Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 1st October 2010, 21:55   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,101
Thanked: 704 Times
Default Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow

This is my first travelogue here in Team-bhp, so let me begin with a short sweet visit we made: A day and night at Siruvani Forests.
The disclaimer : Am not a good story teller and as far as the photos go, neither the machine (I’ve a Sony P&S, model DSC-H50) nor the man is an expert. But I’ve to say what I’ve to and here it goes…

The idea germinated last year – two families, mine and my sister’s had been to Siruvani Dam for a day trip. A journey that turned out to be a wonderful surprise for us. We never knew Palakkad had such a beautiful spot with such achingly beautiful vistas. Just posting some pics from the earlier visit

Wide open grasslands…
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-1.jpg

…with patches of Shola forests and view of the dam reservoir
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-2.jpg

…and beautiful trekking points that are not strenuous
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-3.jpg

Siruvani, as most of you must know (at least Tamilians and Keralalites must know) is a dam built in Kerala’s Palakkad district, catering exclusively to the drinking water needs of Coimbatore city, in Tamilnadu. The dam is deep inside the Singappara reserve forest and the water is considered as one of the sweetest in the world. Ask any self respecting Coimbatorean and he will boast about Siruvani Water available in his city.

A kind of mini Safari option is made available by the Forest department inside the reserve. A Tata Ace Magic seating around 6 people and a guide will take you into the forest to the dam site and then to the trekking point. This can be a half a day program

Well, during the above trip, our guide (a youngster from the nearby Attappadi Village) told us that there is a small Tourist bungalow, called Pattiyar Bungalow, deep inside the forest on the banks of the Siruvani reservoir, facing the Muthikkulam falls, and can be booked through the Forest Department office. He said it was worth a night’s stay and is quite cheap – the entire bungalow, good enough for two or three families can be had for a mouth watering Rs.3000

A sneak peek of the bungalow
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-4.jpg

Now the quest began to find another family who can come with us and two of my cousins jumped at the suggestion and agreed to join with their families. Thus we started on a Friday afternoon – two families from Palakkad and my other cousin and family from Calicut.

The diversion to Siruvani from Palakkad – Mannarkad highway (NH213) was about 8 – 9 km before Mannarkad town, towards the right. The Ghats starts immediately and just after the last village, Palakkayam, the view gets better.

We just had to stop to take in the view
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-5.jpg

This was peak monsoon period, and as the evening wore on, mist started to come in fast
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-6.jpg

Finally as darkness was setting in, we (the team from Palakkad) reached the entrance to the Siruvani Eco Tourism project. (Eco Tourism seems to be the in-thing nowadays. Hope it does not turn out to be a fad)
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-7.jpg

We had some nail biting moments when registering at the security office, since Forest Office had missed out in informing the office here about the booking!!

To make things worse, there is no land phone connection here and the only mobile signal you can get is of Vodafone, which luckily is with the forest guard. Even to get the signal, you have to stand near the one particular pillar in the veranda, keep the mobile to your ear and double up as if you have cramps in your stomach – at least that’s what the forest guard did, and he got the Range officer on line.

But the Range Officer says he has gone for training and he does not know of any booking.
‘Better call up the office directly’
‘But it is past 5:30 and there will be no one there’
‘The security guard will be there and ask him to check the register’

Finally we were able to get the security guard on line and he was able to read out our names from the register. PHEW!!

While this tamasha was going on, we had some time to take the photo of the places around

The road we came – photo taken from the entrance point of the reserve, looking back
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-8.jpg

The road ahead and my cousin’s Scorpio parked at the entrance
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-9.jpg

In fact the not only the road inside the reserve, the road from NH213 to Siruvani itself is good. Maybe because it is frequented more by the PWD guys themselves, they are maintaining it for their own good.

A snap from our earlier trip – a photo taken en-route
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-10.jpg

During our previous trip we had better weather and we were able to find some creatures of the wild – a Malabar giant squirrel spotted at the reserve entrance
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-11.jpg

The next spotting – the Pitamah of the forest at a distance. People say that these guys can climb near vertical slopes in a jiffy.
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-12.jpg

Registration over, we take the road ahead. After a series of twists and turns, we turn of the road and through a narrow trail, finally reach Pattiar Bungalow. A trench has been dug up around the lodge to prevent wild animals from paying a surprise visit to the people staying here
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-13.jpg

This is a 150 year old building probably used as a hunting lodge by the British. It is a fairly well maintained three room house but with no star comforts.

Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-14.jpg

Electricity is through solar power and hence it will be available only for around 2 -3 hours into the night, depending upon the usage. Water was collected from a waterfall some distance away, transported through pipes and stored in an overhead tank. But during our visit there was a breakage in pipeline and we had to depend on the rainwater storage system they were having and this was adequate

The rooms were well maintained, though the walls were a bit damp. The caretaker said that there is a plan to renovate the bungalow by rebuilding the walls
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-15.jpg

We realise that we are totally isolated from the outside world, miles and miles inside the forest surrounded by the hills. The only other companion is howling winds – wind so strong, it gives an eerie feeling of being in some ‘end of the world’ type Hollywood movie!!

Of course there is a care-taker plus cook, who stays at the outhouse behind the bungalow whenever there are guests. And like all caretakers, he also had stories of sightings of leopard, elephants and gaurs. Should be true, since the lake being bang in front of the bungalow, animals need to come here during summer to quench their thirst. But this was the middle of the monsoon; hence no such luck for us.

The main attraction is the lake in front with the waterfall cascading from quite a good height and the wide veranda in front of the bungalow
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-16.jpg

The second team from Calicut reached quite late in the night and they had manoeuvred through the ghat roads with only the grass on either side of the road as markers. Add to that the going was slow due to deer, rabbits and wild boars jumping across the road.

We spend the night in the veranda, having food and talking quite late into the night. I and my cousin, in fact, sat through almost the entire night listening to the wind, talking loudly above the noise of wind and drinking some premium bottled barley water. The wind screamed across from behind the bungalow and hence sitting in the veranda at front, we were spared.

Finally we decided to hit the bed at around 4 am.

Ah, Bliss! No night photos, since we had only P&S cameras and also there was no facility to charge the batteries.

Now I gotta go, shall continue the rest of the story later
mallumowgli is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 1st October 2010, 22:01   #2
Team-BHP Support
 
ampere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 15,602
Thanked: 8,593 Times
Default

Very well put! So many hidden gems in the country. Could you also see the river Moyar draining its water into the dam?

EDIT: PS: I hope we are talking of the Bhavani Sagar dam right?

Last edited by ampere : 1st October 2010 at 22:02.
ampere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2010, 00:36   #3
BHPian
 
ExtremeTorque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 379
Thanked: 19 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
my first travelogue
not a good story teller and DSC-H50)
Not a good story teller? I disagree, this is very well written so far (It was dramatic when you were checking into the lodge). And you call the H50 a humble one? Some amazing snaps you got there with your 'humble' H50. I used H50 and H7 for my trip to Tadoba and was surprised with their capabilities, especially the contineous drive.
The lodge looked pretty neat, for one placed so deep into the jungles.
Waiting eagerly for the next segment.
ExtremeTorque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2010, 14:46   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,101
Thanked: 704 Times
Default

OK, now I shall finish the rest of the story...

We woke up early for wonderful views all around. Here the photos do not do justice to the beauty of the place

Morning has broken….
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-17.jpg

A view from one of the bedrooms
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-18.jpg

It was going to be just a day of laziness and loitering around – for one, all of us rarely get time to unwind like this, and also this being monsoon it was not possible to go trekking. So we decided to spend the morning there and then move to the spots around.

What we see from the veranda
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-19.jpg

The mist clears occasionally and we have a clear view of the lake and the waterfall
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-20.jpg

The lake surrounds the two sides and the veranda runs on these two sides around the house – the British sure knew how to enjoy Nature’s gifts.
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-21.jpg

The scenes from this side of the bungalow
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-22.jpg

Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-23.jpg

Though it was monsoon, this region did not get enough rainfall this year and the water level was less in Siruvani reservoir. Normally the banks of the lake will not be visible and the water level reaches the edge of the forest tree line.

The reservoir during the bounty times – snap from the earlier trip
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-24.jpg

After a very late breakfast, we finally decide we will move out and have a look around

The Siruvani dam
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-25.jpg

The forest around
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-26.jpg

The whole reserve is an extension of Silent valley and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The reserve extends into Tamilnadu and there is a check post at the border, beyond which we are not allowed to take our vehicles. We can walk a little further and from a point, on a clear day, Coimbatore city will be visible. The photo of this road, taken during an earlier trip
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-27.jpg

However this time due to the heavy mist and the incessant drizzle we were not able to take any ‘presentable’ photos

However there are spots in the area where you can easily spend a day easily, if time permits. However we had to check out by afternoon, since there was a VIP coming to stay and hence we had to rush. But that didn’t stop us from stopping every now and then and take time to smell the flowers, so to say!!

Driving was also fun since the roads were mostly excellent
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-28.jpg

And there were very beautiful spots just to stop and exclaim!!

