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Old 31st January 2017, 02:29   #16
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

One more from Pine Forest

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Papa & Beti @ Muir’s Point

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One more ….

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Pano @ Muir’s Point

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Clouds all around ….

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Flora @ Kodai

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One more

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One more @ Muir Point

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Trees were tall all around. This was around 11:00 AM in the morning. It looks as if its evening

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Guna Caves

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Bhool Bhulaiya ….

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Huge and Tiny One

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Last edited by nibedk : 31st January 2017 at 02:30. Reason: Correction
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Old 31st January 2017, 02:47   #17
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Well she can keep posing all through the day ….

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Sun & the clouds

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Foggy …

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And Some More …. Look @ the back ground …

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And then some more …

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Wax Museum …. We gave it a miss

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Fairy Falls

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Abandoned horses

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Our next stop was at Croakers. It’s a tiled road around a km long with brilliant view of Kodai

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See the background … Cloudy all around

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Mesmerizing to say the least

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View of the city from the top. It was sunny and cloudy at the same time

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Zoomed in a little more

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1050787.jpg
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Old 31st January 2017, 04:13   #18
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Bird’s eye view

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Light Play

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Clouds and the Sun …. It created such light effects together

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Tani enjoyed a lot @ Coaker’s walk

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Chasing bubbles

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Last stop for the day … Kodai Lake & Bryant Park … Taurus parked right in the center

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We had hot tea and Gobi pakodis before entering the park. Shot of tall trees and the TV towe

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The cabbage flower … Doesn’t it look like one

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One more

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1050917.jpgThis one caught my attention

This one caught my attention

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Another one

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This guy posed well for me

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The tall trees and the setting sun created some brilliant photographic situations

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Old 31st January 2017, 04:24   #19
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Sunrays shooting through the tress

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Experiment with light

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The setting sun

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It started getting colder as the sun started going down

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Parting shot

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The final destination … We went boating in the Kodai lake

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Boat House near Kodai Lake

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Gorgeous … the evening sun made it more beautiful

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Kodai Lake

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Mission Kodai …. Accomplished 

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The fallen one ….

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It was getting dark and we thought of going back to the hotel and plan for the next day. Next day we had to visit Berjim lake which required us to be @ Muir’s point .. to get permission to drive our car till Berjim. We realized that had we planned the day better we could have actually covered whole of Kodai in a day and could have left for Valparai early next morning. But having drove 19 hrs the previous day we would have been sleep deprived had we planned to cover Kodai in one day.

We had our dinner @ the hotel itself. The buffet spread was just average but we ate to our fill and retired for the day.

Day 3 ... to be continues
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Old 31st January 2017, 10:55   #20
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by nibedk View Post
It was getting dark and we thought of going back to the hotel and plan for the next day. Next day we had to visit Berjim lake which required us to be @ Muir’s point .. to get permission to drive our car till Berjim. We realized that had we planned the day better we could have actually covered whole of Kodai in a day and could have left for Valparai early next morning. But having drove 19 hrs the previous day we would have been sleep deprived had we planned to cover Kodai in one day.

We had our dinner @ the hotel itself. The buffet spread was just average but we ate to our fill and retired for the day.

Day 3 ... to be continues
Come on, get quickly to the Valparai section of the travelogue will ya .
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Old 31st January 2017, 20:41   #21
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Jan 14 2016 - Day 3

Well rested we woke up around 7:00 AM in the morning planning to check out by 9:00 AM. Most of the stuff was packed the previous night and we just had to get ready. We were ready by 8:30 AM and went for the breakfast. We ate well and I had updated the front desk about our check out. But it wasn’t until after 9:30 AM that our bills were ready. Payments were made and car was loaded with stuff as we started for the final leg of the Kodai trip. We could reach the Muir point ( entry for Berjim lake) only around 10:30 AM. As I went to the check post for permission to drive till Berjim lake we were told that the total allowed private vehicles per day is done and we will have to take their bus. The next bus was @ 11:00 AM and we took the same.

On the way to Berjim Lake …..

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Pano @ Lake View

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All one could see was tall trees, clouds and skies

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Berjim lake @ the center

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Just to give an idea how tiny we are compared to the tress around

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The medicinal forest. Look @ the colors

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Pano of Medicinal Forest

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Finally @ the lake

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Gorgeous scenes all around …quite and eerie too …

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Pano of Berjim Lake

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Sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds

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It wasn’t until 12:30 PM that we came back to Muir’s point. Got some home made chocolates to gorge on

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Some fresh carrots as well

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Silver Cascade Falls

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Stats in Kodai

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Start Time: NA.
End Time: NA.
Distance Covered: 59.2 kms
Travel Time (In car): 3:05 hours
Average Speed: 19.11 km/h
Total Time: NA
Break Time: NA
Mileage: 13.3 km/l (Ghat roads and slow speed driving bought down the mileage completely)

At the end such city driving brings the mileage as well as the speeds down considerably.
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Old 31st January 2017, 21:33   #22
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

