Friday, June 20, 2008

Valparai Trip

Date : 11-Apr-2008
Trip : Valparai

I'm from Bangalore,like to engage my self in exploring new places.
Its been a long time since I went out, hook or cook I was desperate to explore a new place.

Thursday night I decided to explore Valparai for the weekend.
Called up all my friends but most of them were engaged with one work or the other,
I was so desperate that I had almost decided to start the trip alone.
Out of 10+ friends, one of them(Siva) was free that weekend.
So I explained about the place and the research I did on the net about the place,
so he agreed for the trip. So finally myself and Siva reached the majestic railway station,
since we had not made any bookings, we got hold of the general compartment ticket
after an hour long standing in queue. Finally when we reached the boarding area,
we saw that the kanyakumari express was jam packed, literally there was no place to stand.
So we had to drop the train idea(the ticket was a waste,we had to forget it since it was just Rs 215)
and went on to the ksrtc bustand, the scene was no different there, even the junkest possible bus
was totally booked.
(unfortunately for us, it was a festival for both tamilnadu and Kerala at the same time,
which resulted in such a huge crowd)Suddenly we heard somebody in the crowd shouting,
Coimbatore, Coimbatore, Coimbatore..........................
That was a ray of hope. He took us to a private travel agency named Sangita travels
which had a tie-up with kallada travels. He charged Rs 600 per head for Coimbatore,
we said ok, since it was VOLVO AC bus.

We got the tickets at 9.30PM and was told that the bus would arrive at 10.30 and leave at 11.
So we went out searching for ATM to fill our purse. When we came back around 10.15,
we saw that there were so many people like us waiting for the bus.
Funniest part was each one was charged different rate. Rs 700, 800, and even 900 per head.
We were a bit happy to know that we had the cheapest ticket. At 10.45 the travel person told
that the bus is under repair some where near hosur, so it might be delayed a bit, we waited
till 11.30, 12.30......just to hear the same news....has been saying that the bus is now
near corporation from past one hour...after which one person in the crowd stood out
and started arguing heavily....and finally the bus arrived around 1.00,
we were happy to board the bus, but unfortunately the bus din't start.
So each and every body in the bus got out and started shouting at the owner,
the mechanic struggled for almost half and hour and finally the good news......the bus
started........yes we headed to Coimbatore....had a nice sleep...the bus which was supposed
to reach Coimbatore around 5 in the morning, reached around 9.

Now we had to head towards Pollachi, at the Coimbatore bustand we were told that we need to catch
the local bus to a place called okkadam, from where the we would get busses to pollachi. We reached
okkadam(Rs 3 per head) and were surprised to see busses so many busses to pollachi, almost a bus in
every 2 mins. We headed to pollachi (Rs 11 per head). After 1 and half hour we reached pollachi. There
are busses to Valparai from there almost every half an hour. But it was again unfortunate for us that
all the busses were going full du to the festival season. We let two busses go, hoping to see and empty
bus, but no luck, so we had to board a crowded bus. Yes had to spend 3 hrs standing in the
bus.....fortunately for us, the bus stopped at aliayar dam, just below the ghat section for a break for 15
mins which gave us some relief.

Finally reached Valparai arround 2 PM.

This place is 100 times more beautiful than ooty or kodai.
There are lot of lodges for accommodation.
Among the most hotel green hill view and Krishna lodge look decent from outside,
I was not able to get the accommodation as it was totally booked, saw a lot of cars, families out there,
so it seems to be a decent place for family too.

I tried a lodge named JBR lodge, from outside it looked like a crap place,
but the rooms were so neat, with ceramic walls,
I would recommend this place, I saw even some families staying.
I was charged Rs 120 for single room although the double room with TV would cost you around Rs 220.
There are some more lodges around, the Ranga lodge, myna lodge etc which I have not tried, the tariff
would be mostly b/w Rs 75 to Rs 250.

May be Krishna lodge and hotel Green hill view would be around 500, im not sure.
For food, one can go to Laskshmi mess at the bustand.
Although its not a posh place, the food tastes great and its the most recomended place.

I thought Valparai would be a small remote village, but its quite big,
the bus will stop at the market road from which you could make out that the place is quite big.
This is not only for bachelors, but a perfect get away for family too.
Except that the bus journey from Pollachi to Valparai takes 3 hrs and mostly crowded.
If you are not lucky enough to get a less crowded bus, better hire a taxi (may be Rs 1500 one way).
Because I had to do a standing journey for the entire 3 hrs stretch, it was a pain.
Once you are at Valparai, commuting becomes easy and cheap(max Rs 8 per person, mostly Rs 3.50).
I would suggest you that, just catch hold of a less crowded bus to any destination/direction,
take a ticket to the last stop and enjoy the journey. I swear it would be a feast to your eyes.

Places to stay in valparai….
Hotel Green Hill: 04253 – 222262Also try Krishna Lodge: 04253 – 222387 they both look clean….
(you can book via phone)
But other wise I stayed a lodge called GBR lodge….if you look at that from outside…..you wont even feel like getting in….but the room was pretty clean for me and got away with just 120 Rs per day :-)
FYI………PLEASE DO NOT EXPECT ANY POSH PLACES HERE, ITS AFTERALL A SMALL VILLAGE.
May be you could enquire some of the bunglows if you are really looking for POSH PLACES….The STANMORE BUNGALOW is one such place….It might be very expensive unless your comapny is sponceringThey will take care of all meals(i have read comments that the food is really good).http://www.homestayskerala.com/php/listHStayDetails.php?hid=33

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Check out my blog on Meghamalai - The hidden paradise
Its anothor least known place , but most beautiful

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---- Prasanna