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If you google ‘hill stations in South India’, you’ll probably book a hotel in Coorg, Ooty, Coonoor, Munnar or Chikmagalur. Considering how famous these destinations have become over the last decade or so, we don’t blame the tourists for thronging these places. But wait, there’s more. For years tourists have frequented hill stations of Ooty and Coonoor for their lush green meadows and tea estates. But over the last few years, the population has boomed in these destinations thanks to over-commercialization because of an influx of tourists. They no longer have the appeal of a quaint hill station. This is where Valparai beats all these other hill stations and you must explore all the great places to visit at Valparai.
We chanced upon Valparai on the internet while looking for a weekend getaway and were taken aback by its natural beauty. Valparai is a newly explored tourist spot located in the Anamalai Hills that falls in Tamil Nadu. The drive up to Valparai takes you through the forest, perfectly landscaped tea gardens and sometimes an encounter with elephants, leopards or other wildlife!
The beautiful hill station shares its boundary with Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Eravikulam National Park, and Vazhachal Forest Division and as a result, it’s a haven for animals such as elephants, wild boars, mountain goats, black monkeys, and leopards.
Valparai is different from other tourist spots in the South because of some of its unique nature and ecotourism is given more importance than the regular form of tourism. And we highlight the most stunning places to visit at Valparai and nearby.
Places to visit at Valparai
Annamalai wildlife sanctuary
Annamalai wildlife sanctuary is located at an altitude of 1,400 meters and is full of wildlife such as pangolins, sloth bear, panther, elephant, tiger, gaur, deer, etc.
Located at Aliyar in the foothills of Valparai, is a famous picnic spot near the dam. The park opens at 8.30 am and closes at 5.30 pm, with a very minimum entry charge. With very few visitors during the week days, this is easily one of the best places to visit at Valparai.
Your journey to Birla falls will take you 2 km away from Valparai and the path is surrounded by tea fields. Watching the waterfall in the mid-green tea fields is a pleasant view for the eyes.
This reserve forest has adventurous treks and a high probability to sight some of the endangered species. There is a trekking shed( rest house) on the banks of Manompally river which doubles up as a base camp for those bent on adventure. Prior permission from the Forest Department required.
It probably is one of the most secluded, most beautiful, most enchanting and the most peaceful place on earth. The shola grasslands are a unique ecosystem that hosts species like the Nilgiri tahr and Nilgiri Pipit which are not found anywhere else in the world. Nature lovers would love to explore this spot and prior permission from the Forest Department is required.
Sighted the elusive Black Panther yet?
Almost everybody knows that a black panther had long made the dense forests of Kabini its abode. And the best way to spot them is to spend a few nights in the gorgeous wildlife reserve.
An 80 km drive from Valparai through one of the thickest evergreen forests in India simulates the canopied rainforests of Amazon and Central Africa. Popularly known as ‘Punnagai Mannan falls’ or ‘the Indian Niagara’, Athirapally falls has been the backdrop for many south Indian movies. On the way, there are two other falls Charpa and Vazachal.
People can reach the Nallamudi valley viewpoint through a gateway in the tea garden. From here you can spot an excellent view Anaimudi peak, the highest peak in south India. There are few falls on the valley one of which appears as streaks. This is truly a sight to behold. The nearby tribal settlements provide ample opportunity to satisfy the explorer in you.
One of nature’s finest and purest sources of minerals and ayurvedic formulations, these falls truly rejuvenate your body and mind.
This gives a panoramic view of the Azhiyar dam. Consider yourself lucky if you spot endangered Nilgiri Tahr, the State animal of Tamil Nadu.
It provides a spectacular view of Kadamparai and the upper Azhiyar projects. Windmills situated on the plains can be a feast to the eyes, try zooming-in your binoculars for a couple.
Considered to be one of the wettest places in India at par with Mawsymram, Cherrapunji, and Agumbe. You can reach the waterfalls in this area by a trek through a hanging bridge, a legacy of the British.
Best Time to visit Valparai
Sitting pretty at 3,500 feet, Valparai might not be perched on towering mountains like the Himalayas but the weather here is pleasant throughout the year. Located amidst lush greenery and picturesque tea garden, the quaint hill station is a nature lover’s abode and can be explore during any of the season.
However, the best time to be there is post monsoons, when the rain gods bless the hill station with magnificent shades of green and small rivulets flowing through the terrain. If you are looking to explore all the places to visit at Valparai then September to January are the best months for you. Avoid going there during monsoons, as the torrential mountain rains might limit your outdoor time.
How to reach Valparai
Coimbatore airport is the nearest international airport to Valparai – approximately 124 km (the journey up winding roads towards the end means that you should budget 3-4 hours to get there by car from Coimbatore airport). International flights to Singapore and Sharjah are provided by Silk Air (A subsidiary of Singapore Airlines) and Air Arabia respectively. Domestic airlines fly to Coimbatore as well.
