Since the monsoon started already, me and few of my friends decided to go for a short trip. We had two choices; either to Silent Valley or Valparai. Though Silent Valley is short by 20 kms from my home town we opted for Valparai (though we visited number of times) because we need prior permission from Forest department to visit Silent Valley. The decision was made on Saturday night (7th June) and it was not possible to obtain the permission at a short notice, as we decided to go on 8th June.
This is my 9th Travelogue in TAI
is a Taluk and hill station in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is located 3,500 feet above sea level on the Anaimalai Hills range of the Western Ghats, at a distance of 100 km from Coimbatore and 65 km from Pollachi. There are 40 hairpin bends on the way to Valparai from Azhiyar. While major portions of the land is owned by private tea companies, large forest areas continue to be out of bounds. The Government of Tamil Nadu in collaboration with ITDC initiated Tourism promotion through infrastructure development including Resort hotels and Amusement parks to attract tourists. As of 2011, the town had a population of 70,859. Geography
Valparai is located at 10.37°N 76.97°E. It has an average elevation of 1193 metres (3914 feet). Demographics
According to 2011 census, Valparai had a population of 70,859 with a sex-ratio of 1,013 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 5,007 were under the age of six, constituting 2,564 males and 2,443 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 59.68% and 1.75% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the town was 78.47%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The town had a total of 19017 households. There were a total of 38,440 workers, comprising 107 cultivators, 4,828 main agricultural laborers, 173 in house hold industries, 29,338 other workers, 3,994 marginal workers, 71 marginal cultivators, 341 marginal agricultural laborers, 62 marginal workers in household industries and 3,520 other marginal workers. Route
Pollachi is the nearest town from Valparai. It is about 64 km from Pollachi, 80 km from Udumalai another Taluk in Coimbatore district. It has 40 Hair Pin Bends from Pollachi to Valparai.
It takes about 1 hour 30 mins to reach Valparai from Pollachi on road State Highways 78.
TNSTC buses are operated from Udumalai and palani
The Main route from udumalai to Anamalai is the better Road way to connect the Valparai to Madurai and Trichy
Valparai is connected to Athirampalli falls by road, but it is a complete Ghats Section. You can travel only in day between 9 AM to 6 PM through this route. This route is a complete adventurous trip as you could see wild animals on the way. It is almost 130 km from Valparai to Chalakudi. But it takes around 4 Hours on roads as it is a Ghats Section. Places to Visit
• Solaiyar Dam
• Balaji Temple
• Pancha Mugha Vinayakar Temple
• Monkey Falls
• Aaliyar Dam
• Athirampalli Falls
• Estates at both sides of the road
• Chinnakallar dam
• Nallamudi poonjolai
• Koolangal aaru Wildlife
Valparai is a mid-elevation hill station (Ootacamund is considerably higher). The tea plantations are surrounded by evergreen forest. The region is also a rich elephant tract and is known to have many leopards
The scenic drive to the town from Pollachi passes through the Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary noted for elephants, boars, lion-tailed macaques, gaur, spotted deer, Sambar, and Giant Squirrels. The area is also rich in birds, including the great hornbill. Water bodies at Monkey falls and Aliyar Dam are also seen en route. A famous place of worship, Balaji Temple also attracts pilgrims. Valparai receives among the highest rainfall in the region during the monsoons (around June).
The Valparai range is also habitat the Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic wild goat. These mountain goats inhabit the high ranges and prefer open terrain, cliffs and grass-covered hills, a habitat largely confined to altitudes from 1200 to 2600m in the southern Western Ghats. Their territory extended far and wide all along these hills in the past, but, because of hunting and large-scale habitat destruction, they now exist only in a few isolated sites like the Anaimalai Hills. The human-elephant conflict here is a delicate issue. The tea plantations are a hindrance to the movement of wildlife, particularly elephants who walk large distances to reach water bodies and feeding areas.
On the way to Valparai you can see many wild animals like lion tailed monkeys, elephants, deer, and wild goats. Natives of Valparai are often attacked by leopard and tiger; there are some attacks from the elephants also. – Wikipedia
On Sunday 8th June 2014, we started from my home town at 8.30 am and the distance to be covered to Valparai is only 104 kms and another 25 kms to Sholayar dam. We reached Aliyar dam at the foot hills of Valparai by 9.30 am and from this point the Ghats road begins. It was totally greenery as the monsoon started already few days back in this region. There is a small garden and a park by the side of the dam but we couldn’t go inside due to time constrain. Monkey falls is only couple of kms away from the foot hills, but there was no water; probably we may find water in two weeks when the intensity of the rain becomes more.
There are 40 Hairpin Bends to be covered before reaching Valparai, and the roads are very broad and smooth. Seen lots of monkeys on the way as usual but to our surprise we had seen Nilgiri Tahr after a few kms from down hills. The Nilgiri Tahr
, Nilgiritragus hylocrius, known locally as the Nilgiri Ibex or simply Ibex, is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu. Despite its local name, it is more closely related to the sheep of the Ovis genus than the Ibex and wild goats of the Capra genus.
The Nilgiri Tahrs are stocky goats with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Males are larger than the females, and have a darker color when mature. Both sexes have curved horns, which are larger in the males, reaching up to 40 centimetres (16 in) for males and 30 centimetres (12 in) for females. Adult males weigh 80 to 100 kilograms (180 to 220 lb) and stand about 100 centimetres (39 in) tall at the shoulder. Adult males develop a light grey area on their backs and are thus called "saddlebacks". – Wikipedia
I was driving in a relaxed way and by 10.15 am we entered the first tea plantation at Valparai. It was really beautiful to see the vast hills covered with the plantation like a green carpet. We had frequent stops for photography on the way, it was raining intermittently too. The temperature uphill was around 21 deg C and was too pleasant that anyone can enjoy.
We reached Valparai town around 10.45 am and stopped for an hour for breakfast before we continued our drive for further exploration. We drove 50 kms in and around Valparai through the dense greenery enjoying the rain and thick mist.
We went to Sholayar dam, 25 kms away from Valparai town; unfortunately the water level at the reservoir was too low. There is a small town immediately after the dam on the way to Athirapally. We spent some time there, came back to the town around 3 pm and had the lunch.
4 pm we started our journey back, it was raining on the way. We reached our place by 6 am.
Though the journey was too short we enjoyed every bit of it. Oh!!! Next week I am reaching Bangalore and I will have to compensate with another trip with the family.