Yet another weekend, and that was the perfect time for yet another weekend ride. Going on a long ride every month has now become a routine thing for three of us. We usually prefer second Saturdays for the ride, because that is when we have something left in our bank accounts. Just like any other second Saturdays, we decided to leave early in the morning and come back by evening. Our plan was to ride towards Peechi-Vazhani wildlife sanctuary in Thrissur.
Our ride along the crowded road was turning out to be boring, all because of traffic and the heat. We came almost 50 Kms from the city, but we found it very tiring. We pulled off of the highway and stopped near a tea shop at “Koratty” town in Thrissur. Jinsh, one of my friends is always the one who comes up with crazy ideas. He said, I don’t want to ride any further or let us go somewhere else, somewhere far from the civilisation”. It was hard for me and Farooq to say No to him, because he was totally speaking sense.
Riding till Valparai was never part of our plan. Having heard and read about Valparai a lot, it was easy for us to choose our destination for our weekend ride. The hilly town of Valparai is about a hundred and fifty Kms from Cochin. Another 100 Kms from the tea shop. We got to the nearest petrol pump and made sure we had enough petrol to reach Valparai and come back. In less than an hour we passed the ever beautiful Athirapally waterfalls and reached “Vazhachal” check post. The forest officials gave us an entry pass till Sholayar which is in Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. The stretch between Athirapally waterfalls and Sholayar has got one of the best roads we have ever seen. Anybody who is on a motorbike would love this route through the jungle.
On these roads you can enjoy the beauty of the Western Ghats. The Nilgiris and the Sholayar reservoir are the main attractions. The Ghat roads will take you to the top of the mountains, and look at the view we have got..
This is the view of the Sholayar Reservoir from the top of the mountains. The Sholayar reservoir is surrounded by the ranges of the Western Ghats. The lower Sholayar dam can be seen from here. Along the way you could easily spot Giant squirrels, monkeys and a variety of birds. The saddest part is we came across a few road kills. Little animals were found dead on the road after being hit by vehicles. It seems most of the four-wheel drivers never showed any mercy on them.
Our next stop was at “Malakkapara”, a check post in the Sholayar on Chalakudy-Anamalai road. We extended our vehicle passes till Valparai. We entered the state of Tamil Nadu, and now the scene has changed. We found ourselves in a totally different route surrounded by plantations, villagers and cold air-filled with the smell of tea. Suddenly, out of nowhere came out this big animal, an amazing Asian elephant. This is the first time in my life I saw an elephant in the wild up close. Which is like some 150 meters, fair enough distance for both of us. Thanks to the truck driver who spotted the giant. The animal was alone, in somebody else’s tea estate. “Koolankal” river near the Valparai town gives you the opportunity to watch wild animals, if you can make it to the river early in the morning. “Gaurs” and elephants are regular visitors here. You can see them by the river at a safe distance. Unfortunately, we arrived late and could not spot any animals.
In and around the Valparai town, there are many interesting spots. We could only visit a few places the next day. Day 2 was dedicated to taking pictures of this splendid wilderness. Jinsh and Farooq have got a couple of good pics, and I have pinned some of them.
They say “A picture is worth a thousand words”. You could have a look at those pictures here.