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Old 29th May 2010, 17:00   #31
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Default Vazhachal Waterfall

Vazhachal
Vazhachal is a cascading waterfall at a distance of around 5 kms from Athirapally. Vazhachal also has a Herbal Garden at the entrance to the falls. We parked the Xylo at the parking lot where on the road I saw this.
Mother and child
A Two Day Trip to Valparai via Athirapally & Vazhachal-dsc01588.jpg

After purchasing the tickets, we entered the path to the falls. The path goes along the length of the falls with railings to prevent tourists from venturing out on the rocks as many people have lost their lives due to the slippery rocks. We moved at a relaxed pace, clicking photos along the way.
The Herbal Garden at the entrance to the falls
A Two Day Trip to Valparai via Athirapally & Vazhachal-dcfc0051.jpg

Vazhachal WF
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Fishing in troubled waters
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This group photo has all of us in it (taken by an obliging Japanese tourist) L-R: Narayan, Bijoy, Ranjith, Manoj, Ashok
A Two Day Trip to Valparai via Athirapally & Vazhachal-dsc01605.jpg

It was time to move onto our next destination, Malakkaparai. After the mandatory entry in the Register and the checking of the vehicle, we were allowed to proceed to Malakkaparai. But now it was nearing noon time and we were beginning to feel hungry. We knew that Vazhachal - Malakkaparai route is a desolate one with no shops/habitation/mobile signals in between, so we took parcels from a hotel at Vazhachal with the intention of having lunch near some water body. After travelling along the route for some time, we found a suitable place for having lunch.
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Old 29th May 2010, 20:10   #32
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An excellent travelogue with fantastic photographs. I always dream about trips to Gods own country that too post monsoon. What a greenery route to Athirapally of course from the other side i have to do if i make it car. i tried several few times but i could not complete. Now your travelogue is forcing me to plan for such a trip in june/july. SGP
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Old 29th May 2010, 23:59   #33
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@shanmughamprakas - Thank you for the encouragement. Post monsoon would be the best time to visit Athirapally, Vazhachal & Valparai. I also had tried to go to Valparai three times before, but didn't succeed each of the time. It was only this time I was successful in visiting Valparai. Wishing you all the best for a successful trip.
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Old 31st May 2010, 11:57   #34
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Ranjith, you are making this travelogue really long, please continue with the good work and try increasing the pace of it
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Old 1st June 2010, 01:31   #35
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@Majic - Sorry Sir, was a little busy. Will try to finish it ASAP.

Malakkaparai & Sholayar Dam
After finishing our lunch we resumed our journey towards Malakkaparai, taking in the scenery along the way. This route is a pretty scenic one even in the summer. The road from Vazhachal to Malakkaparai is a one laner which is good in most of the places except a few kms before Malakkaparai.
A Two Day Trip to Valparai via Athirapally & Vazhachal-dsc06681.jpg

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Shot on the move
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Our next stop was to see these pen stock pipes carrying water.
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Further along the road we stopped the vehicle seeing this beautiful scenery.
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This seemed to the catchment area for Sholayar Dam. Due to low water levels, we could see tracts of land and greenery which would be submerged once the rains arrive.
Remains of a Machan on the way
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After some time the vegetation started giving way to tea estates, signalling that Malakkaparai was near.
Views on the way to Malakkaparai check post
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We reached Malakkaparai at around 4 PM. After a cursory checking of the vehicle and payment of an entry fee at the check post, we proceeded to Valparai.
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As we still had some daylight left, we decided to make a detour to Sholayar Dam.
A Two Day Trip to Valparai via Athirapally & Vazhachal-dsc01744.jpg
Sholayar Dam had some tourists when we got there. We spent some time there clicking photos and taking in the scenery from the dam.
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Contd. in next post..

