Chennai -> Pollachi -> Valparai -> Chennai! Awesome Trip!!
Hi all. This blog is about my experiences during my recent trip from chennai to pollachi and valparai and back to chennai. Pollachi is a medium sized town having lot of tourist spots and cinema shooting spots around it. It is located about 530kms away from chennai. We travelled in our own vehicle and reached there in 9hrs 30mins. The drive was a bit tiring because we drove the entire way in daylight.
We started from chennai at 7am and reached pollachi at 5.30pm. Excluding halts for lunch and tea, we reached there in 9hrs and 30mins. We stayed at a hotel in pollachi and rested for the night, bought some supplies and prepared ourselves for the next day.
The next morning, we started off to topslip and reached there by 8.45am. Topslip is a protected forest area where the famous tamil movie 'Suriyan' was shot. Just to remind those few who forgot about this movie, the movie had some of the most hilarious comedies enacted by our beloved Koundamani. Here I would like to share some of the most quoted dialogues from his stint in this movie:
Police officer:Who fired at Suriyan
Koundamani: Very Sorry..No one can fire suriyan..only sunlight can fire us
K: Narayana!! Indha kosu tholla thaanga mudiyalada..enga ponaalum pinthodarudhu
K: Start Music!!!! Gaandha kannazhagi...
K: Idhellam arasiyalla saadharnamappa
Back to topslip and my trip - We went through the toll gate at the bottom of the mountain and the forest, signed some registers, paid for the passes and started off to the top. Like I said earlier, we reached topslip around 8.45 am and registered at the reception for the next available forest safari trip.
An interesting piece of information here is that the forest department is organizing package tours including boarding, lodging, elephant safari, forest safari in van, trekking and local site seeing. I heard it is around 4k for 2 people.
You could contact forest department and book rooms in advance:
Wildlife Warden Office,
178, Meenakshi Road,
Pollachi - 642001
Contact No: 04259 ??? 238360
The forest safari in the van started at 11am and we went in a tempo traveller having 22 people inside. The tourists are allowed on first come first serve basis for this ride. When we went into the forest, there was a slight drizzle and it was an excellent sight. We travelled about 6 kms into the thick forest with the driver taking us through the usual route marked by earlier drives of the same tempo traveller.
I felt as if I was next to god. I could see small streams of water around, few elephants grazing the area and some deer playing and running around. In the distance we could see some lion tailed macaques (a variety of monkeys with a silver white mane surrounding its face like a lion) eating berries.
Finally we reached a tribal village where the guide showed us the tribal ways of life. We saw an elephant feeding chamber and elephant quarters. There was a big tree which is being used to tie huge elephants. The guide informed that this was the place where the song 'Lalaku dol dappi ma' was shot in the movie Suriyan ..The tribals here had their own elementary school, houses and were employed by the forest department to handle the elephants, maintain??the forest, construct some check dams etc. I was told that they even have ration cards & voter id cards, making me wonder if they indeed are tribals.
We spent some time there and came back to the forest office by 1.30pm. We had lunch in the forest office cafeteria and relaxed for some more time there. We went on an elephant safari for some time amusing my cousins (and myself ;) ...). Adjacent to topslip is the kerala border across which is the parambikulam wildlife sanctuary. I heard that there is a lake, dam, waterfall & good trekking spots in parambikulam. Due to time constraint, since we wanted to drive in daylight, we started back to the room by 4.40pm.
The next day, we started at 8.30 am and went to 'Aaliyar' dam. This dam has also been used as a shooting spot in lot of old tamil movies like Shanti nilayam, kaadhalikka neramillai, etc. Next stop - Vaalparai.
Valparai is again a centre place for a lot of tourist spots. The route from Aaliyar to Valparai is absolutely scenic & slightly dangerous??with around 40 hairpin bends. One needs to keep his eye on the road inspite of the breath taking scenery.
On the way to valparai is the 'Attakatty' view point. It shows the top view of Aaliyar dam, all surrounding mountains and a lovely horizon. Take a couple of snaps here and move on to Valparai. Be careful though, the road has some monkey crossing areas, that too of endangered species. Drive slowly and ensure you do not manifest into a risk for the monkeys :p.
On reaching valparai, we went to a dam called 'Chinnakallar'. This dam is the living evidence of the saying 'beauty is dangerous'. There was a stream of water alongside the dam walls and we were playing there for some time. Suddenly I noticed a big 'Leech' on my cousin's leg. He started screaming (10yr old kid) and we tried pacifying him. We put some salt on his leg and the leech fell off.
Lesson - Please carry salt, it might come handy.
Then we all checked our hands and legs only to find more leeches. We killed all those ****** leeches with salt and whatever we could get our hands on. We then completed a short trek and came back. Next stop 'Neerar Dam' which was called a check dam. But it was so big and so beautiful that I could not beleive it to be a check dam. We spent some time there and had our lunch there in a small mess enroute to valparai.
After coming back to valparai, we bought some high quality mountain tea and spices. After the ladies completed their round of shopping, we strated off to our next destination - Karumalai Balaji temple.
This Balaji temple is a private owned and maintained temple. There is a Balaji idol and Hanuman idol here. There is a children play area for under 10's. A huge lawn full of lush grass is being maintained for visitors to sit and relax.
All around valparai, we could see lot of tea estates full of tea plantation covering the whole landscape like a green blanket.
We again started back to the room from valparai by 5.00pm and reached there by 7pm. We finally started back to chennai next morning at 10am and reached chennai by 9pm. It was a memorable trip and this is actually the second time I have been to pollachi and valparai.
There is a wonderful place called the 'Grass Hills' for which prior permission is required from Forest department and we were not able to go there. Hoping to visit that place the next time...Until then, happy working