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PUN-TOURED: THE BEAUTIFUL WESTERN GHATS REVISTED

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by nibedk, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    It wasn’t until 2:00 PM that we left Kodai. I had called Benny @ Misty Creek and he had advised to be @ Valparai before 6:00 PM rather before its dark. There were elephant problems being reported pretty frequently in Valparai so he cautioned us against travelling after dark. Route wise he said the roads were great and should not pose any problem. The route was decided after going through HVK’s route map, GMAPS and Sygic Maps. The route we intended to take was

    KODAI_VALPARAI.jpg

    It was very scenic as per HVKs feedback and we found even most reviews said so. Our initial plan was to leave Kodai before 1:00 PM so that we have ample time to enjoy the scenic beauty. The last 50 kms were the famous 40 twisties to Valparai. We wanted to take as many snaps as possible and enjoy the scenery all through. With Google showing close to 5 hours and road conditions brilliant through out we were sure to take not more than 5 hours. But now that we were late it looked like we would have to drive straight to Valparai with minimal breaks so that we reach our destination before its dark.

    No point delaying the drive and getting to face a herd of elephants.

    We encountered close to 70-80 hair pin bends. From Kodai till Palani it was all ghat roads with twisties. After Palani till Pollachi it was all smooth plain roads and again after Pollcahi till Valparai it was ghat roads again including the 40 twsities.

    Roads to Palani … Pretty scenic all through

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    Small waterfalls on the way

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    Some lake ….

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    On plain roads once we crossed Palani … NH209
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    Taurrie … taking a break

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    Pretty Scenic with windmills by the highway

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    They were present in clusters of hundreds

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    We crossed Pollachi by 5:00 PM and were on to SH78. The roads though two lane were well laid

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    As we approached ghats ….. light was fading pretty quick

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    Its really was eye soothing all through

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  2. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Finally the ghat roads begin ….

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    Alaiyar Dam and resorvior

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    Another shot

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    The first of the famed 40

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    Finally … our Punto on its hometurf

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    Taurrie looks happie … Ain’t he

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    We were loving it

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    It was getting darker by the minute and we thought it would be wise to move on

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    We were still some distance away and it had become completely dark

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    Fortunately for us we made it safely to our destination without any “Wild” hiccups

    View attachment 86446
    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 15, 2016 ---
    Stats Kodai - Valparai

    KODAI_VAL.jpg

    Start Time: 1:53 PM.
    End Time: 8:00 PM. (The pic was taken after unloading and freshening up)
    Distance Covered: 199.2 kms
    Travel Time (In car): 5:14 hours
    Average Speed: 38.06 km/h (MID does mistakes sometimes)
    Total Time: 6:07 hours
    Break Time: 0:53 hours
    Mileage: 17.9 km/l (Pretty good considering close to 100 kms were ghat roads)

    We were a little sad that we had very little time to enjoy the scenery along the road. Besides by the time we reached the ghat roads near Valparai it was getting darker. We could not take pictures of lot of stuff on the way. So it was that we will drive back the next day morning. The plan was to wake up as early and drive.

    I met Benny and we struck off immediately he being a wildlife conservationist .I have been intrigued by wildlife and jungles since I was a kid. He told me that we were lucky as there were reports of elephant disturbance in nearby tea estates. He suggested that we should start around 6:00 AM in the morning and there is a good chance of wildlife sighting on the ghat roads. He mentioned a few points along the way where chances of wildlife sighting is high.

    We had our dinner and slept around 11 PM in the night planning to get up early in the morning. We were all very excited that we may have a chance to see wild animals in their habitat and not caged.
  3. Mabams1826

    Mabams1826 Amatore

    Messages:
    179
    Erode
    ERODE
    Fiat Enthusiast
    Great and happy that you climbed down the other way.My native is Anaimalai which you can say is plains near Valpari.Settled as if now in Erode for professional reasons.
    If you love riding hairpin bends, you should think about Kolli hills near Namakkal town which you would have crossed after Salem.
    It has the highest number of hairpin bends probably in whole of South India I persume.
    Another lovely route to enjoy the curves is Munnur via Udumalpet.....
  4. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    @Mabams1826. Munnar is in my to travel list. We plan to touch major places in Kerala. Just have to make sure we get enough leaves to cover most. May be 2 trips will be required. But its on for sure. When ... well no one knows .. when the itch to travel would be unbearable again.

