Ooty and Kodaikanal are the most sought after hill stations for a short weekend getaway in Tamil Nadu, and are quite accessible from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
However, off late, many travellers have found the need to explore the green and cozy side of nature beyond these two celebrated hill stations. Introducing the lesser know hill station in Tamilnadu – Valparai.
Valparai Hill Station, Tamilnadu
Welcome to a small hill station near Coimbatore (closer to Palani), beautifully nestled in Annamalai Hills (along Western Ghats) at 3500ft above sea level – Valparai (pronounced as Vaalpaarai).
A very small town after driving through 40 hair pin bends (all marked so you know when you are done with those curves), this journey will keep you wanting for more. Many of these hair pin bends offer great views to click those camera buttons. When you drive towards this hill, your first beautiful encounter will be the Aaliyar Road. You will find tourists stopping here to admire this gorgeous view. Below is the view from hairpin bend No.9.
The misty and green ascent, plantations as far as you can see – coffee, tea and vegetables will get your excitement levels high. If you are lucky, you will also encounter wildlife like monkeys, elephants, wild goats etc. You will find yourself crossing a statue of an old man named Carver Marsh – the founder of Valparai. He is the first one to welcome you to this beautiful small town who also took the initiative to start a tea plantation here.
Top five things to do when in Valparai:
- Visit the Aaliyar River while you start the journey towards Valparai and also Monkey Falls that comes few km’s after this place.
- Visit the edge of this hill called Number Parai or Nallamudi view point to catch a breathtaking view of Anaimudi peak in Kerala which is also known as Munnar on the other side.
- Sholayar Dam – Drive all the way to the top to not miss this beautiful place also known for being the second deepest dam in Asia.
- There are so many beautiful falls in and around Valparai – namely the Athirapally Falls which is 80kms away.
- Chinnakallar Falls is also a must go as this is the second highest rainfall area in India after Cherrapunji. The picture below was a drive back from that place.
Wildlife is in plenty and if you belong to the owl category – then pack your bags and get-set with a local tour guide to take you through the forests to spot tigers, cheetah to name a few. You will also find few temples in and around this town.
Hotels in Valparai
We stayed in the local guide’s friend’s house as we decided this trip in the last minute and we couldn’t find decent accommodation. This link could help you find good ones when you decide to get here.
Food in Valparai
If you are a non-vegetarian, small restaurants offer good varieties to indulge in. There is however only one vegetarian hotel in the entire town (family run) that you will find. Small bakeries can be found everywhere and some serve real good tea which is a must try.
Route from Chennai:
We drove from Chennai – Pollachi – Valparai and the same route back. This was in all about 1200km.
Good people, great (veg) food – I’m sure non-veg is even better ;), amazing weather and awesome views – is what Valparai in short is. Head to this place making sure you stay there for a minimum of three days and immerse yourself in peace and serenity.