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Old 8th June 2023, 11:43   #1
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A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-valparai-panorama.jpg

Inspired by GeneralJazz's Valparai travelogue, decided to visit Valparai last weekend with family. This was a short trip with just a one night stay at Valparai. Did not do much sightseeing - just a couple of places, but spent most of the time lazing around in the estate, enjoying the homely food, photographing the landscape, the car, flowers and insects, and went for some drives on the scenic mountain roads. So this is a more of a photologue than a travelogue.

We left Coimbatore on Saturday morning, visited Aliyar dam on the way and reached Waterfall Estate Valleyview Bungalow in the afternoon. After lunch, spent the day lazing around in the bungalow. Went for a short drive in the evening and did some photography with family. With my BIL who is also photography enthusiast, spent a couple of hours in the night trying a silhoutte picture of the 3GT. Went for a long drive in the morning to take some pictures of the view of Aliyar dam backwaters. Checked out from the bungalow, visited Balaji temple and back home in the evening.

Aliyar Dam

Visited Aliyar dam on Saturday morning on the way to Valparai. It was quite hot and humid and lots of holiday rush as well. Being summer, the water level in the reservoir also was low. We spent just an hour walking around, climbing the steps to the top of the dam to have a look at the reservoir and proceeded our drive to Valparai. A few pictures from the dam.

The canal.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-canal.jpg

The garden.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-garden-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-garden-2.jpg

At the top of the dam.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-top-dam.jpg

Reservoir.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-reservoir.jpg

A panorama of the reservoir.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-panorama.jpg

The Stay - Waterfalls Estate Valleview Bunglow:

Valparai has very few options for stay. There are no resorts in Valparai. Only options are the bungalows in the tea estates like Briar, Sinnadurai and Waterfall. After reading GeneralJazz's travelogue, decided to stay at Waterfall estate. They have three bungalows at Waterfalls - Indraprasth, Valleyview and Tennis court. Decided to stay at VallewView after reading GeneralJazz's travelogue. The bungalow is situated inside the tea gardens at an elevation. The bungalow has two rooms with double beds and a couple of smaller rooms with single cots and can accomodate 8 people comfortably. The bungalow is surrounded by a well maintained garden with lots of colorful flowers. It was a pleasant experience having coffee in the garden in the cold morning. There were a couple of caretakers, one of them a cook who made some delicious food - simple and tasty. A few pictures of the property.

The bungalow from outside.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-bungalow.jpg

Living room.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-drawing-room.jpg

Bedroom #1 and #2 with double beds.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-bedroom-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-bedroom-2.jpg

Bedroom #3 with a single bed.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-bedroom-3.jpg

Dining room.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-dining-room.jpg

The garden.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-garden-bungalow.jpg

Lunch and dinner are made per order. They had a menu with lot of choices for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-lunch-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-lunch-2.jpg

They made some tasty bajjis to have with coffee in the evening.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-snacks.jpg

Breakfast was a fixed menu they decided. On the day we stayed, they made idli, dosa, chutney, sambar, bread and omlettes.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-breakfast-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-breakfast-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-breakfast-3.jpg

I would rate the stay 4.5 stars. The only inconvenience (not a deal breaker though) was we had to visit the tea factory office to settle the bill. It took about 45 minutes to complete this formality. If they could let us settle the bill at the bungalow itself, that would save some time and hassle.

Last edited by graaja : 8th June 2023 at 13:16.
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Old 8th June 2023, 11:47   #2
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Re: A Weekedn Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Balaji Temple:

On Sunday, we visited the Balaji temple. This temple is situated inside another tea estate and is a private property. The last one kilometer climb to the temple is through some very bad broken roads which is almost like off-roading. But most cars can reach the top with some careful driving.

We reached the temple at noon and they had just closed the temple. We had two options - drop the temple visit and visit Sholayar dam and drive back to Coimbatore, or wait till 3 and visit the temple and go back to Coimbatore. As it was Sunday and schools had not yet reopened, I expected lot of rush at Sholayar dam. So we decided to wait for the temple to reopen.

