Don’t let the Title fool you into believing that this is yet another blog post about Spirituality. This blog is about that one trip that no one predicts but turns out to be breathtakingly amazing. So here I am, on the 62nd day of Self Quarantine, looking back at the most unplanned yet most memorable trip of my life so far.
Valparai (originally Poonachimalai) is a 100 KM drive from Coimbatore. It is one of those raw and uncommercialised hill stations with abundant beauty and unexplored scenic views. Seated in the midst of the Western Ghats, its a must visit destination. That was enough reason for the 20 of us to pack our things and leave for a day trip.
Our group consisted of 20 Mechanical Engineering final years eager to begin our ‘Final Year Diaries’. We started our Journey at around 6:45 AM on 15th March from the place that united us, CIT. With 10 odd bikes, backpacks and jackets we left towards Azhiyar. The Journey towards Azhiyar wasn’t even a tiny bit tiring (thanks to the adrenaline). We made several stops (you know how it is when 20 people travel in bikes, most of them often tend to get lost) and had a good breakfast on the way. We reached Azhiyar dam at around 9:20 AM and took a short break before the journey uphill.
The Ascent began at around 9:30 AM. We made stops at the spots where we wanted to take pictures or breaks. We were looking forward to clicking pictures at the Attakatti view point but for some reason that was closed. Nevertheless we took pictures at random spots.
At around 10:30 AM we reached the Waterfalls Estate which is almost the halfway mark to Valparai. It is also famous for its tea. We decided to stop for pictures and some warm tea. Here are some pictures with the Valparai signature Jacaranda trees!! 40 Hairpin bends and 2500 m later, we were at our destination
So, the original plan was Valparai- Sholayar Dam- Athirapally Falls. But due to onset of the Coronavirus(don’t worry, it hadn’t spread to Tamil Nadu by then) and the Kerala borders being closed, we weren’t sure if that would be possible. We hence settled with Valparai and Sholayar Dam alone cancelling the Athirapally falls plan. We had expected a cooler and pleasant weather but were greeted by the blazing sun and temperatures as high as 33 degree Celsius. Hence we could barely stay at the Sholayar dam for 15 mins. We quickly clicked a picture and left towards the much awaited Pebble river.
Once we reached the Pebble river, the temperature dropped drastically. It was very pleasant with some cool breeze. Without a moment’s hesitation, we stepped into the water and it was so refreshing! After a while in the cold flowing water, once we got used to its temperature we stepped out and devoured some steaming hot maggi, some raw mangoes and watermelon slices. That snacking made us realise that all we needed then was a tummy filling lunch.
Once we were done with our Kerala style biriyani at Plaza hotel, we were all set for the descent. As predicted the descent was faster. Everyone suggested a quick dip into the river beside the Azhiyar dam. So that’s where we headed next. We reached there by 4:30 PM.
After letting the water ease our tiredness and worries, a million photos and a zillion slo-mo videos later, we headed back to Coimbatore via Pollachi. Stopped for a brief chai break in pollachi and the next stop was Coimbatore. We reached Coimbatore by 8 approximately. To use the word tired to explain how we were feeling would seriously be an understatement.
Next morning we went to college without knowing that it would be our last day together. On evening of 16th March, a lockdown was announced overlooking the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Many cried and broke down, I was simply blank. All good things do come to an end, and just like that, our Final year college life ended that day.