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Old 2nd November 2016, 09:07   #1
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Default Road Trip: Chennai to Vagamon

We had just completed a great roadtrip to Vagamon (Scotland of India) from Chennai last week during diwali holidays. We had booked our stay in Winter Vale, Vagamon for 2 nights in cottage room with great valley view from the room.

This trip is dedicated to our i20 Asta for completing 50k miles on the road with us and decided to celebrate in Vagamon.

Route taken:
Chennai-Trichy-Dindigul-Theni-Cumbum-Kumily-Kuttikanam-Elapara-Vagamon

Total Distance : 630 kms

Average Temperature: 15-20 degrees

Road Conditions:
Chennai - Dindigul : Excellent Highway roads
Dindigul - Cumbum: Two lane excellent roads
Cumbum (Lower Camp) - Kumily : Winding Ghat road
Kumily - Kuttikanam: Excellent winding roads (Driver's Delight) on NH183
Kuttikanam - Elapara - Normal roads with potholes in few stretches.
Elapara - Vagamon: Bad roads with plenty of potholes in this stretch.

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The Journey (Chennai - Kumily):
We started our journey to Vagamon from Chennai at 6pm after my daughter came back from her school and the traffic was very huge for the diwali holidays and we took the OMR-Thiruporur-Chengalpet road to avoid traffic but things turned different. The traffic was huge on this stretch too and we reached Chengalpet at 8pm and joined the Trichy highway. We stopped at Balaji Bhavan hotel in Melmaruvathur and had dinner and then continued our journey at 9pm and headed off to Trichy. We reached Trichy at 12:30am and then continued on the highway to Viralimalai and then to Manapparai. From here we joined the Dindigul highway with excellent road and very less traffic.

We reached Dindigul at 2am and then took the service lane for few kms till the second bridge and then turn right to Dindigul-Kumily highway. This is a 2 lane highway with excellent road and we continued till Batlagundu and took the byepass to reach Theni at 4am and then decided to have a short break in Cumbum as people informed about heavy mist in the ghats till 9am. So we found a small hotel JJ residency and i wouldn't suggest this place to stay as there were no amenities and also charged 1000 bucks for 3 hour pitstop. We had no other way to refresh ourselves before continuing our journey. There are no good hotels in Cumbum with parking and please avoid your stay here. So we finally took a pitstop in JJ Residency for couple of hours and then started at 9:30am.

Enroute to Kumily we stopped for breakfast in a small restaurant with Kerala cuisine and had delicious Dosa, Vada, Poori, Coffee etc and continued our journey till Kumily Lower Camp from where the ghat road starts. There are couple of checkposts on the way but were not stopped for routine checks and reached Kumily at 11am.

Journey through Ghats (Kumily-Vandiperiyar-Pambanar-Kuttikanam-Elapara-Vagamon):
We started at 11am from kumily after enquiring about the route and people were really helpful to guide us. The roads between Kumily-Kuttikanam is one of the best among the ghat roads travelled so far and is a driver's delight to drive on this stretch. This is a highway road NH183 with wide roads and clear lane markings. We finally reached Kuttikanam at 2pm with numerous stops for photo sessions enroute.

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The roads from Kuttikanam to Elapara is just normal road with surprise potholes and this road is very narrow too. One has to watch out for trucks and buses coming too fast without honking or any sign of indication and come straight at you. We reached Elapara around 2:30pm and took left turn at the junction for Vagamon.

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The roads between Elapara-Vagamon is in a very bad shape with potholes of various sizes and the road is also very narrow with blind spots. We had a break in nice location at a coffee shop located amidst tea garden. The tea here tasted great with combination of Chilli bajji, Pineapple with chilly/salt powder etc. The workers of tea plantation demonstrated the process behind cutting tea leaves and my wife too tried along with them. The location here was great with temperature showing 20 degrees by noon.