Last edited by Nutty Nair : 1st June 2010 at 01:34.
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Old 1st June 2010, 11:00   #36
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Originally Posted by Nutty Nair View Post
@vrprabhu - AFAIK there is only one way to go to the bottom of Athirapally WF & that is the one we took. Don't know about other way to the bottom. Maybe you are speaking about Vazhachal where there is a Herbal Garden through which also you can reach the falls.
Could be - it has been a long time since I went there. Lost the CD where I stored the pictures

Vazanchal and Valparai (thought Valparai is officially in TN), that is pure 'Gods own Country'! Breath-taking stuff. Have to sit down patiently one day and save your snaps...

BTW, the red / orange tree seems to be a distant cousin of the ones in our part of this country (await further pictures in Maharashtra thread...)
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Old 1st June 2010, 12:36   #37
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@vrprabhu - Sir, Valparai is Tamilnadu territory. We called the red/orange tree "kaavadi tree" (didn't know the real name).
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Old 2nd June 2010, 12:40   #38
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Ranjith can you give me an update on the roads, can it be done in one day and what is the distance to cover it from Ernakulam. I am planning for a one day trip if possible,i would like to return back by the end of the day
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Old 2nd June 2010, 20:36   #39
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Ranjith can you give me an update on the roads, can it be done in one day and what is the distance to cover it from Ernakulam. I am planning for a one day trip if possible,i would like to return back by the end of the day
Road from Ekm to Chalakudy is ok except for the traffic & where work is still going on and some potholed sections. From Chalakudy to Athirapally & Vazhachal the road is a one laner but a beautiful one with proper markings & directions. After the check post at Vazhachal the road is good till a few kms before Malakkaparai. From Malakkaparai to Valparai the road is a narrow one but is in ok condition. We could go to Nallamudipoonchola only due to time constraint. The road to the view point was not in good condition at the time we went there.
If you are planning to go to Valparai from Ekm, you will need atleast 2 days. Valparai has a good number of destinations to offer which cannot be covered in one day as we discovered. As for the distance details, I will update the log & the final part today itself.
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Old 3rd June 2010, 15:41   #40
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Ranjith how about for a days sojourn to Munnar, for the drive sake?
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Old 4th June 2010, 00:21   #41
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@Majic - Munnar is situated at around 140 kms from Ekm. So if it is for a drive's sake, I think it can be done. I think this is the route although I don't have an idea of the condition of the road as I have not been to Munnar recently.
Ekm - Vytilla - Tripunithura - Kolancherry - Muvattupuzha - Kothamangalam - Adimali - Munnar or

Nedumbasserry - Kalady - Perumbavoor - Muvattupuzha - Kothamangalam - Adimali - Munnar
Hope this is useful to you.

Sholayar Dam & Valparai
View from top of Sholayar Dam
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Shot on the way to Valparai
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After spending close to an hour at the dam, we moved onto Valparai and reached there at 6.15 PM. We had booked our lodgings at Hotel Green Hills situated at State Bank road. As we were 5 bachelors, the hotel had arranged extra cots in a double bed room itself. The rent for the room was Rs.500/. The room was neat and the sheets were fresh, it also had T.V and provision for hot water. Also, the hotel has a secure parking area making it a VFM option. Please note that lodging in Valparai is limited to either expensive stays at tea/coffe estate homes or Hotel Green Hils and Hotel Krishna. We put our luggage in the room and decided to just wander around Valparai town. It was a nice experience, just strolling aimlessly through the streets enjoying the cool breezeand having a cup of piping hot tea from the tea shop along with vadas. We also purchased tea and honey from the market. After more than an hour of aimless strolling, we returned to our hotel to have food from the restaurant there as all of us were feeling hungry. Food from the restaurant was mediocre and we decided that tomorrow morning itself we would scout around for some better option for breakfast. After finishing dinner we again went for a stroll, but this time in the opposite direction. This time the air had a bit of chill to it, but not enough to bother us. After more than an hour of strolling through the streets which were becoming rapidly deserted, we decided to retire to our rooms. A game of cards ensued for some time.
A Two Day Trip to Valparai via Athirapally & Vazhachal-dsc06791.jpg