The parking lot was a flat gound with a view of a beautiful valley. And ours was the only car parked. So I and my BIL spent some time taking some car pictures. The temple opened at 3PM. We had to walk about half a kilometer to a hill top where this neatly maintained temple was situated. Spent some time in the serene surroundings and returned back to the car and drove back to Coimbatore.

A few pictures from the temple visit. As photography was not allowed inside the temple compound, I only have a picture of the temple from some distance.

The broken road that leads to the temple parking. I managed to drive without scraping the underbody even with full load in the car.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-broken-road-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-broken-road-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-broken-road-3.jpg

The entrance to the private road that leads to the temple.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-entrance.jpg

Walk through a winding path through the tea estate.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-path-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-path-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-path-3.jpg

The temple.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-temple-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-temple-2.jpg

The beautiful view of the valley from the parking spot.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-img_6723.jpg

Photography:

Landscape Pictures:

With the grand mountains and beautiful valleys covered in lush green tea gardens, Valparai is rightly called the 7th heaven. A few pictures of the scenery as one drives around Valparai.

The view of the Aliyar dam reservoir from the 16th hairpin bend.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-alyar-dam-view.jpg

Misty mountains and valley.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-misty-mountain-valley.jpg

A few pictures of the tea gardens.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-tea-garden-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-tea-garden-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-tea-garden-3.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-tea-garden-4.jpg

A few panoramas.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-pano-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-pano-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-pano-3.jpg

Macro Photography:

Recently I got interested in macro photography. I have been trying photography of flowers using the 24-105mm and 100-500mm telephoto lenses. But I could not try photographing insects as I did not have a proper macro lens. Rented an EF100 F/2.8 macro lens for a couple of days and tried shooting some insects in the garden. Struggled a lot with getting the right focus and exposure. Managed to click a few lucky shots of some insects.

A blue banded honey bee in search of nectar!
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-blue-banded-bee-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-blue-banded-bee-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-blue-banded-bee-4.jpg

A honey bee flower hopping for nectar, and a mosquito photo-bombing.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-honey-bee-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-honey-bee-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-honey-bee-3.jpg

A spider waiting in its web for the prey.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-spider-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-spider-2.jpg

A red ant.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-red-ant.jpg

A leaf beatle drying itself in the sun after a brief drizzle.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-leaf-beetle-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-leaf-beetle-2.jpg

Last edited by graaja : 8th June 2023 at 14:34.
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Old 8th June 2023, 11:52   #3
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Re: A Weekedn Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Photography: ...Contd...

Flowers:

The garden around the Valleyview Bungalow had lots of beautiful flowers. Spent some time taking pictures of these flowers. A few pictures below.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-3.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-4.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-5.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-6.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-7.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-flowers-8.jpg

A water sprinkler in action.
A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-sprinkler.jpg

This flower was lying on a layer of moss with sunlight from behind. My BIL taught me how to work with light on objects like this. Captured some pictures of this flower.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-light-play-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-light-play-2.jpg

Car Pictures:

I love shooting pictures of the 3GT during these drives. The blue GT with the lush green tea gardens was a very nice combination to shoot. A few pictures of the 3GT inside the tea gardens. Some of these pictures are shot by my BIL. Had a great time with someone who has the same passion for photography.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-1.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-2.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-3.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-4.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-5.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-6.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-7.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-8.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-9.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-10.jpg

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-11.jpg

One long time wish of mine is to shoot a silhoutte picture of the 3GT with the DRLs, and a very soft lighting of the bonnet and grill. Got a great partner in my BIL for this shoot. We used two flashes one on the camera and another flash with my macro diffuser as slave. My BIL held the flash over the car to illuminate the bonnet. We spent 2 hours trying various settings like flash intensity, angle of the flash, aperture and exposure settings in the camera, and 250+ trial shots. Finally got a few pictures with the lighting almost as I had wanted it to be. Processed one of the images and below is the result. I am not sure how good this picture is, but it gives lot of joy and satisfaction

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-car-silhoutte.jpg

This picture is now my desktop wallpaper.

A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue-wall-paper.jpg

Thats all folks, I have on this weekend getway!

Last edited by graaja : 8th June 2023 at 15:06.
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Old 8th June 2023, 16:28   #4
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Excellent pictures coach. Valparai is much quieter and serene.
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Old 8th June 2023, 17:04   #5
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Somehow we have always stayed at Sinnadorai which too is great.What is the tariff in Waterfalls for its rooms?

