They received the slip issued by Malakkapara guards and let us go. Just two turns from there, we came across the CHARPA falls.
Btw, Is it CHARPA or CHAPRA?
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-chapra-falls.jpg
Spent some time near the falls and went to Athirapally for the night's stay. After searching for a while, we were referred by a local to this place for stay. But we were not satisfied with the room(the toilet wasn't that clean).The room rent was 2000 per night for 4 of us.

I don't understand what type of "trucking" he is advertising about, LOL! Intelligent service!
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-hotel.jpg

Had our dinner there. The old man in charge of the rooms gave us some suggestions for our trip. We retired to bed at 10Pm. Woke up at 6Am and went to Vazhachal falls at 7.30Pm. The entry ticked for Athirapally and vazhachal falls were issued at ATHIRAPALLY itself including parking charge.
Entry charge: Rs 20/person. Parking Rs: 10/car. Camera: Rs 10. They also arrange trekking for which you need to obtain permission at Athirapally. minimum of 5kms cost Rs700/- for 10 people. maximum is 50kms(over 3-4 days).

Vazhachal Falls:

Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-vazhachal.jpg

The falls was beautiful, more of a sloping fall rather than a vertical one, with pavements to walk around the falls. No permission to go near the water. After spending one good hour there we had our breakfast there. Appam with egg curry and Kadalai curry.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-food.jpg

Also had kattanchaya(black tea). The total bill was Rs 250. There is forest stall which sells some natural products like honey, wood carvings. We bought some honey and spices. Bid adieu to Vazhachal and went to Athirapally.

Athirapally falls:
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-athirapally.jpg

Same over here except that the falls was amazing just like seeing Niagra falls in pictures. The falls is a vertical falls in a valley. The falls looked dangerous and it felt like it has no mercy! Heavy waters was amazing to see but we couldn't bath in the falls. Saw an animal over the tree, What's this called?
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-animal.jpg

The main falls.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-athirapally2.jpg

A close up of the falls.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-athirapally3.jpg

A caring family.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-monkey.jpg

A panoramic view of the Cherai beach.

Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-cherai.jpg

We spent another hour here and started to Cherai. It was around 70kms from here. A boring travel to cherai, but after reaching cherai we were in fun again as the rain was drizzling and the beach looked awesome. we reached at 1pm. Had lunch at a restaurant. Enjoyed a lot there and spent a good 3hrs there.
The backwaters were awesome.
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-backwaters.jpg

After a two days of exciting moments, we started our return journey at 4pm via chalakudy, thrissur, palakad. We skipped Chalakudy and Thrissur via bye-pass roads and went towards palakkad where the road was worst for around 20kms.

We stopped by this nursery to buy some plants. But they were too costly for no reason. Bought two hybrid roses and a Balsam
Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)-nursery.jpg

The remaining road wasn't good either but it wasn't that bad. Took 6 hours to reach home for just 170Kms! This is my maiden trip and without TBHP I wouldn't have planned this route. this is the best trip of my life.

Last edited by Cedia2013 : 6th August 2013 at 11:13.
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Old 6th August 2013, 18:56   #2
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Default re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th August 2013, 18:59   #3
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Default re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Beautiful snap esp, of the lone sapling in the background of the falls.
The lower Sholayar is a sight to be enjoyed!

Last edited by ampere : 6th August 2013 at 19:05.
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Old 6th August 2013, 21:08   #4
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Default re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

You guys were lucky to do this route this moment. I think the road is closed temporarily now due to heavy rains and land slides. Hope the traffic resumes soon.

Good snaps.. looks really creepy at night. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 7th August 2013, 15:08   #5
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Default re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Beautiful snaps. Nice that you posted the photo of the junction to Sholayar dam.

The animal on the tree is the Malabar Giant Squirrel

(Psst...It would be better if we do not feed wild animals anything. They fall sick easily)
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Old 7th August 2013, 18:34   #6
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Default re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Cool car and a good travelogue. I have been mulling over doing the Valparai- Athirapally road trip for a long time, but plans had to kept on the backburner for various reasons. Now i am all fired up again! I am surprised that you guys picked the most rainy months in recent history and had the guts to see it through. The route is quite desolate and landslips are frequent, but the roads seems to be good in your pics. You guys seem to have had a memorable trip!

Thrissur- Palakkad NH was in a sad state even before the rains. That stretch is going to be made into a 4 lane, so authorities are not bothered about maintaining the existing road. The incessent rains have completely washed away the road now!
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Old 8th August 2013, 10:09   #7
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Default re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Great Narration my Friend, it brings back good old memories when I have done this route 3 or 4 years back.

The famous Kuthiran stretch( Thrissur -- PKD ) is in shambles, even KSRTC buses are not plying through there. Being said that we should not blame the rains for it , the road had been offroad territory from the past year.
Its advised to take the Thrissur --> Kulappilli --> Shoranur --> Ottapalam --> PKD route.
That route is in pretty decent condition and it adds around 15km extra
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Old 8th August 2013, 11:59   #8
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Default re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Wow. Rains are truly amazing. The best times to connect with nature.
Nice thread.
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Old 9th August 2013, 13:25   #9
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I am really sorry to say that so called NH roads in kerala are in very poor condition and for your info, its not only from PLKD to TCR but also many other parts in kerala where the road are in seriously bad condition, especially places near Allepey which can wreck your back and the suspensions of your car/bike. Your observations are very correct.

I liked the snaps especially of family living in the middle of the lake. I wonder what it feels like to live there !
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Old 16th August 2013, 10:01   #10
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Talking Re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Hi Cedia2013!

Nice travelogue supported by crisp and clear photographs. Reminded me of our trip (me, wifey, and daughter of 5 years of age then) during 2010. Though our final destination was Guruvayoor temple from Thudiyalur in Coimbatore, we had taken this scenic and daring route of pollachi-valparai-sholayar-athirapalli-trichur route just for the sake of fun and adventure. Spent half an hour at Valaparai and started at around 2:30 pm from sholayar dam. We were advised (rather warned) of thickly animal populated forest ahead that was infested with Elephants and Indian Gaurs, by the guys manning the check-post. This very preamble to our journey by these guys set the tone for our long and tedious journey. Tedious not because of the distance (almost 60 km through the forest) but because of the condition of the tarmac (or lack of it). My family was in constant fear just before every corner and blind turn of the road for fear of encountering some WILD animals, though I pretended to be not so. Even my Alto was shaking in fear though I thought it was because of the road condition. But to our dismay, we ended up seeing only elephant dung and nothing else. And I had to change my suspension immediately after this trip. But, on the whole, a wholesome experience for the sheer driving experience it offered.
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Old 19th August 2013, 20:09   #11
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Default Re: Road Trip: Valparai to Cherai (via Sholayar)

Hi Cedia2013!

Thank you for the details. I am looking forward to my next road trip to Kerala come October - just came back from Hyd-Hampi drive. Seems like a lovely place.

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