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Old 7th February 2011, 23:11   #1
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Default The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

The South Western Drive : Covering Valparai - Athirampalli - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam & Kodaikkanal

Travel Dates : 26 January - 30 January 2011

It all started as a solo 'Ride' to Valparai. A week before the trip starts, My mom & dad for a change wanted to be a part of my travelling madness. So it cannot be a Ride & we had to find a way to drive around. I'm not really a Car person so I did not want to drive around on my Sister's car. So decided to look around for train tickets. With waiting lists going up to 200, The only way out was to book the tickets by Bus.

Day 0 : 25 January 2011

I went ahead to CMBT Bus Stand, Chennai to look for tickets. To my surprise I was told i could only book the return tickets and Onward tickets needs to be bought directly in the bus. Fast forward to 25th January - 07:30 PM - We were waiting at the Bus stand waiting for the bus which no one knows about, Roamed about 30 minutes and finally found the bus - Scheduled start - 08:00 PM but the bus wont start till 9:00 PM. Finally the bus rolls on at a snails pace cutting across the dense Chennai traffic.

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-dsc00090.jpg

Day 1 : 26 January 2011

It took us around 11 hours to reach Pollachi, Called up the travel agent - got the details of the car assigned for us & that the car is on its way from Coimbatore. We had about a hour's time to refresh, so went in search of a hotel. Unfortunately all the hotels have been booked - Thanks to Kollywood. There are couple of Big Budget movies been shot around Pollachi & the hotels have been completely booked. After searching around, got into a lodge - was charged 200 bucks for refreshing up!

An Indica showed up a hour later, The travel agency was owned by a mutual friend - so agreed to provide us the car at a lesser rate. The roads were calm, not much traffic - evaded through some overbridge construction on the Pollachi - Aaliyar road, had to lose some time getting back to the highway.

We stopped by the Aaliyar Dam for some sightseeing. We hardly saw anyone in the whole dam, It was calm, yet composed - overall giving us the perfect getaway spot. We spent some 30 minutes sitting on the shores of Alliyar Reservoir and listened to my dad speak about his old days, etc etc.. My grandpa used to work in Attakatti - Parambikulam Dam project about 50 years ago, and that my dad used to come to Attakatti for his vacation. The sun came out harsh on us and we had to leave towards Valparai.



In & Around Aaliyar Dam..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0031.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0043.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0070.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0123.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0073.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0129.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0135.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-dsc00106.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-dsc00112.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0160.jpg

The View around Aaliyar..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0022.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0168_69_70_tonemapped.jpg


We then proceeded towards Valparai - Stopped by the Forest Check-post to pay up the entry fee & the forest guard checked the driver if he was drunk and checked our bags to see if we were carrying any liquor. Later he let us go asking us not to feed Monkeys & not to stop on the way to Valparai or to venture into the tea estates. I didn't come across such advices in the last two visits, may be the officers were asked to give such warnings..

Stopped by Monkey Falls, removed my shoes and sat on the stream water sipping some fresh tea. Mom n Dad refreshed themselves for sometime in the cool water from the falls.


Monkey Falls..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-dsc00127.jpg


Our Next stop was on the 9th Hairpin bend, called Loam's View.. Offers an amazing Panoramic view of the Aaliyar Dam / Reservoir..



The roads towards Valparai..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0218.jpg

The Hairpin Bend..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0186.jpg

The Loam's View

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0200_1_2_tonemapped.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0210.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0192.jpg

The roads & scenery kept us moving and the climb up was at its best. The winding roads, lush greenery, the smell of tea and the joy of travelling made it quite interesting for all of us. Stopped by Attakatti to checkout our ancient home, Inside the TNEB officer's colony. Made a few calls from the restaurant available there and moved on..

Traveled about couple of hours to reach Valparai. There are not many hotels available there to stay, so had to book the PWD Guest house through some contacts. Dumped the bags and rested for a while. Mom n Dad already were tired. The town hosted the republic mood with political meetings going all over with Load Speakers screaming all over the small town. Little could we rest for the next few hours. It was 4 PM, we re-freshened, had a cup of tea and started our local sight seeing.