    How life would have been different had I been born on the 21st century? So many other avenues. Would have been a travel journo for sure.
    Ravi_M, Murphy_Fiat and Mabams1826 like this.
  5. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Jan 15 2016 - Day 4

    May be 3 days of continous travel had made us tired. It was mostly physical though, minds were fresh after our eyes feasted on the gorgeous scenery all through the drive from Kodai till Valparai. We were a little late getting up. It was close to 6:00 AM and we quickly got ready for our drive to the ghats. It wasn’t until 7:00 AM that we could actually start.

    View from our room … Just before sunrise

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    Early morning sun rays

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    Driving through the woods. Exhilarating

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    We were so excited that we missed the places where we needed to stop

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    Greenery all around …. Tonic for the eyes.

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    One needs to spend atealst a week every six months. It was absolute stress buster

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    Early morning colors.

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    There was a small waterfall with a tea stall around it. We stopped by to have tea

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    There were few small huts ….

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    Tani had her breakfast … Some Papa ,beti bonding

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    I caught this guy there … This place is a brider’s paradise. With little luck and some pateince you can clik hundreds of birds here

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    The two posers ….

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    Ravi_M likes this.
  6. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Finally we are into the ghats again … Alaiyar Reservoir

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    Taurrie posing @ one of the twisties

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    One more ….

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    Lost in thoughts …

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    In focus …

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    Out of focus ….

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    Pano @ hairpin 9/40

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    Tauriee …njoing the scenic beauty as well

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    Finally we get to see some wildlife …. Mountain goats

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    This is what I had set out to capture through my lens

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    One more view

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    Panorama of the twisties

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    Tauriee posing …

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    Ravi_M likes this.
  7. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    My experiments with focus continues ….

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    These are the roads which makes you fall in love with Fiats time and again

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    A wild boar … Could not capture a better one. It quickly vanished into the shrubs

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    Sholayar Reservior

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    Another angle ….
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    One more ….

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    The last one ….

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    Sholayar Dam

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    Pano @ Sholayar … notice the uneven stitching

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    mchanna and Ravi_M like this.
  8. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    We just stopped by on the way seeing lush green tea estates for few photos

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    Puntorama …

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    Speechless … We clicked hundreds of photos … Had difficulty selecting the few …

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    Eye candy …

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    A small herd had entered a tea estate. We were quickly asked to leave when locals saw us capturing this herd. With babies around elephants can get aggressive very quickly

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    The leader of the pack

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    Lush green carpets …

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    Hulk would be envious of such greenery

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    We headed to Nirar Dam. We need to go through a check post and there are lot of scenic places through the drive. But due to elephant nuisance everything was closed except Lower Nirar Dam

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    @ Nirar Dam

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    Nirar Resorvior

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    Panorama @ Nirar

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    Still more wider …

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    Water gushing through ….

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    PradeepM and Ravi_M like this.
  9. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    A Pegion

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    And a squirell

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    She is already following her father … She is a FIAT lover too

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    A walk in the tea estates

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    A cute one ... Bird ID: Sparrow??

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    On the way to Koolangal River

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    Windows Wallpaper

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    Tea Leafs Close up

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    Koolangal River

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    Another View

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    Taurrie taking a break

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    This guy was feasting on fishes …Cormorant I guess

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    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 16, 2016 ---
    Our final destination was going to the Balaji Temple. Cameras aren’t allowed there. We tried capturing using the mobile phone but security was alert. So no pics . Few from the near by areas. The roads leading to it are in horrible state. One has to park the car about a km away from the temple and walk up.

