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Old 11th February 2018, 18:41   #1
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Default Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Big thanks to BHPians mallumowgli (Nelliyampathy - The Roof of Palakkad) and laluks (Swifted : Nelliyampathy via Valparai) for their Nelliyampathy travelogues. These helped us immensely in planning our routes and finalizing the places to visit.

Introduction
This happened last saturday. There was no plan for a trip at all. But within half an hour of me asking a colleague "Hey, you up for a trip?", the ride, the destination and the travelers were finalized.

It started on a lazy friday afternoon. Work was kinda slow. I was bored. With the increasing traffic in Cochin, the Unicorn has become my daily ride and the Baleno has been reduced to the weekend grocery runs. And she was NOT made for the weekend grocery runs! This feeling of suffocation had been building up for a while and I knew I just had to drive somewhere. And so the above mentioned threads on Nelliyampathy caught my eye. The last time I had been to that place was nearly 7 years ago, with fellow BHPian SandyX. My colleague asks me about the thread and I ask her "Vittalo?" (You ready?). "Yes" was the immediate reply. Thus the destination was fixed. Few more people pass by our seats, none of them too keen on traveling. Few phone calls and messages later, 3 more people were in. Thus the travelers were fixed. And the car, well the answer was obvious. My 2006 Baleno Lxi.

Planning
The distance from Cochin to Nelliyampathy is nearly 150 kms. We knew the roads were somewhat good. And since we wanted to be back by 9PM, we decided to start early, by 5:30AM. The route was planned as:
Kakkanad > Mannuthy > Wadakkencherry > Nenmara > Nelliyampathi

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-route.jpg

The following locations were planned:

1. Pothundy dam and nearby view points
2. Nenmara and Nelliyampathy waterfalls
3. Govt orange and vegetable farms
4. Kesavanpara
5. Seethargund
6. Manpara
7. Hanging bridge

We knew that the 'wish'list was probably too long for a one day trip but decided to cover as many as we could. We also decided to take an extra pair of clothes, just in case. 3 of us would start from Cochin SEZ, the remaining two would be picked up on the way.

And now the gadgets. 1x Canon 1300D, 1x Sony HX400V, 1x Nikon S6300, several phones, power banks, 1x Mini 0806 dashcam. Too much for such a small drive eh?

Friday evening, I check the tyres, fluids and the spare. Baleno was all set to go.
Setting the trip meter to zero:

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_053326.jpg



The Trip
Woke up at 4:30AM, had some black tea (eww..) and finished packing. Started out by 5:15AM. Reached CSEZ by 5:30AM. 3 of us join me here.

Filling her up:

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_054210.jpg

Cochin to Mannuthy

And we were off! Early morning roads were mostly empty. Trucks, as usual, were an annoyance, occupying both the lanes. Some rush near the Cochin Airport junction.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-trucks.jpg

The last person was picked up on the way. It was kinda bright by the time we reached the Thrissur toll.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-toll1.jpg

Mannuthy to Wadakkencherry

We got a glimpse of the sunrise on the way.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-sunrise.jpg

The roads were deceptive, kind of. There would be many kilometers of awesome 6 lane roads, with incomplete sections in between. These broken sections would come at you out of nowhere and be prepared for some panic braking.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-broken-roads.jpg

An aqueduct/pipeline of the Kerala Irrigation Department.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-aqueduct.jpg

There were tunnels being burrowed. We hit some traffic here. Also, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT??

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-heavy-truck.jpg

A new toll booth is coming up. I guess they would start operations before the roads are completed.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-new-toll.jpg

We stop for breakfast at Saravana Bhavan, just outside Wadakkencherry town.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-saravana-bhavan.jpg

Yours truly with his beloved.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01040.jpg

They had an awesome white kurma which tasted great with poori. We filled our tummies, freshen up and start.

Wadakkencherry to Nenmara

We leave the main highway to head towards Nenmara.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-turning.jpg

The roads were narrow and we had no intention of stopping till we reached the Pothundi dam. But some of the locations on the way were too beautiful and the lighting was perfect. We had to take a few shots.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6185.jpg
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Photo credits to Neethu for these clicks.

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Our resident 'photographer' at work

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6204.jpg

We set off after a few more clicks. The roads were decent for most part. The Baleno did scrape a few speed breakers, but we survived. Next stop, Pothundi Dam.

Pothundi Dam

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-pothundi.jpg

The dam and the gardens would open at 10AM. We were too early. So we took some clicks from a view point near the entrance.

