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Old 29th June 2014, 08:25   #1
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Default A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

On a lazy Sunday morning at 9.00 am, having coffee and waiting for breakfast, a conversation sprung up between mom, dad and me.

Mom: We have to go out to get vegetables.
Dad: Where do we go? We don't get fresh vegetables in Bangalore nowadays. Lot of pollution .. [blah blah]
Me: Lets go to Valparai then and get vegetables[Casually](I had planned to go to this place sometime back, but not at this point, when the conversation was on).
Dad: Lets go!! Anyways I have two days leave [Mon and Tue] and we haven't gone anywhere since a long time.
Mom: Where is this place. [takes her tablet and starts researching on how far it is.. what to visit etc etc..]
Me: Are you crazy, lets at least start tomorrow, Its too late to start a 400+km journey at this time of the day [at the back of my mind: I'll have to plan for a sick leave for two days!]

Debate goes on...

And finally we decide to go to Coimbatore (100+ kms away from Valparai and 300+ kms from Bangalore), have a pit stop and go to Valparai the next day. Eventually started at 10.30 am. Route chosen was as follows.
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-routemap.jpg

To be frank, at the time of start of the journey, I was most unexcited, given the surprise, the situation and in doubt whether an unplanned trip of 1000+ kms would even be worth. That was when I still didnt know what was in store.

Such breathtaking views will surely make any journey worthwhile
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-introhillview.jpg

Day1.
Blore-Kanakapura-Malavalli-Kollegal Yellandur-Chamarajanagar-Satyamangalam-Annur-Coimbatore

As the subject of the post is put, this stretch of NH-209 is one of those very few highways which still has the flavor of the real country side with a pretty well surfaced 2 lane road (Karnataka limits) and excellently surfaced road (TN limits). The winding two lane road in the midst of forests is an absolute fun to drive. Do remember to give yourself an extra bit of time on these roads to notice, say for ex. 1. To listen to the sound of bamboo trees shaking violently as if a wild animal is fast approaching, 2. Butterflies flying at you from dense forest, which gets so dense that you lose track of the time of day, 3. Experience nature.

The following pics dont do justice to what can be experienced.
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day3forestview1.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day1fieldwideangle.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day1nilgiritrees.jpg
Be wary of the ghat section at Satyamangalam (27 hair pin bends)
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-ghatsection.jpg

It is highly advisable that this entire route be taken during daytime if possible, and drive safe and careful throughout.

Day 2, Pollachi, Valparai:
Personally, I am not a person who finds happiness by reaching the destination, or some predefined spots that any travel website recommends us to visit. There are many many good things which we should experience through the journey, which would remain etched in memory for a long time.

Note: Managed to take these pics before I narrowly managed to avoid a snake. [Its a real forest!]

I'll let the pics do the talking.
Aliyar Dam.
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2aliyadam1.jpg
The greenery. [Do not forget to have a cup of tasty tea enroute]
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hllviewwide3.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2flowerview.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview1.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview2.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview4.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview5.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview6.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview7.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview8.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview9.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview10.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview11.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview13.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview15.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2hillview16.jpg

Few pics of the car drenched in mist/rain.
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2carview1.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2carview2.jpg
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2carview3.jpg

So much of freshness waiting to be experienced.
A journey as good as the destination: Valparai-day2carview4.jpg



Food Recommendation: Coimbatore and around. "Hotel Anandha's, Veg Naturally" serves great food at affordable price.
Stay Recommendation: Hotel Royal Park, Gandhipuram, Coimbatore. (alternatively, if planned, can stay at Valparai as well)

On the way back, we visited Mysore for some personal work. This could also be planned if one has more time.

All in all, an enjoyable trip, a must do, in the list of getaways from Bangalore if you are a nature lover. For people who expect a typical tourist destination, this may not be the place to go, for the rest, it will be a paradise.

Last edited by kaushik_ak : 29th June 2014 at 09:07.
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Old 29th June 2014, 09:55   #2
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Default re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th June 2014, 12:24   #3
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Default re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Nice set of snaps bro.
Couple of weeks back I planned for a trip to Valparai end finally landed at Munnar (for no reasons). This is the perfect time to visit Valparai (start of monsoon) Do you mind sharing the list of places visited? And how was the performance of Figo for the entire trip?
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Old 29th June 2014, 14:08   #4
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Default re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Really nice thread. Photographs are really nice. Place looks beautiful. I will definitely plan a visit to the place.

BTW how was your experience with Figo for this trip. What was the fuel efficiency. I am too a proud Figo owner but never had a long trip with it.

Thank you for sharing the travelogue and your experience with us.
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Old 30th June 2014, 08:36   #5
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Default re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Thanks @Mr.Boss and @Praveer.

Figo is known for its driving dynamics and the entire stretch was really enjoyable. Just zoom into the maps to find how it meanders its way right after you cross Bangalore all the way up to the destination.

FE came close to 20 with no AC throughout (except for very short stretches).

There are few interesting temples on the way to Coimbatore and in Coimbatore as well. I preferred spending time [over 2 hours] at a tea stall in the middle of a tea estate.

