Friday, June 8, 2012

Travelling from Chennai to Valparai

Heading to Valparai by road from Chennai is quite an experience, primarily because you are not just travelling up the ghats but because you have to manouver your way through 40 hair pin bends!

View of hair-pin bends on the Chennai-Valparai road route
We hit the road in our own car early Sunday morning, starting from Thiruvanmiyur....

Where to have breakfast on Chennai-Valparai road route
Highway Foods, Tindivanam

We stopped for breakfast at Highway Foods. This restaurant is located on NH 45 at a town called Tindivanam.We feasted on idlis & dosas which were accompanied by delicious chutneys & sambhar. 

Just for sampling the chutneys, it is worth stopping here to eat!

Where to have lunch on Chennai-Valparai road route
Then our lunch stop later in the day was at Hari Bhawanam restaurant in Coimbatore. They serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food & there is parking facility. It was a wholesome meal of rice, curry & vegetables, served on a banana plantain leaf. We highly recommend it for a tasty & inexpensive dining experience.

Hari Bhavanam Restaurant


Address: SKP Hotel complex, Balasundaram Road (near RTO Office), Coimbatore.

Hair pin bends on Chennai-Valparai route
First hair-pin bend
On route again, we braced ourselves to tackle the ghats. Actually, most of you may feel that going round 40 hair pin bends is quite a boring and annoying experience. So the best way to enjoy the road journey through those hair pin bends is to stop on the way every now & then. We did just that and, believe me, the spectacuular views, not to mention the interesting encounters with four-legged creatures on the way, is good fun.

Each hair-pin bend is marked clearly on a large rectangular yellow-painted stone, with the number in the form of a fraction. Thus, the first one is 1/40, the next 2/40, and so on.

At approximately the points of the 8th and 9th hair pin bends, you encounter 2 species: monkeys & Nilgiri Tahr. The monkeys seemed to be playing hide and seek, while the Nilgir Tahrs roamed freely on the road and the craggy hillsides nearby (see photos below)
9th hair-pin bend
Anyone for a hide-n-seek game?!

Nilgiri Tahr captured on camera near rainbow colours

Taking a walk, keeping to the left!

 Drive carefully ~ speed breakers like this one can come up suddenly
And, of course, we must not forget to soak in the atmosphere of spectacular views....The view from the 9th hair-pin bend is called Loam's View. A signboard states that the road was planned & constructed by an engineer of the Public Works Dept. (PWD) named Mr. Mathew Loam

Loam's View
Loam's View

View of tea estate
Talking of tea estates, naturally you simply cannot leave the region without a hot cuppa! We had some really strong tea at a small tea stall on the road leading through the Waterfall Tea Estate. It is served in a small paper cup & you should buy the biscuits too (Rs.5/- for one biscuit). It was so good, we had 2 cups each & bought quite a few biscuits as well as a packet of the tea. It is approx. 20kms. before you reach Valparai hill station.

Tea Stall in Waterfall Tea Estate area

Tea brewer

Fabulous strong tea

Nature's best seats!

Remember to buy a packet of that tea

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