Friday, April 22, 2011

Valparai: One-bar-town

An unforseen opportunity and wifey suggesting that I go for ride made me wake up early with the intention of riding to coorg and surprising my friend. Huge traffic pile up near kengeri at Bangalore’s west exit made me rethink about my destination. Not that I had any destination. I turned back intending to head to Kolli Hills, inspired by Doc Prithivi's travelogue last month. Exited out of Bangalore south and reached Salem at around 11am, at this speed I will reach Kolli hills at around noon. Will be too early, changed the destination again. Googled and identified a place called Valparai. about 250 kms from Salem.

Reached Pollachi via coimbatore, had lunch in a village shack. (was force fed the ton of food by the grandma who run the place) headed towards Valparai.

460kms from Bangalore Valparai is a small tea town on top of of anamalli mountain range which is a part of nilgiri biosphere near kerala-tamil nadu border. The population consists of tea workers and few traders. Pleasantly cold in peak summer, it attracts the budget crowd from kerala.

Almost zero human contact for 40 kms from pollachi to valppari, the route has 40 hairpin bends with great road surface to boast of. the route has No fuel stations and has only one tea stall enroute. The breathtaking views of the forests, backwaters from the mountains was magical.

The town consisted of 5 lodges, one semi decent hotel and couple of homestays. Home stays is about 1500 a night, I stayed in one of the lodges for 150/- night.

Had an opportunity to witness a village festival with lots of fire acrobatics (happened last weekend too)

Checked into the hotel and roamed around the two streets of Valparai trying out my SLR, misty and cold weather did not encourage me too much :) and ended up searching for a Bar. Surprised to know that this town had one Bar and one wine shop!!! the wine shop was closed and all the drinking crowd of the village jammed up to the bar. Managed to squeeze my way to the bar counter and found a standing place (boy it felt like a public transport during peak hours). Some villagers were taking booze in a tiffen carrier as parcel :) Strange sights. Chatted with some locals in the bar, went out for street food for dinner along with them.

Requested for additional blankets to sleep, checked out at 6am next day. This town wakes up early, hot vadas and hot tea almost everywhere to cater to the tea pickers. Had a quick chai and left the breathtaking valparai with the intention to return to this town. Also saw car parking on a terrace of a house, how? Check the snap :)


Bangalore-Salem-Coimbatore-Pollachi-Valparai -460kms

350kms 4 lane NH road, 50 kms of bad road as you reach Coimbatore, 60 kms of ghat road. Saddle time of about 8 hours

60 kms of misty ghat road made up for 400kms of scorching heat ride :)

Photos at


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