We were planning a trip during the long weekend of 2-4 Oct’15. We knew that the ‘Bangalore Janta’ would be moving out of town and all nearest known popular hill stations will be crowded. So we decided to explore such a hill station which was not very well known on the map of tourism. We wanted a less crowded place, so that we can spend some time to explore mountains, rivers, and waterfalls and enjoy greenery in peace and tranquility. We looked up the western ghat area between Munnar and Kodaikanal and we locked up on Valparai a small town, a tea estate-cum-hill station which is located at 3500 feet above sea level in Anamalai mountain ranges in Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu. Valparai is 110km from Coimbatore and 65km from Pollachi by road. So this is how our journey started.
We (Akshay, Himanshu, Nachiket, Narra, Peeyush and myself Khushal) reached to SBC (Bangalore Junction) by 7:30PM after a tired day in office on Thursday. We boarded Kanyakumari express for a 7 hours journey to Coimbatore. Fortunately we were lucky enough to get seats in the fully occupied general coach. This is indeed a big achievement when you travel by general coach and that too from SBC ;). Now by hook or by crook we had to be awake till Coimbatore or else we would miss the stop. For quality time pass we had a very aggressive debate on politics (Modi vs Kejariwal), very ideal discussion on money-based vs value-based economy (which turned out to be the hottest topic for the whole trip) and we did play card games too.
We reached Coimbatore around 3AM in morning and took a city bus to Ukkadam bus-stand. Direct state transportation bus to Valparai was at 5:30 in morning, so we decided to get-in another bus till Pollachi which was departing around 3:30AM. Obviously, there was no rush in bus as it was midnight and this one hour journey was very quiet (four of us were sleeping in the bus after the tiring general coach train journey) till we reached Pollachi around 4:45AM. We did not have dinner on the previous day and unfortunately we did not get any chance to eat food during our train journey so everyone was hungry. Next bus to Valparai from Pollachi was in morning 5:30AM and in the meantime we had biscuits and tea at one of the many local shops at Pollachi bus-stand and took a little rest.
Finally, we started our journey to Valparai after the bus came at 5:45AM and this was supposed to be the most exciting part of our journey and indeed it was. The early morning on a rainy day made the uphill journey very different. It was a winding ghat uphill road with 40 hairpins bands and full of turns. Wow! Also you can clearly see Aliyar dam on one side of the road and tea estates on the other. It took almost three hours to reach Valparai.
We then settled ourselves in one of the many available home stay, freshen up and went for breakfast straightaway. We came back to room and took rest till 1 o’clock in afternoon. Home stay owners at Valparai worked as sort of a tour guide. We gathered information about nearby places from our home stay owner (Mohammad) and we chose to visit places that were not mentioned in any of the blogs. Mohammad arranged packed homemade food and a guy who took us to Koolangal River which is around 3KM from the town. We walked till the place and had our lunch on the river bank. It was a very delicious homemade Tamilian dish with rice, sambhar, rasam and curry (Thank you Mohammad!). After the lunch we all jumped in the fresh and cool river water for a bath.
We then went further down the road and took some photographs and by evening we returned back to our home stay.
We had our dinner at Green Hill restaurant and enjoyed a freedom series first T20 match between India and SA (We lost it L ). After the match we left for a small walk on Valparai streets and that very short walk on the road was unforgettable!! Thanks to the few horror stories from the Akshay-the story creator.
Next day morning we decided to trek and we left for Rotikadai with Mohammad around 7:30 in morning (Thanks again Mohammad for the masala tea). Mohammad picked up a villager from the town to guide us as it was not a good explored trail. We packed breakfast from one of the village shop. The Trek route starts as soon as you get down at bus stop. Firstly it goes through streets of Rotikadai and then you must follow the guide instructions and footsteps. There was no clear routes and we were blindly following our guide and then it suddenly started raining (be aware of the blood sucker leeches!!). It was a craggy trek and due to the rain it was slippery too. After the initial part of the trek the difficulty level was less than moderate and we continued to climb easily and reached to the peak. It is almost 3-4KM from the Rotikadai town. We finished breakfast and then kept ourselves busy to enjoy nature. It was a pleasant morning and the air on the peak was so healthy..! The mountains slopes covered with tall trees and tea estates looked splendid. The cool wind sets up your mood and refreshes your mind. My heart was filled with joy in company of nature and watching clouds traversing across the sky.
We were down to town by 12:30PM and again returned to rooms. After lunch we decided to visit unexplored, no-at-all crowded waterfall at Vellamalai Tunnel 7km from the town. We took a cab to the place. It was a very small waterfall gushing over the rocks but hammering the rocks too!! The water was so cool that it was freezing and we were shivering but it was the most enjoyable time across the trip. It was almost evening when we came back to the room and then started to plan our return journey.
We checked out next morning to catch a bus to Pollachi. We enjoyed breakfast at Pollachi and got in the next bus to Coimbatore. We arrived at 12:30PM to Coimbatore. The very next train to Bangalore was at 3PM and so we decided to move on rather than waiting for 3 odd hours. We boarded the Ernakulam-Bilaspur express at 1:30PM till Salem junction.
We continued to move forward and took another train Kodai express till Jolarpet. It was around 7:30PM and there was no train from Jolarpet to Bangalore till midnight. So we rented an auto till Tiruputtar and then took bus from to Bangalore. We finally reached Bangalore by 12 midnight and returned home filled with the wonder and loveliness of nature.
Home stay info:
It was really a nice home with 2 bedrooms and a large hall with TV connections. It was really pocket friendly for a hill station location and the owner Mohammad was really a nice person. I think this is not available for online booking. You can call Mohammad and book the rooms.
Name: Holiday Home Stay (Owner Name: Mohammad)
Other places to visit: Even after such a great time a Valparai, we did not cover those places which were mentioned all over the internet like water reservoirs, Monkey falls, wildlife sanctuaries etc., just because of our constraints of avoiding crowded places.!