This monsoon July 2011, in my family, we went for a long vacation to Kerala. Here, I am going to share our soothing experiences in few posts, of course with pictures. On Day1 morning, I joined my family (who started from Pondicherry) at Pollachi. [Before that I was supposed to get down at Pollachi from the bus I travelled. But I slept (happened like this for the first time); hence I had to travel (extra 10km) till Udumalapet and take another bus to Pollachi]. We headed to Aliyar Dam at Aliyar. Aliyar Dam was awesome. The landscape of the mountains, clouds, water reservoir threw at us was mesmerizing. The clouds were embracing the mountains. There were couple of boats floating in the water reservoir. I framed a little of all these in my camera. The mountain landscape continued to the other side of the dam, where, in front of my eyes I could only see a blanket of trees, nothing else. And while the air was brushing the blanket, some trees were nodding with red flowers. I don’t remember when I last saw such view.
(On way to Aliyar Dam)
(From the park at Aliyar Dam)
Landscapes at Aliyar Dam
Other side of the dam
Travel Notes: Aliyar Dam is an excellent place to picnic with family, friends. There were not enough good hotels/restaurant at Aliyar Dam. Hence carrying food, especially for family picnics is highly recommended.
From Aliyar dam we headed to Arivu Thirukkoil (Temple of consciousness) by World Community Service Center-WCSC founded by Yogiraj Shri Vethathiri Maharishi (19th Siddha). Amidst nature, amidst silence, Arivu Thirukkoil is an excellent place to stay and learn physical exercises, Kayakalpa, Mediation at easily affordable economic prices. WCSC is far from commercialisation yet highly reputed institute which is in the service for over 50+years
From Arivu Thirukkoil we travelled to Valparai all through numerous hairpin bends in the mountain. The day was cloudy. As we travelled higher the altitude, a close to bird’s view of the Aliyar Dam and the surrounding landscapes of mountains was breathtaking. We stopped the car for a while and clicked few shots. I didn’t go in any helicopter to get such shots. I was just clicking from the mountain. All through the way Valparai we came across numerous waterfalls.
We reached Valparai for a late lunch. As per locals’ suggestion, we headed to Chinnakkallar Waterfalls, Neeraar Dam, and Poonjolai. The way to Chinnakkallar Waterfalls is full of tea plantation estates and beyond a point it is forest. At many places in the tea plantation, there were huddles of blue colour walled houses with roofs using brick tiles. What a taste for those people living there. The blue colour fully complimented the tea plantations. The mist fittingly added the heavenly touch to the home. At the outset, to me, it looked like a simple life. In my humble opinion, they (and I) don’t need any iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iPad to listen to a melody there. We just need to listen to the silence there. There was a calm young forest guard there to help us to trek about 500m to Chinnakkallar Waterfalls. On a mat of wet grasslands, we were walking to the waterfalls. The forest guard said that, in a year, it would rain for 8 months in that place. Only between Dec and March it doesn’t rain. Facing the waterfalls at 100m, there is a suspension bridge constructed [during the British days] using wooden boards and ropes. On the mildly dancing bridge, standing and watching the waterfalls while heaven pouring as rains was a pleasant experience for us. As mist was covering the mountains, we didn’t go to Neerar Dam and Poonjolai. However we travelled to Balaji Temple. What a place for a temple. (Lord) Balaji is intelligent. He has chosen a spell bounding place to stay. An excellent temple to sit and adore the beauty of silence.
Travel Notes: For Chinnakkallar Falls, Neeraar Dam & Poonjolai, forest department charges a fee. We (5+1D) paid Rs.600 for the package trip (inclusive of trekking charges, car, etc). According to locals there, the views we would witness at Neeraar Dam, Poonjolai would be breathtaking. (A family friend of us at Balaji Temple recommended us that) There are couple of important places such as Lemon Grass Hill (only by (an excellent) trekking (spot) in early summer Mar-Apr) and Top slip. There are around 15-20 hydroelectric power projects in and around Valparai. Orthodox vegetarians would find impossible to find pure vegetarian food there.
In short, Valparai is a sweet place to get lost.