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Old 12th August 2010, 16:21   #1
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Default Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches

Thanks to folks like BigZero and Srikanth for their inspiring travelogues, I too decided to make it to Valparai for my monsoon vacation (trip was done from 14th to 18th June). Sis and family were coming from US, so we decided to make it a family get together - 5 adults and 3 kids. I volunteered to be the trip organizer - being exposed to the travelogue section in T-BHP, not many realize that it's a straightforward job!! And boy, we all fell in love with the places we visited.

I stay in Hyd, my folks in Chennai. I tried 'n' number of permutations and combinations to make this a road trip but nothing cut ice. Finally a compromise was worked out that we'll go till Coimbatore by generally preferred mode of travel (read train) and then by road (as if there were other choices). There was still resistance to me driving, but my persistence finally paid. I then frantically started looking for self drive options and finally landed one. My experience http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post2020072 (Feedback on different Self Drive rental agencies)

Anyways, we all reached Kovai on the morning of 14th by Kovai express and proceeded straight to Valparai. Much has been said about this circuit, so I won't waste talking. My BIL has an SLR, so of all the pics you see below, the better ones are his and the average ones are mine! We stopped enroute at Aliyar Dam and Monkey falls, with slight drizzle all along.

Aliyar Dam

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-aliyar-1.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-aliyar-2.jpg

For the Tam folks, this house on the Aliyar dam was where the song 'Viswanathan Vaelai Vaendum' song from 'Kaathalikka Naeramillai' by Sridhar was shot!

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-aliyar-house-1.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-aliyar-house-2.jpg

Monkey falls was in full flow.

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We then proceeded towards Valparai. It was raining, I took the wheels and since everybody was tensed on how the ghat drive will go, couldn't stop for pics. But Thanks to contribution from folks that had done this route umpteen times, I don't think the forum has missed any.
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Old 12th August 2010, 16:32   #2
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Default Estate Review - Woodbriar

My first choice of stay was Waterfalls estate, but they were closed for maintenance in the month of June. They suggested I go to Woobriar. Woodbriar has 3 properties in Valparai - one Director's bungalow (Rs. 6.5K/room/night) and 2 Manager's bungalow (Rs.4.5k/room/night). Fellow BHPian Srikanth too stayed with Woodbriar and had positive reviews so decided to take one of their manager's bungalow called Villa Fair. Excellent property - you can see the pics below. Apart from the beauty of the place, their hospitality too is superb. There are typically 3 rooms in each property. We had taken 2 of them and being a lean season, the 3rd was not occupied. So the whole bungalow was available exclusively to us and that made the experience even more amazing. We enjoyed every inch of the property and the food was AWESOME! We are veggies and they asked us the menu for each and every meal and cooked what we wanted in the most delicious manner. I've said this in other threads - let me reiterate. Valparai is not like other hill stations and does not have any significant places of attraction. The whole point of going all the way there is to pamper yourself in one of these estates and explore the hill station at your own leisure. So we did nothing on day 1 evening - just strolled around the resort, listened to the birds, took photos, ate and crashed!

Contacts:
9442202001/6 - Manager name is Sunil
04253222307


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Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-villa-fair-1.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-villa-fair-all-you-get-do.jpg

View of the town below

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-view-town.jpg
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Old 12th August 2010, 16:51   #3
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Excellent stuff there KES. And no need to mention about Kadhalikka neram illai. One look and I could make out. I'd have seen that movie 1000 times!
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Old 12th August 2010, 17:11   #4
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Default Around Valparai

Next day we went around to some local destinations - Aliyar dam, the tea estate, Balaji temple etc.,

Oh, and we spotted couple of wild bisons too. They were just there on one of the estate roads - we were too petrified to pull out cams and shoot, just sped away.We also heard from the estate workers that wild animals spotting is quite common in Valparai.

Tea estates around the bungalow

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-tea-estates-3.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-tea-estates-1.jpg
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Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-tea-estates-4.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-tea-estates-5.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-mist.jpg

Roads: I must say the roads were in top condition even during Monsoon. Freshly tarred smooth roads were a pleasure to drive. They were narrow and curvy, so you have to keep a close watch on the speeds though.

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-valparai-roads-1.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-valparai-roads-3.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-valparai-roads-4.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-road-valparai.jpg


Some snaps from Nirar

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-road-nirar-1.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-nirar-1.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-nirar-2.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-beyond-nirar.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-valparai-mountais.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-jackfruit.jpg


A beautiful stream called Koozhangal aaru - pebble river. Spent a lot of time here throwing pebbeles around.
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-pebble-river.jpg

Some macro experiments by my BIL.

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Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-macro-1.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-macro-2.jpg
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Old 12th August 2010, 17:15   #5
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one word .. wonderful
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Old 12th August 2010, 17:44   #6
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Default Famed route

Thank you, MX6 & StarVegabond!