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Attached Thumbnails
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Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01098.jpg  


Last edited by GeneralJazz : 11th February 2018 at 19:18.
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Old 11th February 2018, 19:52   #2
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Default re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Pothundi Dam to Nelliyampathy Town

There were a few more view points along the way. The reservoir was visible from these points.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01074.jpg

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We didn't stop at all of them.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-viewpoint1.jpg

The route was quite beautiful. The roads were great too.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-roads-1.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-roads-2.jpg

Unfortunately the waterfalls were dry. Finally we reach the Nelliyampathy town.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-nelly1.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-nelly-2.jpg

We head to the Government Orange and Vegetable Farms.

Government Orange and Vegetable Farms

Some clicks from the farm.


Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-orange.jpg

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Someone told us that these things are a cross between a lemon and an orange. Not sure if he was pulling our leg.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203103429_img_2104.jpg

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Our photographer hard at work!

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_103311.jpg

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Taking a quick break.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_104453.jpg

There was a stall outside the entrance selling jams, jellies, squashes and pickles, supposedly from stuff they grow in farms themselves. We did buy a passion fruit jelly/jam, unfortunately it was too sweet and had a strange after taste.

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 11th February 2018 at 19:54.
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Old 11th February 2018, 20:06   #3
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Default re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

The tragedy

There were a few shops nearby and a dormitory with paid restrooms. Quite useful for ladies. While we were having tea, I asked around for the 'jeep' trekking to the Manpara peak. This was supposed to be the highlight of the Nelliyampathy trip. I was crushed to hear that the trekking has been put on hold due to the leopard/tiger/big cat census going on. Man! I was so looking forward to this. Nonetheless we decided to move on. Next stop, Seetharkund viewpoint.

The off-roaders that normally took you to the peak.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-jeeps.jpg

Seetharkund Viewpoint

The viewpoint is around 5 kms from the Orange farms.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-seetharkund.jpg

The roads are narrow, but somewhat OK. Baleno had no issues here.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-seetharkund-2.jpg

Entrance to the POABS estate, inside which the viewpoint is located.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203111925_img_2130.jpg

Parking

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6259.jpg

The path to the viewpoint

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Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6263.jpg

Spotted a Massey Ferguson tractor inside

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203113025_img_2131.jpg

The path had plenty of shade and wasn't very steep. It was kinda uneven though.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203113142_img_2133.jpg

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At the viewpoint

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203113712_img_2143.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203114645_img_2164.jpg

There were quite a few weird trees there

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203115019_img_2178.jpg

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Looks like a face no?

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Old 11th February 2018, 20:46   #4
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Default re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Seetharkund continued

Even though it was a very sunny 12 PM when we reached the peak, there was a soothing cool breeze. It was a cool atmosphere there.

View of some houses far away

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01155.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_120109.jpg

That weird tree was quite captivating

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_120222.jpg

There was a guy there selling pineapple slices with chilli powder/salt. It was quite tasty with the sweet and spicy combo.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203115052_img_2180.jpg

We didn't venture out much. Just spent some time there enjoying the cool breeze.

Had a bit of a scare when one of these critters jumped onto the open passenger side window. Managed to shoo them away

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6311.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6312.jpg

Lunch

For lunch we headed to the ITL Holidays hotel.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-lunch.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-itl.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-itl2.jpg

Had lunch with fish fry and beef roast. Meals were strictly average and the fish was awful

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_132602.jpg

Relaxed for some time

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_140347.jpg

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Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_141425.jpg

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Old 11th February 2018, 21:12   #5
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Default re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Thookupalam aka Hanging Bridge

After a bit of rest, we head to the handing bridge

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-thookupalam.jpg

The route took us through a tea and coffee estate. The entrance to Kesavanpara viewpoint is seen on the right

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate1.jpg

The route was very beautiful, but the roads were very narrow

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate2.jpg

Thank God its just an tiny Eon. Hope nothing bigger come up

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate3.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate4.jpg

Oh My GOD! Is there any place the KeSRTC doesn't go?

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate5.jpg

And one more

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate6.jpg

Aahh Baleno meets her foe. Some heart wrenching bottom scraping coming up

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate7.jpg

Workers plucking coffee beans

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate8.jpg

Oh boy!

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-estate9.jpg

Finally we reach the hanging bridge. Its slightly hidden away. Google maps was of no help here.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203145433_img_2278.jpg

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Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_145922.jpg

We have some fun in the water. Caught a few small fishes with handkerchiefs

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6334.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6340.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6362.jpg

The water was refreshingly cool. We spent close to an hour here. Some more shots from our in-house photographer

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203150033_img_2288.jpg

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Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180203154006_img_2305.jpg

What to do with these fishes? Should be take them back in a bottle? Or should we let it go back to its little friends? There was a bit of an argument whether the fish would think us fools for letting him go.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6369.jpg

Finally we were ready to go. This was perhaps the best part of the trip

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6372.jpg

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Old 11th February 2018, 22:23   #6
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Default re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Hanging bridge to Kesavanpara

We were not really sure if Kesavanpara was worth it, and we were running out of time. Votes were cast and majority decided to give it a shot

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-kesavanpara.jpg

We meet again, broken road

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-kesavan1.jpg

Workers measuring sacks of coffee beans

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-kesavan2.jpg

Again? Aahh!

