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Exploring Unexplore Places

Monday, 8 December 2014

Tribal Settlement Valparai


                         After exploring Jog falls, kodachadri and Agumbe planning for the next trip on the south side was not very hard for us. One place we never lose interest even though we frequently visit, it is Valparai. So we decided to go again. This is our fifth time and second in the same year. Each time we come here with no plan and return with no disappointed. The pleasant climate, amazing scenery, rich wildlife, evergreen dense forest, encircled tea estate and breath-taking sightseeing will never stop to attract you.

valparai



                     This time we had no clue on our tour plan. The little we heard from our organiser Bhagi was that spending a day and night at a tribal village disconnected from town. There isn’t any information about this place to surf so we were in full of surprise. The journey via Coimbatore to Pollachi and then Valparai hill’s hairpin bend is always a joyful experience. After breakfast at Pollachi we dropped at Monkey falls for a bath. We then met our forest guide who is also an elephant keeper  who assured to take us to kudil. He is a real entertainer; always raving about his job experience like how they chase elephants, spot tigers and wild animal’s behaviour etc. keeping us all fully engaged. While some was informative and interesting some are purely his imagination story which we pretend like heeding. There is no electricity at Kudil so we bought a bundle of candles, match box and few torches for people living there. After purchasing groceries for cooking that nightwe headed to Number Parai and from there we had to trek along with our luggage to reach Kudil. It is situated downward of the mountain so the trekking is literally narrow and sliding. The initial phase was full of tea estate followed by bamboo forest and final phase was very thick forest alongside stream. Out of all the above that covered during the four kilometre trek the most frightening location I would say is the tea estate surrounded by dense forest and majestic trees blocking our vision making least possible chance to escape if we encounter any wild animal. We heard lots of news on human animal conflicts is such places so we warned ourselves to stay together. We moved like a snail enjoying each and every bit of the nature.









valparai


valparai


valparai forest


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                       Moving downhill is comparatively easier than ascending but we cannot speed up due to our body weight will push us downward eventually results in slip or lose balance.  Due to fear we never split up throughout the trek. We took deep breath while resting at a stream on our way and finally reaching the place before sunset. Very surprised to see all houses built with brick and cement wondering how it was transported. The roof top was covered by sheets. There are five houses scattered around with no electricity or any other basic needs. The only source of light during night is from candle and torch. Cultivation is their primary occupation; apart from what they consume rest are sold in the local market. They use logs which is stored abundantly in a sheet covered hut for cooking.







tribal settlement valparai



                    After looking around the place and relaxing with a black tea they offered us our next question was “where are we going to stay tonight”. It is merely impossible to stay outside thought they guarantee no threat, but we left with no other choice. Our guide took us few distances away from that place. Everyone thought there is another accommodation but once he pointed a hut open on all side having only roof our cardiac arrested for a moment. Still some are doubtful whether this is place to be spent tonight, our guide strongly confirmed it is. Everyone imagined about a candle light night stay at forest must be very pleasant but the reality is quite opposite. Few assisted our guide in cooking while the rest setting up the shed by covering the bare floor with a handmade bamboo mat as the soil was very damp, lit the candles and logs to get enough light.  After dinner our real problem begins; who is going to sleep on both open corners? All fought for the centre position but our guide and Gangother took those reluctant places. We were terribly tired after not-stop journey that started the previous night and lasted until now however the circumstance never allowed us to even take at least a nap. Preventing the dark by adding kerosene to the dousing fire logs; diverting the leaches, reptiles and insects by drawing borders using salt and watching the surroundings as and when we heard suspicious sound. With hand full of activity we still managed to drowse for a while until we hear a thud like sound evoking to continue our work throughout that night.



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                         In the morning, we woke up few hours after sunrise. Preparing breakfast with the leftover groceries we get set to leave Kudil.  After taking pictures with them we said good bye and started to trek uphill to reach the town. There comes the real challenge for us, trekking inclined. At every other point we halted for a deep breath. Trekking till noon we reached the spot where we had to take a local cab to town. Due to no signal received by our Guide’s BSNL; which is the only service provider works in that area, he walked towards Number Parai valparai until he received while we waited for him in the forest. At last signal received and the cab too came to take us to town.




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Finishing our lunch at town we left to Chinnakallar valparai where we booked a government bungalow. Talking about chinnakallar it is geographically an important place which is about 26 km east of Valparai. It is known as Cherrapunji of Tamil Nadu. It is the second place in receiving maximum rainfall next to Cherrapunji. The hanging bridge is built across the falls is full of enchantment and thrill. This area always found wet and misty. Chinnakallar is full of greenish dense forest with tall majestic trees which gives a pleasant nature. It has the falls which sounds like a roaring lion. As said that this place full of dense forest spotting a wildlife is never hard.


valparai

valparai

valparai




                   Just couple of days before our arrival a herd of elephant ransacked few homes when trying to enter in search for rice and other food items. We met an old lady belong to one of the house. She said, “The elephants thrust the trunks through the windows and searched for food. In their effort, they damaged the walls and roofs caved in”. She also said, they are living a fearful life every day and due to this most of them had even vacated the place and also her family decided to leave very soon. Nothing that we could do for her other than feeling sorry.




                        Our bungalow was fully surrounded with electric fences and few sensors to detect intruding animals. The cottage keeper advised not to park the car in front due to white attracts elephant and also not to wander outside during dark. From the first floor balcony we were anxiously waiting to see any sight of animals around. After long wait there was no sign of any movement so we went back to our room. Suddenly when the place was in a complete silent we heard the alarm ringing after receiving signal from the sensor, all were excited with little fear inside. Switching the torches on, we kept searching every corner of the fences. The alarm kept ringing time and again but the place was pitch dark so we could hardly see nothing.  A memorable and nicely spent two days at valparai.

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