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Old 2nd July 2008, 20:17   #16
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Well, Rocky, how many parts do will you take us through? C'mon man complete the whole story otherwise people will lose interest.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 21:30   #17
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Rocky,

I am not hijacking your thread. Just wanted to share some of the pics I clicked during my trip.

This is what you see when you drive from Pollachi to Valpari and from there to Kerala (Athirapilli) via Sholayar. Sholayar rain forest is the thickest forest I have ever seen. You could hardly see anything beyond 2-3 meters inside the forest when you travel in the forest range. It is so scarey and dark even in the day.

First six pics are Valparai and last four are upper and lower Sholayar area (Kerala-TN border).
Attached Thumbnails
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4819.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4826.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4845.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4846.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4861.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4922.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4926.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4930.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4941.jpg  

Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-100_4957.jpg  

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Old 2nd July 2008, 22:00   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky_Balboa View Post
...
@Jeep and HappyWheels,
Well I never wanted to take the dull Hosur road, wanted an exciting drive.
When we reached Dhimbam, We knew it was worth the painful drive...
Rocky, that is so very true!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sj_koova View Post
...This is what you see when you drive from Pollachi to Valpari and from there to Kerala (Athirapilli) via Sholayar. Sholayar rain forest is the thickest forest I have ever seen. You could hardly see anything beyond 2-3 meters inside the forest when you travel in the forest range. It is so scarey and dark even in the day.

First six pics are Valparai and last four are upper and lower Sholayar area (Kerala-TN border).
Koova,

You have me !

Such a beautiful place! Great photos mate!
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Old 2nd July 2008, 23:19   #19
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Well written travelogue, Rocky! Waiting for more....

Sjkoova, looking at your photos, it struck me again that there are so many, many beautiful places in our country that even a lifetime is not enough to see it!
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Old 3rd July 2008, 00:36   #20
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superb pics Sj, still waiting for rocky to tell more about the trip.
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Old 3rd July 2008, 05:47   #21
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Rocky, very well written travelogue..enjoyed it thoroughly.
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Old 3rd July 2008, 12:58   #22
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Thanks Guys.

@SJ
Wonderful pics, though i feel am lucky i went during the monsoon

@snaronikar
I know long stories loose interest, but have been very busy at office. Would complete the rest of the travelogue in a day.
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Old 3rd July 2008, 13:34   #23
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Nice report and pics Rocky and definitely i think this is a must visit place and thanks for letting us know.
@SJ: Simply awesome pics and definitely worth visiting.
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Old 3rd July 2008, 14:21   #24
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Even I am planning on the same route to go to Coimbatore somewhere in August. This travelogue definitely helps prepare me
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Old 3rd July 2008, 20:01   #25
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Day 2: 28th June 2008.
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_6.jpg

The family was drowsy after a long trip and a heavy dinner the previous day. My Wife had absolutely no complaints about the food and loved it - what more can someone ask when the food beats all the star hotels here and still tastes home-made. +2 for the cook. We had asked for a sumo to take us through the dense forests and bad roads to the Athirampally falls. Between waking up in the morning and preparing for the Athirampally trip, my Wife spotted a Lone Bison swanning the lawns of our guesthouse. The bison noticing my wife trying to capture its image digitally, attempted Mr. Injiparai mannerisms.
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_5.jpg

The cabman promptly reached the guesthouse at 15 mins past 9, only for me to allow him take a break for 30 mins. There was moisture in the air and the mist showed no signs of retreating, inducing a scene that made the clock look like 9 hours behind the calendar. Chalakudi falls, as its actually called, lay about 90 kms from Valparai and through thick forests infested with elephants and bisons. The cabman showed us through the various Tea Plantations describing and distinguishing every species of shrub, plant and tree. We drove through Sholiyar dam, astonished at the sight of the dam's domain extending beyond numerous cliffs and vegetations and never able to halt with the raingods playing loud but sweet music.

