Sathyamangalam, Pollachi, Valparai [A Driving Trip]

National strike was held on October 2nd, 2016.  Around 10 o’ clock, I felt bored and rang up a friend of mine to see if we can go on a trip.  He said he is ready and so, we started the tour.  Since the strikes are not that severe in Tamil Nadu, we decided our destination to be Tamil Nadu.  To tell the truth, we were a bit worried but to our relief, the journey via Thrissur and Palakkad till the border was uneventful.


Sathyamangalam Forest

The real fun was when we reached Coimbatore; we found that even the schools were open and functioning.  We decided on a driving tour and went straight to Sathyamangalam known as Veerappan’s territory.  Sathyamangalam is a wildlife sanctuary sharing the borders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.  The forest region lies next to Chamarajanagar.  We drove slowly through the deserted way enjoying the music of the forest, allowing the sceneries to soothe our eyes and minds. 


Deer

We reached the expansive greenery of Sathyamangalam Forest bathed in nature’s music.  There are tree-houses on big trees which, I think, are set up to drive away wild animals.  These sights are intermittently clouded by fog.  In between, we had tea from a small tea shop.  The owner of the tea shop told us that there are more than 400 Adivasi or tribal groups residing in Sathyamangalam.  Since we cannot get near them without the permission of The Forest Department, we dropped that idea.  The from Coimbatore to Sathyamangalam is 72 km.


Deers In Sathyamangalam Forest

From Sathyamangalam, we went to Hasanur.  The route from Sathyamangalam to Hasanur is an extremely enjoyable one.  The way through the forest and 28 hairpin curves make it a thrilling experience.  As we travelled 12 km through the Sathyamangalam-Hasanur route, on the way, we came across the famous Bannari Amman Temple.  Thousands of devotees come in to take part in the 20-day Panguni Kundam Festival which is conducted in March - April.  It is a colorfully decorated temple. 


Bannari Amman Temple

At a short distance from here, the hairpin curves start.  Hasanur is located on NH-209 on the way from Sathyamangalam.  Hasanur is a village blessed with abundance of natural beauty.  Facilities for accommodation are available near the forest.  This is a place where several wild animals roam around.  There are several tribal villages also here.  At night, we slept in a hut enjoying the chill of the forest.


Gobichettipalayam

The next day, we visited Pollachi.  Travelling 27 km on Sathyamangalam – Pollachi Route took us to Gobichettipalayam, the land of different kinds of farming.  It is a beautiful agricultural village nestled by Bhavani River.  The cool atmosphere and the vast paddy fields helped us to feel relaxed.


Gobichettipalayam - Pollachi Route

The extensive farmlands where big onion, cabbage, chilly, sugarcane, carrot, potato and several other vegetables are cultivated are pleasing to the eyes.  From here, we went on to Pollachi via Dharapuram.  Pollachi is a special place because of several reasons. 


Valparai

It is Asia’s biggest jaggery market, wholesale vegetable market supplying vegetables in large quantity to Central Kerala, biggest cattle market in South India, second largest town after Coimbatore, favorite location of South Indian films; like these, there are several other features that make the place notable.  As the place lies near to the Western Ghats, it has a pleasurable climate.  The large agricultural lands give Pollachi a splendid appearance.


Sholayar

From Pollachi, we went to Valparai.  Driving from Pollachi to Valparai is thrilling because of the hairpin curves which count to 40 in numbers.  After crossing the check post, we travelled some distance by the side of Aliyar Dam.  The sight of forest on one side and water on the other side is exciting. 


Vazhachal Waterfalls

The important spots on the way are Monkey Falls and Loam’s View Point.  Valparai is famous for natural beauty and trekking.  The tea estates looking like holding green umbrella, the cool weather and the fog, all give Valparai an angelic beauty.  The Upper Sholayar Dam on Valparai – Malakkappara way looks really attractive, but the garden below looks messy with overgrown grass.

 
Athirappilly Waterfalls

At a short distance from the dam, there is Malakkappara check post.  From here on, plastic and liquor bottles are not allowed.  Journey through the forests from Malakkappara via Vazhachal is an amazing experience.  After visiting Vazhachal Waterfalls, we visited Athirappilly Waterfalls too which is also known as the Niagara of Kerala.  At this point, we decided to conclude our road trip.  We travelled around 825 km.  Since it was a driving tour, only the main tourist spots were touched.

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Ashok S P Jan-06- 2017 333