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Tamil Nadu Travel Blog

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Tea plantation, Valaparai

Next stop on our hectic intinery was Top slip in the Indira Ghandi national park in Tamil Nadu. We boarded a belching bus to the nearby town of Chalakudy, apparently this town has the highest alcohol consumption per head in India and beats its own record every year so we were in for a good time. When we got there, there wasnt a drunk let a lone a bar in site, disillusioned by the promise if beer we boarded a bus for the hill station of Valparai. The Journey was certainly memorable. The bus chugged along through thick forest and huge bamboo stands clattered along the roof as we drove through. The road started off following a roaring river as it made its way in the opposite direction to the sea. Soon we begun a series of white knuckle hairpins and after some time the forest became thicker and wetter.

Elephant!
We were treated with glimpses of Nilgiri languurs as they hurled themselves through the canopy when the bus went by. After 3 or 4 hours we left the forest and found ourselves in a bizzare landscape of Tea plantations. It was Alice and wonderland on crack, manicured toppery covered hills went on for miles in all directions, we half expectes to see someone playing crouqet with an inverted flamingo at any second. 

The bus pulled up at Valparai, a bustling mountain town full of rickshaws, heaving market stalls and of course the ever present cows which ruled the roads here. We got a beutiful pink room! and were lulled to sleep by the sound of Dad snoring his head off.

The next episode of the journey was a little more comfortable as we got a taxi to Top slip in the national park.

Lion tailed macaque.
Ther road continued to climb and the Temperature plumit, after some time we had crossed the Western Ghats and began a series of 49 hairpins down the other side, as we descended it got hotter and hotter. Once we reached the plains the road heaved with traffic, pilgrims and huge carts pulled by majectic oxen with wicked looking horns. Finally we made it to Top Slip. The car was immediatly surrounded by bonnert macaques and wild boar rooted around the canteen area. After eventually securing rooms in a teak plantation we set off on a little trek. Nilgiri languurs and Malabar giant squirrels were fairly common. We crept on through the groaning bamboo and came face to face with a male elephant, he didnt actually seem bothered by us at all and didnt even aknowledge us. We continued on and up a steep hill, our silence was interrupted by the crash of undergrowth and two huge sambar deer charged through running between us, I dont know who was more shocked, them or us.

The food was basic but good and Dad and Mum slowly adjusted to eating with their hands. We stumbled back to the room stuffed. The amphibians were really going crazy so I took myself off into the forest to have a look around and was rewarded by a few cool sightings including a snake hunting in the pond I was knee deep in.  I returned to the room to find a viper curled up at the bottom of the stairs, my mum coped with it suprisingly well for someone who is terrified of snakes.    

It was time to return to Fort Cochi. On the way back to Valaparai we found a troop of Lion tailed macaques feeding on breadfruit trees. They were pretty nonchalant about us being so close, we were so absorbed with their antiques we got well and truly leeched. A wedding party went by and showered us in marigolds and blowing kisses. The trip back to Cochin went pretty well except the taxi and rickshaw crash!

 

 

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Tea plantation, Valaparai
Tea plantation, Valaparai
Elephant!
Elephant!
Lion tailed macaque.
Lion tailed macaque.