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Old 12th January 2010, 23:38   #31
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Never thought Valparai could be so spectacular, I have always driven past it. Quick Q on the route to the Balaji temple - you turn off the Pollachi road at Rottikadai?
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Old 12th January 2010, 23:45   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigzero View Post
Some info on the place where we stayed:

This is the url for their website:
Glendale Stays - Plantation Guest House Holidays. Eco Tours & Eco Trails

I got the contact details from the internet and did the booking over phone. I did pay an advance of Rs 1500 via funds transfer.

I guess they have three bungalows in Waterfall Estates. Indraprastha is the one where we were put up.
Attachment 260731
Attachment 260730


There are three bedrooms in Indraprastha as I mentioned earlier. 2500 per night is what I paid.

There are additional charges for food, and the rates vary depending on whether you opt for Veg or non veg.

The place has a lovely ambience, with an old world charm about it. Ideal place to relax.
Attachment 260735

The food is excellent - I know its subjective, but we enjoyed it . Mostly south Indian, you get rice + roties with two or three varieties of curries and accompaniments. The caretaker asks for our preferences in advance and cooks accordingly. Overall the dining experience was quite good. Homely food and ambience.
Attachment 260737

The place has a nice living room with a fireplace ( we didnt use it as it wasnt that cold anyway ), and a sit out with chairs laid out. Ideal place to sip your morning coffee.
Attachment 260736
Attachment 260738

The kids loved the place.
Attachment 260732
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Overall the accommodation experience was terrific, and I look forward to going there again when I get a chance.
Attachment 260733

Their contact details:

Waterfall Estate Pvt Ltd.,
Waterfall Estate Post
Via Pollachi, Coimbatore Dist - 642 105
Telefax:04253-236225; 236250

Ask for J.Selvakumar.

Or you can contact Rasha Karambaya ( 9443337022 ) directly - she manages the guest houses.
Thats a nice find , thank you for sharing the information.
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Old 13th January 2010, 09:50   #33
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Never thought Valparai could be so spectacular, I have always driven past it. Quick Q on the route to the Balaji temple - you turn off the Pollachi road at Rottikadai?
Hi HVK, to go to Balaji temple you have to turn left at hairpin bend no.40 while coming from Pollachi. this turnout is before Rottikadai.

Yeah, the place surprised me as well. Very few people know about the place to start with. I guess thats a good thing, if you look at the over-exploited hillstations in south India.
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Old 13th January 2010, 11:49   #34
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What a heavenly place, amazing spot to spend with family, will shorlty plan for a trip. Thanks for sharing the pics and info
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Old 13th January 2010, 13:59   #35
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BigZero, here's a BigHundred for this travelogue as well as a rating from my end.

Valparai is surely on my list of places to visit, and thanks a lot for the information which you have provided with this write-up.
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Old 13th January 2010, 14:25   #36
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Thanks everyone again for the appreciation shown!

OK Now about the last leg of the journey.

I had read about the Valparai-Chalakudy stretch and wanted to give it a shot. However I was not sure about taking the family in a Santro. When I was in Valparai, I did make a few enquiries with locals and a couple of travelers from Kerala who were familiar with the route. The response was encouraging, so I decided to go for it.

We started in the morning and instead of bypassing Valparai at Rottikadai, we decided to go thro Valparai as we had to do a bit of spice shopping. We did that, and moved on.

On the way to Valparai we spotted some interesting signs like this.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4040.jpg


Sholayar Dam is around 20 km or so from Valparai on this route, and we see tea and coffee plantations all the way to the dam.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4007.jpg

On the way we spotted this group of workers waiting for the factory truck/tractor to pick up the leaves they had collected.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4017.jpg

You get to see the reservoir much before you reach the dam itself.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_3983.jpg

On top of the dam:
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_3996.jpg

To go to Chalakudy, you go past the dam and descend to get to the bottom of the dam at the downstream side. There is a bridge across the river at this point. ( you are not permitted to drive on top of the dam and I dont know whether it takes you to the main road .)
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4041.jpg

Here is a look at the Dam from below.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4042.jpg

We drove on towards the Kerala Border at Malakkapara.

Last edited by Bigzero : 13th January 2010 at 14:29.
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Old 13th January 2010, 14:32   #37
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....waiting to hear the din of the cicadas!
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Old 13th January 2010, 15:11   #38
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A few km later we reached Malakkapara where there is a forest checkpost after the Kerala Border. We were asked to give our details incl Drivers licence number(!) . I enquired the guard there about the time it takes to reach Chalakudy and I was told that it is around 3 hours from there.
A couple of km further and we were in deep jungle.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4046.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4049.jpg

The initial 10-15 km from this point is not all that good as far as the road surface was concerned. But for me it added to the overall experience! The road at this stage is like a typical ghat road, full of curves and surprises. The vegetation is very thick and overall it was quite dark and damp. And yes, like HVK mentioned, Cicadas and all sorts of jungle sounds all around!
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4056.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4064.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4069.jpg


Pictures dont do justice. I was overwhelmed by the place. Was cruising at 20-30 kmph, windows down, enjoying the jungle air.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4076.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4082.jpg

A few km later, the place suddenly opens up and we pass a comparatively dry stretch with grasslands and open areas, and at some point, a terrific view of the lower sholayar reservoir.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4111.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4113.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4115.jpg

