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Old 7th June 2016, 20:47   #1
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Default Kochi to Valparai in a Maruti Eeco

Had been in Kochi recently for a friend's marriage. A free weekend was there at disposal. Wifey went to her native. So guess what... It's time for a trip.. A bachelor trip. My companion.. My uncle.

It was Saturday morning. Woke up late after a sumptuous marriage feast last night. It was already 8am. We both had no idea where to go. We looked at each other. We could see the desire to travel in each other's eyes. So here we went.. Got ready my Uncle's Maruti Eeco.. Destination decided.. Valparai. Route.. Checked on Google map and the lady showed a new route. Apart from the usual chalakudy route. From Kochi to Angamaly and then take a right turn and go through Ezhattumugham to Athirapally. Then the forest route to Valparai through Malakkappara. Here's a screenshot.

Started at 10.30am from home. After the boring highways with a bit of patchy roads due to the metro construction work, took the detour only to be greeted by narrow well maintained single lane village roads with the backdrop of gathering rain clouds in the distance. Seems like nature is showing a prelude of things to come. After crossing FISAT, the rain gods have already showered through our way. The roads were wet. There was lush greenery all around. A welcome relief from the hectic city life.

We proceeded through palm meadows. There were hundreds of palm trees on both sides. We couldn't believe that there can be such a place in Kerala. Later on asked a few locals and came to know that these palms were used to produce palm oil. Could also find a few resorts on the way. Definitely should try a stay there some time later. A few snaps.

Finally reached Ezhattumugham. It is a popular tourist spot among locals. Could find a lot of vehicles parked near the river. Had a distant look and decided to move on since we're already running late. There was a small forest check post before reaching Ezhattumugham. Had to enter our details there.

Reached the Chalakudy Athirapally road after about an hour's drive from Kochi. The roads were brilliant. Reached Athirapally and there was a huge rush with lots of vehicles. Probably it was the last weekend of summer vacation and children wanted to spend some quality time with family. So we decided not to get down and proceeded further. While passing through the falls saw a small gap for parking and couldn't resist the temptation to click a snap of the famous falls. Had a quick stopover. Here are a few snaps.

By the time we reached vazhachal, it was 1pm. Our stomachs were craving for something. We were expecting to find some hotels in vazhachal. But to our horror couldn't find anything there near the checkpost. Stopped at the check post. The guard took our details and explained to us what lies ahead. It was a 55km drive through dense evergreen forests with every possibility of wild life crossing our way. Don't dispose plastics. No parking.

After hearing this, I started eating biscuits kept in the vehicle as reserve stock. But immediately after crossing the checkpost saw a couple of small hotels serving homemade food. Yay!! We jumped out and had a very good homely meal with Kerala meals and fresh river fish fry. The rates were extremely reasonable for the quality of food offered.

With our tummies full, started towards the forest. We were greeted by narrow, superbly maintained roads. Not even a single pothole throughout our trip. Hats off to the people who have maintained it. There were waterfalls gushing all over.

Managed to spot a black langur and took a shaky snap.

There were thick forests all around. Then reached an open area were a traveler was parked and some people were having lunch by the river side. Must be the catchment area of Peringalkuthu dam. There were warning boards of crocodiles in the river which could turn out to be nasty.

Took few snaps and went on.

It was 2.30pm, there were elephant droppings on the road. We were surrounded with bamboo shoots on both sides. It is an elephant's delicacy. Our hopes of seeing elephants only remained as a hope as nothing came by.

It started raining by now. Saw a stretch of chalakudy river and took some quick snaps.

The rain became heavier. Here are a few snaps.

Think it is Sholayar dam's stretches which are seen here.

After nearly half an hour rain stopped. Mist started enveloping the forests. We felt as if we reached heaven.

Streams gushed out of each n every nook n corner. What better could we ask for. Nature at its best.

Reached Malakkappara checkpost by 3.30. Nearly a two hour drive which will remain etched in memories forever.

Tea estates started appearing. When we looked back we could see a huge mountain with thick forests behind us. We felt as if we came from another world like in some Hollywood fantasy movies.

Malakkappara is in Kerala and after crossing through the village reached TN checkpost. Had our details entered and started off through beautiful roads winding through tea estates.