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-kesavan3.jpg

Found these

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-20180204184345_img_2345.jpg

Stopped for tea/snacks. Got some awesome fried snacks with a fantastic chilli chutney

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6376.jpg

Kesavanpara

There was ample parking available. 20rs or so parking charges. We start the climb

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_163242.jpg

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The climb was tiring!

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6383.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6386.jpg

A view of the reservoir

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6382.jpg

Some pics from the top

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01252.jpg

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A (crater?) pool. There were small fishes inside it

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dscn6397.jpg

Pic of the day!

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01312_1.jpg

On the way back

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01316_1.jpg

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01321.jpg

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Old 11th February 2018, 22:45   #7
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Default re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Back to Cochin

Found an interesting tree on the way back

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-tree.jpg

Ofcourse that meant more pics

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-dsc01339_1.jpg

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These critters again

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-monkeys.jpg

Saturday evening traffic as we head back towards Nenmara

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-saturday.jpg

The main Wadekkencherry Mannuthy road. Traffic at standstill. Notice the fire truck on the left. Something had caught fire in a field nearby. We could smell smoke

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-fire.jpg

Really long lines at the Thrissur toll

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-toll3.jpg

Finally back to our starting point. 9:45PM

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-ending.jpg

Trip meter reads 346 kms.

Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno-img_20180203_220702.jpg

Summary

Total kilometers driven : 346
Places visited: Pothundi viewpoints, OV Farms, Seethargund, hanging bridge, Kesavanpara
Trip duration: 16 hours 15 minutes
Photos taken: 805, 4.22GB
Dashcam files: 119 video files, 28GB
Tired travelers: 5
Exhausted driver with an extremely sore knee: 1
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Old 12th February 2018, 08:37   #8
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Default Re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th February 2018, 11:10   #9
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Default Re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

When i saw Cochin & Nelliampati in the same line, i knew it had to be you! Plenty thanks for the detailed write up. It for sure looks like a fun trip.

Even more excited to see the beauty, Baleno! I still can't believe we did those things to her when she's perfect in her own outfits. That's one Suzuki the Indians didn't deserve. Hope you didn't have to coast her a lot this time.

Too bad the jeeping is on hold. Give it another try when it reopens for that's one more thing which defines that peak. Maybe we could give it a shot not too long from now. And let's not throw faces at 'black tea', some of us & probably you too owe our lives to loads of that. :P

I'm sure this is only a beginning since your gang seems alright to move around. Keep it coming!
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Old 12th February 2018, 17:27   #10
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Default Re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

I was drooling over your photos, the G16 monster is really something to own and drive though personally I would've avoided taking anyone along simply to enjoy the car in solitude, plus weight reduction!

Though a stinger on the pocket do go for longer hauls and do post more pictures of the beauty, it was just wonderful seeing a KL registration Baleno, keep driving!
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Old 12th February 2018, 21:14   #11
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Default Re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

The Baleno with the G16B is a rarity these days. Probably one of the reasons I would ever want to sell mine ever for anything else knowing the fact that there are better cars out there but quite nothing like the pocket rocket. Great travelogue and loved every frame you captured particularly the lush green paddy fields. I will try the same trip with my Baleno someday on my drive from Bangalore all the way down south to Kollam
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Old 12th February 2018, 23:12   #12
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Default Re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Hi, great travelogue...or should I say 'Photologue'!
Never been in the South, so it was an eye opener towards the natural beauty which is there to explore.
Only one doubt, how in heaven's name did you 5 guys squeeze into the Baleno!?
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Old 13th February 2018, 21:13   #13
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Default Re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

Lovely trip that you have had. And nice travelogue

Good to see water at the falls/stream - that was the Karappara waterfalls, if am right. Last year by March they had dried out

Your Baleno would have loved the curves if the road up the hill were rubberised. If only...

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Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post
Looks like a face no?
We have named the face Red Indian Grandfather
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Old 15th February 2018, 09:03   #14
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Default Re: Cochin to Nelliampathi in an '06 Baleno

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Hi, great travelogue...or should I say 'Photologue'!
Never been in the South, so it was an eye opener towards the natural beauty which is there to explore.
Only one doubt, how in heaven's name did you 5 guys squeeze into the Baleno!?
I believe it is six. Man some tight packing..

Great Travelogue, have added this place in my bucket list.
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