The roads played well after the Kerala checkpost, with them winding inside impenetrable forests and thick timberlands extending beyond cliffs and dam domains. The music surrendered to the mist, opening up the prospects of sighting pachyderms and bisons only for us to watch men return to roadwork over slippery, slimy cliffs. The moisture in the air never seemed to run rout and made the ~3 hour drive seem celestial.
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_7.jpg

After the usual formalities at the Chalakudy Falls entrance, we paced to the waters only to find it embarrased with the blockades on the waterfront. Shivanasamudra felt much better. There were rangers guarding the waterfront and extracting every excited human out of the stream. The crowd started pouring in only to be disappointed at the guards and consigned to family pictures with the river background. Some souls found solace on the brink enjoying the little splashes they could get in. After an hour on the brink, we set out in search of lovely fried fishes to be disappointed by every eatery on the road. We rode back to Valparai after venturing at a Water Theme Park which had no composition but a fence from which one of the rivers leading to the falls was visible.
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_8.jpg
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_9.jpg
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_10.jpg
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_11.jpg
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_12.jpg

The ride back to Valparai was through the same exciting forests animated by loud rains and broken down trucks across narrow roads. We were going through mixed emotions - though the falls wasnt worth seeing, the drive comforted. We stopped at various places in trying to pickup a leaf that my Wife found interesting, interesting it was, as a leech found a host. But before the leech could banquet, it was extracted and detained to wilderness. The rest of the journey continued with stops at Sholayar Dam, refreshments and gifts for the cabman kids. The day closed with usual talk at the guesthouse, preparing for the next days visit and a sumptuous dinner though my hope of tasting fried fish washed away with the river.
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_13.jpg
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Old 3rd July 2008, 20:15   #26
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Day 3: 29th June 2008.

Wasting no time, We undertook the complimentary visit to the Stanmore owned Tea-Factory. The manager demonstrated us the various processes and quality checks making us realise the pain of converting a simple tea-leaf into a tasty final product. The manager tastes not less than 6 grades of tea almost every hour.
I cognized, how gifted i am to be in Software Testing.

The clock seemed to be ticking very fast, that when We caught an auto for local visit the time was well past 2:30 in the afternoon. We were accompanied by the care-taker as the place we were visiting was supposed to be very risky and dangerous to life. After a long drive in the drenching pour, the auto was challenging the roads good enough (only) for trekking. The viewpoint has to be taken only via a private property and the auto guy knew the tricks and trades in evading every objecting human in the privately owned and well guarded tea estates. We could hardly keep our hands from the appetizing oranges that were grown all along the orbit.

We had to stop atlast, almost hiding the auto in the bushes from prying eyes and walked to the view point. The drenching never seemed to be interrupted cutting the pace and forcing us walk bare-foot. Words can never describe (my photos dont, either) the display at the viewpoint only for the mist to play spoilsport. We waited almost 30 minutes at the edges and caught glimpses of the amazing, astonishing, astounding, staggering and exciting visual it had to offer. It was byfar the best place I have ever ever seen in my life, not the United of the States, not the Singapore, not the Hongkong, not the Langkawi, no other experience came even closer to what I was witnessing.
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_14.jpg
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_15.jpg
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_16.jpg
Bangalore to Injiparai (Heaven on Earth), ~450 kms via NH 209-valparai_drive_17.jpg

The spectator to ~6 waterfalls on the opposite cliff-range, heavy forests, roaring wind, the distant Kerala dam, the befogging pregnant and pouring clouds, standing on slippery surface and the fear of plonking down +1000ft can never be expressed in words, it can only be felt. I could find myself lie down on the surface yelling and shouting, not wanting to loose the visual. The yelling brought some of the tribal people out of their houses in the forest below - We were informed that close to 40 families live in the forest below growing their own vegetation never wanting to come to towns even when the TN govt offered each family 5 lakh rupees. (If I lived there, I would have never accepted the offer either). Surprisingly their kids are an educated lot, one of them on the course of becoming an engineer and another having just passed IAS examinations.

My wife and other folks managed to pull me away from the place lest my mind be lost forever, the next 5 mins saw us race through leeches, about 20 of them in one square foot. I forgot how soon we got back, having lost myslef to the visual presentation. We visited a Siddhi Vinayagar temple built by Birla, with the idol carved out of a single marble and almost 6-7 feet in height. The journey continued to a place supposedly falling only behind Cherrapunji in recording the most rainfall received in India, a place called "ChinnaKallar". The drive was again through dense forests, with the place abode to a gushing river visited by elephants more than humans. We were surprised to see some houses and a post office in the midst of the woodland. We were not allowed to reach the river by the locals and were restricted only to a hanging bridge running across the river, made of logs and swinging wildly on every step.

We rushed back since it was way past 6PM and a threatening environment. As the luck would have it, the auto refused to start since the CDI coil was soaked in the water splashing from the roads, and fear surmounted everyone. The auto guy tried everything at his disposal but the auto refused to start demanding a rigorous workout, coming to life after meters of pushing on inclines. We hardly moved 2-3kms before it shut off again, the almost km length workouts never seemed enough - the auto wouldnt budge, with mechanic atleast 10 km and 40 mins away. After franatic calls from the auto guy, his workshop folks were on their way - ETA 45 mins. The confidence in me started slowly dripping with options to either take the risk of walking in the forest 3 kms back to the riverplace or become sitting ducks for wanderings in the wilderness.