Passed through Sholayar dam enroute.

Reached a diversion where Pollachi was to the left and Valparai to the right (6kms). It was 4.30pm already. But still we decided to checkout Valparai since it was near by. Reached Valparai by 5pm. It was a crowded small town, which was filled with small shops. Lots of fruit vendors, Fresh tea outlets around. Couldn't find a decent hotel in the city for some evening snacks. Finally parked and decided to explore the city by foot. Interesting thing which I found was the TNSTC bus station. It had three covered parking lots which were very narrow. Initially thought it was a taxi stand. But was amused to see a bus getting parked over there.

Stumbled on to a hotel named Saravana bhavan. Hard to locate. Was a tad inside. The restaurant was even harder to reach as it was in the 2nd floor. It looked like a small dining area attached to a few rooms and could find a group of their guests having tea over there. Unsure whether they would entertain outside customers, we took a seat and ordered masala dosa. It was delicious. Ordered one more with some hot tea.

By the time we said goodbye to Valparai town, it was 5.45pm. It was getting cold outside and there was strong cool breeze blowing. The weather was awesome. Too bad we couldn't stay there overnight as we had to return to Kochi. The sceneries were getting better. Felt like I could go on clicking photos till night fall.

While returning after crossing Iyerpadi, there was a section of the Ghats were mist had fully enveloped the roads. Visibility was hardly 2 meters. We have never experienced anything like this before. It was like sailing through the clouds. Too bad couldn't take much snaps due to the heavy fog. Here's a video of the drive through mists.

This is a final snap before darkness of the road ahead. The Aliyar dam is to be seen in the far corner.

Took the return route through Anamalai- Govindapuram- Kollengode- Nemmara- Vadakkencherry- Thrissur- Kochi.

After an uneventful night drive with heavy intermittent rains, reached home in Kochi by 11.45pm.

Total distance covered: 370kms.
Fuel consumed: 20 litres of petrol
Mileage: 18.5 kmpl
Not bad for an Eeco.

Overall trip rating:
Roads: 4.5/5
Scenery: 5/5
Adventure: 4/5
Enjoyment: 5/5
Memories: Priceless!!
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 7th June 2016, 21:56   #2
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Few more snaps. The order of images is not what I wanted it to be. Using team bhp mobile app. No option to edit.
Attached Thumbnails
Kochi to Valparai in a Maruti Eeco-1465316618368.jpg  

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Kochi to Valparai in a Maruti Eeco-1465316750003.jpg  

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Old 9th June 2016, 10:18   #3
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Default Re: Kochi to Valparai in a Maruti Eeco

Wonderful images, criply written travelogue. Keep them coming up.

Please provide information on the Eeco's performance in ghats, steep inclines, hairpin bends, fuel consumption etc.

The last 5 images simply appear out of this world. Very nice place.
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Old 9th June 2016, 11:25   #4
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Default Re: Kochi to Valparai in a Maruti Eeco

Wonderful pictures, thanks for sharing
Never thought a day trip to Valparai could be so enjoyable

The route you took on the onward journey reaches near the water theme park Silver springs (or something like that!) at Athirapilly, correct ?
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Old 9th June 2016, 19:29   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King_pin09 View Post
Wonderful images, criply written travelogue. Keep them coming up.

Please provide information on the Eeco's performance in ghats, steep inclines, hairpin bends, fuel consumption etc.

The last 5 images simply appear out of this world. Very nice place.
Thank you King pin. Eeco did really well through the ghat roads. Even though it didn't have power steering the hair pins where a smooth sail all along. There were 40 HPBs altogether. Even with ac switched on, there was no lag or that dragging feeling what so ever and it returned impressive mileage too.. almost 18.5kmpl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Wonderful pictures, thanks for sharing
Never thought a day trip to Valparai could be so enjoyable

The route you took on the onward journey reaches near the water theme park Silver springs (or something like that!) at Athirapilly, correct ?
Thank you NPV. Yeah you are right. The Ezhattumugham route joins at the Silver storm water theme park near Vettilappara.

Last edited by ampere : 9th June 2016 at 22:22. Reason: Back to back posts merged
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