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Old 7th May 2015, 00:21   #1
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Default A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Summer's up! School Holidays begin from April! Where do we go?

This is how March began in the family! I had promised to take them to US at least to the Disneyland for the sake of my daughter, but it had to wait till next year. Some unexpected need at work meant that I could only take off during weekends. Thus began a scout for places to go.

We were clear on one thing - to hit the mountains, and ONLY the mountains! Club Mahindra was running full everywhere as expected.

The last weekend of March spent at my friend's place yielded something positive. We narrowed it down to Valparai and Masinagudi. A few calls and we landed availability with Monica Bungalow of Woodbriar Group in Valparai and the Amberina House of Serendipity Group at Masinagudi. Both are offbeat locations and a cozy, relaxing break is what we were looking forward to.

Monica Garden Bungalow -
A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-monicagardenbungalow.jpg

Amberina House -
A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-amberina.jpg

Pic Courtesy - The respective websites

We ruled out Valparai for the distance from Bangalore that'll be spent on travel and hence Masinagudi it was! Confirmed the reservation via goibibo and paid up to travel on the first week of April. We were two families and were contemplating taking either my XUV or my friend's RAPID. We thought we'll take the call on the 3rd, our travel date.

Oh wait, this travelogue is not about Masinagudi!

The twist in the tale came when I had a medical condition that prevented me from traveling just 3 days before we were supposed to. Hence called the trip off and cancelled the reservation with goibibo. The best part is - we got the full refund! My apologies to Serendipity though!

I was alright in a couple of weeks but then my friend had continuous out of country work travel. We decide we'll push the travel plans to late May and let go for now. Needless to say Wifey was not happy!

Few more contemplations within, we decided to take a quick trip ourselves to Ooty or Kodai to cool off for now and we could still do the planned one with my friend's family later in May. Again began the hunt for places. I was very keen on Kodaikanal as it has been more than 2 years since I had been there. This to note, is unusual for me because I have been to Kodai at least once a year for the last decade or more.

I stumbled upon this place called 'Elephant Valley' Eco Farm. It is run by the Dune Eco Group who own a similar Eco resort in Pondicherry. I checked a few reviews and was convinced that this could be good. I called them up and they said that it was indeed okay to take children along. One thing that wasn't to my liking - It is set in an altitude of only 1200 ft, hence it is no different than being in Bangalore!!

Last edited by luvurride : 7th May 2015 at 02:01.
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Old 7th May 2015, 01:57   #2
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Default re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

I made the bookings again through goibibo for the 24th of April for 3 nights/4 days. We decided to halt mid way at my home town Erode and then travel to Kodai on the 27th.

On the eve of 22nd, filled up the XUV in Shell, Varthur Road, my usual. Checked the air pressure as well and loaded up the tyre inflator and few cleaning supplies.

We(Myself,Wifey and our Darling Daughter) left for Erode on the 23rd post lunch by 2.30pm. Took the usual Varthur-Sarjapura-Attibele to join NH-7 and leaped along. This is the familiar territory for my Cheetah and it was at its best. Made a brief halt at AAB just before the Thoppur toll plaza for a Tea break at 4.30pm.

I wanted to try the Omalur-Tharamangalam-Sankari route this time and hence turned off at the Omalur junction. This was surprisingly good barring a few stretches here and there. Yes this avoids 2 tolls at Karuppur and Sankari, but the best part to me was I skipped the pathetic Salem bye-pass during peak hours!

Statistics:
Bangalore-Erode
Distance - 260km
Time - 4:00 hours
Fuel Efficiency - 12.4 kmpl


After an uneventful drive, got off to Chithode exit right after Bhavani, entered Erode by 6.30pm and headed home.
Sorry no pics as it is the usual NH-7.

I had to work for some time that night and could crash only by 12am. Hence woke up at 8am on the 24th and eventually left home only by 10am!!

Elephant Valley is located on the Palani-Kodaikanal ghat road about 5kms before Perumalmalai. Perumalmalai is the junction where the Palani ghat road and the Dindigul/Vathalagundu ghat roads meet. Hence it was prudent to take the Palani ghat road for my onward journey. Even otherwise, Kodaikanal is much shorter this way as the Dindigul route is longer by 60kms!

