Valparai is a hill station in the Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu. It is 104 km from Coimbatore and 64 km from Pollachi, 110 km from Ernakulam (Cochin) via Athirapalli, Vazhachal, Malakkarapa. There is a Kerala-Tamilnadu Border checkpost near Uppar Sholayar Dam.
A pollution-free, heavenly land, Valparai is located 3,500 feet above sea level on the Anamalai mountain range. Valparai is not just a small town. It stands majestically with Green Spread Mountains and forest all around. Valparai shares its boundaries with Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Eravikulam National Park and Vazhachal forest division. People are approachable and very friendly. This is a one of the places that you shouldn't miss in your life.
The unique grass forests, Grass Hills, is also located near Valparai. The hill sports tall grass and houses elephants, wild pig, leopards and other wild animals. In addition one can drive around the mountain tea estates enjoying the pleasant climate and forget the once dense forest that have paved the way for tea bushes.
The 64-km drive from Pollachi to Valparai is itself an exotic experience. En route is the Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary where lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri and the common langur, Malabar giant squirrel, elephant, gaur, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and wild boar reside. From Valparai you can visit the Aliyar, Sholaiyar and Nirar dams. Tunnels bored into the mountains and canals to harness the water from Parambikulam, Aliyar, Nirar, Sholaiyar Dam, and several tourist spots.
Cochin International Airport is the nearest international airport to Valparai - this airport is nearly 117 km away from the town. It will take 3 - 4 hours by car to get Valparai from Cochin international Airport. Athirappilli and Vazhachal waterfalls are the other two famous locations to see in the route. International flights from the Middle East (Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat, Kuwait), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Maldives, Europe and Sri Lanka are available from various airlines. This airport is connected to other domestic cities in India with a lot of flights.
Coimbatore airport is another international airport near to Valparai - approximately 124 km (the journey up winding roads towards the end means that you should budget 3-4 hours to get there by car from Coimbatore airport). International flights to Singapore and Sharjah are provided by Silk Air (A subsidiary of Singapore Airlines) and Air Arabia respectively. Domestic airlines fly to Coimbatore as well.
The following are the bus routes to Valparai with timings:
- Pollachi to Valparai: Public buses are available every 30 minutes from Pollachi Bus Terminal. However, they will be overcrowded and may take more than 4 hours to cover the distance of about 64 km. Visitors arriving via Coimbatore must visit Pollachi and then catch a bus to Valparai bus from there. The route is: Pollachi - Aliyar Dam - Attakatty - Waterfalls - Rottikadai - Valparai.
- Coimbatore to Valparai: buses leave at midnight, 1AM, 7:30AM, 11:30AM, 4PM. The route is: Coimbatore - Pollachi - Aliyar Dam - Attakatty - Waterfalls - Rottikadai - Valparai. 100 km.
- Chalakudi to Valparai: buses leave at 7:30 AM and 1:30PM, and take 6 hr. The route is: Chalakudi - Athirapally Falls - Malikiparai - Sholayar Dam - Valparai. 108 km. It is a beautiful route, going through thick forest.
- Palani to Valparai: buses leave at 12:30AM, 7:30AM, noon, 4PM. The route is: Palani - Udumelpet - Angalakurichi - Aliyar Dam - Attakatty - Waterfalls - Valparai. 117 km.
Pollachi Junction is the nearest railway station - approximately 65 km. Another railway station near to Valparai is Chalakudy Railwaystation. Which is 109 kms away.
Every 30 minutes, there is a bus from Pollachi to Valparai. However, these buses will be fully packed and may take 4 hours to cover a distance of 64 km.
Taxis are the viable option, especially if you are planning to get off now and then, take pictures and enjoy the scenery.
Bike trips will be quite adventurous. It is the best way to go through small estate roads.
- Aaliyar Dam. j
- Athirapally Falls. It is near to the entrance of the Sholayar range is a place of great scenic beauty. Here, the water plunges from a height of nearly 80 feet before joining the Chalakudi river. This picturesque spot is adjacent to dense green forest, and is a part of Chalakudi River, 50 km from Valparai towards Chalakudi, Kerala.
- Balaji temple. Balaji temple is owned by the Peria Karamalai tea Industries. Situated in Karamalai. Very famous beautiful temple. Situated at a distance of 10 km from Valparai.
- Chinnakallar. Chinnakalar is a geographically important place. It is the second highest rain fall area in India. Always found wet and misty. A greenish dense forest with tall majestic trees all along the road to Chinnakalar a pleasure to enjoy. There is a falls in Chinnakallar which sounds like a roaring lion. It is 15 km from Valparai.
- Chitti Vinayagar Temple. Chitti Vinayagar Temple is owned by Jayshree tea Industries, Sholayar. The temple is in a beautiful garden environment, 5 km away from Valparai town.
