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Old 16th October 2014, 22:06   #1
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Default Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Kodaikanal is my wife's home town and we use to go there at least once or twice an year. And whenever we go to Kodai or Madurai we use to drive around a few other scenic locations. So this time the drive-around was like this.

Plan.B.
02.10.2014 Thursday: Chennai - Valparai, 590 Kms. Halt at Valparai.
03.10.2014 Friday: Valparai - Athirapally - Kochi, 155 Kms, Halt at Kochi
04.10.2014 Saturday: Kochi - Vagamon - Elapara - Kumily - Kodaikanal, 325 Kms. Halt at Kodai.
05.10.2014 Sunday: Full day in Kodaikanal. Halt at Kodai.
06.10.2014 Monday: Kodaikanal - Chennai, 520 Kms.
Maruti New Zen Estilo - 5 Days - 1600 kms -

Been to Valparai and Kochi twice before but I've never been anytime on that Valparai-Athirapally Ghat sector despite this route being discussed as one among the scenic as well as one creepiest. So, for me this time the main attraction and prime target was just this.

The Target Drive. Valparai-Athirapally Ghat Section.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00451.jpg



Some more pictures:


Day 1.

An early morning start from Chennai brought us beyond Pollachi by 2 Pm.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-0052.jpg

To Valparai 40 Kms. Also 40 hairpin bends ahead.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-0096.jpg

The Aliyar reservoir was brimming till the parapet.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-0086.jpg

We reach Valparai by the evening.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00198.jpg

Tea plantations.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00188.jpg

A herd of Gaurs invading the plantations.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00236.jpg

A wild Pigeon.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00165.jpg

A Nilgiri Tahr.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00130.jpg

Estilo at Valparai.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00176.jpg

Last edited by Ddrive : 18th October 2014 at 15:05. Reason: Assembly line edits.
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Old 16th October 2014, 22:18   #2
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Default re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Day 2.

Valparai next morning - A view from the balcony.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00252.jpg

Around 7 am, We start our drive towards Athirapally.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00316.jpg

There were many reservoirs enroute.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00347.jpg

Another one.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00350.jpg

TN Checkpost before Malakkipara.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00400.jpg

KL Checkpost at Malakkipara.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00406.jpg
Here we have to give a written declaration of plastic materials we are carrying.

A Water body beyond Malakkipara
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-0426.jpg

Nice tarmac all the way.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00472.jpg

A Canopy
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00489.jpg

Elephant dung, fresh ones.. They say when the dung is around the herd is around.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00461.jpg

An elephant was there indeed.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00475.jpg
I actually drove past this place, but braked on hearing my folks shouting "Yaana, Yaana, Yaana..".
Then I reversed the car for a few feet and the elephant was there, very close to the road.

We reach Charpa falls - 3 kms before Athirapally.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00495.jpg

Monkeys at Charpa falls.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00527.jpg

Next up is Athiraplly falls, seen from the highway
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00542.jpg

The entrance to Athirapally Falls.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00532.jpg

Beyond the entrance.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00545.jpg

The Sholayar river, which flows here as Athirapally falls.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00770.jpg
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00585.jpg

We intend to walk downwards for a glimpse of the front view.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00772.jpg

There were hundreds walking up & down.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00773.jpg

Front view.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00779.jpg
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00786.jpg

Despite this not being the full might of the flow, the sight was breath-taking. The noise was thundering and the water mist was spraying out for some 50 meters or so. We were fully drenched by the spray. Thus after spending an hour or so enjoying all these, we climbed back to the surface of the river.

Once again by the river.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00613.jpg

A dip in the river, brought back some freshness.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00665.jpg

Karan also freshens up., refusing to come out.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00744.jpg

I budgeted one full hour for sight seeing at Athirapally, but it ended up as 4-5 hours as the place had so much to offer. Bathing in the river was so soothing that it consumed nearly 2 hours of our time. The charted time to leave Athirapally as per our schedule was 12 noon, but we actually could leave the place only at around 4.30 pm. By then I was sure that my Plan-A will not work out anymore, (and hence this Plan.B). So here I announced to my folks that, "Due to unforeseen & unavoidable delay in our drive schedules, we'll henceforth be proceeding as per Plan-B" . And my folks gladly approved it.