It wasn’t until 2:00 PM that we left Kodai. I had called Benny @ Misty Creek and he had advised to be @ Valparai before 6:00 PM rather before its dark. There were elephant problems being reported pretty frequently in Valparai so he cautioned us against travelling after dark. Route wise he said the roads were great and should not pose any problem. The route was decided after going through HVK’s route map, GMAPS and Sygic Maps. The route we intended to take was

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-kodai_valparai.jpg

It was very scenic as per HVKs feedback and we found even most reviews said so. Our initial plan was to leave Kodai before 1:00 PM so that we have ample time to enjoy the scenic beauty. The last 50 kms were the famous 40 twisties to Valparai. We wanted to take as many snaps as possible and enjoy the scenery all through. With Google showing close to 5 hours and road conditions brilliant through out we were sure to take not more than 5 hours. But now that we were late it looked like we would have to drive straight to Valparai with minimal breaks so that we reach our destination before its dark.

No point delaying the drive and getting to face a herd of elephants.
We encountered close to 70-80 hair pin bends. From Kodai till Palani it was all ghat roads with twisties. After Palani till Pollachi it was all smooth plain roads and again after Pollcahi till Valparai it was ghat roads again including the 40 twisties.

Roads to Palani … Pretty scenic all through

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Small waterfalls on the way

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Some lake ….

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On plain roads once we crossed Palani … On NH209

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Taurrie … taking a break

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Pretty Scenic with windmills by the highway

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They were present in clusters of hundreds

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We crossed Pollachi by 5:00 PM and were on to SH78. The roads though two lane were well laid

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As we approached ghats ….. light was fading pretty quick

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Its really was eye soothing all through

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Finally the ghat roads begin ….

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Aliyar Dam and reservoir

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Another shot

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The first of the famed 40

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060313.jpg
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Old 31st January 2017, 21:42   #23
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Finally … our Punto on its home turf

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060319.jpg

Taurrie looks happy … Isn't he

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We were loving it 

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It was getting darker by the minute and we thought it would be wise to move on

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We were still some distance away and it had become completely dark

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Fortunately for us we made it safely to our destination without any “Wild” hiccups

Stats Kodai - Valparai

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-kodai_val.jpg

Start Time: 1:53 PM.
End Time: 8:00 PM. (The pic was taken after unloading and freshening up)
Distance Covered: 199.2 kms
Travel Time (In car): 5:14 hours
Average Speed: 38.06 km/h (MID does mistakes sometimes)
Total Time: 6:07 hours
Break Time: 0:53 hours
Mileage: 17.9 km/l (Pretty good considering close to 100 kms were ghat roads)

We were a little sad that we had very little time to enjoy the scenery along the road. Besides by the time we reached the ghat roads near Valparai it was getting darker. We could not take pictures of lot of stuff on the way. So it was that we will drive back the next day morning. The plan was to wake up as early and drive.

I met Benny and we struck off immediately he being a wildlife conservationist .I have been intrigued by wildlife and jungles since I was a kid. He told me that we were lucky as there were reports of elephant disturbance in nearby tea estates. He suggested that we should start around 6:00 AM in the morning and there is a good chance of wildlife sighting on the ghat roads. He mentioned a few points along the way where chances of wildlife sighting is high.

We had our dinner and slept around 11 PM in the night planning to get up early in the morning. We were all very excited that we may have a chance to see wild animals in their habitat and not caged.
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Old 31st January 2017, 22:17   #24
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Jan 15 2016 - Day 4

May be 3 days of continuous travel had made us tired. It was mostly physical though, minds were fresh after our eyes feasted on the gorgeous scenery all through the drive from Kodai till Valparai. We were a little late getting up. It was close to 6:00 AM and we quickly got ready for our drive to the ghats. It wasn’t until 7:00 AM that we could actually start.

View from our room … Just before sunrise

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Early morning sun rays

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Driving through the woods. Exhilarating

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We were so excited that we missed the places where we needed to stop

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Greenery all around …. Tonic for the yes.

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One needs to spend at least a week every six months. It was absolute stress buster

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Early morning colors.

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There was a small waterfall with a tea stall around it. We stopped by to have tea

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There were few small huts ….

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Tani had her breakfast … Some Papa ,beti bonding

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I caught this guy there … This place is a birder's paradise. With little luck and some patience you can click hundreds of birds here

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The tow posers ….

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Finally we are into the ghats again … Aliyar Reservoir

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Taurrie posing @ one of the twisties

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One more ….

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060446.jpg
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Old 31st January 2017, 22:38   #25
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Lost in thoughts …

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060453.jpg

In focus …

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Out of focus ….

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Pano @ hairpin 9/40

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Taurrie …enjoying the scenic beauty as well

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060478.jpg

Finally we get to see some wildlife …. Mountain goats

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This is what I had set out to capture through my lens

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One more view

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Panorama of the twisties

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Taurrie posing …

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My experiments with focus continues ….

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These are the roads which makes you fall in love with Fiats time and again

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A wild boar … Could not capture a better one. It quickly vanished into the shrubs

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Sholayar Reservior

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Another angle ….

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060569.jpg
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Old 31st January 2017, 22:50   #26
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

One more ….

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The last one ….