- Grass Hills. Its a part of Indra Gandhi wildlife sanctuary & national park. Hence, its a restricted area and one needs prior permission from the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to visit this place. It is surrounded by a green grass environment. Its a beautiful site of high green grasses on a mountain slope, which is a protected area. Visitors has to obtain permission from the wildlife warden to enter the Grass Hills. 15 km from Valparai. Grass hills is a picturesque spot located in the Valparai hills range, at a height of approx: 2400 m asl, with cool climate getting cooler at night, a part of Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary. Right now all efforts are being undertaken by the government to preserve the flora and fauna of this location. Nilgiri Thar is native of this place apart from elephants, Indian Gaur, Bear, Nilgiri Langurs, and a wide variety of birds including Hornbills.
- Kadamparai Dam. This is a beautiful place to visit. Prior permission from the forest department is necessary to visit this place. While visiting the dam, it is also worth visiting Kadamparai PSHE power station in a tunnel complex by getting permission from TNEB.
- Karamalai Annai Vellankanni Church. Lot of miracles happened by Vellankanni Matha. Fesitival takes place every year during September 8th. New church was built in the year 2003. A place to enjoy spiritual peaceful environment. Many people visit this Church daily. Situated at a distance of 10 km from Valparai.
- Loam's View Point. A beautiful view point from where you can see Aliyar Dam, the surrounding mountains of western Ghats and the Pollachi town. This is situated in 9th hairpin bend towards Valparai from Pollachi.
- Monkey Falls. Monkey Falls is located at the 29th KM junction on the Pollachi-Valparai road. An entry fee of ₹30 per head must be paid at the check post along Aaliyar - Monkey Falls route.
- Nallamudi Poonjolai. A beautiful viewpoint near the Sangiliroad in Valparai. One must walk for about 1 km inside the tea estate to reach this view point.
- Nirar dam. This dam is built for multi-purpose project such as irrigation, Hydro electricity production. Dam is situated in a wonderful location covered by a dense forest. There is a waterfalls near by the dam which resembles the Cascade. Situated at a distance of 15 km from Valparai.
- Number Parai. This is also a beautiful view point. Near by Sangiliroad near Valparai.
- Sholayar Dam. It is the second deepest dam of Asia, 20 km from Valparai. An active tourist spot found always busy. A beautiful place to visit.
- Tiger Valley. From here you can see Upper Aliyar reservoir.
- Trekking and cycling
- Visit to Tta estates
- Wildlife & nature photography
The weather of the hill station is conducive to having a hot tea and it’s definitely worth drinking tea in any small/medium tea stall for the taste is very good. There are a lot of tea estates in Valparai, and people sell tea packs for wholesale. For something more substantial, Sri Lakshmi Chettinadu Mess, Green Hills Restaurant and Plaza Restaurant serve good vegetarian and non vegetarian foods during the breakfast, lunch and dinner times. If you plan for long trip to Valparai and you have the means to hire your own personal cook, that will work out well for you, as you can get anything from the market there. And for the strict vegetarians it’s not so easy to manage as you can hardly find vegetarian restaurants. There is a small mess for vegetarians named “Sabari Mess” which is located on the market road which offers delicious vegetarian food at reasonable rates. Apart from them there are lots of good bakeries with fresh eatables, biscuits, breads and other bakery products.
Stick to water or other non-alcoholic drinks, as alcohol is strictly prohibited by forest officials.
As most of the land in Valparai belongs to tea estates, there are only limited options for staying in Valparai. There are a few decent hotels, estate bungalows and cottages.
- Sree Vengateshwaraa Inn, 04253 222534, ₹700 - 2500
- Green Hill Hotel, ☏ . 2-star hotel with 42 rooms. restaurant & bar attached. ₹700-2500.
- Holiday Home Bed and Breakfast, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. ₹750-999-1200.
- Hornbill Castle - Bed and Breakfast, Pollachi Road (1 km from town, near Puthuthottam Estate), ☏ . Check-out: 10AM. This bed & breakfast offers ensuite double and twin bedrooms. All rooms have television and well stocked hospitality trays. Three of the ensuite rooms are on the ground floor.
- Hotel Saravana Grand (near SBI ATM), ☏ , . Check-out: 11:30AM. various facilities like 24-hour security, daily housekeeping, power backup, lift, free Wi-Fi in all rooms.
- Misty Creek Homestay, 8/410, Cooperative Colony (Opp. Marthoma Church), ☏ . The homestay is 5 minutes from town by vehicle.
- 1 Star Tea Estate, Sajeetha Estate (Opposite Sholayar Dam), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A beautiful tea estate with in-house food facility. Natural local cuisine available. Night safari and jeep drives on request. ₹3400 to 8500.
- Treat Hotel, ☏ . Restaurant attached. Room rates vary from ₹690 - 2000.
- Police: 100
- Ambulance/Fire: 108
Vi, Airtel and Bsnl are the mobile networks which cover this region; the rest simply doesn't work. Of these, BSNL is far and away the most reliable (the others, especially Vi, can be patchy in the region, although Vi starts working fine almost the moment you cross the border into Kerala). In town area, Airtel will work; on other places, it won't.