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Old 8th February 2014, 15:49   #1
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Arrow Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

Muttathe Mullakku Manamilla” (the jasmine flowers of our courtyard has no fragrance).We never see what’s in our own backyard, we search it elsewhere.

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-1.jpg

While in Kerala, I usually drive past this sign board many times, mostly during my frequent drive to Munnar. It’s just about 30 km from here [Chalakkudy] to “Athirapally Falls”, one of the most spectacular scenic spots that I have explored so far. It’s shame that I never considered seriously to drive to this location until a couple of days ago, after which Athirapally has very deservingly become a must-watch experience and one of my favourite destinations.

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-32.jpg

Since the ideal time to visit the Falls is during the monsoon with plenty of water and greenery all around, we will be paying another visit to Athirapally in July.

The route taken:

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-route.png

Last edited by M35 : 8th February 2014 at 15:53.
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Old 8th February 2014, 16:13   #2
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Default re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

04/02/2014

A lazy Tuesday morning. We woke up late. There was no programs scheduled nor any commitments made for the day. We were actually thinking of taking rest on that day. Logged in to Team-BHP with a cup of tea. The enthusiast in me wasn’t really convinced to “waste” one day. Athirapally was always on cards for quite some time, but also considered “ Silent Valley” for a short day trip as the latter was only about 70km from home.

It was already 8..00am by then. Discussed with wify and finalised on Athirapally + Vazhachal for a day trip. We didn’t have anymore time to waste and in about 45 minutes got ready for the trip. Threw in my D3100, lenses, filters secured in a bag and tripod to the Car. Stocked up a couple of water bottles as well. At exactly 9.00 am, all three of us –me, wify and our trusty partner , Scorpio M-Hawk left Palakkad for what proved to be a fantastic one day outing.

Took the usual Ottapalam – Kulappully- Thrissur –NH47- Chalakkudy route which was not so relaxing due to heavy traffic in the morning. Hit the diversion point to Athiraplly on NH47 by around 11.00am and the 30km drive to Athirapally was good enough to calm us down after the earlier slightly stressful drive. The road was smooth and the drive was great.
There are quite a good number of interesting places on this route. Dream world water theme park and Silver storm water theme park are located on this road.

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On either side of the road are there the beautiful palm trees. Though the bright sun and dryness was a spoiler for the photographer in me, the drive alongside the superb Chalakkudy river was very soothing, indeed.

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Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-7.jpg.jpg

Next up .. Athirapally Falls

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-27.jpg

Last edited by M35 : 8th February 2014 at 16:15.
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Old 8th February 2014, 17:23   #3
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Default re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

Athirapally Water Falls:

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-9.jpg

We reached Athirippilly Falls at around 11.30 am. There is a ticket counter just before reaching Athirippilly waterfalls. And we bought this entry Pass for Athirapilly and Vazhachal waterfalls. Parked our car and headed towards the Falls.

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-ticket.jpg

It was noon and very bright. I used a ND filter to get the silky flow for the falls where I had to set very high f-number [f/22] with a shutter speed of not less than 1/3 seconds or so. I would have liked an early morning or an evening visit would have yielded better pictures and will keep that in mind for our next visit.

Both Athirapally and Vazhachal are located just 5 km apart on the edge of Sholayar forest ranges.

Quote:
Athirappilly Waterfalls is located at the entrance of Sholayar ranges, the major host town is Chalakudy, this waterfall is one of the major picnic spots of Kerala. Affording to the onlookers, one of the most bewitching sights, Athirappally water Falls is 80 feet high and located exactly in the forest area. Combined with the natural greenery, it infuses freshness into any tired soul. The Athirapally Falls joins the Chalakudy River after plummeting a drop of 80 feet.

A much needed escape from the troubles and stress of life. Let the soothing sounds take you to some of natures most relaxing places - the beautiful waterfalls of Athirampally and Vazhachal.The charm of the Athirampally and Vazhachal nature cannot be described by words, Starting calmly from the high ranges, and crashing through gorges overhung with trees, these waterfall is one of the best places in India to re-capture a real sense of the classical idea of the 'Picturesque' - not just calm and sweet, but something wild and natural.

Athirapilly is the land of rivers and forests!The destination houses the largest waterfall in Kerala, the Athirapilly waterfall,one of the major tourist attraction. This patch in Sholayar ranges so beautifully intertwined with lush green forest cover and sizzling silver cascades and located central to Cochin and River Nila,is a treat for the eyes during the monsoon.Chalakkudy river, Charpa, Vazhachal and Athirapally are ideal places where the monsoon is to be enjoyed.
Know more here including Hotels, Resorts, Taxi, Packages etc : http://www.athirapallytourism.org/

Some more pictures !