The Scotland of Siruvani…
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-29.jpg

Two/Three small streams here and there kept the kids occupied
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-30.jpg

Finally it was time. We went back to Pattiar Bungalow, had a sumptuous lunch prepared by the caretaker and cast one final forlorn look at the lake
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-31.jpg

Of course we took the mandatory group photograph. So here we come, the entire group in front of the hunting lodge that gave us a day and a night to cherish for the rest of our lives
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-32.jpg

And so it was Good-bye to Pattiar Bungalow and Singappara Reserve Forest and back to the daily grind…
Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-33.jpg

Before closing, let me give a parting information, a dampener rather – Pattiar Bungalow is now closed and not available for general public for the moment. The forest officers are not clear about the re-opening
mallumowgli is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2010, 16:46   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 35
Thanked: 8 Times
Default

This is what dreams are made of!

This place is simply amazing. I was trying to imagine myself in this place and your last note just brought me back to my senses :-(

Simple and great write up. This place is really worth a visit. I just hope they reopen the Pattiar bungalow fast.

Did you travel from Bangalore? Can you share total KM's traveled and route taken.

Once again thanks for sharing this wonderful experience.

Raghunath
Raghunath Singh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2010, 22:27   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,101
Thanked: 704 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Very well put! So many hidden gems in the country. Could you also see the river Moyar draining its water into the dam?

EDIT: PS: I hope we are talking of the Bhavani Sagar dam right?
Thanks Ampere. But this is not Bhavani Sagar Dam. Bhavani sagar Dam is towards the North-North East side of Coimbatore, whereas this is in Kerala towards NorthWest side of Cbe. The approach is only from Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
Not a good story teller? I disagree, this is very well written so far (It was dramatic when you were checking into the lodge). And you call the H50 a humble one? Some amazing snaps you got there with your 'humble' H50. I used H50 and H7 for my trip to Tadoba and was surprised with their capabilities, especially the contineous drive.
The lodge looked pretty neat, for one placed so deep into the jungles.
Waiting eagerly for the next segment.
ET - thanks. Yes, H50 is very flexible and user freindly - a good camera for novices. I remember you had put it to good use in your 'cold stare' trip. Only problem, like all P&S, is heavy noise in low light conditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raghunath Singh View Post
Did you travel from Bangalore? Can you share total KM's traveled and route taken.

Once again thanks for sharing this wonderful experience.

Raghunath
Thank you raghunath, this really was stuff dreams are made of.
Regarding the distance, I'd joined from Palakkad. So I cant talk about from Bangalore. From Palakkad you have to take the Palakkad-Calicut NH213. You get the diversion from the highway at around 28 kms from Palakkad, just after a bridge. There is a prominent sign board and from this right turn it is another 16-17 kms to Siruvani - Singappara Estate. Dont worry about Pattiar Bungalow being not available, this place is worth the visit during day time, as a half day visit
mallumowgli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2010, 10:25   #7
BHPian
 
chethan.ram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 159
Thanked: 23 Times
Default

Nice travelogue and the pictures are also very nice.
chethan.ram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2010, 10:53   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
predatorwheelz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Delhi/Kolkata
Posts: 1,653
Thanked: 1,103 Times
Default

Beautiful pictures and a short and sweet travelogue. Would appreciate the following info from you:

1. A little detail of how one can get here from Bangalore (not having a car at their disposal)?

2. How does one do the booking at this lodge?

3. What would be the best time of the year to visit?
predatorwheelz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2010, 12:35   #9
Distinguished - BHPian
 
nkrishnap's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3,494
Thanked: 4,109 Times
Default

Wonderful wonderful place. Loved the water falls pictures. Makes for a perfect weekend.

Lovely pictures there. It made a nice read as well.
nkrishnap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2010, 16:48   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
deepclutch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Muvattupuzha
Posts: 1,120
Thanked: 109 Times
Default

Siruvani!I Studied in Karunya Engg College,Which is Some 8kms away from Siruvani.Visiting Siruvani Dam from TN Side Needs Special Permission I think.

I heard the Road through Siruvani Once Connected Calicut to Coimbatore.I may be Wrong.
deepclutch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2010, 17:53   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
jacs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kochi
Posts: 1,464
Thanked: 715 Times
Default

Hey mallumowgli,

Very nice start and pictures are amazing. Especially the Malabar Giant squirrel, seems like it was quite near!

I have lot of memories about this bungalow. If you remember my trip to Mannarkad, my friend has his plantations quite near Siruvani range and we traveled once during our college days may be about six years before. That time, the surroundings were not tiled and it was perimeter ed by a trench to safeguard from elephants.