The route is Erode-Kangeyam-Dharapuram-Palani. Roads are fantastic although being a single carriageway. Another uneventful drive saw us at Palani by 12:00pm. When you pass through Palani, they tend to collect a maintenance fee. But you can tell them that you are not stopping in Palani, but are driving ahead to Kodaikanal and they let you though.

A tender coconut break just after the Kodai turn-off and we were on our way.

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0536.jpg

We started the ascent and were making good progress. This route doesn't have too many switchbacks but has too many blind corners. Honking is recommended as there are quite a few vehicles that will surprise you around these corners.

Palani-Kodai route was earlier considered risky for its many narrow corners and inability for two vehicles to pass by at multiple places. It also did not have proper railings. Two unfortunate accidents where the passenger buses fell into the valley forced the authorities to take up the broadening and railing work seriously and is now in much better shape.

A non-stop climb brought us to the Ganeshpuram turn-off at 1:30pm. Now, the board put up by the resort on this side of the way has given away and I could've easily missed it if not for an accidental spotting in my ORVM just after passing the turn-off. Even otherwise, Perumalmalai is just 5km ahead and without much guilt, you can realize the mistake!

I turned and started driving in the narrow road. A back to back swtichback welcomed me and it was a steep descent. In a couple of kms, we passed a small village called Pethuparai. After this, it was jungle territory and we had no company. Wifey was skeptical if we were in the right track and persisted that I call up the resort. I took my phone only to discover that there was no coverage! Contemplating if I should turn back to Pethuparai, I moved on and reached a small bridge where I encountered a two-wheeler. I waved him to stop and he did. I asked him about Elephant Valley and he affirmed 'innum 2 km', which meant I was on the right track! Continuing further, we reach a small hamlet of about 20 houses and the road ends with this. To the right there is a temple and a small lane that leads to Elephant Valley - our home for the next 3 days!!

This is what greeted us!
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Statistics:
Erode-Elephant Valley
Distance: 157km
Time: 3:30 hours
Fuel Efficiency: 12.1 kmpl

Last edited by luvurride : 8th May 2015 at 01:53.
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Old 7th May 2015, 03:00   #3
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Default re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

I stepped out and the first thing that struck me was the climate! Oh boy, this was no different than Bangalore! Wifey also echoed the same thought, but having come, we pushed aside that thought.

We completed the check-in formalities which hardly took 5 mins. The manager Mr.Suresh gave the initial briefing and we were escorted to our cottage.

Elephant Valley is spread across 130acres! However, only about 20 acres is what is being currently used. There is a stream that runs through the property and a waterfall that can be reached on a short trek. There are 20 cottages in Elephant Valley that are well spread out giving you total privacy. They are all eco-cottages built using mud and stones. Inside, they are well appointed with modern bath fittings. There is a centrally located Restaurant hut and a Lounge/Recreation hut that act as a meeting point for all guests. Oh yeah, and there is NO INTERCOM, NO ROOM SERVICE and NO MOBILE COVERAGE - well except for Vodafone and Docomo in few places of the farm. PERFECT!

The resort is located amidst the Elephant corridor and frequent movement and spotting of elephants is quite common. The other frequent visitor is the Indian Bison!

We reach our cottage - the Equis House. All cottages are given fancy names! The restaurant manager Mr. Sundar - a super helpful chap from Vathalagundu came with the Menu and asked us to order our lunch as it would take them time to prepare.

The Restaurant makes food on order only except for breakfast which is complimentary. They cook only after we order and hence takes a good 30-60 mins depending on what is ordered. All produce come from the huge organic farm that is part of the property.


The Menu was a mix of both Indian and Continental. They do get a lot of guests from the Western world. We ordered Pasta with Cream Sauce for my Daughter, Crumb-fried Chicken for me and my wife being a vegetarian ordered Kadai vegetables with phulkas and curd. We then took a small stroll around the property.

A few clicks from the property:

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0557.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0558.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0639.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0645.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0659.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_084833.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_085901.jpg

While strolling around, we were also looking at the other cottages and were bowled over by the view of the Gangavar House. While making the reservation, I had wanted a cottage that is very close to the restaurant and hence they put us up in the Equis house. Gangavar was just a few more steps down the Equis and since it had fantastic views, we decided to switch. They accommodated our request and moved our bags whilst we had our lip-smacking lunch.