We decided to rest early as we had early plans for tomorrow.
Morning we checked out of the hotel at around 8 AM. No prizes for guessing what the first thing we did. We found a hotel which served delicious hot dosas with sambar and chutney. The food was fresh and the chutney a hit, resulting in all of us hogging like anything.
A Two Day Trip to Valparai via Athirapally & Vazhachal-dsc06793.jpg

With stomachs full and hunger satiated, we decided to explore Valparai. We had to cover maximum places in a short time as we had to return by noon itself. Moving further we came across a fork on the road after a small bridge. We had two options - either go left to Nirar Dam or right to Nallamalapoonchola. We decided to turn right. Nallamalapoonchla is a view point around 13 kms from Valparai town. The road meandered through tea estates as far as the eye could see. The rays of the morning sun made it feel as if the leaves were of golden colour.
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After several impromptu photo shoots among the tea estates, we reached Nallamalpoonchola. One problem we faced was that there were absolutely no directions to this place and we had to ask the locals for direction. Also the condition of the road was not good. The area has electric fence which has been destroyed in some places to ward off elephants.
View from Nallamalapoonchola
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"Crouching Xylo" at Nallamalapoonchola
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We decided to move on after enjoying the view from this place for some time.
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Upon reaching Valparai, we saw that it was already noon. A hasty discussion ensued and it was decided to move on to Pollachi as many of us had important commitments next day. Nirar Dam and other places were kept for another time. We bid adieu to Valparai and started for Pollachi. The drive upto Pollachi was interesting due to the 40 hairpin curves as well as the view of Aliyar Dam.
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From Pollachi we reached Thrissur via Gopalapuram. From thereon, it was the usual drive, parrying with the traffic enroute. We reached Ernakulam at 6.20 PM, dropped Manoj at his residence and started immediately to Trivandrum. Past Vytilla and before the toll gate, we got caught in a nice, big traffic jam. I think we lost more than half an hour there. After that we had an uneventful drive to Trivandrum with just a break for having food in between and reached Trivandrum at mid night.
That's all for the Valparai trip. My thanks to all for your patience & encouragement.
PS: Attaching the log for reference
Valpara.xls

Last edited by Nutty Nair : 4th June 2010 at 00:35.
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Old 4th June 2010, 06:10   #42
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@NN,

Water bodies as usual are the eye candies for me! Esp the you snapped on the way to Valparai! That takes the prize of the day. Beautiful!
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Old 4th June 2010, 06:50   #43
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How bad is the road to nallamalapoonchola? Craters? Any pics to judge?
Since you have already been there, can you make a direction map with valparai as the centre to all these locations?
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Old 4th June 2010, 11:25   #44
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Laluks - As I had suggested in my travelogue the best way to see Valparai is hire a local guy, they know the best routes through the tea estates. Not to forget you might be stopped in a private road at times, while the local guy knows them all so it would not be an issue.

My understanding is there are two ways to reach Valparai once you cross Malikaparai check post, one which goes via Sholayar Dam and the other which goes via Mudis estate. This fork is where you enter your details at the Tamil Nadu check post, the advice given by the locals is always to go via Sholayar Dam even though the it is longer. The reason being the other road which goes via Mudis estate (close to Nalla Mudi Pooncholai, the right name of for the view point referred by Nutty Nair) is bad in patches.

When I had visited, I did not find the roads were that bad on the way to Nalla Mudi Pooncholai possibly because the driver took me the other way. I had the GPS points for all of these places in my Navigator which has now conked off, may the next time I visit Valparai I would possibly get the GPS traces for all the routes to these places. Incidentally the only point that was right in the google maps was at the top of Sholayar Dam.
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Old 4th June 2010, 13:32   #45
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A game of cards ensued for some time.
Wow that photo reminds me a lot of my college days
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