Then I called up the hotel guy in Kochi with whom I tentatively blocked a room, and informed him that we are on our way. The guy released a sigh of relief, confirmed availability of the room and said that we'll reach Kochi in another 2 hours, thats well before sun-down.

(PS: The aborted Plan-A would had been, Day-2 Valparai-Athirapally-Perumbavoor-Poopara-Theni-Kodaikanal. Check into Kodai at the end of day-2 itself, that is after my so called prime target is done )

So we started towards Kochi, and I was driving on and on and on endlessly for two hours or more but Kochi never seemed to show up that easily. After Kochi becoming visible at around 6, 6.30, we again called the hotel man to find out the quickest way leading to his place. He gave us some directions and said we'll soon be in his place, that is in another 2 more hours. OMG, the city's traffic was such.

And somehow we finally found his place at around 8 pm.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00826.jpg

We had some sea food for dinner at a roadside eatery by the sea-front.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00798.jpg

Took some clicks of the famous Chinese Fishing Nets.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00810a.jpg

And called it a day.

Last edited by Ddrive : 18th October 2014 at 15:08. Reason: Assembly line edits.
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Old 16th October 2014, 22:34   #3
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Default re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Day 3.

The Chinese nets, next morning.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00860.jpg

Todays drive, via Vagamon Elapara Vandiperiyar Kumily, Destination Kodaikanal.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-00979.jpg

A break at Vagamon meadows.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-001033.jpg

Vagamon village comes next - 8 kms.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-001048.jpg

The Vagamon-Elapara-Kuttikkanam-Vandiperiyar sector was one lush-green drive.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-001097.jpg


Not many photographs then. After some sedate driving through the Vagamon Elapara sectors, we stopped at Kuttikkanum for lunch at around 3 pm. A sumptuous lunch brought some sleepiness in all, and everyone's intention was now evidently to reach home Kodaikanal at the earliest. Target Kodaikanal 200 kms, and the time is already four. Got another 2 hours of ghat-roads through Vandiperiyar and Kumily until Lower-Camp, plus a 2 hour drive on the plains until Kodai deviation, and then again a 2 hour slow and steady climb at night over the Kodai hills. Altogether another 6 hours for sure. I drive Safe.


Approaching Kumily, its already getting dark, and it was raining.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-001115.jpg

Touch down at Lower-Camp was at 6 pm and a stretch of bad roads for about 10-15 kms somewhere around Uthamapalayam, Theni & Periyakulam (not sure where) was in a horrible condition with huge pot-holes and water clogs due to heavy rains. This section consumed a lot of my time and I struggled a lot in the dark till we touched the Kodai left. From then on the road up Kodai hills was a known story.

We reached my in-law's house in Kodaikanal at around midnight.


Last edited by Ddrive : 18th October 2014 at 15:03. Reason: Assembly line edits.
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Old 19th October 2014, 09:20   #4
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Default re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Mod note: Thread moved from AL to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 19th October 2014, 10:18   #5
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Default re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Never knew the roads to Athirampally were so good and your pictures have brought fresh desire to make a trip to Valparai and Athirampally.

Nicely written travelogue and awesome photographs.
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Old 21st October 2014, 10:58   #6
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

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Originally Posted by satan's_valet View Post
Never knew the roads to Athirampally were so good. Nicely written travelogue and awesome photographs.
Thank you Satan's Valet. The roads were very good indeed, no pot-holes, all the way butter smooth and well shouldered. Except for about some 4 or 5 kms immediately after the Malakkipara Checkpost at the KL side which is in a real pathetic condition, broken and pot holed.
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Old 21st October 2014, 14:20   #7
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Ddrive, Thanks for this wonderful travellogue.

I was also planning for a Valparai-Athirappally trip early this month, but due to paucity of time, went to vizag/Arakku and came back.

How much time did it take from Valparai to Athirapally? And how frightening the journey through the ghat region?

I am planning to do this trip the year end.

Also please mention about the stay facilities on Valparai.

Thank you so much
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Old 21st October 2014, 15:40   #8
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

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Originally Posted by Keralite View Post
Ddrive, Thanks for this wonderful travellogue.
How much time did it take from Valparai to Athirapally? And how frightening the journey through the ghat region?