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Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-22.jpg

It was wonderful experience spending an hour and half or so, even with the Sun beating down in full glory. It was nice to see very little plastic litter thrown around in there. A bottle of cold apple drink did help us from the heat and fatigue and we proceeded towards our car to continue our journey to Vazhachal.Since it was a working day, there weren’t many vehicles/visitors which was a great relief.

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-36.jpg

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-37.jpg

Last edited by M35 : 8th February 2014 at 17:34.
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Old 8th February 2014, 18:25   #4
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Default re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

Vazhachal:

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-38.jpg

Vazhachal is just about 5 km from Athirapally. Athirapally to Vazhachal is through the forest with an excellent but narrow road. One needs to be extra cautious while driving as there is a large population of fearless monkeys in there which often dance down to the roads. It’s their home and I drove past them slowly without disturbing them.

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-35.jpg


Generally, tourists do not go beyond Vazhachal.Our plan, earlier, was the same. We were really hungry as it was around 2.00pm.At the Vazhachal check post when asked, we were told that it’s only about 70 km or so to Valparai. Suddenly we thought why not get a bit adventurous and return via Valparai.

More pictures at Vazhachal.

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-39.jpg

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-40.jpg

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-41.jpg

At the check post, after having our vehicle inspected and journey details entered on a register that includes the number of plastic bottles in possession, an entry pass was given which was supposed to be handed over at the other end of the forest stretch at Malakkappara check post. Within a couple of kilometers from Vazhachal Check post, we had lunch at a small hotel, where we were served meals with river fish curry.

Shall update with the remaining set of pictures soon.

Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-aliyar.jpg
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Old 8th February 2014, 19:46   #5
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Default re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th February 2014, 18:55   #6
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Default re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

Quote:
Originally Posted by M35 View Post
Muttathe Mullakku Manamilla” (the jasmine flowers of our courtyard has no fragrance).We never see what’s in our own backyard, we search it elsewhere.
Yes, very true "Muttathe Mullakku Manamilla"

A very nice TL indeed with good photos

Awaiting the rest.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 11th February 2014 at 05:29. Reason: Fixed broken quote tag.
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Old 15th February 2014, 14:04   #7
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

The beast in black parked at Vazhachal and the road towards Valparai at the Vazhachal chek post.
Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-dsc_0131_lzn.jpg
Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai-dsc_0133_lzn.jpg

Beyond Vazachal, the narrow and winding roads take you through thick jungle with no sign of human life. Didn't see any wildlife and the drive was very refreshing indeed. Soon we reached Peringlkuttu reservoir.
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The beautiful roads started to get worst with pot-holes and loose gravel spread on top made the drive a bit uncomfortable for the first time. I didn't bother to slow down but drive over the rough patches at ease. Soon, we found the forest range transforming into beautiful Tea plantations. Went through the formalities at the check posts at Malakkappara. At the Tamil Nadu check post, a gentleman [Policeman] joined us and accompanied until Pollachi.

The Sholayar Dam:
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The roads got super smooth again and we started descending down along those famous hairpin bends heading towards Aliyar then to Pollachi.

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We dropped the gentleman infront of the bust station at Pollachi. Took the first right and reached Palakkad in no time.

It was a fantastic driving experience and wish to do the same route in July-August, during rains, to explore various spots in detail.

Last edited by M35 : 15th February 2014 at 14:06.
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Old 15th February 2014, 19:36   #8
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

Quote:
Originally Posted by M35 View Post
The beast in black parked at Vazhachal and the road towards Valparai at the Vazhachal chek post.
Attachment 1208212
Attachment 1208213


A Nice travelogue, well written with few words but adequately supplemented with good photographs.
Although I did 2 trips to Valparai, never got time to visit Athirappalli & Vazhachal. On both the occasions, as we were staying overnight at Valparai, we were rushing to pass the uninhabited reserve forests before noon so as to have lunch at Valparai (as there are no restaurants available enroute). During our first trip in 2010, we took Pollachi, Palakkad route for the return trip. Somewhere near the first few hairpinbends on the Valparai-Pollachi route, we were surprised to meet dozens of Nilgiri Tahrs (Varayadu) nibbling their breakfast perching on the almost vertical sides of the roadside rocks. There were even babies among the group. We could even touch and feel them. This was a surprise bonus for us, as we had spend days to see these Nilgiri Tahr at Munnar and the best was only a few long range sightings. As you have not mentioned anything about it, guess you were not lucky this time. Perhaps they come out only during mornings!