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Sholayar Dam

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Pano @ Sholayar … notice the uneven stitching

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We just stopped by on the way seeing lush green tea estates for few photos

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Puntorama …

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Speechless … We clicked hundreds of photos … Had difficulty selecting the few …

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Eye candy …

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A small herd had entered a tea estate. We were quickly asked to leave when locals saw us capturing this herd. With babies around elephants can get aggressive very quickly

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The leader of the pack

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Lush green carpets …

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Hulk would be envious of such greenery

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We headed to Nirar Dam. We need to go through a check post and there are lot of scenic places through the drive. But due to elephant nuisance everything was closed except Lower Nirar Dam

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@ Nirar Dam

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Nirar Resorvior

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060648.jpg
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Old 31st January 2017, 23:00   #27
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Panorama @ Nirar

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Still more wider …

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Water gushing through ….

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A Pigeon

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And a squirrel

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She is already following her father … She is a FIAT fan too

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A walk in the tea estates

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A cute one

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On the way to Koolangal River

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Windows Wallpaper 

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Tea Leafs Close up

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Koolangal River

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Another View

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Taurrie taking a break

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This guy was feasting on fishes …Cormorant I guess

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060758.jpg
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Old 31st January 2017, 23:12   #28
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Our final destination was going to the Balaji Temple. Cameras aren’t allowed there. We tried capturing using the mobile phone but security was alert. So no pictures . Few from the near by areas. The roads leading to it are in horrible state. One has to park the car about a km away from the temple and walk up.

But the drive was well worth. Very scenic place and the temple was beautiful and clean as most temples in South India are.

Pano near that place

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-p1060773.jpg

The tiring walk all the way up

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After we finished darshan we were walking down and the sun was slowly going down the horizon. See the sun setting through the trees. We all thought that it would be great to photograph it. Started walking fast back to the car to get the camera. All it took was around 6 minutes to reach to the car

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-img_20160115_181342267_hdr.jpg

And this is all we could capture. Sun had gone down in 6 minutes

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But as they golden light( morning and evening) is the best . Gorgeous isn’t it. Favorite from this trip.

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One more …. Spellbound

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It was getting darker and having seen a herd of elephants before we wanted to get back to our room as soon as possible. As we were returning back hoping not to encounter any further wild animals we suddenly felt as if we are going the wrong way. Asking for directions delayed things a little further. And it was completely dark before we realized. On the way we saw a group of people standing. It was completely dark and just out of curiosity I stopped by to check what were they doing.

Guess what as soon as some one flashed his torch …. A big tusker was standing and gorging on tea leaves. It was a male as I could see big tuskers. It was pitch dark. Suddenly I see a incoming bus with big lights on top. A man clad in Khaki came across and gave me a piece of his mind.
“Sir you guys are educated and watch so may wildlife channels ,then you must know once an elephant gets agitated nothing can out run it. In minutes he will come smash you and your car.”

I didn’t even look back. Ran started the car and went off in a flash. 
The best part about Valparai was that humans and wildlife co exist peacefully. Locals make sure that if they/visitors encounter wildlife they make way for them. They are pretty pro active when it comes to wildlife. They immediately call up forest officials and make sure crowd is dispersed immediately.

Around 7:00 PM we reached our hotel . There were a lot of spots which were closed to elephant disturbance. Such spots require permission from forest officials anyway. We were now a little sad as we wanted to stayed longer @ Valparai. My wife just fell for the place. We were repenting that we should have just skipped Kodai and spent all our time here. Well it wasn’t going to happen anymore.

We had plans to go Athirapally falls but we figured out that if we visit there we would not be able to make it to Bangalore before evening. Since we wanted to spend some good time @ my friend’s place there was no point reaching there late in the evening and starting in the morning again. So we dropped the idea of Athirapally falls. May be we will cover that during our Kerala Trip.

We planned to wake up early in the morning photograph the sunrise. Check out the spots where wildlife sightings are frequent as we now knew the spots. We had our dinner and retired pretty early so that we can wake up early.

Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited-valparai_sightseeing.jpg

Start Time: NA.
End Time: NA
Distance Covered: 157.4 kms
Travel Time (In car): 7:07 hours
Average Speed: 22.12 km/h
Total Time: NA
Break Time: NA
Mileage: 14.5 km/l (Pretty good considering it was all ghat roads)

Day 5 .... To be continued
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Old 1st February 2017, 00:26   #29
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

wow. nice write up and great photos nibedk. you must be lucky for seeing a tusker in ur first visit. Ive been to Valparai twice in the last 5 months for a tusker darshan, but couldnt. Had a close meeting with a special fella - the lion tailed Macaque just infront of our cottage. Had a great time watching them play on my car.
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Old 1st February 2017, 21:57   #30
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Default Re: Pun-toured: The beautiful Western Ghats revisited

Nice to read your detailed travelogue. I get reminded of my trip to Valparai in December 2015. We too stayed in the Misty Creek, was informed about elephants in various tourist spots and was allowed to visit only the Nirar Lower Dam. Had sightings of elephants on the Valpari Chalakudi Road, Great Hornbill and lots of other birds but missed out on the Nilgiri Tahr and the LTMs.
Waiting for your next post.
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