Last edited by Bigzero : 13th January 2010 at 15:13.
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Old 13th January 2010, 15:29   #39
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Some more pictures of the open stretch.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4120.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4121.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4124.jpg

We drove on and the scene began to change again. We were back to thick vegetation again, and some more twisties.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4133.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4140.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4144.jpg

I guessed that we had descended quite a bit and now were going through the final stretch before vazhachal. We crossed a couple of rivers on the way - i guess the last one was the Chalakudy river that has Vazhachal and Athirapilly downstream.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4148.jpg

After a few kms ( we passed a group of guys in a couple of cars parked by the road, and in the middle of a drinking binge.. ) , we were in Vazhachal.
I had been to Vazhachal and Athirappilly before, however we went and had a look at Vazhachal again.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4153.jpg
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4159.jpg

We drove past Athirappilly, but ensured that we took the customary photo of the fall from the viewpoint alongside the road.
Three days in Valparai - Bliss!-img_4169.jpg

Soon we were in Chalakudy. We hit the NH from there and drove on to Trichur and then via Shoranur to Ottapalam.

And thats it folks, the end of my report

Thanks for all the feedback and appreciations. I will be glad to answer specific queries! pl feel free.

Last edited by Bigzero : 13th January 2010 at 15:35.
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Old 13th January 2010, 15:41   #40
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Great Travelogue and Awesome Pictures. The Places look so lovely. Kicking myself for missing a bike trip 2 months back along same route including Munnar and Thekkady also.

Should do this soon.!!
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Old 13th January 2010, 17:16   #41
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Hats off to you BigZero. This is an excellent travelogue. Enjoyed reading every bit of it. Now I have started dreaming my Valparai trip as well
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Old 13th January 2010, 17:50   #42
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what a travelogue, thanks for exploring the place and providing a treat before holidays.

You deserve a great rating.
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Old 14th January 2010, 01:09   #43
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Hi

Classy pic's My friend........ So what was the total KM that you covered from hydeabad Kerala and back.

Hello Sir

Awesome Photos, So waht was the total KM cover over your trip up and down. Never really thought that kerala and Tamil Nadu boarder had such lovely places.

Last edited by Eddy : 15th January 2010 at 12:00. Reason: Please avoid posting multiple back to back posts. Use the edit option if posting within 20 min. Thanks
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Old 14th January 2010, 09:31   #44
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Originally Posted by Roshan_v_k View Post
Hello Sir

Awesome Photos, So waht was the total KM cover over your trip up and down. Never really thought that kerala and Tamil Nadu boarder had such lovely places.
Thanks for the comments! I did a total of 3200 km in 10 days, including the up-down trip from Hyderabad to Kerala and the local trips within Kerala ( and of course Valparai too ).

Thumbs up to my old Santro - its her 5th Hyd-Kerala trip, and she took it all without any complaint. I was pushing her on the highways , and made her negotiate some really terrible roads. After the trip, all that was required was a wash, and she was ready for her usual office trip the next day as if nothing had happened.

KRRaj, Gopikb and Srikanthpotluri, thanks for the comments folks! glad all of you liked the report & pics.
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Old 14th January 2010, 11:30   #45
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Default A few additional points..

A few additional notes about Valparai in general -
  • While the place LOOKS like Munnar, it is definitely warmer. Thats possibly because its around 2000 feet lower than Munnar. If you are looking to enjoy the chilly weather of Ooty or Kodai or Munnar in winter, then Valparai is not the place. Valparai is quite pleasant in Winter, with crisp mornings and evenings, but not chilly in the real sense.
  • I have a feeling that the place may be somewhat warm in summer. Perhaps winter is the best time to go there, unlike a Munnar or Kodai. The days were moderately warm when we were there.
  • Go there if you really dont want to do a lot of activities except chill out and drive around the place.
  • The place is dominated by Tea Estates, and doesnt have the feel of a tourist destination. A great thing in my opinion. To start with, the place is free of the thousands of hoardings welcoming you to this resort or that. You have to depend on the estate bungalows that are happily non touristy, and the budget hotels in the town.
  • We stuck to Valparai and didnt go to Top Slip and Parambikulam as we didnt want to make it too hectic. We are planning to go there sometime later. But if you have time you can include those places in your itinerary as Top Slip is maybe two and a half hours from Valparai or so. I am not sure about the stay options.
  • The caretaker at the guest house told me that if I want to make the best of a Top Slip day trip, I will have to leave Valparai at 5 am so that I can be at Top Slip to join the morning rides into the forest that offer maximum chance of seeing wildlife.
  • The estate offered free trip to the factory to see the process of processing tea - we couldnt do it as we pushed it to the last date and eventually couldnt manage to be back in time.
  • And yes, have no doubts about the Valparai-Chalakudy drive. I did it in a Santro, so anyone can! Do it, you wont regret it. Phenomenal experience if you are a nature lover.
  • There is a chance of running across elephants and other wildlife, I dont know how the experience is going to be, but we didnt come across any during the Valparai - Chalakudy stretch.
  • Did I mention it earlier? There are at least two ATMs in Valparai.

Last edited by Bigzero : 14th January 2010 at 11:32.
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