04.04.2017 - 05.04.2017 15 °C
A Morning with Mist and Dews!
We have started our journey at around 11 in the morning. As flying through the newly built four lane national highway (NH47) speed cameras and traffic signals interrupted our speed. From Chalakkudy, we had a good lunch. The taste of nadan fish curry is still in our memory. After covering Athirappilly and Vazhachal water falls we have reached Vazhachal checkpost. Glassy roads made our drive smoother and faster. The procedures at checkpost were simple - writing down our name, vechile registration number and a signature - we continued our journey.
The forest starts there. As we drew forward the magnificient image that held our breath still enclosed us. Monkeys were seen on roadsides and on trees. We could hear chirping of birds that had not been heard before. It was around 2:00 PM when we left Vazhachal. Just about a kilometer from the checkpost, we crossed the Vazhachal Bridge that took us to the other side of the river. The bridge was so narrow. We kept our mindset for the encounter of wild beasts.
Fresh elephant dung on the way and strong stench drew a fear of thought in our mind and body. It was clear that elephants had just passed through the road possibly minutes before. Luckily or unluckily we could'nt find one. Peringalkuthu dam was on our way. We had to take a small deveation to reach there. But unfortunately we didn’t get the permission to enter the dam area. So we dropped that plan. There is absolutely no human settlement between Peringalkuthu dam and Malakkaparai. The only village before malakkapari is Pulielapara, a very small town where a powerhouse is situated.
While going on we could spot out a few temporary tribal settlements where some of them were seen. Only few trucks were came in our opposite direction from Valparai. The travelers had a good smile on seeing us. One of the truck drivers warned us the condition of the road to Valparai. He also mentioned that a KSRTC bus had just gone in our direction to Valparai. We felt a little comfortable and continued our trip.
While going on we reached a view point naming Thottapura view point. From there we could have an entirely different vantage look of Peringalkuthu Lake and the entire area. Around 14 kilometers from Vazhachal bridge we found another bridge “Aanakayam paalam”, which is very narrow even for a car.
The misty breeze from the forest made us fresh, cool and energetic. As the truck driver told, we found the KSRTC bus after about 15 minutes. The KSRTC driver was a soft person, he allowed us to overtake him on that very narrow way. Vision was poor because of the tall trees on both sides. Finally after one and a half hours drive from Vazhachal chekpost, we could reach the Malakkappara checkpost.
At check post we had to show them the permission granted from the previous checkpost. After 5 minutes of halt at the checkpost, we again started the trip. Malakkappara checkpost is situated at the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border. After checking our papers an officer came and opened the checkpos and we entered the state of Tamil Nadu. From Malakkappara, tea plantations were seen on both sides.
While driving through the green carpet like plantations we have seen a huge construction on right side. The Sholayar Dam! We crossed the dam through a small bridge. The dam was almost empty. This dam is a part of the hydroelectric project of Tamil Nadu, and need special permission to visit the same. The catchment area of Sholayar dam was covered by steep hills of tea plantations.
We could find tea shops which spit smoke on the road side. We had a good tea with vada and chutney. Far away we could see some sheds in the midst of plantations. After having the tea, we started and at last we reached our destination. Valparai!
After roaming about one hour, we reached the hotel which was booked earlier. The cool and gentle wind was blowing. It was a good room and the ambience was so nice. Having two chappathi's, we went into a deep sleep.
Valparai- Pollachi (Day 2)
We woke up in the morning hearing birds singing near to the window. Oh! What a sweet morning. The morning bliss was awesome. After having a black tea from the nearby shop, we had a walk through the roads. While walking through the road we saw the mountains & tea plantations covered with snow and realised this was one of our best morning walks ever. The cool wind filled in us a fresh energy.
Had a cool water bath, we left our hotel room and continued our journey. We were heading towards Pollachi. Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is now known as Indira Gandhi Wildlife sanctuary and National park. The renamed sanctuary is almost 1000 sq.km in size and this place is rich in flora and fauna. The road from Valparai to Pollachi goes through it.
The main attraction between Valparai and Pollachi is the Aliyar dam. The drive towards Aliyar dam is the one which has to be experienced by everyone. Especially the 40 hairpin bends! It will give a different feel. We will get a good view of the catchment area of the dam from the road. It is one of the best scenes to watch. The problem while driving form Valparai to Aliyar was that we wanted to stop everywhere.
Barely 5 km from Aliyar check post we reached Monkeyfalls around 12 noon. There was no rush so that we could see it clearly. Only two or three families were there at that time. The fully blossomed jacaranda tree refreshed our mind again. 30 minutes later we reached 27th hairpin bend and it was a designated view point. Since it was a clear day, we got a good bird’s eye view of Aaliyar dam from the car. Then we tighten up our seat belts to Pollachi.
Wide roads, good climate, less traffic made our journey easier. From Pollachi road, we deviated to head towards Munnar. On that point of road, we stopped to have our lunch. It was a rich vegitable meal with curd, payasam and pappad. With stomach full and minds full, we again started to our next destination- Munnar.
Around 2:30 PM we reached Chinnar Tamilnadu check post. While signing their register he warned us about the elephants crossing. Chinnar was one of our first experiences in driving through a wildlife sanctuary. It was a narrow road and there were no vechicles at all!
We had seen many boards which showed the presence of tigers and lepoards in the area. Roads were all deserted with dry forest land fully surrounding us. We had to pass about four checkposts to reach Munnar. And that drive was so crazy and adventurous. Thus by around 4 in the evening, we reached the Marayur, the land of sandalwoods and marayur sharkara (jaggery). After spending some quality time there we headed to munnar.
Between Marayur and Munnar road we halted for some time and had a tea with vadai. The vadai was so crispy. So we had about three vadai. Also the tea was so tasty and hot to beat the cold atmosphere of Munnar hill station. After about spending an hour at Munnar, we started to drive back.
Sun was fading and we switched on the headlights. Again a drive about 120 kms and it took about 3 hours to reach Muvattupuzha town from where we had our dinner. Even though our mind was fully energetic, body couldnt cope up due to the two day drive. But still, due to all positive vibes we were still on. After finishing the dinner, we went back home. On reaching home, thrown into the bed, recollecting all the memories and viewing all the photographs which were captured in the past two days. This was one of the best experiences that we had experienced. We wish all the travel enthusiasts to have the same.
Thank you for reading us.
Samuel Baby Mathew
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