For more organized info on what Valparai has in store, you may visit the following links:
http://wikitravel.org/en/Valparai
http://www.valparai.com/

Extremely well laid roads throughout. Valparai hills has 40 hair pin bends of its own. Keeping wild animals and safety in mind, its recommended to drive slow. Sparse traffic in ghats might make it even more treacherous. Add to it another 27 in Satyamangalam, you will have a few heart in the mouth experiences. I had my share of them.
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Old 30th June 2014, 19:00   #6
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Excellent pictures...Kudos!
Which camera you used?
Please upload a few more pics, if you can.
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Old 1st July 2014, 10:08   #7
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Hey Kaushik,
Nice pictures. Must say, all that greenery is very inviting!
40+27 hairpin bends - must have been an absolute hoot in the Figo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_ak View Post
a must do, in the list of getaways from Bangalore if you are a nature lover. For people who expect a typical tourist destination, this may not be the place to go, for the rest, it will be a paradise.
Then it's my kind of place.
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Old 1st July 2014, 11:41   #8
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Thanks @Aditya and @GearHead

Pics were taken using Samsung Galaxy Note 1. Made good use of macro shots and panorama views.

(40+27)x2 makes it even more interesting considering it to be a round trip. And yes, it was an absolute delight in the Figo.
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Old 1st July 2014, 13:27   #9
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

That was one crazy planning - vegetables at Valparai eh? Nice snaps. Bit more on the places visited at Valparai would have been more interesting (and, btw, did you get the vegetables?)
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Old 1st July 2014, 14:33   #10
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Hello Kaushik,

I have done this stretch a couple of times and it's a joy to drive right. Especially when you leave Chamrajnagar and onto Sathyamangalam. There are some private estate bungalows in Valparai which are very good to stay with personalised service. Waterfall estate is one such. They have 3 bungalows which they give out.
Next time , you should drive further from Valparai to Chalakudy ( Kerala) through Sholayar. It's even better through thick forest.
Cheers
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Old 1st July 2014, 16:43   #11
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
That was one crazy planning - vegetables at Valparai eh? Nice snaps. Bit more on the places visited at Valparai would have been more interesting (and, btw, did you get the vegetables?)
The real reason was forgotten as soon as we crossed Bangalore, along with it the daily stress/disturbances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Itty View Post
Hello Kaushik,

I have done this stretch a couple of times and it's a joy to drive right. Especially when you leave Chamrajnagar and onto Sathyamangalam. There are some private estate bungalows in Valparai which are very good to stay with personalised service. Waterfall estate is one such. They have 3 bungalows which they give out.
Next time , you should drive further from Valparai to Chalakudy ( Kerala) through Sholayar. It's even better through thick forest.
Cheers
Yes @Itty, it is. I'll surely explore more of this route. With the kind of bad planning I had done for myself, I am unable to suggest a plan for others.
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Old 2nd July 2014, 14:27   #12
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Valparai will always be dear to me!
How was the road around Chamarajanagar until you reach the Dimbam ghats? (The TN side has always been amazing).

Along with Itty's suggestion, you must try this:
Valparai - Chalakudy (enroute you see Vazhachal and Athirapalli falls) - Thrissur - Guruvayoor - Nilambur - Gudaloor - Bandipur - Nanjangud - Mysore - Blore

The Nilambur - Gudaloor - Bandupur strech is also amazing to drive! Only once you enter Bandipur forest, you will have to slow down for periodic humps.
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Old 2nd July 2014, 15:40   #13
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Quote:
Originally Posted by lambdaplus View Post
Valparai will always be dear to me!
How was the road around Chamarajanagar until you reach the Dimbam ghats? (The TN side has always been amazing).

Along with Itty's suggestion, you must try this:
Valparai - Chalakudy (enroute you see Vazhachal and Athirapalli falls) - Thrissur - Guruvayoor - Nilambur - Gudaloor - Bandipur - Nanjangud - Mysore - Blore

The Nilambur - Gudaloor - Bandupur strech is also amazing to drive! Only once you enter Bandipur forest, you will have to slow down for periodic humps.

The Chamarajanagar - Dhmibam Ghats is good (The Karnataka side as well). Road surfacing work is in progress, and the work is more or less complete.

Will try the Nilambur - Gudaloor - Bandipur stretch some time.
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Old 2nd July 2014, 16:16   #14
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Excellent writeup Kaushik! I frequently (atleast once a month) use the Kanakapura-Dhimbam stretch to go home! I bypass Chamrajnagar altogether & take the alternate Germalam route from Kollegal which directly hits Hasanur. Traffic is almost non-existent~ Fair warning though, the first 15-20 kms on MM Hills Road (from Kollegal) is not so great & a small stretch on the hills just before you hit the tibetian settlement.

Valparai is also my favorite haunt for photography~ I used to visit the place atleast once a month ~Off late due to the spate of human-animal conflicts, most of(what little was left) tourist attractions have been shut down.The only places you could visit are Sholayar Dam & as Itty said, Chalakudy which is about 2-3 hour drive from there. Due to the lack of tourist attractions, Valparai is not a preferred destination for summer holidays but its truly one of the most beautiful places which hasn't been commercialized (like Ooty)

For those who are on the fence about making the trip, here are some photos of the place (shot by me) over the past couple of years
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ravis_31/tags/valparai/

Last edited by rshanker : 2nd July 2014 at 16:18. Reason: Updated for formatting
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Old 2nd July 2014, 16:28   #15
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Default Re: A journey as good as the destination: Valparai

Quote:
Originally Posted by rshanker View Post
For those who are on the fence about making the trip, here are some photos of the place (shot by me) over the past couple of years
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ravis_31/tags/valparai/
Some mind blowing pics out there, Great job. Would you mind sharing the cam used?
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