Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The beauty of Sharavati

The Sharavati may be a short river - running about 128 kilometres in the State of Karnataka, India - but is no less grand than the Ganges!
It is one of the few westward flowing rivers of India and a large part of the river basin lies in the Western Ghats.The famous Jog Falls is formed by this river.

The Sharavati is 70 meters wide at it broadest point. After this point, it splices itself into four scenic cataracts known as the Jog Falls.
(The longest railway river bridge on the Konkan Railway route. Built over the Sharavati it is 2.060 kilometers long)

The Sharavati originates at a place called Ambutheertha in the Thirthahalli taluk. According to a legend of the times of Ramayana, this is the place where the Hindu God Rama broke Shiva's bow to win the hand of Sita. The Linganamakki dam, the Gerusoppa dam and the Sharavati Hydroelectric project are all located along the route of Sharavati generating about 1,350 MW of power.

Karnataka's Western Ghats are truly splendid!

Click here to read about Valparai - also in the Western Ghats

Monday, August 1, 2016

Valparai: 10 reasons why you shouldn't resist being driven around the bend

There are 40 hair pin bends on the route to Valparai. There are some extremely good reasons why you must not resist being driven around these hair pin bends:

1.What Valparai!?: Damn! You've not even heard of it! Fie on your knowledge of India. Well fie on me too. I too hadn't heard of it till I hear of it first. Well, this is Valparai:

Valparai is in the Anaimalai Hills on the Tamil Nadu's Western Ghats. It is a 4 hours drive from Coimbatore and is about 2 hours from Pollachi. Of course it could be quicker if like being driven around the bend without concern to life and limb - of the leopard which could cross your path along the way!

2.Population: The population of Valparai is 70,000. Yes, 70,000! This is the number of people which you would find in a large mall on a holiday in any of our large cities. On a weekday, locals are hardly visible as they are busy working on Tea Estates. The height of tree shrubs from where they collect tea leaves is about the height of people here - rendering them almost invisible.

3.Altitude: Valparai has an average elevation of 1,193 meters which is much lower compared to Udhagamandalam (Ooty) which is at an altitude of 2,240 meters. Valparai is only a little higher than Bengaluru (Bangalore) which is at 920 meters. However, its sparse population, zero pollution, dense forestation makes it feel much better than even Udhagamandalam

4.Mist: In Valparai you walk with your head in the clouds - not just figuratively!

5.The 9th Hair-pin bend: This is the view from the 9th hair-pin bend:

6.A Live Picture Post Card: No plastic. No pollution. No vehicles. No honking. Looks like you are inside a Picture Postcard! Everything here has a manicured look.

7.Great Winding Roads: Whichever department of the government is mandated with the task of maintaining the winding roads to Valparai is doing a great job! The ghat roads are in excellent condition! The road is well carpeted and winds up through very dense foliage.

8.Karamalai Annai Velankanni Church & the Balaji Temple: The Karamalai Annai Velankanni church is next to a gurgling stream. Very peaceful and serene. The Balaji temple is equally good - though they follow a no photography rule.

9.Vellaimallai Tunnel:The Vellaimalai tunnel is a 8 kilometres long underground tunnel carrying water for irrigation from Nirar Dam in Tamil Nadu to Kerala.

10.Briar Tea Bungalows: Valparai has very few staying options.Briar Tea Estates have multiple bungalows as part of their Tea Estates. This is the Sirukundra Tea Bungalow - a 99 years old colonial bungalow.

Their other bungalows are equally good. They also have wooden cottages on stilts and nice tents. There is also the Sinna Durai Tea Bungalow which is part of another Tea Plantation company.

So, what are you waiting for - more reasons to be driven around the bend?!

PS:Damn! I forgot to mention about Nirar Dam! I also missed out the Aliyar Reservoir, the Shoranur Dam and many other places!

Behind Closed Doors