I am planning to do this trip the year end.

Also please mention about the stay facilities on Valparai.

Thank you so much
Thank you Keralite.

Valparai to Athirapally distance is 75 kms, which is easily & normally done in 3 hours but it depends how much time we are spending on scenic locations and for clickings etc., We started from Valparai at 7am and reached Athirapally falls at around 12 noon, ie a solid 5 hours, with lots of stops at many scenic locations, reservoirs, dams, and on seeing some beautiful birds and wild animals (sighted big black monkeys in many places). Altogether we did a very slow and sedate drive.

We also had our break-fast on the way at a road side homely hotel just beyond Malakkapara Checkpost. Five of us ate, totally 2 parotas and 6 special dosas and 3 cups of tea, for which the total bill amount was Rs.115/- only, but the quality and taste of food was good and the surroundings were clean.

Also saw the Sholayar dam deviation road on the left, but we didn't go into it.

Frightening?, Oh no, being that a heavy holiday time, we had company of many cars and bikes going past or coming from the front. Also the roads were in excellent condition and frequent traffic was there with people thronging all those scenic locations. We never felt lonely.

And, regarding stay options, there are many you can find on the internet. You can choose one from them , or may request our bhpians to suggest some nice ones.
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Old 21st October 2014, 15:57   #9
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Ddrive, Valpari looks all green soon after rain. Conditions road between Valparai and Athirapalli makes me think of having another trip there. When I traveled couple of years back, it was broken at most places.

Is the last pic of opening post of your car taken around 20th hairpin ? I have a similar pic of my ride, hence asking.

I guess you were lucky to spot the elephant away from road, I had delayed my travel from Valpari to Athirapally based on suggestions from friends who were stuck since herd of elephants were blocking the road.

Any pics of Kodaikannal coming up?

From the pics looks like you stayed in Fort Cochin, can you please mention the hotel you stayed in?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Keralite View Post
How much time did it take from Valparai to Athirapally? And how frightening the journey through the ghat region?

Also please mention about the stay facilities on Valparai.
I guess you should budget ~ 3 hours for Valpari - Athirapally for a leisurely drive.

For stay options you can check this link.

Regarding hotel rates in Valpari there is another discussion going on today here (A thread on Accommodation & Rates).

Last edited by mpksuhas : 21st October 2014 at 16:01.
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Old 21st October 2014, 17:03   #10
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Is the last pic of opening post of your car taken around 20th hairpin ? I have a similar pic of my ride, hence asking.

Any pics of Kodaikannal coming up?

From the pics looks like you stayed in Fort Cochin, can you please mention the hotel you stayed in?
Thanks for the comments mpksuhas
I believe the picture was shot somewhere after 37 hairpin bends
Yes, Some pictures from Kodai are coming up in my next post, just an afternoon's walk over a water-falls area.
Yes, We stayed in the Fort Cochin area and here is the link of the place we stayed in. I rate it good. http://fortmuziris.com/
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Old 22nd October 2014, 15:10   #11
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Fantastic travelogue Ddrive. Loved the pictures, the scenery and the roads. Great to see such greenery.

What's not so nice to see is cars stopping haphazardly on the road (refer the Charpa Falls picture). This is a common problem all over our country.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 01:36   #12
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Day - 4, Sunday.

Another new day in Kodaikanal.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-001403a.jpg

The Sunday started with attending church, followed by a leisurely walk back home with stopovers at a few shops and for some cakes & coffee at the Spencer's super store. Family talks and pleasantries went on till lunch. And then after lunch we thought its time to drive out somewhere but we never expected that it will end up as an exclusive falls-trot.

A falls-trot in Kodaikanal

Our first stop was at Angel falls - My co-brother accompanied us.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-b.jpg

At the Angel falls.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-.jpg

Next stop at Fairy falls.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-c.jpg

After that we drove towards Pambaar falls. On reaching the Pambaar falls my co-brother said he will wait in the car and asked us to check out the falls and get back soon as it appeared rainy. So we walked down and checked out the Pambaar falls. Some call it as Vattakanal falls. The falls looked very crowded.

At Pambaar falls.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-d.jpg
Here we spent about 15 minutes, wetting our foot in the chilly waters.

