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Old 14th September 2013, 20:03   #1
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Default Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

This trip was done during the Christmas holidays of 2012. I was at home, Pollachi, a small town near Coimbatore. Usually, I try to spend this week with my parents and this time too, it was no different.

After Christmas, we planned on visiting family at Thrissur. From Pollachi, the usual route is Kollengode -> Vadakkencheri -> Thrissur. Why not do the Valparai route? I have been to Valparai numerous times and from there to Chalakudy a couple of times. But this road always excites me for the seclusion, wild life and of course, the winding roads.

The day was Dec 26 and we started as planned by around 5:15AM. We exited Pollachi town and I kept my speed in check as the road to Aliyar goes through few villages. It was cold, foggy at times and most of the stretches had no street lights. Aliyar dam is 28KMs from Pollachi and we reached the dam by around 6:00AM and continued further without stopping. It was still dark when we passed Monkey Falls.

We reached the first of the forty hair pin bends by around 6:15AM

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Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6346.jpg  


Last edited by lipaul : 22nd September 2013 at 21:36.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 17:34   #2
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Default Re: Road trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

The road surface is good, well marked and has sparse traffic -> A driver's delight!

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6347.jpg

We reached Loam's view point and stopped by to have a look at the Aliyar dam.

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Nice and calm

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The Sun was just coming out

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This place also offers us with the view of the loops we did to reach here

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We reached Tiger Valley after passing through Attakatty

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View of the valley

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I drove further and we got to see the first of the many estates en-route

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Last edited by lipaul : 22nd September 2013 at 19:37.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 18:20   #3
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Default Re: Road trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

A beautiful waiting shed

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We reached Kavarakkal. As expected, it was misty

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Carver Marsh statue

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At Aiyarpadi, we took the deviation to the Annai Velankanni Church. This is the waterfall on the side of the church

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Last edited by lipaul : 23rd September 2013 at 18:18.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 18:41   #4
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Default Re: Road trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

Serene

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6400.jpg

The church at Karamalai is surrounded by lush green tea estate and on a side, there is a small water fall and a stream. We took the stairs to the church. There are a couple of benches in front of the church from where you can watch the water fall and the flowing water

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The attendant there opened the church for us

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The Xmas crib

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The church was decorated for Xmas and we spent a few minutes inside the church in reverence

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We spent some time near the stream

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On the way back to the junction, I saw estates along the road. I saw a stream flowing thru the estate and I parked my car to go near the stream

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6435.jpg

I think this would join the stream we saw near the church

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The bridge over the stream

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6436.jpg

Last edited by lipaul : 23rd September 2013 at 18:17.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 19:32   #5
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Default Re: Road trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

We had breakfast at Valparai town and then proceeded to Nirar dam. I paid at the check-post and from the guards I came to know that there was little water at the water fall and hence decided not to go there. The road to the dam was in shambles and the heat was intense

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6442.jpg

Estates seen on the way to Nirar dam

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6443.jpg

Beautiful setting

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Sights from the Nirar dam

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A parting shot

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6461.jpg

Last edited by lipaul : 23rd September 2013 at 18:26.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 20:25   #6
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Default Re: Road trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

On the way back from Nirar dam, I did see the deviation to the lower Nirar dam. I skipped it because of the heat and the road condition. We then proceeded towards the Sholayar dam.

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6464.jpg

Back waters of Sholayar dam

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6466.jpg

The road to Sholayar dam is good with estates along the way

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We reached the dam by 1:00PM

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6471.jpg

The water level was low at the dam

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The dam as viewed from the road

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We reached Perungalkuthu dam by 3:00PM

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6491.jpg

The water level was decent and the place - calm and green. I can spend hours together just looking at this expanse of water, thick foilage and the small islands

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Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6495.jpg

Last edited by lipaul : 23rd September 2013 at 19:28.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 21:34   #7
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Default Re: Road trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

I drove further to reach Anakayam

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6503.jpg

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We reached Vazhachal by 4:30PM, parked the car and bought entry tickets

Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy-img_6535.jpg

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We proceeded towards Athirappilly Falls. God, have they shifted the Thrissur Pooram here? It was crowded, noisy and I could find no parking space for a long stretch. Buses, cars, auto rickshaws and two-wheelers were parked on either side of the road. I managed to park my car and we walked towards the viewing point. We spent a few minutes trying to view the falls. Every body were jostling for space to pose right in front of the falls in the viewing area. I waited and managed to click a few snaps and dashed to my car.

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I then drove to Chalakudy and took the NH47 to Thrissur. Even though the crowd at Athirappilly was a put off, the day was good and I end my first log here.

Last edited by lipaul : 23rd September 2013 at 19:33.
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Old 24th September 2013, 16:26   #8
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th September 2013, 22:05   #9
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

+1

Decidedly one of the best driving routes in this part of the country. We've done this twice over the last four years, and are planning another trip soon, with a stopover at Sinna Dorai's.

What are the roads like on the Malakkapara - Vazhachal stretch after this year's rains?
One can rest assured that TN roads will be in great shape while the opposite is generally true of Kerala, which is evidenced by the quantum shift as you cross over on the Chalakudi-Pollachi road.
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Old 24th September 2013, 22:24   #10
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

Hi Paul.
Well written travelogue with beautiful photographs.
I had a "narrow miss" of Valparai when I visited Kerala last time & had to settle with Peechi .

