ஞாயிறு, 18 அக்டோபர், 2009

Nelliyambathy

Nelliyampathy is a small hill station in kerala, about 70 km from Pollachi. This was the first time we have ever heard of this place and we were warned nothing to expect there but the cool climate. since its the rainy season we decided to go by car rather than take my suggestion and go by bike.

We started around 8.30 am from TIRUPUR. The route was through POLLACHI - GOVINDAPURAM - KOLLENGODE - NEMMARA - NELLIYAMPATHY. The road was narrow but good throughout the route till Nelliyampathy. There is no decent hotel but we managed to have lunch in Nemmara and headed towards nelliyampathy. It was not a big hill but the journey up was really amazing. Again the roads were very narrow but was laid great with no patches anywhere and my friends were very happy to leave me behind the wheel and trusted me with their lives.

Our first stop was POTHUNDY DAM. It was just a lake with only toads swimming around otherwise completely deserted. After cursing this place for the trip and spoiling the Deepavali celebrations we started to ascend the hill. If you are a regular tourist and have visited a few hill stations, there is not much to see and wonder on the entire way to KAIKATTY.

When we reached KAIKATTY we wondered where kaikatty is. It was just an intersection where two roads divide. And thats where one has to choose to go which way. Two spots on the right and two on the left and thats all, you have done seeing nelliyampathy. We chose to go to the right and traveled around 2 km to arrive at KESAVANPARA.

Parked the car on the roadside, paid Rs.5 per head and started to walk through the forest for 300m to reach the Kesavanpara. If you have already bought entry pass in MANPARA no need to buy again here. The same ticket is valid for this place also and vice versa. It was the peak of one of the mountains and as the name suggests it was a rocky surface with green patches. From here you can see the bird's eye view of the greenery and the dam (yawn.!!). Headed back to the entrance and asked the ticket vendor for the direction to reach the waterfalls for which he said it was closed due to DFO's order. So one of the four spots was deprived from seeing and we have seen one which left us with only two more to go.

We traveled back to KAIKATTY and headed toward the other road to go to SITHARKUND which is about 12km further. It was a sheer driving pleasure to drive on these snake roads since there are less people visiting this place. But watch out for the jeeps fly by you and takes your car's side mirror with them. And remember the road is very narrow and its impossible for two vehicles to go side by side at the same time. So better stop and give way for them.

On the way to sitharkund there is a small stream. Here the road divides in to two. The right takes you to MANPARA, the left to SITHARKUND. Its impossible to go to manpara without a four wheel SUV. We spent a few minutes in and around the stream and climbed up to sitharkund. Here again the same views (so yawn again..!). Took a few snaps, tortured monkeys, drank a cup of coffee, bought Tea for home and descended.

It was already dark so we left manpara for the next day and started searching for a place to stay. Yes, this time we missed to book a resort in advance. At last we managed to find a resort in KARAPURA ESTATE which was a 12km drive from kaikatty. The time was 6.30 and it was already pitch dark. After a few kilometers the asphalt road changed into gravel and after some time, alas.!!! where is the road or path or way or whatever. Nothing was there except the trail left by the water flow. The way up was paining and tested my patience and driving skills altogether. Filled with rocks, stones, overgrown roots, alone in the dark with noone to save us if anything goes wrong, wow, it was really a wonderful experience and we started to enjoy it. It took nearly 1.5 hrs to scale the 12 km distance. We reached the resort which turned out to be an old housing complex, drank, ate and slept.

We woke up the next morning only to find that we were charged with an outrageous bill for the stay and food. We paid and left to see MANPARA the only spot left. One has to hire a jeep to reach this place. They charged Rs.600 for 5 persons. Get in to the jeep, fasten your seat belts and prepare for the bumpiest ride of your life time. The entry fee is Rs.5 per head but if you have already bought entry pass in KESAVANPARA no need to buy again here. The same ticket is valid for this place also. Until a few km i wondered why is it not possible to go by any other vehicles and after that i wished we had hired a Hummer instead of the jeep.

The way to the top was to drive the jeep on a 55, 60 degree steep hill surface. And this is what nelliyampathy is all about. If we had missed this ride we would have missed a great adventure of our life time. The ride was bumpy, rough, thrilling, paining but enjoyable. Here is the only place where you can literally be on the top of a hill. The top is only a 30 ft in diameter and we were standing there, along with the parked jeeps. We were astounded to see how the jeeps scale the mountain. We were more than happy to pay the Rs.600. With the satisfaction that our sight seeing trip turned to be a driving adventure trip we parted in Tirupur as usual over a cup of tea.

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