The 20 cottages are spread far and between the property. Some of them are quite far across the stream, hence it becomes risky for children and elderly to walk back after dinner -Especially the Honeymoon house, Tree house and the Peninsula rooms. The rest, are still a comfortable walk away.


We retired in our room post lunch. After a short nap, came to the Lounge and started checking out what to do. There is a carrom board, chess and badminton rackets. There is also a swing and trampoline for the kids. I was disappointed to see the lack of collection of books and regretted for not carrying mine. After spending some time talking to the staff and getting to know them, we had our dinner - Phulkas with chicken chettinad for me, same with mixed veg curry for wife and daughter.

The Restaurant -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0650.jpg

The Lounge -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0652.jpg


Back in our cottage, we played few indoor games that we carried along and called it a day. There was one grouse though - being in the wild, there were too many insects! Since the cottages are tiled, they somehow find their way in and some of them bite! This and the fact that there was no fan in the Gangavar house meant that my daughter and I had disturbed sleep.

The Gangavar House -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_181805.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_181812.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_181817.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_181934.jpg

Last edited by luvurride : 7th May 2015 at 20:13.
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Old 7th May 2015, 03:48   #4
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Default re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

It rained that night for most part and this meant dew covered nature when we woke up! Wifey being an early riser went out for a walk and got glued to her area of interest - organic farming!

Some clicks from the farm -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_091304.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_091307.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_091914.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150425_091625.jpg

We then had our complimentary breakfast which had bread toast with butter and home made jam. The south indian fare was Uthappam with chutney and sambar. Tea and Coffee complete the meal.

We then decided to head to Kodaikanal to go for a walk around the lake. Got ready and left by around 11:30am. This being a Saturday, there was an inflow of local tourists but then Sunday will be worser.

We reached Kodaikanal and headed to Cloud Street for lunch. This is a place run by a Westerner which is famous for its wood-fired pizzas. We ordered a family size pizza with our own choice of toppings. After lapping it all up, we went for shopping as wifey wanted to buy local garlic for back home. While she did that, the pizza had its effect on my daughter who slept merrily in the car. We had to hence postpone our lake sojourn for a while and I volunteered to drive around to pillar rock and back, you know why!!

The drive was good, but we got struck at every major tourist attraction with insensible parking behaviour of our aam aadmi. I made a circuit of going through the Observatory road and reaching the Berijam road checkpost and back through Pillar rock. Just before entering the town, a police sergeant was stopping all four wheelers and asking for the documents. Since I had mine in order, we were out of that swiftly and finally made it to the lake by 2:15pm.

My daughter woke up on dot and was excited for a horse ride! Change of plans and we decided to skip the walk and rent a bicycle instead. We put her on saddle and cycled along.

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0569.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0574_1.jpg

After spending a good hour by the lake, we decided to head back as the folks in the resort warned us to get back before nightfall to avoid any conflict with the pachyderms in the road. We made a quick stop at the Spencer's supermarket to get some insect repellent creams and also at the Hilltop bakery for some cookies.

Leaving at 5pm, we reached the turn-off and started descending to the resort. Just a couple of kms after Pethuparai, I observed a Bolero parked behind another Bolero. Hoping for some animal sighting I just pulled closer and found that the first one had its ball joint cut-off in the middle of the road! They had already reached out to a mechanic in Perumalmalai and he had been brought in the other Bolero and were half-way through fixing it. Now there was no room for another vehicle to pass through the side and hence we just waited there with me chit-chatting with the local folks.

Ganeshpuram has only a couple of jeeps(Boleros) available for the people as mode of transport. There is no bus facility. They charge INR6 to be dropped at Pethuparai and INR15 to be dropped at the turn-off and INR20 for Perumalmalai. That is if you share with other passengers for company! The jeep that broke down was one of these two.

A good 45 mins and finally they fixed it and cleared. We reached back at the resort by 6:30pm, placed our dinner order and went back to our cottage. Since we couldn't sleep well the previous night, I spoke to Sundar and Suresh and asked them if they can suggest any other place with a fan. They suggested the Jasmine house. A quick look and it was decided.

The Jasmine House 1 -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0642.jpg

Again, they moved our stuff when we had our dinner of Rice with Chicken Curry for me and daughter, Vegetable kara kuzhambu for wife. Post dinner, we spent some time at the camp fire that was lit up. It was magical to watch the start-studded sky in the wilderness!!