The drive through the clouds is always so awesome at Valparai.

Lovely photos @graaja.
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Old 8th June 2023, 18:03   #6
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraft.wagen View Post
Excellent pictures coach. Valparai is much quieter and serene.
Thank you for the kind words kraft.wagen. I have found Valparai to be with very less traffic and serene. But in the last two drives I did to Valparai in the past two months, I have seen unusually high crowd. This could be because people have started looking for alternatives to the extremely crowded Ooty. But still comparatively, the crowd is definitely less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vijayols View Post
Somehow we have always stayed at Sinnadorai which too is great.What is the tariff in Waterfalls for its rooms?

The drive through the clouds is always so awesome at Valparai.

Lovely photos @graaja.
Thank you for the kind words. The tariff at ValleyView is 4.2K per room per night for two occupants.
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Old 8th June 2023, 22:15   #7
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Awesome pics coach. A super way to unwind

So can we expect a new thread 'My photography journey'?
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Old 8th June 2023, 22:44   #8
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Nice travelogue with some lovely pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graaja View Post
This could be because people have started looking for alternatives to the extremely crowded Ooty. But still comparatively, the crowd is definitely less.
.
Yes, we applied the same logic too when we were looking for a 3 day trip.

In its current state, definitely Valparai will not be able to handle too much crowd. I wish it stays as it is now.

By the way, since May this is the 3rd travelogue on Valparai, this will also lead to more crowd .
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Old 9th June 2023, 05:15   #9
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Awesome pics coach. A super way to unwind

So can we expect a new thread 'My photography journey'?
Thank you so much for the kind words!

Still a lot to learn before I can write a thread on this topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
Nice travelogue with some lovely pics.

Yes, we applied the same logic too when we were looking for a 3 day trip.

In its current state, definitely Valparai will not be able to handle too much crowd. I wish it stays as it is now.

By the way, since May this is the 3rd travelogue on Valparai, this will also lead to more crowd .
Thank you for the kind words. Agree with your point. Valparai does not have the infrastructure and resources to handle the crowd. Things may get worse in the near future.
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Old 10th June 2023, 11:45   #10
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Lovely pictures and narration graaja! Thank you!

Your 3GT especially looks awesome in the backdrop of the hills and the tea estates.

I had visited Valparai for the first time last year and had stayed at the Sinnadorai Bungalow. The drive was amazing while the stay and the hospitality were excellent.
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Old 10th June 2023, 13:51   #11
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Re: A Weekedn Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by graaja View Post
Balaji Temple:

On Sunday, we visited the Balaji temple. This temple is situated inside another tea estate and is a private property. The last one kilometer climb to the temple is through some very bad broken roads which is almost like off-roading. But most cars can reach the top with some careful driving.

Brings back my memories from 2000 when I was lucky to visit Valparai and this temple as part of a more than a month long trip of audits of Tata Owned estates.

Does the temple still have the Rose garden in the walkway? I can still smell the fresh roses as I walk by. By far one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited.

Last edited by theabstractmind : 10th June 2023 at 13:52. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 10th June 2023, 14:25   #12
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

When it comes to photologues, there's one crucial element that never fails to catch my attention: food! And boy, it appears that your time at the bungalow was a culinary adventure! That food looks so good.
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Old 10th June 2023, 17:18   #13
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Re: A Weekend Getaway to Valparai - A Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by anshu1101 View Post
Your 3GT especially looks awesome in the backdrop of the hills and the tea estates.

I had visited Valparai for the first time last year and had stayed at the Sinnadorai Bungalow. The drive was amazing while the stay and the hospitality were excellent.
Thank you for the kind words. I have not stayed in Sinnadorai bungalow yet. Will check it out next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theabstractmind View Post
Does the temple still have the Rose garden in the walkway? I can still smell the fresh roses as I walk by. By far one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited.
No. There is no rose garden in the walkway now. They have also closed access to go around the temple now. But the temple is maintained very well still.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raptor_diwan View Post
And boy, it appears that your time at the bungalow was a culinary adventure! That food looks so good.
True. The food was simple and very tasty.
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