First up was Balaji Temple. Something to please my mom to keep her going for the next 5 days! The weather was cold, the breeze was inviting and the mist started setting down. The temple was about 15 kilometers away from the guest house. The roads were great all around. The vista's changed amazingly as we moved away from the town. The tea estates, the vibrant people on the road, the blue sky was just fantastic. Reached the Pachamalai Estate and As usual, had a few contacts from the PWD / EB to let us into the estate. other wise have to walk around for couple of kilometers. The pujari inside was my relative - Spent another 30 minutes around the Pachamalai Estate, bought some fresh tea and moved back.



The Vista's around..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0249.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0313.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0334.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0366.jpg

Balaji Temple..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0357.jpg

The sun was still up there, not dark yet so wanted to see if there are any other place to visit in Valparai. Dad told me that he has not heard of Nirar Dam till now, so we wanted to see whats there in it. First opinion from the local's is that there is nothing to see in there! We still went ahead, anyway it was just few kilometers after our guest house. The roads towards Nirar was good too, just for the last few kilometers it was bad. After reaching the check-post at Nirar, the roads were even worse. The roads split into two. The left one went towards Upper Chinna Kallar Dam, and the right one towards Lower Nirar Dam. A local adviced us not to waste time in the Upper Dam and to goto Lower Dam as atleast it had some water. We took the right road and stopped by the Nirar Dam.

Unlike what the locals initially told us, the view was AWESOME! I loved it! The reservoir has decent water storage and the view around was mesmerizing. Spent some quality time there, talking to the locals, taking snaps and listening to the sound of nature.



Nirar Reservoir..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0410.jpg

Nirar - A HDR..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0417_8_9_tonemapped.jpg

We started from there towards our guest house as the sun came down. Not wanting to get caught driving after sunset on the hills, we rushed back. We drove a little while and I still cant believe my eyes, I just saw a Leopard crossing the road! It just sprinted across the road and disappeared into the tea plantations. I stopped to see if i could spot it. Mom shouted at me and asked me to come into the car. I could not spot it again. It was just a flash i could see it, but not any more. Rolled down the windows and moved on.. Reached the guest house a little later, not able to come out of the surprise of seeing a leopard. May be i was lucky enough. Settled for the night, ordered some south indian dishes for dinner and crashed for the day.



The vista's around..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0368.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0457.jpg

Our Humble abode for the night, A PWD Guest house..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0471.jpg

Sunset @ Valparai..

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0484.jpg

Would add up the remaining day's log as & when i find time. Thanks for reading.

P.S: Though I'm a regular here - This is my first long post in T'Bhp, I'm not much of a car person & so i hardly post here. Please go easy if i violate any rules. Thanks.

Last edited by MadBiker : 7th February 2011 at 23:21.
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Old 8th February 2011, 00:03   #2
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Nice pictures dude. How come not many people around? OR was it too early at the dam for people to arrive?
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Old 8th February 2011, 00:06   #3
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Quote:
Originally Posted by null View Post
Nice pictures dude. How come not many people around? OR was it too early at the dam for people to arrive?
It was a holiday (26 December) - Wonder why no one was there, went there around 10 AM, but the crowd was too much at the monkey falls a few kilometers away!
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Old 8th February 2011, 01:35   #4
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

@MadBiker - nice start to the travelogue. Nice photos and narration. I had read an article in a local newspaper regarding multiple leopard attacks on small children in Valparai. And please don't get out of the vehicle if you sight wild animals. That could be extremely dangerous.
@null - Valparai is still a relatively unknown destination. It is known to the informed travellers only as yet unlike destinations like Munnar or Kodaikanal. Maybe the reason why there weren't many people.
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Old 8th February 2011, 02:26   #5
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Excellent pictures Madbiker, thanks for bringing this up.

I was there in Valparai about 2 years back and I loved the scenery and calm atmosphere. Rather than opting for a government guest house you should have tried tea estate bungalow's, it would have been very nice. I stayed in Nalla kaathu bungalow which is owned by Woodbriar group and it was a fantastic experience also it was pricey.

The ride between Valparai and Athirampalli would be adventurous and terrific, waiting for your review on the same. Please keep them coming.
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Old 8th February 2011, 09:40   #6
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

I was looking forward for some one who can come up with a thread on this stretch.
Not many days passed and here is one already. Thanks much MB.

Nice narration and the pics are just superb. I liked the Nirar reservoir pic the most.
Do you have more pics of Pollachi.Enroute pics will also do. Just curious coz i want to do pollchi & valparai sometime soon.

Cheers
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Old 8th February 2011, 10:07   #7
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Wonderful pictures Madbiker.The route to all these destinations are really a motorist's paradise. I hope you would agree.

