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:
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.
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!