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Tamil Nadu

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Why Valparai will be your most loved hill station in South India

Let me begin this post with a confession. Prashanth and I have always called ourselves offbeat travellers, as we more often than not travel and stay at some really unique places. However, when it came to planning that perfect hill station getaway we’d always settle for Ooty, Coonoor, Kodaikanal, Munnar etc. We must admit that we too had fallen prey for ‘highly marketed’ destinations, which today are being over consumed by the masses of India. Not that they are any less beautiful than how they are being projected. It’s just that they have become way too overcrowded for our liking. We would rather go some place where all we hear are the sounds of nature; far away from the noise of man. Hence, we decided to take a dear friend- Aditi’s recommendation and head to Valparai – the hidden gem of Tamil Nadu!

Overview

Valparai is set amidst the Anamalai mountain range.ย At an altitude of 3500 feet above sea level it is home to some of India’s indigenous flora and fauna. Covered with tea plantations, dense forests, wild waterfalls and whispering streams;ย co-existing with barely any human settlement is what makes Valparai a charming hill station.

Always take the scenic route!

How to get there

The closet airport is Coimbatore airport that lies 120 kilometers away from Valparai. Thereafter, take a bus or drive to Valparai. This is a convenient and time saving option for those traveling from North India. If you are traveling from Cochin we recommend taking the Athirapally – Valparai route. You will pass through the gorgeous Athirapally waterfalls and reserve forests of Sholayar. And if you are traveling from Bangalore & Chennai then you must take the Pollachi – Valparai route. We’ve traveled to so many hill stations in South India, but amongst all the routes we’ve taken, this has by far been the most exhilarating and picturesque one! With 40 hairpin bends and hectares of plantation one can truly enjoy nature’s beauty and probably even sight a Nilgiri Tahr, like we did!

Nilgiri Tahr

Spotted these gorgeous Nilgiri Tahrs on our drive.

 

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Pitstops that call for hot lemon tea.

 

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Love road trips that lead to trying humble street side snacks such as this – sliced pineapple with chili, salt and lime (just for Rs. 10!)

Where to rest your head

From heritage bungalows to private estate houses, one can be spoilt for choice when considering a place to spend the night. We opted for the Wooden Chalets at Stanmore Bungalow, which is owned and managed by Briar Tea Bungalows. Today, going offline is the new luxury, and the art of doing nothing is exactly what we exercised at Stanmore Bungalow. We picked this place purely for the uninterrupted 360 degree views of the tea estates it offers from the porch of it’s wooden chalets. Whereas, the food and upkeep of the room was just above average.

Who wants to give up on society and live in a cabin? We sure do!

 

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Stanmore Bungalow

 

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Dinner room at Stanmore Bungalow.

Experiences

The range of nature and wildlife oriented activities they have on board is another reason to stay at Stanmore Bungalow. From trekking to tea tasting and from picnic luncheons to riverside walks, they have it all. Moreover, the resort Manager – Mr. Amar helped us in selecting an activity that suited our preference. He recommended the Injipara river and estate hike. Hiking through the tea estate and walking down the riverside sounded like the perfect thing to do on a gloomy afternoon. We will let ourย pictures do the talking ๐Ÿ™‚

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Hiking up the tea estate.

 

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Beautiful landscaped vistas on our way to the Injipara river.

 

Why we like it

3 words – untouched, unexplored and pristine. Valparai offers one the opportunity to get lost in your surroundings, making it the perfect well-earned break. Exploring the hills, stumbling upon waterfalls, tea plantations and toytown villages merely compliments the grandeur of Valparai.

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You’re my perfect cup of tea! Grateful for mornings like these.

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Scenic panoramas straight out of our cabin porch

 

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Soaking it all in with a smile.

ย Disclaimer: A wonderful collaborationย with the good folks at Pollachi Papyrus and Woodbriar Group is what made this possible. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.ย 
Note: Room rates for the wooden chalets at Stanmore Bungalow starts at Rs. 10,000 per night during peak season which is also inclusive of all meals. For Bookings please contact Mr. Pravin Shanmughanandam – +91 8344330416