All the best on your first travelogue! BTW who among the group photo is you?
jacs is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2010, 18:40   #12
Team-BHP Support
 
ampere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 15,602
Thanked: 8,593 Times
Default

@MM, That was too good! Can you point the place on Google maps?
I could not figure it out.
ampere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th October 2010, 10:22   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,101
Thanked: 704 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by chethan.ram View Post
Nice travelogue and the pictures are also very nice.
Thanks Chetan

Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
Beautiful pictures and a short and sweet travelogue. Would appreciate the following info from you:

1. A little detail of how one can get here from Bangalore (not having a car at their disposal)?

2. How does one do the booking at this lodge?

3. What would be the best time of the year to visit?
1. You can take a bus/train to Palakkad and then take a cab to Siruvani. No buses ply to this place, only upto Palakkayam some 10 kms before the checkpost. But was surprised to see a few Autorickshaws - you see it is a steep ghat road!

2. As I said, currently they are not taking any bookings. However you can try with DFO, Mannarkad - 04924 - 222574. But even if you dont get to stay there, you can make a perfectly wonderful day trip

3.Best time would be from mid October to mid Jan. Since it is not a very high altitude, won't be cold at all normally. Except during rains when it becomes quite chill

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Wonderful wonderful place. Loved the water falls pictures. Makes for a perfect weekend.

Lovely pictures there. It made a nice read as well.
Thanks Krishna

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepclutch View Post
Siruvani!I Studied in Karunya Engg College,Which is Some 8kms away from Siruvani.Visiting Siruvani Dam from TN Side Needs Special Permission I think.

I heard the Road through Siruvani Once Connected Calicut to Coimbatore.I may be Wrong.
Through TN side you need to be a family member of PWD official or with some contacts from these people.

Yes, this road connects Ukkadam in Coimbatore to Mannarkad, which is on the Calicut route. But the relatively popular Coimbatore Mannarkad road might be Cbe - Anakkal - Attappadi-Mannarkad route, which is still open. Am yet to take this road - goes through the forest. Will try it soon and update

Which batch Karunya were you Deepclutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacs View Post
Hey mallumowgli,

Very nice start and pictures are amazing. Especially the Malabar Giant squirrel, seems like it was quite near!

I have lot of memories about this bungalow. If you remember my trip to Mannarkad, my friend has his plantations quite near Siruvani range and we traveled once during our college days may be about six years before. That time, the surroundings were not tiled and it was perimeter ed by a trench to safeguard from elephants.

All the best on your first travelogue! BTW who among the group photo is you?
Thanks Jacs. I remember your visit to Mannarkad, for some function if iam right.

Iam the first guy from left in the back row

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
@MM, That was too good! Can you point the place on Google maps?
I could not figure it out.
Thanks ampere. Hope the below helps. Am not good with google maps - prefer google earth . The last stage was hand drawn in MS Paint, since there is a gap in the roadmap at Palakkayam as per Google maps - roads are ok in reality

Howling Winds and a Hunting Lodge – A Sojourn at Siruvani Pattiar Bungalow-siruvani-1.jpg
mallumowgli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th October 2010, 11:02   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
hvkumar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 7,369
Thanked: 3,354 Times
Default

Great trip!
Sad that the Pattiyar Bungalow is closed down.
I hope they will permit day trips.
From Coimbatore side also, they used to allow people to Siruvani with permits. If I am not mistaken, the Kovai Kuttalam Falls is off the Coimbatore-Siruvani road and I have myself gone there several years ago.
The restrictions are mainly because this is the main source of drinking water for Coimbatore city and like all drinking water reservoirs, normally tourists are not allowed.
hvkumar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th October 2010, 12:01   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
addyhemmige's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Bangalore/Hassan
Posts: 1,549
Thanked: 465 Times
Default

Lovely pictures mowgli and equally good writeup. The view of the falls covered in mist from the verandah of the bungalow is just mesmerising!!!!

Do you know why the bungalow is closed?
addyhemmige is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dizzy Drive® : Wonderful Valparai (enchanted by Sinnadorai's Bungalow) and more! NPV Travelogues 42 9th March 2016 19:43
River Tern Jungle Lodge, Kemmanugundi and then some… Samurai Travelogues 61 20th August 2013 10:53
Honda winds up Jazz production! coolmel The Indian Car Scene 86 4th April 2013 12:52
Short Visit to Chennai(1st Visit):Please suggest Hotel/Lodge and Things to Do ashwinsid Route / Travel Queries 7 22nd January 2010 09:41
The Winds of Change:Cars to be rated on Fuel Economy n.devdath The Indian Car Scene 23 30th December 2009 12:23


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 05:24.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks