Not all those who WANDER are LOST - J. R. R. Tolkien
This was more of an Instinctive decision to test my guts of traveling solo to an unknown, a place that I had never heard before. It happened on one of the long weekends in March, while I was wondering where to step out my brain reminded me of a cousin who collects articles about off beat travel destinations, there were many options but this place pulled me towards it. I immediately booked a place to stay, packed bags and hit the road!
There were still knots in my stomach, and a little bit of fear in the head as it was my first time alone in an unknown place. From Pollachi which is the nearest town will have to take a bus to Valparai which is about one and a half hour journey in a local bus. Bus climbing up the hill, turning through the hair pin bends, watching the hills as sun was just opening the arms, clouds passing by as they were just waking up in the morning, an island that was like icing on the cake which later I figured out that it was Sholayar dam. As the view was quenching the thirst in my eyes, knots in my stomach were releasing and the fear in my head flew away in the air.
I stayed in River View Homestay and went around seeing the places in an auto. We were driving mostly through tea plantations and these tea plantations are covered by forest, had to walk for about 15 minutes to reach Nallamudi view point which has the rarest view of tea plantations on one side and forest on the other side.
Benny one of the hosts took me for a walk around tea plantations to see if we can spot elephants, they have even spotted leopards sometimes. Hard Luck, we couldn’t see elephants except for their dung but spotted few bison’s. It was a short trek; I have this dream to have snakes as pets. Benny was into Snake preserving and we had a long discussion about different snakes.
They also do offer night jeep safaris, if you are lucky enough you can spot leopards. As I was alone, hosts offered to take me around for a drive to check if we can spot any animals. We packed our food and headed on the road in Ghats again with really cold weather and fog all around. Hard luck again, we didn’t really get to see animals.
The next day, I visited a tea factory. It’s amazing on how different varieties of teas are made from the leaves plucked at different stages of their growth. Not being more of a tea drinker, black tea that I tasted there was one of the best tea’s I have had till now. While my taste buds were dancing with happiness, we headed to see Nirar Dam. The view from the dam surrounded by forests was surreal.
A place like this in Tamil Nadu which I had always assumed to be having hot weather, it is purely a hidden treasure and I am glad that I was able to find! I would really want to visit this place again during monsoon.
Quest in search of unknown bought me here,
with the tiny amount of fear.
I was in Solitude and so were you,
glad that I came to see you out of the blue.
Hidden treasure you are locked in the wood,
bidding adieu with a grin more than I thought I would!