My cousin who was scheduled to join us could not come on time & we had to cancel the trip. I am sure that I will make it next time.
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Old 25th September 2013, 07:50   #11
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

Beautiful travelogue, a literal feast for the eyes. I have an aunt who grew up in Sholayar, she always keeps talking of the place and I used to wonder what the big deal it was, now I know

The estates on the way, awesome stuff, hoping to trace your footsteps sometime, this travelogue will help me a lot then
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Old 25th September 2013, 08:37   #12
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

Nice travelogue with excellent pictures to go with it, Thanks for sharing

Quote:
Originally Posted by one-77 View Post
What are the roads like on the Malakkapara - Vazhachal stretch after this year's rains?
One can rest assured that TN roads will be in great shape while the opposite is generally true of Kerala, which is evidenced by the quantum shift as you cross over on the Chalakudi-Pollachi road.
Don't know if it's the norm or exception but we found during our trip last year (2012) the roads were excellent from Chalakudy almost till about 10Km before Malakkapara. It was bad from there even for a few Kms beyond the checkpost on the TN side as well. Then again, it became super smooth tarmac all the way till Aliyar. My guess was that the stretch with bad roads receives a lot of rain and hence the condition wasn't good.
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Old 25th September 2013, 09:15   #13
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Nice travelogue with excellent pictures to go with it, Thanks for sharing


Don't know if it's the norm or exception but we found during our trip last year (2012) the roads were excellent from Chalakudy almost till about 10Km before Malakkapara. It was bad from there even for a few Kms beyond the checkpost on the TN side as well. Then again, it became super smooth tarmac all the way till Aliyar. My guess was that the stretch with bad roads receives a lot of rain and hence the condition wasn't good.
Not much changes, the road close to the checkpost are still bad, but driveable in any sedans. I have travelled in this route on 24th Aug'13. There were some landslides, but it was almost repaired that time. Roads are narrow and you should be very very careful while giving side to big vehicles. It was a real nice drive for me, I was coming from Ernakulam to Bangalore via this route.

@lipaul, nice travelogue. When I was driving through this route most of the places were covered by mist, thanks for uncovering those places ..!!
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Old 25th September 2013, 14:02   #14
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

LiPaul, so you too have done the "dream route". Very nice travelogue. The pics were superb. Peringalkuthu dam looks so serene and picture perfect. I agree with you that one can spend hours at such a place just taking in the beauty. Even after so many visits, the sheer size of Athirapally never ceases to amaze/scare me. Your pics of the falls were fabulous. The zoom captured the people both at the top and base of the falls so vividly. Can you share with us the camera details ?
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Old 25th September 2013, 17:26   #15
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Default Re: Road Trip : Pollachi - Valparai - Chalakudy

Quote:
Originally Posted by one-77 View Post
+1

Decidedly one of the best driving routes in this part of the country. We've done this twice over the last four years, and are planning another trip soon, with a stopover at Sinna Dorai's.

What are the roads like on the Malakkapara - Vazhachal stretch after this year's rains?
One can rest assured that TN roads will be in great shape while the opposite is generally true of Kerala, which is evidenced by the quantum shift as you cross over on the Chalakudi-Pollachi road.
I totally agree. A drive through this section post monsoon is the most rewarding although the roads would have deteriorated. When I did this trip, the small stretch around 10KMS near Malakkkapara was bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iVento View Post
Hi Paul.
Well written travelogue with beautiful photographs.
I had a "narrow miss" of Valparai when I visited Kerala last time & had to settle with Peechi .

My cousin who was scheduled to join us could not come on time & we had to cancel the trip. I am sure that I will make it next time.
Thanks iVento! You should do it some time. I am sure you will enjoy it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheARUN View Post
Beautiful travelogue, a literal feast for the eyes. I have an aunt who grew up in Sholayar, she always keeps talking of the place and I used to wonder what the big deal it was, now I know

The estates on the way, awesome stuff, hoping to trace your footsteps sometime, this travelogue will help me a lot then
Thanks TheArun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Nice travelogue with excellent pictures to go with it, Thanks for sharing


Don't know if it's the norm or exception but we found during our trip last year (2012) the roads were excellent from Chalakudy almost till about 10Km before Malakkapara. It was bad from there even for a few Kms beyond the checkpost on the TN side as well. Then again, it became super smooth tarmac all the way till Aliyar. My guess was that the stretch with bad roads receives a lot of rain and hence the condition wasn't good.
Thanks NPV! The stretch near Malakkapara has always been bad at least for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by RajeshK View Post
Not much changes, the road close to the checkpost are still bad, but driveable in any sedans. I have travelled in this route on 24th Aug'13. There were some landslides, but it was almost repaired that time. Roads are narrow and you should be very very careful while giving side to big vehicles. It was a real nice drive for me, I was coming from Ernakulam to Bangalore via this route.

@lipaul, nice travelogue. When I was driving through this route most of the places were covered by mist, thanks for uncovering those places ..!!
Thanks RajeshK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by venkatt1800 View Post
LiPaul, so you too have done the "dream route". Very nice travelogue. The pics were superb. Peringalkuthu dam looks so serene and picture perfect. I agree with you that one can spend hours at such a place just taking in the beauty. Even after so many visits, the sheer size of Athirapally never ceases to amaze/scare me. Your pics of the falls were fabulous. The zoom captured the people both at the top and base of the falls so vividly. Can you share with us the camera details ?
Thanks venkatt1800 for your appreciative words! The camera I use is a humble Canon SX10 IS.
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