The campfire place-

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0651.jpg

We learnt from Sundar that a family who stayed there the previous night checked out early that day as one of the ladies in the group had her ankle twisted during the trek. I confirmed that we still wanted to do the trek on Sunday morning and returned to our cottage.

Last edited by luvurride : 7th May 2015 at 13:41.
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Old 7th May 2015, 13:04   #5
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Default re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

After a round of indoor games and a good night sleep, we woke up fresh and headed for breakfast. The Menu was of the usual toast with butter and homemade jam with idlis for company.

Sundar called up Madasamy aka Samy, the caretaker, farmer and the trek guide! He is an elderly agile gentleman from Tirunelveli who can keep you amused with his non-stop chit-chat and stories from his past 10 years as a trekking guide.

Samy, our trek guide-

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0589.jpg

With our trekking shoes on, we started our walk to the Honeymoon House and then crossed the stream over a single person accommodating hanging bridge into the jungle. Samy stopped us to show the foot marks of Indian Bison which were spotted by the stream the previous night!

Daughter playing with Touch-me-not
A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0580.jpg

The resort is on the other side of stream -
A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0583.jpg

Thankfully, it did not rain the previous night and that meant our path was dry and much easier to walk through. Samy showed us the place where the lady hurt herself the previous night. It was basically a fallen tree trunk, when she attempted to cross it, her leg slipped under the trunk and made her fall. It was a good walk from the stream and Samy and other staff carried her back to the stream. They brought the jeep by crossing over the stream and took her back to the resort. Good effort, I must say!

I'm sure trekking enthusiasts know this, but the order of safety with which you take your next step is:
1. Grass
2. Rock
3. Sand

We were climbing up a small hillock and reached a vast space atop where we encountered this view:

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0592.jpg

Wifey and daughter spent some tranquil moments sitting on the rocks while I was chatting up with Samy.

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0593.jpg

We then climbed down the rocks and landed on top of the waterfall.

This waterfall is called as Ganeshpuram waterfall. The drop is a few hundred feet and is considered extremely dangerous due to the slippery rocks and a swirl below. During monsoons, we should be content viewing it from the point which I captured from above.

Samy was enticing us with stories of how he has spotted elephants and bisons very close to the waterfall. Unlucky us!!

Some more pics -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0604.jpg

That is the endangered Shola forest in the horizon -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0605.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0606.jpg

And that is the closest you can get -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0614.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0615.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0607.jpg

And my model -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0619.jpg

After spending some good quality time, we started the walk back. This is much easier as we just walk along the bank of the stream, tracing it back to the resort.

Samy paying his tributes to the snake nest -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0623.jpg

Along the stream -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0630.jpg

An elephant rock!

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0629.jpg

Samy stopped us to show something interesting -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0628.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0627.jpg

Any guesses on what this is?

We had no clue, but then he explained. When elephants come down to cool themselves in the stream, they splash water and mud onto their body. When they get out and the mud dries, it itches. So they go and rub themselves onto these tree barks ad these are those marks!! And they are fresh from a day or two max!!

Again, unlucky us!!

Last edited by luvurride : 7th May 2015 at 13:47.
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Old 7th May 2015, 13:41   #6
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Default re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

We limped along and reached back to the point in the stream where we need to cross over to the resort. This was a fun activity. Samy insisted that he walks us across as the rocks are very slippery! Wifey volunteered first and promptly fell down right in the middle! My daughter and I followed suit, but thankfully, without a fall!

The trick is to drag your feet on the rocks and not step on it!

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0634.jpg

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0635.jpg

A Tree house erected by a Malayalam film crew -

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0631.jpg

Back at the resort, we thanked Samy and let him go as there was an Aadhaar card drive in Pethuparai for the locals. We didn't want to go with the lunch at the restaurant as it would get boring and hence decided to drive up to Kodai. Leaving at 12pm, we reached Moonjikkal, a small part of Kodai before you enter the town. There is a small local eatery here called 'Darling Mess' which I used to frequent since my college days. It is bang on the main road near the Moonjikkal bus stop. We went and had parottas with pepper chicken fry - southern style! My wife was content with her vegetarian meals. We then drove back to the resort and had a good nap.