Carrying on, 3rd day morning we left to Kochi through the 'famed route'. Again much has been said about this route - my plan was to cover Athirampally, Vazhachal falls and go to Kochi from there for the backwaters and beaches. Idea was to spread the holidays across diverse zones - we're afterall living in India!!

I've tried to do as much justice as possible to this route - my BIL still doesn't understand why I insisted him to take pictures of the roads and it beats him to believe that there are bunch of enthusiasts in a forum that eagerly look forward to such snaps


As someone said in another thread, Elephant poos are a major attraction on this route - fresh ones, dried ones, smelly ones Lotsa spots where you can see vegetation being trumpled by these beasts. We had stop mid way in a thick forest spot for the children and deep in the woods were actually able to hear these beasts groaning! Can only imagine what a sight this road must be after dayfall.

One thread dedicated ONLY to this road!

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-famed-route-1rd.jpg
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Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-famed-route-17rd.jpg
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Old 12th August 2010, 17:58   #7
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Beauty. 5 stars from my side for the amazing green pictures

Did you have some encounter with the Lion tailed Macaque - whom we had made famous? Did you opt for the bunglow safari?

How was the estate roads, any encounters? How far is the Bunglow from the main road?

How is the road to Nirar and Chinna Kallar?


Waterfalls estate is now open - if guys are travelling. 1.5K for the two cottages and 2.5k for the Bunglow. Extra bed at Rs 200. Food 350 for veggies and 450 for non veggies per day.

Wood briar is good but expensive for the location. I recently had a chat, its 6.5K and 1.75K for extra bed in Directors Bunglow and 4.4K and 1.35K for the other bunglows.

Last edited by laluks : 12th August 2010 at 18:04.
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Old 12th August 2010, 18:17   #8
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Thats a beauty Sriram. As MX said no need to mention that song. Even I am addicted to that movie and also its Kishore Kumar remake!

Never get tired of the estates. Woodbriar was on my list as well. Was wait for the right sea (I though Dec would be ideal).

Terrific snaps. Here are my 5 stars!
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Old 12th August 2010, 22:18   #9
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Default Lion tailed Macaque

Thanks for the stars guys. Am sure my BIL will be thrilled and will agree to take more road snaps

Laluks, we did spot those lion tailed macaque in the forests while driving towards Athirampally. But these monkeys are unlike the usual ones, in the sense, they do not like attention. They were very shy and would run away even before we can pull out a camera and click. I did manage to catch their action in this video.



We didn't opt for the estate safari - we spotted a couple of bisons earlier on while trying to locate the estate (man, they are really huge), so were satiated with that. The bungalow we stayed Villa fair is fairly close to Valparai town, about 3kms. Sorry, I don't know about the road you're talking - Nirar to Chinna Kallar. Only the lower Nirar dam is accessible and from there a road goes downstream, crosses the river bed and thereafter looks like 4X4 territory. We didn't venture beyond the bridge though.

You're right - the tarrifs are on the higher side. I haven't experienced Waterfalls estate, but based on this experience I'd say this is money well spent.
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Old 12th August 2010, 22:21   #10
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The Lion Tailed Macaques are extremely shy. It's very difficult to spot them. They prefer to be hidden behind thick foliage. You were extremely lucky to catch them in the wild!
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Old 12th August 2010, 22:37   #11
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congrats bro. I am planning to a 2nd valparai trip after the mosoon when the greenery is at its best...
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Old 12th August 2010, 22:41   #12
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Default Famed route - Things around the roads

Here are some of the scenes on the famed route. Starting with Sholayar dam

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-sholayar.jpg

Scenes enroute including the pipelines

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-famed-route-2sd.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-famed-route-4sd.jpg
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If you look closely in this snap, you can see the damage to the vegetation caused by elephants!

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-famed-route-10elep.jpg

Falls - Vazhachal, Athirampally and the one in between

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-vazhachal.jpg
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-vazhachal-2.jpg

Lotsa these monkeys are around these falls. It's fun watching them fight with the dogs there!

Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-vazhachal-1.jpg

Athirampally
Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-athirampally-1.jpg
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the one in between
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Valparai -> Famed route -> Kochi: Monsoon magic from ghats to beaches-falls-3.jpg
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Old 12th August 2010, 22:44   #13
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Yes Soccerfan. Best time to visit would be the monsoons. I was initially skeptical of the rains, but there are very few days when it pours cats and dogs in hill stations. Otherwise I believe its a slight drizzle continously which again adds to the experience.
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Old 12th August 2010, 22:51   #14
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@KESriram - You went through this circuit at the right time, my friend. So much greenery in the snaps. When we went it was brown & dry apart from the tea estates. Nice snaps.

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Originally Posted by Soccerfan View Post
congrats bro. I am planning to a 2nd valparai trip after the mosoon when the greenery is at its best...
Hmm.. interesting!
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Old 12th August 2010, 23:39   #15
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And the good photos keep coming! Athirapally already has good water! Nice.
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