Then we took to a walking trail on the left, while the crowds returned on the right.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-e.jpg

The stream coming from Pambaar falls.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-f.jpg

We trek on the left bank following the stream.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-g.jpg

We walk further down.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-h.jpg

.. and across the stream.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-i.jpg

The stream falls here again.. Falls no.2.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-j.jpg

The Gang enjoyed playing at falls no.2, for more than 15 minutes.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-k.jpg
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-l.jpg

And then we take the trail further down, beside the stream.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-m.jpg

Another one. Falls no.3 - Another 20 mniutes gone.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-n.jpg

From here we see the stream flowing steeper down.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-o.jpg

We go steeper too.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-p.jpg

The kids were thrilled as they've never been to this extent.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-q.jpg

One more. Falls No.4.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-r.jpg
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-s.jpg

The famous Lyril Soap ad-film which hit the big screens in theaters during the late 70s or probably in the early 80s, was fillmed in one of the (or all of the) locations here. So one of the falls here is called the Lyril-Falls. I do not know exactly which one.

There was cave close-by, its called the Lion's Cave.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-t.jpg

The brothers in front of the Lion's cave.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-u.jpg

By then we heard a loud roar (not of the Lion ) from above, the clouds were growling, it started drizzling, and a heavy rain looked imminent. And ofcourse I know there is nothing more to see after that point, as I been here once before some 20 years ago.

So we thought its time we rushed back to the car.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-v.jpg
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-w.jpg

The return-trek.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-x.jpg
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-y.jpg

Almost back.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-z.jpg

The gang looks excited after a short & lovely trek.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-z1.jpg

Night falls on Kodaikanal and we called it a day.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-z2.jpg
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Old 23rd October 2014, 08:46   #13
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Beautiful pictures! The place looks refreshing. Since you know the place inside out, it must be fun ending up at all the un-explored places. And of course the roads not taken.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 08:57   #14
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

@Ddrive - Nice travelogue, excellent pictures Thanks for sharing

Valparai-Athirapilly section brought back lots of good memories of our earlier trip. You skipped a visit to Vazachal falls near Athirapilly ?

That trek along the stream to spot the different mini waterfalls was most interesting, seems like everyone enjoyed that

How does one get to Angel & Pambaar falls ?

Last edited by NPV : 23rd October 2014 at 08:58.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 21:18   #15
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Default Re: Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Fantastic travelogue Ddrive. Loved the pictures, the scenery and the roads. Great to see such greenery.
Thank you Moderator.Aditya

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beautiful pictures! The place looks refreshing. Since you know the place inside out, it must be fun ending up at all the un-explored places. And of course the roads not taken.
Thanks Ampere, it always feels good receiving a comment from you sir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
@Ddrive - Nice travelogue, excellent pictures Thanks for sharing

Valparai-Athirapilly section brought back lots of good memories of our earlier trip. You skipped a visit to Vazachal falls near Athirapilly ?

That trek along the stream to spot the different mini waterfalls was most interesting, seems like everyone enjoyed that

How does one get to Angel & Pambaar falls ?
Thank you NPV.
Yes I skipped Vazhachal, hoping I would execute my Plan.A, Paucity of time. Somebody said you can skip it.

Yes, I myself also enjoyed the falls-walk thoroughly.

Angel falls which I have shown in my picture is located inside the campus of Tamilnadu Horticultural Research Station, Fairy Falls Road, Kodaikanal, which is 3 kms away from the lake. Just ask the locals near the lake (near EB office junction) for Observatory road and proceed on Observatory road, it untill you see the Fairy falls road deviation (may check the locals again). Then again you can enquire for the above Horticultural Research Station.

Tamilnadu Horticultural Research Station, Fairy Falls Road, Kodaikanal.
Chennai to Kodaikanal - via Valparai, Athirappilly, Kochi & Vagamon-1141.jpg

After visiting the Angel falls, you can again come out the same way and take right towards Pambaarpuram (the locals can always help), and Pambaar falls thereby. Google is clearly showing the road to Tamilnadu Horticultural Research Station. In that same map you can see the location of Pambaarpuram and even the name of Lyril falls is also marked/identified. https://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/10...1515!3e0?hl=en

Last edited by Ddrive : 23rd October 2014 at 21:20. Reason: Spell check
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