Thursday, May 23, 2013

Valparai – General Information


Valparai – General Information
Valparai is a mid-elevation hill station (Ootacamund is considerably higher). The tea plantations are surrounded by evergreen forest. The region is also a rich elephant tract and is known to have many leopards.
The scenic drive to the town from Pollachi passes through the Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary noted for elephantsboarslion-tailed macaquesgaurspotted deersambar, and Giant Squirrels. The area is also rich in birds, including the great hornbill. Water bodies at Monkey falls and Aliyar Dam are also seen en route. A famous place of worship, Balaji Temple also attracts pilgrims. Valparai receives among the highest rainfall in the region during the monsoons (around June).
The Valparai range is also habitat the Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic wild goat. These mountain goats inhabit the high ranges and prefer open terrain, cliffs and grass-covered hills, a habitat largely confined to altitudes from 1200 to 2600m in the southern Western Ghats. Their territory extended far and wide all along these hills in the past, but, because of hunting and large-scale habitat destruction, they now exist only in a few isolated sites like the Anaimalai Hills.
The human-elephant conflict here is a delicate issue. The tea plantations are a hindrance to the movement of wildlife, particularly elephants who walk large distances to reach water bodies and feeding areas.
On the way to Valparai you can see many wild animals like Lion Tailed Monkeys, Elephants, Dears, Wild Goats. Natives of Valparai are often attacked by Leopard and Tiger, There are some wild attack from the elephants also.
Politics
Valparai assembly constituency is a Scheduled Caste constituency and forms part of Pollachi Lok Sabha constituency.
Valparai is a small town located at 3500 feet above sea level in the Anamalai ranges of Coimbatore district in the state of Tamilnadu in India. Valparai’s history ranges back to the 19th century when the Karnatic coffee company bought some land from the Madras Government for Coffee Cultivation in the Anamalais. But the expected yield of coffee was not obtained and so growth stagnated in the area. But things started to turn around in the first half of the 20th century when tea estates and rubber plantations started to develop around the area. 
The Valparai Township was started in 1903 by the Anamalai Planters Association. You might have heard of the phrase ‘Inclusive distribution of wealth within the society’. When this phrase is applied to Valparai it would imply inclusive distribution of beauty within the environment’. In simple words, you cannot compare one area of scenic beauty with another as every area here would leave you with an equal and completely overwhelming sense and feeling of awe. But after all this is paradise so you cannot expect more. Another thing is that humans and non-humans live in perfect harmony in Valparai. 
You could easily spot a deer or a pack of deers or monkeys or peacocks by the side of the road. The elephants are the local bad boys moving about in packs and rampaging fields. They are usually great to look at with their majesty and all but make sure you have a lot of space in between and stay clear of a lone elephant because they are known to have mood swings and the swings are usually towards the rough side.
To reach valparai from the ground the vehicle should take 42 hairpin bends. The major portion of land is owned by private tea companies and a big forest area is continued to out of bounds. Valparai is very nice place for the tourism in the summer seasons.
Important Information
No to Plastic: The uses of plastic bags are banned in Valparai Hills. Avoid bringing plastic bags with you and try not to use plastic cups and plates as they cause irrecoverable damage to the eco system as well as to wild life. Help us keep Valparai hill station clean and green. 

Fuel Stations in Valparai: There are two petrol and Diesel Bunks/Stations in Valparai. These Bunks/Stations are open from 7am to 8pm every day.

ATM and Banking in Valparai: There are a few ATM centres in and around Valparai. Union Bank, State Bank Of India, Indian Bank has their ATM’s in the town. All ATM’s do accept other bank cards as well. Major Banks operating in Valparai are Union Bank, SBI, Indian Bank etc. Do remember that most businesses accept only cash as a method of payment. 

Hospitals and Pharmacy in Valparai: Apart from the Government Hospital there are several private hospitals and clinics operating in Valparai. From child specialists to dental clinics a range of specialists serve the people in Valparai. It has its own dedicated Government Veterinary Hospital as well. There are about 9 to 10 registered pharmacy/ medical stores in Valparai. 

Restaurants and Hotels in Valparai: When it comes to restaurants, Valparai does not have a high end or top quality restaurant options. The menus in most of the restaurants are basic and the options are limited. There are several average restaurants available and most of them offer Non-veg and Veg meals combined. Also enquire with your Home Stay owners; they might guide you on this.  There are a few bakeries and cafes that bake their own bread, puffs and snacks. 

Getting around in Valparai: There are Taxi and Local Auto services to most of the tourist spots around Valparai, Only government bus services operate in Valparai and most of the time they can get very crowded. Having your own means of transportation will make it more convenient. 

Communication (Valparai Hills): All major mobile phone networks are operational in Valparai. There are Internet browsing centres and most of them have broadband connections. A modern Post office operates offering all the modern facilities. Private courier companies also operate here. Tamil and Malayalam are widely spoken.

Shopping in Valparai: You can buy good quality tea and honey in Valparai. Ask the seller to show you the different grades available, and then choose the one that suits your taste bud. There are a few tea speciality shops where you can get good grade tea. Other hill products such as cardamom, pepper and other spices can be brought. Traditional/Native Medicinal, fruit tree saplings and seeds can be purchased at the Government Nursery at Aliyar Dam check post.