Did you also visit the Upper Sholayar dam ? I was there last month and the water level had come down. Also there were incidents of Elephants targeting the ration shops and human habitation near the Makkapara check post.

Waiting for your further updates of your travelogue.
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Old 8th February 2011, 10:20   #8
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Wonderful Pics and Narration Madbiker! I was looking for information on this place as it's something I wanted to do a long time. Your pics have taken me on a Virtual tour! Thanks.
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Old 8th February 2011, 10:58   #9
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Excellent angles. You have an eye for photos, Madbiker. Waiting for more
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Old 8th February 2011, 17:13   #10
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutty Nair View Post
@MadBiker - nice start to the travelogue. Nice photos and narration. I had read an article in a local newspaper regarding multiple leopard attacks on small children in Valparai. And please don't get out of the vehicle if you sight wild animals. That could be extremely dangerous.
@null - Valparai is still a relatively unknown destination. It is known to the informed travellers only as yet unlike destinations like Munnar or Kodaikanal. Maybe the reason why there weren't many people.
Thanks. I would keep in mind to remain inside the car, but it was an instant reaction to move out & see the animal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by camchennai View Post
Excellent pictures Madbiker, thanks for bringing this up.

I was there in Valparai about 2 years back and I loved the scenery and calm atmosphere. Rather than opting for a government guest house you should have tried tea estate bungalow's, it would have been very nice. I stayed in Nalla kaathu bungalow which is owned by Woodbriar group and it was a fantastic experience also it was pricey.

The ride between Valparai and Athirampalli would be adventurous and terrific, waiting for your review on the same. Please keep them coming.
Thanks. We were not charged to stay in the Government guest house as we knew some one who works with the PWD. Anyway thanks for the link, would be helpful for future visits..

The drive was indeed adventurous. I have traveled the terrain before on a motorcycle last year & was more thrilling than on a car. More on that later in Day 2's log!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MohsinRoadster View Post
I was looking forward for some one who can come up with a thread on this stretch.
Not many days passed and here is one already. Thanks much MB.

Nice narration and the pics are just superb. I liked the Nirar reservoir pic the most.
Do you have more pics of Pollachi.Enroute pics will also do. Just curious coz i want to do pollchi & valparai sometime soon.

Cheers
Thanks Mohsin. I do have some more pictures of the roads, would attach them as & when i find time. I had to stick to the 3o images per post rule & so could not add them with the log. Thanks again for liking the pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ride_4_Fortune View Post
Wonderful pictures Madbiker.The route to all these destinations are really a motorist's paradise. I hope you would agree.

Did you also visit the Upper Sholayar dam ? I was there last month and the water level had come down. Also there were incidents of Elephants targeting the ration shops and human habitation near the Makkapara check post.

Waiting for your further updates of your travelogue.
Thanks. It was indeed a paradise, not only for motorist but for all travelers.
I did visit the Sholayar Dam & traversed the Sholayar - Malakkapara - Athirampalli route. Unfortunately did not see any Elephants, but have heard incidents of wild animals entering the habitats en route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbkumar View Post
Wonderful Pics and Narration Madbiker! I was looking for information on this place as it's something I wanted to do a long time. Your pics have taken me on a Virtual tour! Thanks.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Excellent angles. You have an eye for photos, Madbiker. Waiting for more
Thanks for the compliment.

I would try my best effort to add the Day 2's log by EOD. Thanks for reading.
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Old 9th February 2011, 00:17   #11
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Few random images from Day 1: Pollachi - Aaliyar - Valparai..

Random snapshot's - Around Aaliyar & Valparai

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0117.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0226.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0229.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0242.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0268.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0274.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0280.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0291.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0296.jpg

The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai-img_0310.jpg
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Old 9th February 2011, 09:01   #12
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Woow.
that was once of the nicest photologues I have seen.
Too cool pictures
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Old 9th February 2011, 10:15   #13
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Very nice snaps.
So what camera and lens do you use?
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Old 9th February 2011, 13:20   #14
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

what a photolog man. stunning photos. can you share the details of the rest house with us please?
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Old 9th February 2011, 14:10   #15
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Default Re: The South Western Drive : Valparai - Nelliampathi - Parambikulam - Kodai

Some really breathtaking snaps Ananth. You're a terrific photographer. Great work! Do post more pics.

Last edited by aviorp : 9th February 2011 at 14:15.
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