Jul 4, 2012

Valparai ... Heaven on Earth

I know I am visiting my blog after a long time. I don’t know any exact reason for why I have orphaned it, but I know I have orphaned it. Last week I had a brain fart and then decided that I should revive my blog and I was just waiting for a reason and there came with a bang, a trip to the most gorgeous place in tamilnadu - "Valparai". It was a quick planned trip and as you all know, no trip actually clicks when you do long planning. So let me take a walk down the memory lane (yes, my memory is short-term) and tell you the beauty of Valparai.

The trip started with the much needed excitement, thrill, anxiety and eagerness and of course it is not after we reaching Valparai, it just started right at the Central Railway Station. My very good friend C and his wife M, would have almost missed the train and I can hear your mind voice "What's the big deal, you could have gone to Valparai na?", but wait, I am just an arrow for this whole trip, the main bow was C, as he is the one who planned it in entirety, so if he could not have made it on time, myself and my wife would have got down at CBE, just to catch the other train back to Chennai without even seeing a stone (then only paarai na)

The train was scheduled to start at 9:00 PM and C & M came to the compartment at 9:03 and by then the train was already in moving, they both came running to catch the train, the same way how dogs would run after seeing the "dog catching van", I mean to say this as an analogy to explain the speed at which they were running and nothing more than that. So I and my wife were now rest assured that there is going to be a trip to Valparai and we are actually gonna have an itinerary rather doing nothing. As usually the train journey was full of fun and laughter, both of us were equally tarnished by our better halves and that made the gundu lady in our coupe to read her book actually upside down and laughing at all our comments.

Day 1

We reached CBE around 4:30 and there started the actual fun, the weather at CBE was amazing and we were so fortunate to have a fantastic chauffer by name R and without him, this trip would have been doomed. I have more to say about him at the end of this post. Myself, V, C and M were good eaters (No, not man-eaters), and we actually lived up to our own expectations, we hogged like a pig (well, pigs actually eats few kilos less than us) during this trip, we started with a heavy (very heavy) breakfast and promised that the sprit continues till we wind up the tour and we kept the promise.

As we started our journey from Pollachi the true beauty of Valparai uncovered in front of our eyes, Mother Nature started to roll down her green velvette carpet of those lovely tea estates and welcomed us. Just the sight of those hilly terrains of green tea leaves, gives immense joy and pleasure to our eyes and soul, one could only be awestruck on seeing how Mother Nature has painted herself with that tinch of green only GOD can produce on such a big canvas. Those smoky mountains on the backdrop would only add that extra degree of bend to your already risen eyebrows. By keeping the car windows open, myself and V did non-stop praanayaama to inhale all the good oxygen that was available there.

Luckily all 4 of us do not have this issue of vomiting while climbing a hill; those hair-pin bends did nothing to take the stuffs out of our packed tummy. We watched few places on our way before reaching our estate, by around evening we came to our estate where we stayed, that location of the estate was so beautiful, the rooms were big, weather was chill, you could see smoky mountains surrounded all 3 sides, it was a perfect get-away place, and as you all know, chill weather, great company always demands pakoda's, and we had an awesome cook by name D, and he served us some hot pakoda's and that moment we all saw heaven. Cooler places make us eat more, and by 9 we ordered for chapathi's and D made some awesome side dish for that. After a tiresome journey, we felt we should crash in, so by 9:30 PM we crashed in our respective rooms.

Day 2

It was such a wonderful, bright and a sunny day, a perfect weather which would allow you to go to the hill tops and have a nice view, so we had our morning coffee and then started our journey towards one of the peaks in Valparai, the time we reached the hill top, it was misty, rainy and all, but again SUN god smiled at us and gave us time to have some breath-taking views over the hill top. From that place we say, Munnaar, Aanaimudi and other peaks. We saw a beautiful silver falls that was gushing out of a mountain and that sight was out of the world.

