Tag Archives: Valparai

Enthusing Slackers.

Now, as we all know slackers is a term used for people who laze and avoid work. At least that is the way the Queen would understand it. As is their wont, them Yanks have put some weird Puritanical twist on it. Refer same link as above. Anyhow, I like to think I’m in the first class (insert your first class joke here). And so does the Urban Yogi. So what do slackers do? They take Friday off and go on a long drive.

This is how it transpired. The Missus had combined a week’s official trip with a weekend of hanging out with her folks, and was kind enough to let me loose. Having got said weekend, I appended a Friday and called up the U Yogi to check his availability. Both him and his Gypsy were available. Having decided anywhere in the 300 km radius of Bengaluru was not worth the effort, where to go was decided by the simple process of elimination. Points North and East were discarded because of the heat. The west, because anything beyond 300 km would put you in the Arabian Sea, so the only direction left was the South. I suggested Valparai. The last trip to Valparai, in 2006, was not exactly a trip. It was more of one long round trip from Bengaluru, with a brief stop over at Valparai. I thought I should remedy that. The Yogi agreed. So Valparai it was.

A February morning at the Tennis Bungalow, Waterfall Estate, Valparai.
A February morning at the Tennis Bungalow, Waterfall Estate, Valparai.

On the drive out, the Yogi commented that all his trips out of Bengaluru, involved taking one major, critical right turn. And that he was tired of it. So to get to Valparai, you take NH 7 up to Salem, then take a right at Salem on to the NH47 and then the all important left off NH 47 to Tirupur. That satisfied the Yogi, and to satisfy his natural urge to take a right, we got lost in the maze that is Tirupur so ended up taking another right to get on to the main road to Valparai. Since we were slacking off, left or right didn’t matter. However, if you’re one of those who get antsy about getting to their destination, then ask for the old bus stand at Tirupur and follow the road out to Pollachi and thence to Valparai. At Pollachi, they’re building a railway bridge, which looks like one of those projects that successive governments use to showcase their achievements. The alternate route will give you a short trip inside Pollachi and then you’re out. The last stretch is excellent, in fact the roads all the way through are good. At least as of early 2010.

The Valley View Bungalow at Waterfall Estate, Valparai.
The Valley View Bungalow at Waterfall Estate, Valparai.

Our drive ended at the Waterfall Estate, that is just past the 28th hair-pin bend on the way from Pollachi to Valparai. Them hair-pins go all the way up to 40. The estate has 3 bungalows that they let out, Indraprasth, the Tennis Bungalow and the Valley View. We got the Tennis Bungalow, named because it has a tennis court attached to it, if it was not clear. Once we got their, we mostly filled time till our helpful caretaker, Chandran, placed the next meal in front of us. Not to mention the endless cups of tea.

Bison in the tea gardens of Waterfall Estate

Now, earlier trips have drawn a blank in the animal sighting department. Valparai more than made that up. While on our desultory walks about the estate, we spotted gaur and barking deer. On our drive out to the Sholayar dam, we spotted a family of Lion Tailed Macaques. That was a little sad though, as the macaques were near the road, where beings allegedly above the macaques on the evolutionary tree, were feeding them. Passing traffic is definitely a hazard for the macaques, which are an endangered species.

All this talk of walks and drives, of course, makes it difficult to imagine that 2 slackers got any slacking done. How does a combined total of 40 hours of sleep, 5 games of carrom (won by the Yogi 3-2) and 6 hearty meals sound? Of course, the Yogi didn’t win 3-2 as much as lost 2 games by very helpfully pocketing the cover before the Queen. Valparai, it would seem, lends itself very well to the art of doing nothing. That should enthuse the slackers.

Long trips, short weekends

Valparai, 88 kms south-west of Coimbatore was the chosen destination. We did start out in time from Bangalore, but didn’t bargain for god-awful traffic between Salem & Coimbatore. Not to mention the numerous breaks we took and the long detour into Erode to fill LPG. When we found one right on the road just out of Tirupur. And the couple of experiments in short cuts. Sigh. The things you learn.

Mist rolls in the afternoon on the way up to Valparai.

Valparai is not your typical weekend break. At least not from Bangalore. For a start, it’s might be a little too far – about 415/420 kms. If you are lucky or drive like Sebastian Loeb. The drive post Pollachi into Valparai is an absolute dream. You will hit the Aliyar Dam and it’s reservoir will be the focal point of all the stops that you make as you climb upto Valparai. The climb however comes with a caveat, the 40 hair pin bends give the 37 hair pins on Kalhatti into Ooty a run for it’s money. It’s a difficult choice between the drive and the scenery. The Green Hill is the only place to stay in Valparai. There are a couple of others, but might not be up the alley of most. And at around 550 per room, it’s definitely worth the money.

There is not much to do in Valparai. However, there are excellent drives around the place. The drive to Sholayar Dam is highly recommended. For the exploratory, you can then take the road into Kerala. Go to Palakkad, Calicut into Wayanad and thence to Bangalore.

But you need a really long weekend for that!

Update Early 2010: I did finagle a long weekend and go here. Trip report here.