A journey that I planned with one of my friends but ended up being a solo trip since he came across some other commitments.

Being someone who basically don’t like traveling to places alone, I was initially in a dilemma whether to proceed with the trip or not. But well, it didn’t bother me much since the decision came to me soon – Yes, I’m doing this alone. My first solo trip. Weee! No, wait. Weee?

Note: Not a detailed travelogue or anything of that sort since I spent 90% of this journey inside 3 buses. Just thought of sharing it so that it might one day be useful to some of you. Well, don’t forget to thank me if you do, okay?

19/04/2015; rather, a day spent on wheels.

It was past 2:00 when I took my camera backpack stuffed with an umbrella, a bottle of water, Dairy Milk, Maa, as well as a Portable Charger and got out from home to catch the next bus to Chalakudy. By 2:10 itself, I boarded a bus and reached Chalakudy KSRTC bus depot at sharp 5:30.

I was unsure of getting food that day. Also, as you know it already, all I have is a Dairy Milk, a packet of Maa (which I never drank on the course of this whole trip) and a water bottle. So I ordered a cup of tea from a shop inside the depot premises. Meanwhile, I casually inquired to the shopkeeper regarding the KSRTC Bus timings to Valparai. I got to know that KSRTC buses operate only up to Malakkappaara. Since my destination is Valparai, he asked me to go to the private bus stand which is half a kilometer away and catch the very first bus to Valparai which will start at 6:45.

Thottathil Transport.

I was the first one to step into the bus. Another family with two kids followed. A few others also joined, including a drunkard who kept on uttering random things.

We started past 6:50. Passing via Athirappally (read The Athirappally Ways here if you’d like to: The Athirappally Ways) and Vazhachal Waterfalls, we came to our first halt at a small hotel (forgot to note down the place’s name) by 8:30. With some 4 tables and chairs spread across in a hall like room, they served Iddli, Appam and Puttu with its respective curries.

We resumed the journey after some 15 minutes and reached Malakkappaara by 10:25. Within this span of time, I got into a good company with the conductor. He was glad to know that I came all the way from my home just to traverse between Chalakudy and Valparai. The driver’s name was Biju and his experienced hands steered us very well even when he threw newspapers to homes and forest offices. What amused me was that – whenever he does it, even at turns, he never slows down; but manages to throw them precisely to where it should land. Well, I saw it landing rightly on the steps of a small house once!

So yeah. We reached Malakkappaara by 10:25, passed via Sholayar Dam at 10:50 and reached Valparai at 11:45 – 15 minutes late to the scheduled time.

The bus got almost occupied by the time we passed Malakkappara. The crowd at Valparai added to it. So I reserved my side seat by placing my handkerchief on it and went out for a walk with my camera.

Valparai is a small Taluk and hill station in the Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu. Earlier that day, when I got out from the hotel after breakfast, I came to know from the conductor that since it’s Sunday, the market at Valparai will be active and crowded.

As I walked, I saw many street vendors alongside the road – all selling mostly vegetables and other daily needed items. I took a small turn by some local shop to reach the end of a balcony from where I saw a nice view of Valparai’s surroundings with mountains in the utmost background and colorful concrete buildings in the foreground.

It was obviously a good idea that I ‘booked’ my seat well in advance, I realized as I returned. We started at 12:05 and reached a small hotel at Malakkappara for lunch by 13:30. They served rice with Sambar, Cabbage Thoran and two varieties of pickles. Omlet was also available. My vegan meal costed me Rs. 50/-. Though that was a bit too much for what they served, considering the location and amount of work they had to put in for bringing those items to the table, I guess it was okay.

By 15:30, we stopped at the same place where we had our first halt. While others went in to have tea, I munched Dairy Milk and drank water. We passed Athirappally at 15:45 overcoming the weekend crowd and reached Chalakudy private stand past 17:00.

From Chalakudy KSRTC depot, I got my return bus and reached home by 21:00 after an eventful ride of 416 kilometers in total within a span of 19 hours.

P.S: I guess Thottathil Transport also operate from Valparai early in the morning. So if you’re planning to travel between Valparai and Chalakudy, give a call in the below number to confirm.

 

SOME USEFUL INFO:

  •  Private Bus Timings – Thottathil Transport: To Valparai from Chalakudy: 6:45. To Chalakudy from Valparai: 12:05.
    Contact: +91 96457 33395, +91 96454 78182
  • KSRTC Timings: To Malakkappaara from Chalakudy depot: 7:50. To Chalakudy from Malakkappaara: 7:50.
    Contact: +91 480 270 1638
  • Chalakudy to Valparai bus fare – Rs. 90/-
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