    But the drive was well worth. Very scenic place and the temple was beautiful and clean as most temples in South India are.

    Pano near that place

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    The tiring walk all the way up

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    After we finished darshan we were walking down and the sun was slowly going down the horizon. See the sun setting through the trees. We all thought that it would be great to photograph it. Started walking fast back to the car to get the camera. All it took was around 6 mins to reach to the the car

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    And this is all we could capture. Sun had gone down in 6 mins

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    And This ....

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    But as they golden light( morning and evening) is the best . Gorgeous isn’t it. Favorite from this trip.

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    One more …. Spellbound

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    It was getting darker and having seen a herd of elephants before we wanted to get back to our room as soon as possible. As we were returning back hoping not to encounter any further wild animals we suddenly felt as if we are going the wrong way. Asking for directions delayed things a little further. And it was completely dark before we realised. On the way we saw a group of people standing. It was completely dark and just out of curiosity I stopped by to check what were they doing.

    Guess what as soon as some one flashed his torch …. A big tusker was standing and gorging on tea leaves. It was a male as I could see big tuskers. It was pitch dark. Suddenly I see a incoming bus with big lights on top. A man clad in Khaki came across and gave me a piece of his mind.“Sir you guys are educated and watch so may wildlife channels ,then you must know once an elephant gets agitated nothing can out run it. In minutes he will come smash you and your car.”

    I didn’t even look back. Ran started the car and went off in a flash.

    The best part about Valparai was that humans and wildlife co exist peacefully. Locals make sure that if they/visitors encounter wildlife they make way for them. They are pretty pro active when it comes to wildlife. They immediately call up forest officials and make sure crowd is disperesed immediately.

    Around 7:00 PM we reached our hotel . There were a lot of spots which were closed to elephant disturbance. Such spots require permission from forest officials anyway. We were now a little sad as we wanted to stayed longer @ Valparai. My wife just fell for the place. We were repenting that we should have just skipped Kodai and spent all our time here. Well it wasn’t going to happen anymore.

    We had plans to go Athripally falls but we figured out that if we vist there we would not be able to make it to Bangalore before evening. Since we wanted to spend some good time @ my friend’s place there was no point reaching there late in the evening and starting in the morning again. So we dropped the idea of Athirapally falls. May be we will cover that during our Kerala Trip.
    We planned to wake up early in the mroning photgraph the sunrise. Check out the spots where wildlife sightings are frequent as we now knew the spots. We had our dinner and retired pretty early so that we can wake up early.

    Stats for Valparai Sightseeing

    Valparai_SightSeeing.jpg

    Start Time: NA.
    End Time: NA
    Distance Covered: 157.4 kms
    Travel Time (In car): 7:07 hours
    Average Speed: 22.12 km/h
    Total Time: NA
    Break Time: NA
    Mileage: 14.5 km/l (Pretty good considering it was all ghat roads)
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
    mchanna, Ravi_M and Murphy_Fiat like this.
  10. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Messages:
    291
    Hyderabad
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Jan 16 2016 - Day 5

    We woke up pretty early around 5:00 AM to catch the sun rise. Unfortunately the sun rose from some mountains which were behind the mountains that we could see from our balcony. But still it was pretty good sight early in the morning.

    Just as the sun was rising

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    After sunrise

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    View of the road and tea estates from our balcony

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    Little dissapointed we hurried to get ready so that we could view some more wildlife on the way back. Unfortunately for us it was pretty foggy that day and it wasn’t until close to 7:00 when we actaully started.

    Ready for the drive back

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    Gorgeous early morning light

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    One more

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    Tani all set for the drive back home

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    We spotted the peacock on the way back

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    Twisties … Taurus was gonna miss them

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    Some more mountain goats

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    Through the mountains

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    mchanna, PradeepM and Ravi_M like this.

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