Evening set in and we got to the restaurant and ordered for some fresh hot bajjis with Tea. I checked the Lounge to see no one around. I enquired and found out that we were the ONLY guests in the whole resort for that night! Thankfully, the manager Mr.Suresh kept us company. We played some badminton, carrom and my daughter was very happy to have his daughter for company!

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-img_20150427_100107.jpg

Dinner time and we asked the chef, who is from kanyakumari, to make Dal fry and crispy spicy Potato fry with Rice and Curd. One more round of indoor games back at the cottage and we hit the sack content spending the day!

The next morning, I wanted to leave early to Madurai to visit my favourite temple(Not the Meenakshi Temple). Getting ready by 9am, we had our breakfast of the usual toast fare and freshly made dosas. I paid up the restaurant bills, exchanged pleasantries with all staff, thanking them for their hospitality and left at 10am. I was overwhelmed when all the staff gathered at the reception and waved us off as if you leave from a family visit. Really great!

With the temple closing at 12:30, I was rushing. The route was Perumalmalai-Vathalagundu-Nilakottai-NH7turn-off-Samayanallur-Madurai. Traffic was sparse in the ghats being Monday morning. With just one stop before joining the NH-7 for nature call, we were in the temple by 12:25pm !!

After a quick darshan, Wifey wanted to check out a couple of temples near Rajapalayam and I was more than happy to drive! So back onto NH-7 via the Theni road. I stopped at Susee Enterprises HP station in the Theni road near Kochadai and filled up. This is one of the biggest automobile group in Madurai and hence a trusted bunk.

I reached back to NH-7 and stopped right near the Thirumangalam toll plaza for lunch at Hari's restaurant. Time:1:30pm. It is a big complex with separate vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurant and some shops. We had the South Indian meals, food is always tasty in Madurai I must say, We left at 2:30pm, took the Srivilliputtur-Rajapalayam-Shenkotta-Kollam road exit. The roads are fantastic as always, but is a single carriageway with lots of curves.

Reached Srivilliputhur at 3:30pm and took a turn-off to Vembakottai road. Visited the temples we wanted to visit and started back and reached Srivilliputhur at 6pm. I stopped near the temple turn-off and had hot bajjis with piping hot coffee. Also bought a couple of packets of the famed 'Srivilliputhur Palkhova'.

Started at around 6:30pm and night started to set in. Our stop for the day was Coimbatore, my in-laws' place. Non-stop driving saw us in Dindigul by 8:15pm. Exited to the Palani road from here and stopped briefly to clean the windshield. Started again and reached Ottanchathiram. Turned-off to Dharapuram from here and reached Dharapuram by 9:00pm. We stopped at the newly opened Hotel Apoorva in the bye-pass road for dinner. Dosas and a hot milk freshened me up to drive further. We started at 9:45pm and was home in Ramanathapuram, Coimbatore by 11:00pm via Palladam-Sulur.

That was a fantastic drive and I was satiated!

Statistics:
Elephant Valley-Madurai
Distance: 115kms
Time: 2:30 hours
Fuel Efficiency: 12.1 kmpl

Madurai-Rajapalayam
Distance: 110kms
Time: 2:00 hours
Fuel Efficiency: 12.3 kmpl

Rajapalayam-Coimbatore
Distance: 300kms
Time: 4:30 hours
Fuel Efficiency: 12.5 kmpl

That ends the travelogue as we got back to Bangalore only after a week!

Thanks for reading!

A parting shot of my faithful travel companion-

A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu-imag0661.jpg

Last edited by luvurride : 8th May 2015 at 02:04.
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Old 8th May 2015, 11:50   #7
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Default re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th May 2015, 16:27   #8
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Nice write up. I enjoyed reading it.

Too bad you guys couldn't spot elephants by the waterfall, I'm sure your daughter would have jumped with excitement on spotting 'em.

Quote:
Oh yeah, and there is NO INTERCOM, NO ROOM SERVICE and NO MOBILE COVERAGE - well except for Vodafone and Docomo in few places of the farm. PERFECT!
perfect for a relaxed holiday
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Old 8th May 2015, 19:12   #9
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Quote:
Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
Nice write up. I enjoyed reading it.

