Valparai is a hill station and a municipality, located in the district of Coimbatore, in the state of Tamil Nadu. Located at a height of approximately 3,500 feet above sea level on the Annamalai mountain range, this hill station is surrounded with lush green forests mountains.
The history of Valparai dates back to the year 1846, when Mr. Ramasamy Mudaliyar started cultivating coffee in his private estate. Afterwards, in 1864, the Karnatic Coffee Company started a coffee plantation in the region. However, the effort did not prove beneficial, therefore, it was aborted and some part of the land was sold. In 1890, W Wintil and Nordan purchased a portion of land in Valparai from the Madras State Government. Wintil assisted by an experienced planter Carwer Marsh, planted tea and coffee in this region by deforesting the area bought by him. Carwer Marsh, owing to his dedication and hard work, later came to be known as the Father of Anamalais. A statue has been erected in Kavarkal Estate, which is dedicated to Carwer Marsh. Tamil and Malayalam are the two languages, which are largely spoken in these areas, owing to its location in Tamil Nadu as well as its proximity to the state of Kerala. Tamil as well as Kerala cuisine are most prominent in this hill station.
Besides cuisine, a three day event is also organized in the month of May, to boost tourism. This event includes sessions for children, food festivals, cricket and football matches. Furthermore, flower shows, folk and tribal dances are also a part of this event. In addition to festivals and events, tourists can also make a visit to the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, which is one of the most prominent attractions of Valparai. At this sanctuary, travelers can spot the lion-tailed macaque, barking deer, wild boar, the Nilgiri and the common langur among others.
Visitors can also make a trip to the Aliyar, Sholayar and Nirar dams, which are the other popular attractions of the destination. Balaji Temple, Sidi Vinayak Temple and Annai Velankani Church are some of the other sightseeing places in Valparai. In addition to sightseeing, travellers can also engage in trekking and can also make a visit to the tea estates. Valparai is very well connected through flights and trains as well as buses. The nearest airport to Valparai is at Coimbatore and the other nearest airports at Cochin and Madurai. Trains are also available, which are served by the Pollachi Railway Station. Valparai has its nearest rail connectivity from Pollachi which is 64 km and the major railway station at Coimbatore at 100 km distance. By road, Valparai can be reached by buses plying regularly from Pollachi and Coimbatore.
Valparai Route Map
The best time to visit Valparai is from October to November and January to May.
State: Tamil Nadu
Famous for/as: Hill
Featured review about Valparai :
“Valparai is located in the southern state of Tamilnadu and is situated about 105 Kms from Coimbatore. We were a group of 3 families (6 adults & 2 kids both aged 4) travelling from Chennai. We boarded the Korba-Trivandrum Express at 11:30 pm on 8th August from Chennai Central Railway Station and had a chaotic journey. Thanks to last minute cancellation of our 2nd AC coach. Thanks to the great Indian Railways. We were given tickets spread all across a 3rd AC coach and that too post 12:45 am so had a stressful and short sleep overnite before reaching Coimbatore at 8am on 9th August 2013. We were apprehensive that the trip had started on such a difficult note but continued ahead with optimism and a prayer on our lips that things ahead would be better! After freshening up at a friend’s place at Coimbatore, we had a hearty South Indian breakfast and set out by 10 am for our drive to Valparai. The first half of the journey was pleasant punctuated by stops for tender coconut and fresh guavas. The landscape turned rural and with the rains having been plenty, it was lush green everywhere. After crossing Pollachi, our first stop was Aliyar Dam and we reached the dam by 12:30 pm and had a round of boating with accompaniments in the form of cut raw mangoes! After a good walk up & down the dam, we were back in the car to proceed towards Valparai.
We decided to give the famed Monkey falls a miss as there had been a short bout of rain en route and the water was anyways too cold to take a dip in. Upon crossing the falls on road we were glad of our decision going by the huge boisterous crowd of college students enjoying their time at the falls. Now began the highlight of the trip in the form of the gorgeous breathtaking
views from the 41 hair pin bends that one must cross to reach Valparai town.
The view of the Aliyar Dam down below and numerous waterfalls at every corner was a delight for the eyes and we stopped for quite a few photo-ops. It is best to visit Valparai during the winter season of Oct- Dec when it can be very cold and of course the monsoon season from July-September is the
best time to see nature at its best! Upon crossing the 24th hair pin bend, we saw a sign on the right pointing to ‘Waterfalls Estate’ which is where we were staying. Soon enough a quaint tea estate bungalow surrounded by tea gardens on all sides came into view. It was 2:30 pm and we were famished.
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: The must see places in and around Valparai are:
- Sholayar Dam
- Top Slip & Parambikulam sanctuaries (visit preferably in summer as animal sightings are not common during monsoon)
- Lower Nirar Dam
- Balaji temple (tough trek)
- Masaani Amman Temple
Athirampally & Vazhachaal waterfalls (across the Kerala border and a good 3 hours drive each way, beware of blood sucking leeches during this leg of the trip!) We could not visit the viewpoint, Nallamudi Pooncholai due to lack of time so am not sure of how good it is! We visited Koolangal River which is nothing but a pebble strewn rocky shallow stream where one can pick up lovely stones from the rocky bed of the stream. Nothing special enough to make it a must-see though! Activities & things to do: Frolic in the waterfalls except Athirapally (it\s safe as long as you are careful)
- Boating at Aliyar Dam
- Splendid opportunities for nature photography enthusiasts
- Go on a van safari at Top Slip or elephant safari at Parambikulam (fixed timings for this)
- Memorable Tea factory visit
Valparai Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc:
Carry umbrellas/raincoats as the rain can set in suddenly but is usually short during Jun-Sept Apply salt water while stepping out of the car enroute to Athirapally as the road through the forest teems with blood sucking leeches. Cover up and dont expose too much skin. Wear open sandals/loafers or clogs instead of heavy sneakers. These leeches have a tendency to hide in
between the folds of your skin, ezpecially between your toes, beind ears etc and can suck your blood for hours without you feeling even a prick!
Do not venture out for night time walks as wild animals frequent the tea estates. Leave their territory to them!”
– Ganesh Rajendran, Chennai.