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Reached Vagamon in 45 minutes drive from Elapara and checked into WINTER VALE GREEN STAY, VAGAMON (www.wintervalestay.com) at 3:30pm and ordered lunch from the hotel restaurant. The food served here was amazing with great taste and served in 20 minutes. We had sumptuous lunch overlooking the valley from our cottage room. The temperatures gradually reduced to 19 degrees with mist covering all over the place. We then retired for the day having covered a long solo drive from Chennai enjoying the weather.

Our Stay at Winter Vale:

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Road Trip: Chennai to Vagamon-dsc_0431.jpg

We stayed in Cottage A2 from where the view of Valley, Tea Plantation, Small in-house lake, Garden etc looks great. This is a great place to sit and enjoy these views from the balcony. Both the restaurant and front office can be accessed easily. Room Service is great and the behavior of the front office staff and restaurant staffs are much appreciated. We ordered food from the room and was delivered in 15-20 minutes promptly. The food is also reasonably priced with great taste. I would suggest to go for the kerala cuisine menu which tastes really great. The room also provides a small TV, Coffee maker, 24 hours water heater, Cupboard, mini vault etc.

View outside Cottage Room A2:

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Day2 - Vagamon:

Next day we started off to Vagamon lake located 2 kms from the resort and then to Pine Forest located 5 kms from resort.

Vagamon Lake:

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Last edited by ssengo : 3rd November 2016 at 20:30. Reason: Add more content
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Old 3rd November 2016, 20:10   #2
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Default re: Road Trip: Chennai to Vagamon

Pine Forest, Kolahalamedu

We then headed to Pine forest located between Vagamon-Elapara at a place called Kolahalamedu around 7 kms from the Vagamon lake. There was a group of students around 50 members who just got off their bus and the place was too crowded. We took a walk for 10 minutes to get into the Pine forest and there isnít much to do here except watching tall pine trees and take a short walk into the pine forest. We spent around an hour at this place and started off to the resort after ordering the lunch through phone so that food is ready when we get back to resort.

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Reached the resort around 2 pm and the food was ready and served hot. The weather started to change suddenly and the clouds were gathering together showing signs of heavy rain. Just after finishing our lunch in the balcony watching the weather change, it started to pour heavily and later very heavily for more than 4 hours till 7 pm and the entire place was surrounded by thick fog and unable see anything in the valley from cottage. This is the moment we were waiting for and came all the way from Chennai to experience this great weather. Earlier it was a bright sunny morning and later turned out dark followed by heavy rain and then fog everywhere. We ordered hot lemon tea around 5pm watching rains, later had dinner and retired for the day. The temperature during the night after the rain gradually dropped to 16 degrees.

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Day 3 (Check-out from Winter Vale and started off to Coimbatore for Diwali celebrations)

Route taken: Vagamon-Elapara-Kuttikanam-Kumily-Cumbum-Theni-Batlagundu-Sembatti-Oddanchatram-Dharapuram-Coimbatore

Initially the plan was to take Thodupuzha-Muvattupuzha-Trissur-Coimbatore road but decided to avoid this route due to heavy rain last night and was not sure about the road conditions too. We also came to know that Thodupuzha will be very crowded during rain and will be a challenge crossing this town with very narrow road between Vagamon-Thodupuzha.

We checked-out at 9:30am from Winter Vale after exchanging goodbye to our friends who took good care of us for past couple of days and reached Kumily at 11am without any pitstops on the way. We spent an hour to do some spice shopping in Kumily town and later eached Theni to have lunch at 1:30pm. But little we knew that all restaurants would be closed for diwali holidays. We were unable to locate even a tea shop to have some tea and snacks. Finally called up family in Coimbatore to prepare lunch for us and would be there very soon. All of us were very hungry and wanted to reach home soon. Finally, after reaching Dharapuram we managed to find a bakery and had enough tea and snacks to quench our hunger. We started from Dharapuram around 4 pm and finally reached home in Coimbatore at 6:30pm and joined with family for diwali celebrations.