Anyway, feel putting down a travelogue is a tedious process and you have done it well.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 21st October 2015 at 08:40. Reason: Fixing quotes.
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Old 21st February 2014, 00:04   #9
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

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Originally Posted by M35 View Post


While in Kerala, I usually drive past this sign board many times, mostly during my frequent drive to Munnar.
Thanks for the photo... My house is just a km from this board. Felt so good seeing the photo.

The problem with this signboard is that most people going towards Athirappilli take the left after the signboard, where as the route to Athirappilly is the left before the sign board. (both left turns are visible in the photo)

Ultimately tourists go to Potta jn, take a left turn and come back to the same junction as in the earlier left via the old highway after wasting 5 mts and 3 km.

We as locals told this to NH authorities multiple times, but in vain.
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Old 21st February 2014, 16:43   #10
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

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Thanks for the photo... My house is just a km from this board. Felt so good seeing the photo.
==================
We as locals told this to NH authorities multiple times, but in vain.
Driving through 40 hair pin bends on the Valparai ghat roads is sheer bliss. How about the Valparai-Athirapally road. Heard that the first 10 kms or so is potholed after which the tarmac is smooth.
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Old 21st February 2014, 23:31   #11
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

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Driving through 40 hair pin bends on the Valparai ghat roads is sheer bliss. How about the Valparai-Athirapally road. Heard that the first 10 kms or so is potholed after which the tarmac is smooth.
Details are given in one of the above posts by M35. quoting it here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M35 View Post
Soon we reached Peringlkuttu reservoir.

The beautiful roads started to get worst with pot-holes and loose gravel spread on top made the drive a bit uncomfortable for the first time. I didn't bother to slow down but drive over the rough patches at ease. Soon, we found the forest range transforming into beautiful Tea plantations. Went through the formalities at the check posts at Malakkappara. At the Tamil Nadu check post, a gentleman [Policeman] joined us and accompanied until Pollachi.

The roads got super smooth again and we started descending down along those famous hairpin bends heading towards Aliyar then to Pollachi.
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Old 22nd February 2014, 09:27   #12
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

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Originally Posted by suresh_gs View Post
Driving through 40 hair pin bends on the Valparai ghat roads is sheer bliss. How about the Valparai-Athirapally road. Heard that the first 10 kms or so is potholed after which the tarmac is smooth.
  • Valparai - Malakkapara check post stretch featuring the beautiful Upper Sholayar Dam is about 25 km is good.
  • If you are coming from Pollachi, about 2 km before Valparai, you take right towards Athirapalli.
  • It is after Malakkapara, in the forest about 10-15 km towards peringalkoothu, the road gets worst with pot-holes and gravel/pebbles casually spread on the road surface.
  • Beyond that the tarmac, though very narrow, is super smooth all the way to Athirapalli.
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Old 17th May 2014, 08:56   #13
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

Planning to do Valparai to Athirapalley with my family in a Ford figo, Is it doable? Will GC became an issue to handle this route?
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Old 17th May 2014, 10:23   #14
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Planning to do Valparai to Athirapalley with my family in a Ford figo, Is it doable? Will GC became an issue to handle this route?
You should be able to do it easily in your Figo, based on my observation on the road condition during my trip. In fact I saw more hatch backs than SUVs in the forest stretch during my trip. I don’t expect the surface to deteriorate in three months or so since my trip as well. BHPian vinodv001 should have done the same stretch more recently. Please PM him to know the latest. He was planning the trip in an Ertiga.


It was only about 10 odd kms in the forest, between Vazhachal and Valparai stretch, pot-holed but not a big deal. Though the rest of the forest will appear deserted, narrow and some steep climbs, it will be fun doing it in a Figo. So don't worry and go ahead.

Only thing I would advise you is, pass the forest stretch in the morning or about lunch time. Don't delay it any further and strictly not beyond 5 pm.
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Old 17th May 2014, 12:50   #15
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Default Re: Drive to the gorgeous Athirappilly Falls, via stunning Valparai

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Planning to do Valparai to Athirapalley with my family in a Ford figo, Is it doable? Will GC became an issue to handle this route?
Should not be a problem as I did the route with my Alto way back in 2010 and the road was really in a very bad shape then. Ground Clearance should not be an issue for a Figo. Preferably do the drive during morning.
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