Home > Random Thoughts, Travel > Nelliampathy – A Virgin Hill Station!

Nelliampathy – A Virgin Hill Station!


Easter Weekend: Instead of following the normal easter routine, we decided to utilize the long weekend and take off to see a new place. We were looking for something in between Bangalore and Kottayam so that both me and my folks don’t have to travel much. And, so we finalized upon Nelliampathy. We had been to Nelliampathy when we were kids and had good memories of the place…and, another visit there sounded fun!

Almost there!

Almost there!

I took a train to Cochin and met my parents there. From there on, travel was on our trusted family car. Nelliampathy is located in Palakkad district of Kerala, around 160 kms from Cochin. The roads are pretty good with no major complaints. NH 47 runs from Cochin till Vadakkancheri. Though road expansion work is going on, there is no big gaping holes or huge diversions. From Vadakkancheri we traveled to Nenmara and then onto Nelliampathy. This stretch too is pretty good, and one can easily cruise at a speed of 100 kmph. Pothundu dam lies just below the Nelliampathy hills. And, invariably this is the most visible landmark from most of the view points in Nelliampathy. We took a break to Pothundu Dam for a few snaps, but packed off soon because of the heat.

Damn!

Damn!

Once we cross the dam, the road starts winding and the ascent starts. Running an AC while on the ascent is a complete waste. The views and the weather is too good to be missed. So, roll down your windows and let the fresh air flow! During the drive, we were flagged down by the cops a few times, primarily to find out if we were a bunch of kids out on the loose with bottles of liquor. We were let off when they see women on the back seat! Keralites still think that women can’t drink!!

Tea gardens everywhere!

Tea gardens everywhere!

After a short break in the hotel, we left for a drive through the tea gardens. Once we were surrounded by tea estates, we decided to park the car and go for a stroll. The view and the experience was just out of the world. The view of hill after hill of neatly trimmed tea was captivating. The fact that we were alone and there were very very few vehicles on the road helped.

Alone!

Alone!

On the way back from the stroll, we went to Keshanvanpara view point which is in the middle of some private estate. The estate guard doubled up as our guide. This view point looks directly at the Pothundu Dam. The dam looked like a small blob of water from that height. As time went by, we saw the clouds move towards us and engulf us in darkness. And finally before leaving back to the hotel, the clouds wet us with some light rain!

The way back

The way back

Next day, we left for Mampara which is the tallest peak in Nelliampathy. We had hired a 4 wheel drive jeep because we were told that the roads are very steep and a 2wd vehicle will not be able to manage it. Cars…we were told, would not even go near the place, let alone climb it!! We left at 6 in the morning so as to see the sun rise and during this journey I was able to figure out why a 4wd was a must. There were no roads! It was more like a bunch of boulders over a steep incline! The route is scary and I was feeling terrified just sitting there. Driving through that route was definately not in my wish list! I am borrowing a picture from Dhar’s @ Team-BHP which shows the true nature of the road. I was terrified to take a picture on my own!

Notice the path at the top of the hill...That is where we are headed

Notice the path at the top of the hill...That is where we are headed

Watch the "road"

Watch the "road"

Though I was not able to catch the sun rise because of the clouds, the half hour journey to Mampara was worth every second. The place it an absolute delight. We spent a long long time just sitting on the rocks. Words cannot justify the view from there…You need to visit it to feel it.

End of the world

End of the world

After returning from Mampara, we jumped back into our beds to compensate for the 6am departure! Afternoon, we visited a tea factory. The manager was known to my dad and he showed us around the place. We got to see how the entire process of tea making happens, right from the time tea leaves come to the factory in a truck till the time, tea powder is packaged and shipped.

The Tea Factory

The Tea Factory

After lunch, we pushed off to see Seethargundu, which is another view point. We had to walk for a kilometer to reach the view point.

Fantastic View

Fantastic View

We left Nelliampathy after attending the Eater Mass in a church located atop a hill!

Link to the photo album on Flickr

Takeaways:

1. Since this place is still not on the radar of most tourists, there are not much facilities available for the visitor. Good resorts will be hard to find and difficult to get. We tried booking out accomodation almost 3 weeks in advance and still did not get place in any of the good resorts. The place where we stayed, “Mid land resort” was miserable. It was more like a house converted into a hotel. For 750 per room, it was a total rip off. Good places to stay in Nelliyampathy are: Whistling Thrush Bungalow, ITL Resorts, Ciscilia Heritage and Green Land Resorts. The rest of them are all shoddy.

2. Food will be a problem for people from other parts of India. Most of the places serve only Kerala food. So, before going be prepared for a good mallu lunch!

3. For people going from Bangalore, it would be ideal to travel overnight to Palakkad by train or bus. From palakkad, you can take a cab to take you to Nelliayampathy for Rs. 1000. Ofcouse, if you love driving, it is best if you take your own car!!

4. The view points can be a little dangerous. There is no fencing for safetly. Be sure that you DO NOT let you adcenture spirit run loose when you are at the tip of a rock!!

5. People are very helpful and down to earth.

6. Shopping List: Do pick up tea from AVT or Chandramala factory; Organic tea, coffee from Poabsons; Squashes made in the government orange farm.

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  1. Sreelakshmy
    April 26, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Amazing one… really enjoyed reading n wud visit the place. Even after being in Palakkad for 13 years, havent explored this place

  2. Manan
    April 27, 2009 at 8:52 am

    nice triplog jose….
    fantastic view points n pics…specially the pic of u both sitting on the rocks…
    anthr addition to my destination to visit list 🙂

    cheers

    • April 27, 2009 at 9:23 am

      @Manan/Sree: It really is a wonderful place…and, as I mentioned….still not crowded…a definite weekend destination…

  3. sajith
    August 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Beautiful travalogue …. with useful takeaways.
    We are planning visit to this wonderful place shortly. It will give a good break from the stressful routine life.
    Thanks Jose

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