We happened to meet an interesting personality by name V, and he is known to be media famous as well, he is the one who has see GOD when he was 40 odd years, there is a shrine in that hill top called as "God Seen Shrine" and he told us that "OM" is his mother and "Sun" is his dad, he gave a lot of gyaan about himself and how he saw GOD, without getting into the argument of whether I believe him or not, I felt that he is great than an ordinary individual and I would want to stop my discussion about him here.

Then we headed towards another estate just to sight Horn Bill and Bison, though we were fortunate enough to sight a few bison’s, Horn Bills seem to elude. We all walked inside a tea estate and then had a hearty chat with those ladies who were plucking tea leaves. Their hospitality and innocence is something we city folks can never learn, though they may be earning a meager, they have a heart which is made of gold. What made me so happy during that 30 minute interaction was, all of them are so serious in educating their kids, one lady gave me a shocking statement that, 10 years from now, all these places will just be forests and no one would be here to pluck tea leaves. It’s good and bad in a way, but that is what destiny is.

The kind of treatment those tea companies give for them is heart wrenching. They have to work for 9 hours and have to pluck a minimum of 16kgs of tea leaves, they were given just 1 time coffee or tea to drink, in spite of rain, or mist or sun, they cannot take a break, the shelters that were provided for them is not so great, and all they were paid is just Rs 135 per day, and we pay close to 165 rupees per tea packet which weighs just 100 or 150 gms. They have to protect themselves from snake bites to leech sucking and all they use is some sniffing powder to get rid of this reptiles. They are very clear that their next generations should do white collar jobs and should not suffer in tea estates.

While coming back from that tea estate we were blessed to see the HORN BILL bird, what a massive size and what attractive color and what a long beak, that bird had the perfect combination to make him look so attractive. The story about Horn Bills is, they are so loyal to their partners, they never fly alone and they take care of their partners so well (quite opposite to humans). C's dream came true when he saw those birds and he rushed out to take snaps, of course we cannot see such birds in city, so it was an awesome sight.

Evening dawned and we all decided to came back to our estate to spend the rest of the day chatting. It started to pour heavily in the evening and we cuddled ourselves into those quilts and as usually D served us some awesome chapathi's and kurma. That ends our Day 2

Day 3

As usually we started early to see a dam which is located deep inside the forest, our driver R took us to one of the most serene places on earth, without him, we could not have seen that place. The very first sight of that huge dam was breath-taking and we have to walk on a very slippery track on a slant slope, it was adventurous, one small slip, you are in to that deep waters with crocs ready to feast on you. M was a bit apprehensive in coming there but C convinced her to come, my wife on the other hand was so enthusiastic to come, but I was apprehensive. But at the end of all, it was the best part of the trip.

We have to check-out from our estate by 12 noon, so we rushed home, took bath and packed all our belongings and vacated the room, though we all physically departed from Valparai, our mind and soul were still wandering in those tea estates. I would any day want to go back to Valparai and enjoy. Without C, this trip would not have been happened and without R, this trip would not been so interesting.

Now talking about R, he is a wonderful person, right from his smile to his shyness, he had some magnetism in him which made him so lovable, and this smart person is in love with a girl who is form Chennai, as usually there were few hiccups in making his love successful as both were of different caste and religion. All I can say is "S" (name of R's lover) is a very lucky girl and she has made an excellent choice in selecting R as her life partner. I wish and pray that both of them get married and live a happy life.

Our next tour plan is going to be somewhere in another deep forest and C is already planning for that, next time too we would want to go with R as he is one awesome chauffer one can get. So C maams, thanks for such a lovely trip, M and V thanks for adding the spice to this trip, without you guys we could not have made this trip in the first place, coz you were the ones who pestered us a lot to take you guys out (*runs and hides*)

4 SAID FROM THE HEART:

Vijay Swaminathan said...

Photos required boss.... I have heard a lot about this place and would love to visit it.

Vijay Swaminathan said...

Put up the pics at the earliest.

Amrita said...

Will read it later - but seriously you are missed. Dont abandon ur blog.

Tara said...

I am in fact hearing the place for the first time. Nice !!

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