Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ernakulam – Athirappilly – Vazhachal – Valparai – Ernakulam Round Trip – November 2011

A One Day Round Trip from Ernakulam to Valparai covering Athirapally, Vazhachal, Malakkapara with my family & back via Pollachi road, Kollengode, Vadakkancherry. 

AVV_058__DSC0238-Edit_stitch_www.keralapix.com_058Sprawling Tea Estates at Valparai.
We started of around 6:30 in the morning from Kochi. From Angamaly, there are two ways to reach Athirapally, one is driving through NH47 and taking right turn from Chalakudy town straight to Athirapally. The 2nd option is taking a right from Mukkannur Jn. just after Angamaly town passing through Kerala Plantation Corporation’s oil palm estates. The Ferry across the Chalakudy River at
Vettilapara near to Silver Storm Theme park which connects the plantation road with Athirapally road, has been replaced by a 152 long bridge. We took the 2nd route for a change. I don’t recommend this route although you save around 10 kilometers than the normal route via Chalakudy as it consumes more time and the condition of the road is very bad.
Stretch of oil palm plantations owned by the Plantation Corporation Kerala Ltd near Vettilapara.
Vettilapara Bridge
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Scenic view of Chalakudy River from the Vettilapara Bridge.



We reached Athirappilly at 9.15 am and spent around 2 hours before proceeding to Vazachal.
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After purchasing the tickets, we walked down the path to the top of the waterfalls after parking the car at the parking ground.
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The path through the forest is surfaced with raw granite stones and fenced.
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Bonnet Macaques with kids at Athirapally forest.
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View from top of waterfalls
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Views from bottom and a dragon fly near the falls.

Charpa Waterfalls

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The enchanting but less known Charpa falls on the way to Vazhachal.


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Top: The rushing waterfalls at Vazhachal Falls. Below left: The park at the entrance. Below right; A monkey peeping into my car.

View from Irumbupalam (Iron Bridge)

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Irumbupalam (Iron Bridge) - Vazhachal Forest Range.

Vistas on the way to Malakkapara

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Above images: Sights on the way to Malakkapara at Anakkayam and lower Sholayar.
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Images above: Tea estates at Malakkappara which is an unexplored tourist destination, being a town in Kerala bordering Tamil Nadu.

Sholayar Dam

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Sholayar dam in Tamil Nadu also called the upper Sholayar is about 20kms from Valparai near Kerala state border.
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Valparai is located 3500 feet above the sea level on the Anamalai mountain range in Tamil Nadu.

Valparai to Aliyar Dam through the Anamalai Mountains

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One of the 40 Hairpin bends in the Valparai Aliyar mountain highway.

Aliyar Dam

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Images above: Aliyar dam reservoir seen from Anamali mountain ranges.
Watch this video of the stretch from Vettilappara to Aliyar dam captured by my son Rohan with his Fujifilm AV 100 compact still camera.
Athirappilly, Vazhachal,Valparai
- Distance chart in Kilometers Trip Meter Distance
Toponym Reading between
Start - Ernakulam (MG Road North end) 0
Angamaly 30 30
Right deviation after Angamaly
via Mukkannur, Plantation 32 2
Vettilapara Bridge (Silver Storm Park) 54 22
Athirappilly 65 11
Vazhachal 70 5
Anakayam 87 17
Malakkapara (Border forest checkpost) 120 33
Turn to Pollachi Jn. (Turn left here) 144 24
Actual Valparai centre is 6 KM (as per
distance board)
Drive towards Pollachi on state highway
covering Aliyar Dam park entrance
Aliyar Dam park entrance (Fuel station) 188 44
Left deviation to Anamalai Jn. 195 7
(Signal Junction after a railway crossing -
straight road to Anamalai Jn.)
Anamalai Jn. - Turn Right 204 9
Drive straight to Vadakkancherry - Pollachi
highway (MeenkaraiRoad)
Vadakkancherry - Pollachi
highway (Meenkarai Road) JN.
(Ambarampalayam Sungam bus stop) 210 6
Govindhapuram border checkpost 224 14
Vadakkancherry NH47 Jn.
(Hotels and chips shops) 264 40
Mannuthy Jn. 294 30
Chalakudy 323 29
Mookannur Jn. Near Angamaly 333 10
Finish - Ernakulam (MG Road North end) 367 34
Total Kilometers Run 367
Note: If you are planning a trip through this route, remember to top up your fuel tank as there is no fuel station for about 150 kms in this forest road between Chalakudy and Aliyar in Tamil Nadu.Another thing is no night traffic is allowed in the forest section between Vazhachal and Malakkapara. That is avoid travelling between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in this stretch of the journey.
Route Map:

View Ernakulam, Athirappilly, Vazhachal, Valparai, Ernakulam Route Map in a larger map


  1. Very nice photographs. How was the road conditions in the entire stretch between Chalakudy and Valparai through the forest (SH-21)? I would like to know if you have any update on the Chalakudy - Ernakulam NH47 as well. I am taking this route in 2 weeks time. Thanks.

  2. Up to Vazhachal, the road is excellent with good surfacing. Beyond that the road was in bad shape to Valparai when I traveled a year ago. I don't know the condition right now.Road from Valparai to Aliyar was very good as you can see from the photographs above.