Please follow my last post to know how to reach Valaparai from Coimbatore using public transportation. You can contact me, in case you are following any other point as your starting point to reach Valaparai instead of Coimbatore as mentioned in my last post and seeking any help with that.
Valaparai was a complete alien land for me. A place never even heard of till I happen to visit it out. But then a town amidst one of India’s major tiger reserve area (Annamalai Tiger Reserve) would never disappoint. And proudly after this trip is over, I have to admit the place is a must visit if you love nature and wildlife.
I stayed in Misty Creek in Valaparai, which is basically a homestay overlooking vast beautiful valley with a river creek. Owner Frank himself is an amazing guy. We had a small conversation while check-in into the hotel and I asked him about places to visit in Valaparai.
He made a small cheat sheet explaining all the points in Valaparai. But then immediately added,
“Valaparai is not a regular place to visit, enjoy wildlife here, and just roam around”.
May be by our look, or based on our discussion, he already understood regular touristic places in Valaparai might just disappoint us(which indeed was true :P).
In Valaparai i did what a regular tourist would do, as well as tried following Frank’s advice on roaming around. Now, after my tour is over, i must admit each word Frank make perfect sense.
Make a Note – Valaparai is not for those who want to just hire a taxi/cab and then ask the driver to take you to Valaparai attraction point. You will be disappointed!! Visit Munnar or Ooty instead. But, if you can walk around in the search of nothing but feel the serenity everywhere. And to boast of visiting a place still not known to many of seasoned travelers as well, just come down, you will cherish it throughout your life.
Tour I went through in Valaparai!!
Our tour (we just didn’t like it!!) was suggested by Frank himself with warning, and after doing a bit of inquiry, those seemed to be the only places which can be visited in and around Valapari on tour.
- Nallamudi view point: Visit this point, if you have never ever visited any hill station before and if you are extremely fond of hill view points, otherwise this will only disappoint you. This point is about 12 km away from town area. It is part of Annamalai tiger reserve and the entrance ticket of point is Rs 60 (+Rs.30 for Camera). This entry fee includes the entrance to Nirar dam as well.
For me the most interesting part of this view point was multiple tribal villages living amidst dense forest with little or no connectivity to town.
- Siddhivinayak Temple – Lord Ganesha temple was built by one of the private tea estate company (Sholayar group) for its own employees. It is a small temple and on the way to Nallamudi view point from town.
- Koolangal River – I didn’t like this at all. This might be a good point to check in the monsoon season. But, otherwise it’s a complete disaster – nothing to see or even click.
- Sirikundra Tea factory – It is a private tea factory, processing tea leaves from surrounding areas. This was the highlight of the tour, a very well explained factory walk. Guide was well versed in English and explained the complete tea leaf processing in detail.
- Nirar dam – Quite small and not a very scenic dam, though the route to this dam is through dense forest and worth a walk. It is about 12 Km from Valaparai town. I would rather give it a miss if it would not have been the part of my planned tour.
- Tunnel view point – Worst among all; it was about 8 Km away from the town and when I visited the place, there was absolutely nothing. Again this might be a good place to visit during the monsoons, when surrounding area give rise to various natural waterfalls but otherwise not worth visiting the place.
Is it done?
From above mentioned comments on Valaparai attraction points, the only idea one can get is that this place is not at all worth a visit. But NO, that’s not at all the case here!!
Being amidst Annamalai Tiger reserve which is untouched yet from the outer tourist world, Valaparai is meant to be visited on foot, roam around, click wonderful pictures and get amazed by the serenity of the area.
Here are few things which one should try!!
- Bird watching – Located among dense forest area and because of its geographical features, Valaparai is home as well as stopover for many of the migratory birds from all around the world. Few of them you should never miss such as – Indian hornbill, Wood pecker, Indian bulbul, Kingfisher and many more.
- Animal crossing points – Valaparai has many endangered wild life, and the forest department and many other NGO’s work towards their protection. This has led to the careful identification of points marked as Animal Crossing Points, which serves as the location where animals cross state highway roads. These points give a good chance of witnessing species such as- Lion Tailed monkey, Tiger, Malabar Squirrel, and many more.
A crossing point for lion tailed monkey’s!! – PC : Vinod Saini
- Vast Tea Estates – If not like Munnar in Kerala, Valaparai still has plethora of tea estates owned by more than 15 private companies. They add a different view to the landscapes making them unique to Valaparai.
- Colourful Homes – A wallpaper perfect combination of varied coloured homes sitting in between lush green forest overlooking a creek is a rare combination available in Valaparai.
- Stay in homestays overlooking beautiful valleys – Valaparai, owing to its nice location, offers good views from most of its town area. Locals have utilized this fact and have built affordable homestays for tourists. They are good options over Hotels, with all basic amenities available.
Being a small town in the state of Tamil Nadu, most of the meals follow standard Tamil Nadu cuisines. There is one restaurant available in the town, which along with Tamilian food serves north Indian cuisines as well – “Green Hill Restaurant”.
Laxmi mess (near bus station), serves really good Tamil meals and other south Indian dishes.
Valaparai doesn’t have any Railway station and the only public transport medium to get out from the town is Bus. Our next stop after Valaparai was Kochi. Though one can also go back the same way as traversed via Pollachi to reach Coimbatore.
There are direct buses available to Pollachi. But if you wish to enter Kerala from Valaparai as we did, the best way is to take bus to Chalakkudi and from Chalakkudi, buses to almost all the destinations in Kerala are available. Journey from Valaparai to Chalakkudi is also quite scenic and takes around 5 hours. Please reconsider the route because it has sharp turns and persons with the problem of motion sickness should make a note of the same.
There are two buses available to Chalakkudi from Valaparai – one is at early morning 7:30 AM and another leaves at 11:30 AM. Both takes nearly same time and the best part is that they all go via Athirapalli waterfalls. You can always make a pit stop, enjoy the beauty of falls and then head towards Chalakkudi.
There are continuous buses available from Athirapalli to Chalakkuddi. Also, lots of private taxi drivers go on sharing basis to Chalakkuddi.
Accessibility of Valaparai for Wheelchair users!
Valaparai may not be a destination for wheelchair users, the only reason I had to mention this here is because you have to walk and roam around to really enjoy the place.
But otherwise, if you are looking for nice relaxation in a serene wild environment and have anyone accompanying you; this may be one of the best places to be around.
Please note, the buses of both Tamil Nadu as well as Kerala government doesn’t have ramps for wheelchair accessibility; consider using your own taxi/cab/car to come down to Valaparai.
I hope this post could motivate you to visit Valaparai. It’s a beautiful location, still not touristic and commercialized.
Did you like this post and found it helpful in planning you trip?
Any thoughts or anything else to share, please comment and let us all know of the same.
Thanks for reading and happy travelling.