Pollachi To Valparai – Public buses are available every 30 minutes from Pollachi Bus Terminal. Because people use this a lot, it may take more than 4 hours to cover the distance of about 64 km. Visitors arriving via Coimbatore must-visit Pollachi and then catch a bus to the Valparai bus from there.
Coimbatore Junction is the nearest railway station. The distance is 105 km from Valparai and is connected to all major cities in India.
Where to stay in Valparai
Valparai is yet to get commercialized and therefore there aren’t a lot of stay options available. Therefore the ones that are there, will provide you with an excellent experience! Our favourite hotel chain is the Briar Tea bungalows that have Monica and Sirukundra estates where people can book luxury tents or cottages. These are the most premium properties in Valparai that have amazing locales, great food, and unmatched services. You can also explore upscale properties like Sinna Dorai Bungalows and Great Mount Coco Lagoon.
For homestays and other hotels, you can check out your favourite online booking site and plan your vacation there!
Head down from the mountains to the uber cool beach destinations in Karnataka
With its pristine beaches and breathtaking landscapes, Gokarna is a Hindu pilgrimage town in Karnataka and a newly found hub for beach lovers and hippies.
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Pictures are mind blowing. More than all other hill stations in South India, My most favorite one is Valparai. Whenever we plan for the ride to hill station, We give first preferences to Valparai.
Thanks for reading. Yes it’s an amazing place. But there are more like Valparai and you can see them on our insta feed. Look for travelmynation
name if this accommodation plz?
Hi Namita. Thanks for reading the blog. Do share it as well. The stay is by Briar Bungalows and this particular one is called Sirukundra
This is Sirukundra Bungalow in Valparai…its part of Briar Bungalows.
[…] One of the most gorgeous tea plantations in the country and hands down beating destinations like Munnar, Kodaikanal, and Ooty with its perfectly landscaped terrain, cloudy mountains, and green environment. The man-made tea and coffee plantations are full of wildlife such as elephant, gaur, tiger, panther, sloth bear, deer, wild dog, porcupine, flying squirrel, jackal, pangolin, civet cat and birds like rocket-tailed drongo, red-whiskered bulbul, black headed oriole, tree pie, spotted dove, green pigeon, etc. You can see Valparai in pictures here. […]
wowww Valparai looks so much mesmerizing… Cant wait to explore the place. You’re blog is definitely going to help alot
Thanks a lot for reading. Go there during or post monsoons
I never heard about this place, but while reading the article I really liked the place and pictures are really stunning. I will surely make a plan to visit this beautiful place.
Oh u didn’t? Then u should definitely go there
So loved the photos… and wondering how much more the place must have become after lockdown. And yes you very rightly said that pelple from outside Southern India know only of Ooty, Coorg and Munnar. Thanks for introducing us to Valparai
Ur welcome. Glad you liked it
Valparai looks so amazing place to visit with family and friends. You clicked some outstanding pictures would love to visit this place. Thanks for detailed information about the place
Ur welcome Sundeep. Hope u get to go here soon
Just like other people, I also visited various commercial and famous places of South India. Valparai is new to me and trust me I am really mesmerized by its beauty and serenity. I will surely recommend it to my friends and will visit for sure if get a chance next time. Pictures and detailing here is amazing.
Wow am so glad to hear that. And when u do go there lemme know if u need any help
I am adding Valpari to my list even though I have been to Annamalai wildlife sanctuary for a short period of time. I would love to visit this place again and see the places with a different perspective. Thanks for this, I will save this post so I can use it when I plan.
I did know a bit about Valparai but looking at the pictures, all I can say is “Wow”. That’s natural beauty at its best.
Thanks. Glad u liked it
Valparai looks amazing. But this is one offbeat. Not in the famous listy ones. Good you listed the stays. Since Coimbatore is the neatest, I wonder if shared cars are available.
Yes u can get taxis from there. Not sure about shared transportation
Vidur this is amazing, I am amazed how much beauty India contains? Honestly before reading your blog, I never heard about Valparai. Due to the description and photos I definitely want to visit it sometime.
Thanks for reading and hope u make it there soon
Those pictures are absolutely mesmerising… I really wish to start travelling as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
Yeah we r waiting to travel too
Seems like a perfect plan for a roadtrip from Bangalore once this pandemic gets over!
Yes we r waiting to go there too
I had read about Valparai a couple of years back and since then I wanted to visit there. Somehow, a trip to teh southern part of India did not happen in these times. Valparai looks breathtakingly beautiful and I see that there are a number of waterfalls there. The place looks a lovely combination of green and blue! Would love to visit this place when we start travelling again.
All greens n blues there. Lovely place for photos
Woah – so many cool places, so much time! I have hardly explored South India, it’s been on my list for the longest time. Thanks for this guide – will definitely bookmark it for later!
Then u should plan a southern trip once things get normal ??
I will be visiting first week of June
Is it recommended?
Yes u can go but it might be a little hot at the time. However Valparai is a year round destination