Twenty minutes linger when a call is returned to enquire if the help is still needed, in the silence that prevailed the voice on the other side could easily be heard by every creature in the forest. Realising that it could take much longer than expected, we tried pushing the auto again which surprisingly came back to life enabling us to move on, not for long. Nature decided to play chess with us marshaling a Bison to the middle of the road facing the auto. The auto guy was sensible enough to stop atleast 30 meters ahead but lost cool and honked - surprisingly the Bison made only a few steps ahead, gave a stare and defended its position. Minutes dissolve like years, before the auto guy makes the wrong move (despite my waul)- honk ceaselessly - this time the Bison switched gears and moved forward at a fast pace. Luckily the auto was still alive and we were able to reverse a long way quickly - the bison stopped, stared and waded through the forest. We waited for some more minutes to ensure the bison cannot traverse to our path and zoomed off.

When all the tensions seemed to wade away, i felt something sarcoid in my left arm - must be some insect i thought and quickly scraped it off. We stopped for buying quality tea and honey at a local shop when the shop owner pointed to the oozing blood from my arm - making me realise the insect was bigger and softer and was a leech (or leeches). Wifey got very worried and administered first-aid, despite everyone telling her the leech bite is not harmful (talk of oozing blood and not being harmful). After shopping and hearing umpteen stories from the shop and auto guys on leeches, leopards, bisons and elephants We managed to reach the guesthouse 30 minutes past 9PM, slog food and surrender to slumber.



Return: 30th June 2008

Despite me insisting to prolong the stay for one more day, Wifey forced us to start the return journey. After settling the bills, and many thanks, gifts to the Chef (not simply a cook) and Care-Taker, We set on our return journey and reached Bangalore way past midnight.

The return journey had no special episodes until we reached Kanakapura - when a man dead set on dying on the road flew from the right side of the road to the left just as we crossed a pot-hole and managed to hit 40kph. Stood on brakes with nowhere to go - one side infested with speeding bus and another with boulders, any mistake costing the man atleast a limb and probably costing our lives. Surprisingly the moron hopped very fast like a kangaroo and escaped by mm's from SwiftDy's left. I saw him still running like his back was on fire and sense prevailed not to stop for hurling any abuse at him.

Reached home at about 1:30AM 1st morning for the odo to read 962 kms, during the return journey filled the tank somewhere after Chamaraj Nagar and SwiftDy returned almost the same mileage during the onward journey - 20.7 kpl.

Photos were taken with the little manual override in my digital p.s., and with high ISO settings to compensate for the f-stop and gloom.
And excuse me for the shoddy crop, done in office with little time and mspaint.
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Old 4th July 2008, 01:57   #27
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Superb writeup. I have already made up plans to visit this place within a month.
Thanks again Rocky for a superb travelogue.
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Old 4th July 2008, 08:46   #28
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Thanks to all for your good comments about my pics.
If you can arrange for a good home stay, this place is really worth visiting. And if you have time, drive to Kerala from Valpari through the dense rain forest area. Valpari-Chalakkudi (in Kerala) route has so much to offer. One important spot is the Athirappili waterfalls. The Sholayar forest area has every animal you get to see in Kerala forests. But it is tough to spot one due to the density of this rain forest.
The strange sound of this forest is bit scary but thrills you until you get down from your car.
We were only guys traveling and were high after consuming few shots of military stuff we carried with us from Bangalore. Luckily we had a nondrinker driver who did not mind stopping at every spot we asked him to.

Rocky, I agree during Monsoon this place will be in its wildest form. Only thing you have to be careful about is driving around in the mountain range and forest.
I will leave your thread back to you now.
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Old 8th August 2008, 20:38   #29
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Ive been reading this thread for quite sometime.

Tastefully written, Man.

Made me remind of the Predator movie.

Yes the Jungle sound is v.eerie.... I got that last on my trip to Srisailam.
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Old 14th August 2008, 23:00   #30
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Rocky: You are qualified to author a book - a thriller will be a perfect choice. Fantastic account of your escapade - could almost feel the mist and smell the greens. Great pictures too.

SJ: Are your pictures for real or did you do a photoshop on them? - Just kidding..fantastic pics and amazingly beautiful places.
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