After couple of days, we started back to Chennai at 4 am and reached home at 11:30 am and retired for the day after the long memorable trip which was dedicated to our i20 Asta for completing 50k miles safely with us.

Total Distance Covered: 1608 kms

Useful Tips:
  • There are many routes to reach Vagamon from Kumily and not all roads are in good shape. The NH183 route we have taken is suitable for those travelling with family, safe and nothing to worry about.
  • Please make sure NOT to reach too early in the morning before 9 am or too late in the evening after 4 pm due to heavy fog covering the roads that makes driving very difficult.
  • Kuttikanam and Elapara are small towns on the way but make sure to pack your snacks, medicines and food items in Kumily itself especially those travelling with infants. Kuttikanam is next big town in case you missed to buy these items in Kumily.
  • The roads are very narrow between Elapara-Vagamon and make sure you slow down/honk prior taking any blind curves as trucks and buses ply in high speeds in this route.
  • Vagamon is also a small town with very few restaurants and hospitals. Please plan to carry your own medical kit and packed food items before reaching your resort.
  • The other places of interest are Para gliding point, Thangal Para, Parunthu Para, Murugan Mala, Kurisumala Ashram etc other than Vagamon lake and Pine forest.

Thank you all for reading my first travelogue and hope you liked it. Please let me know if you need more details about Vagamon or any route queries.

Last edited by ssengo : 3rd November 2016 at 20:39.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 21:48   #3
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Default Re: Road Trip: Chennai to Vagamon

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th November 2016, 10:03   #4
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Default Re: Road Trip: Chennai to Vagamon

Nice travelogue ssengo. The south still has so many very good 'green' places you can visit. The tea plantations, lake and the mist make it even more dreamy. The icing on the cake is those beautiful country roads winding through the mountains.

Winter Vale appears to be a very inviting and homely place to stay. Those are some pretty useful tips that you have provided as well. I'll certainly consider visiting this place in the time to come.
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Old 4th November 2016, 10:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Nice travelogue ssengo. The south still has so many very good 'green' places you can visit. The tea plantations, lake and the mist make it even more dreamy. The icing on the cake is those beautiful country roads winding through the mountains.

Winter Vale appears to be a very inviting and homely place to stay. Those are some pretty useful tips that you have provided as well. I'll certainly consider visiting this place in the time to come.
Thanks Aditya This is one of the most calm and beautiful place with very less crowd and nice weather
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Old 5th November 2016, 21:48   #6
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Default Re: Road Trip: Chennai to Vagamon

Good travelogue ssengo! Loved the pics. Can you please let me know the 1) stay cost in the resort 2) is quality vegetarian food available in the resort? 3) any other places to visit apart from the lake which lil ones will enjoy? 4) will 2 days be required to visit all places or should I club with any other place?
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Old 5th November 2016, 23:08   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ananthc View Post
Good travelogue ssengo! Loved the pics. Can you please let me know the 1) stay cost in the resort 2) is quality vegetarian food available in the resort? 3) any other places to visit apart from the lake which lil ones will enjoy? 4) will 2 days be required to visit all places or should I club with any other place?
Thanks Ananth.
1. The total cost was 12k for three of us for 2 nights. This might sound bit expensive but the pleasure of clean atmosphere, less crowd, excellent weather and view outside cottage was simply outstanding and worth to pay this price.
2. Overall the food was excellent and we mostly had non-veg and little of veg, but the veg also tasted great. The catering team was very friendly and you can customize as per your requirement.
3. Enroute to Vagamon you have plenty of spots to view the valley, tea garden, few waterfalls and there isn't much for the kids in vagamon town. There is a small play area in the resort for kids to spend time in the evening and they also have in-house mini lake with pedal boat.
4. You will need at least 2 days of stay in Vagamon to relax and cool down by the great weather. I would suggest to include thekkady along with your trip which is 18 kms from Kumily town.

Hope this helps. Have a great trip.
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