Valparai Stay: We strongly recommend you to book your Valparai hotel room or cottage in advance before you arrive. 
Valparai – Tips
Stuff to Remember:
1) You would be better off if you private taxi service in Valparai for the places you are planning to visit rather than depending upon public transportation.

2) Carry about a raincoat or an umbrella as sudden burst of showers are quite frequent here. We get rains for almost 6 months every year.

3) Carry a first aid kit if you are planning on exploring the area here on foot. Have salt powder if you prefer rainy season. Because commonly called “Attai” (a parasitic worm) silently start sucking blood from your legs. But you need not worry because they are anesthetics as well. So you will not have any pain at all. Salt powder when applied will liberate you from these parasites.

4) When you are in certain isolated patches of land filled with enriching beauty here you will be definitely mesmerized and would not want to leave but guess who else will be sharing the same feelings? Elephants, Bisons and monkeys and they won’t be civil to humans fooling about their territory. So be careful. Deers are very common sight. Rare visitors are panthers and pythons.
A few words on Eco Tourism:
Eco tourism is the new concept set out to revolutionize the field of tourism. It deals with traveling through nature’s abodes without compromising the natural structure. In a nutshell, it implies the theory of being one with nature while observing and enjoying it. Valparai is slowly picking up as one of such places. The movement is gathering speed in India and tourist & travel related agencies have begun to promote it aggressively.
Quick Look at the Geographical aspects
Location
Tamilnadu, Coimbatore Dist. Valparai
Access
Via Pollachi / From Cochin, Chalakudi Via Atharapilly
Latitudes
10° 13.2' and 10°33.3'N
Longitude
76° 49.3'E and 77° 21.4'
Tiger Reserve Area
958 Sq.Km
Altitude
1080 MSL
Average Rainfall
500 – 5000 mm South West & North East
Best Season
January and May to December
Climate
Moderate Warn climate almost through the year and fairly cloud during winter months (November & December)
Trekking
Valparai has many interesting and too adventures trekking area. If we start early in the morning we can see several kind of birds, it is most amazing to walk with the dew, frost. There are many humps and dumps; it will be very thrilled and exited.
In trekking area we may see different types of wild animals like Tiger, Leopard, Bison, Wild Dogs and Beautiful Birds  etc.,
Other Important Tourist Places Worth Visiting - Direction wise / Route wise
Valparai to Cinchona Direction Approximate Distance
Tourist Spots
Distance
Koolangal River
2 Km
Lower Nirar Dam
14 Km
Ministers view
10 Km
Chinnakallar dam
16 Km
Lawson falls & Rope Bridge
17 Km
Valparai to Mudis Cochin Direction Approximate Distance
Tourist Spots
Distance
Birla Falls
3 Km
Sidhi Vinayaga temple
5 Km
Nallamudi Valley View
15 Km
Anaimudi Peak View
11 Km
Number Parai
15 Km
Valparai to Akkamalai Direction Approximate Distance
Tourist Spots
Distance
Congreve Falls
3 Km
Vellamalai Tunnel View
9 Km
Balaji Temple
10 Km
Annai Velankanni Shrine
10 Km
Irachal Parai Falls
8 Km
Valparai to Sholayar Dam Cochin Direction Approximate Distance
Tourist Spots
Distance
Selali Parai View
7 Km
Old Valparai Valley View
6 Km
Old Valparai Trucking Point
6 Km
Manomboli Power House
26 Km
Number Parai
15 Km
Meen Parai
29 Km
Manomboli Watch Tower
26 Km
Sholayar Dam
25 Km
Sholayar Power House
28 Km
Valparai to Pollachi Direction Approximate Distance
Tourist Spots
Distance
Carver Marsh Statue
12 Km
Shakthi Thalanar View
14 Km
Tiger Valley
22 Km
Poonachi Falls
26 Km
Attakatti View
32 Km
Kadamparai & Vandal Dams
42 Km
9th Hairpin Bend Loams View Point
32 Km
Navamalai
42 Km
Monkey Falls
26 Km
Aliyar Dam
40 Km
Top Slip
60 Km
Valparai to Cochin - Kerala Approximate Distance
Tourist Spots
Distance
Valley View
22 Km
Dams & Falls
28 Km
Athirampally Falls
67 Km
Silver Storm Theme Park
76 Km
Chalakudi, Kerela
96 Km
Cochin, Kerela
151 Km
Valparai to Munar (via Udumalpet) Approximate Distance
Tourist Spots
Distance
Amaravathy Dam & Park
90 Km
Thirumurthy Falls
40 Km
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
52 Km
General Information about Valparai
Area of Plateau
220 sq km
Population
94,900
Altitude
1,600 m
Summer
Max. 25°C, Min. 12°C
Winter
Max. 10°C, Min. 0°C
Rainfall
350 cms
Season
September to May
Languages
Tamil, Malayalam and English
Clothing
Heavy and Light Woolen
Time
5.30 GMT
STD Code
4253
ISD Code
91

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