Too bad you guys couldn't spot elephants by the waterfall, I'm sure your daughter would have jumped with excitement on spotting 'em.
Thanks S2! Yep that's the only grouse in the otherwise perfect holiday!
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Old 8th May 2015, 19:14   #10
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Here is the review of the property from my TripAdvisor page:

Elephant Valley Eco-Farm, Ganeshpuram, Kodaikanal:

The Good:
- Totally remote place, cut-off from the usual tourists, to unwind yourself and be at peace.
- Fantastic food fresh from their organic farm.
- Private cottages with rustic charm, yet comfortable with modern bath fittings.
- Huge property to take long walks- the waterfall trek is a must! What a view!
- Watching the stars by the campfire - MAGICAL!
- A stream INSIDE the property - you can cross it, play in it and even watch the pachyderms if you are lucky!! This is ELEPHANT CORRIDOR!!
- Great and helpful staff who are more than willing to take care of your needs.

The Not-so-good:
- Being a remote place, it restricts your mobility as you have to drive a good 30-40 minutes for anything and everything. Hence own transportation is advisable. Inevitably, you end up eating at their restaurant ONLY. Food orders have to be placed an hour or two in advance so they can prepare fresh.

WishList:
- A Torchlight and an Umbrella need to be kept at each cottage.
- An intercom of some sorts to at least get in touch for emergency needs with the staff.
- The Lounge/Recreation Centre needs to be better equipped considering the fact that there is practically nothing to do. More indoor games and a good collection of books are immediate must-haves!
- I know this is an eco place and we are in the wild territory, but there are just too many insects that find their way into the cottages and some of them bite! If something can be done about this by closing the gaps, nothing like it!
- Fans are a must-have in all cottages, at least during summer.

Advice/Info for prospective travellers:
- Avoid Honeymoon house, Treehouse & Peninsula rooms if you are traveling with Kids and/or elderly. They are a good walk away from the restaurant and is not safe to walk back in the night.
- Food is served ONLY in the restaurant. NO ROOM SERVICE. Hence plan accordingly. It helps to carry some snacks with you.
- Carry some good amount of insect repellant creams.
- Carry a pair of good trekking/walking shoes.
- A pack or cards/indoor games will not be a bad choice!
- The place is set in the altitude of only 1200ft and hence will be no different than being in Bangalore! So brace yourself, do not expect the 'Kodaikanal' climate!
- Plan yourself to be there before nightfall as chances of wildlife conflicts are high in the approach road. The approach road is also quite narrow for most part, but tarred.
- Only Vodafone and Docomo works! Airtel showed traces of coverage near the restaurant.
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Old 9th May 2015, 23:27   #11
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Narration kept to the point and pictures compliment the narration.

Thanks for telling us about these off beat locations. The review about the property is very useful.
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Old 10th May 2015, 11:04   #12
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Good one! Indeed a very detailed write up. The place looks very serene and scenic!
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Old 10th May 2015, 12:55   #13
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Very well-written Travelogue! Certainly helps those wandering souls, such as myself, who cherish the off-beat path.
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Old 11th May 2015, 15:20   #14
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvurride View Post
Summer's up! School Holidays begin from April!

I stumbled upon this place called 'Elephant Valley' Eco Farm. It is run by the Dune Eco Group who own a similar Eco resort in Pondicherry. I checked a few reviews and was convinced that this could be good. I called them up and they said that it was indeed okay to take children along. One thing that wasn't to my liking - It is set in an altitude of only 1200 ft, hence it is no different than being in Bangalore!!
Stayed in Elephant Valley last year for a couple of days, it is a lovely and charming place. My 6 year old still keeps making references to it. The best part is you don't get stuck in Kodai weekend traffic. Yes we remember Sami and the horses altogether a delightful time.

Last edited by ssingri : 11th May 2015 at 15:23.
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Old 11th May 2015, 18:33   #15
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Default Re: A Tryst to the Elephant Corridor: Palni hills, Tamil Nadu

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Originally Posted by ssingri View Post
Stayed in Elephant Valley last year for a couple of days, it is a lovely and charming place. My 6 year old still keeps making references to it. The best part is you don't get stuck in Kodai weekend traffic. Yes we remember Sami and the horses altogether a delightful time.
Glad to know that Sandy! Unfortunately, they don't keep the horses there anymore. Samy mentioned that since one of the horses perished to some flu that was spreading fast to others, they decided to give them all up.
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