*Elephant Safari/Van Safari in Topslip and Parambikulam
*Elephant Safari/Van Safari in Topslip and Parambikulam
Revision as of 04:30, 3 February 2010
Pollachi (Tamil: பொள்ளாச்சி) is a town and a municipality close to the foothills of Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu, 40 km south of Coimbatore. It is picture perfect for the nomenclature — Mini Kodambakkam. Though prominently known for cash crops, coconuts and second biggest ‘sandhai’ (market) in the country, the town has now become famous for cinema shootings and consequently a huge tourist attraction. Next to Coimbatore, Pollachi is the leading town in the district and an important commercial centre.
Due to its proximity to the Western Ghats, Pollachi has a pleasant climate throughout the year. It is one of the very few places in India to enjoy both North-East and South-West Monsoon seasons significantly. Temperature may never exceed 35 degree celcius even during summer.
Coimbatore airport is the nearest international airport to Pollachi - approximately 60 km. International flights to Singapore, Sharjah are available by Silk Air (A subsidary of Singapore Airlines), Air Arabia and Srilankan Airlines. Domestic airlines fly to Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and other Indian cities.
Pollachi is well connected to coimbatore by government and private buses. The bus frequency is about 3-5 minutes. NH 209 (Dindigul - Palani - Udumalaippettai - Pollachi - Coimbatore - Annur - Satyamangalam - Hasanur up to Karnataka Border) passes through pollachi town and the journey duration is about 45 minutes. Bus fare: INR 12 in ordinary and, Rs.13 in express (limited stop) buses.
Coimbatore Junction is the nearest railway station - approximately 42 km. At present, all train services in Pollachi-Coimbatore; Pollachi - Palani, Dindigul; Pollachi - Palakkad sections are stopped due the Meter Gauge to Broad Gauge conversions. Hope the Broad Gauge work will be over by 2011.
Taxis will be the viable option, especially if you are planning to get off now and then, take pictures and enjoy the scenery. Though there are lot of tourist taxis and buses, it may not be easy to find one when movie shootings happen in the town or during peak seasons. It is advisable to book your cab in advance and ask your tour guide or cab driver to pick you from Coimbatore Railway station, Airport, Bus terminal or Pollachi Bus Terminal.
Tamil is the most prevalent language but basic English is spoken in most tourist places. As it is located pretty close to kerala border, most business name boards and buses displays Tamil, Malayalam and English languages.
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Topslip - Topslip is a part of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (formerly called Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary) is located at about 37 km from Pollachi town. It is Separated from the Nilgiri Hills by the Palghat Gap on the north, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) to its west and to the Eravikulam National Park (Kerala) and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary to its south. There are many places of natural and scenic beauty in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Some of them are Karianshola, Anaikunthi Shola, groves, waterfalls, teak forests, reservoirs and dams. There are arrangements for exploring the sanctuary on elephant back or by van. If you plan to walk in the park, you must have a Park Guide with you and you are allowed to walk in the park for a maximum of four hours for INR 70 per person. If you are visiting the park for the day, you can go directly to Top Slip (Entry INR 50). The Sethumadai checkpost is the entry point to Top Slip. But if you plan to stay at Top Slip, please book accomodation in advance by confirming and sending a DD to The Wildlife Warden Office, 178 Meenkarai Rd, Pollachi. Phone: 04259 222535 (Open Monday to Friday between 9 am to 5 pm). Last minute accomodation is only available for VIPs, government officials and other foreigners, in most cases.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve - Lying adjacent to the Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary, the 285 sq km stretch of forest known as Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (formerly Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary) is one of Kerala’s premier wildlife reserves. Though this place is a part of Kerala, this place is accessible only from Pollachi. Touring the sanctuary is possible by boat or jeep; both can be hired from the park authorities. Alternatively, you can climb one of Parambikulam’s two watch towers for a bit of wildlife-watching. One tower is at Anappadi (8 km from Thunakadavu) and the other’s at Sungam (5 km from Thunakadavu). This park is open through out the year but it is better if you avoid visiting the park during monsoon season (June - August). Thunakadavu is the headquarters of the sanctuary and is 48 km from Pollachi. Forest Resthouses room rent is about INR 200 per night at Thunakadavu, Thellikal and Elathode. Tree houses cost about INR 300-600 per night. Alternatively, one could stay at Top Slip area too as it is only 30 minutes drive from Thunakadavu and offers a number of accommodation options. Accommodation can be reserved through the Range Officer, Thunakadavu. Rooms at the Thunakadavu PWD Resthouse and the Tamilnadu Government Inspection Bungalow can be booked through the Junior Engineer, Tamilnadu PWD, Parambikulam.
Valparai - Popularly known as Cherrapunji of South India, Valparai remains somewhat untouched. It has an average elevation of 1193 metres (3914 feet) and is located 65 km away from Pollachi. It is concentrated with Tea and Coffee estates owned mostly by private tea companies, a large part of the area is out of bounds for tourists. Interestingly, the Govt. of Tamil Nadu with the assistance of the Govt. of India has taken initiatives to promote tourism and develop infrastructure such as hotels, amusement parks etc to attract visitors. Other important places to visit around Valparai are Balaji temple, Chitti Vinayagar Temple, Sholayar Dam, Nallamudi Poonjolai View, Number Paarai and various tea estates.
Aaliyar Dam - Aliyar (ஆழியார் azhiyar) Dam is a reservoir located 27 KM away from pollachi on the foothills of Valparai, in the Anamalai range of the Western Ghats. The dam offers some ideal getaways including a park, an aquarium and a mini Theme-Park maintained by Tamilnadu Fisheries Corporation. It is an ideal picnic spot. If you are taking public transport, take Town bus (route number 37A and 37B) or take a bus to Navamalai or Valparai and get down at Aaliyar Dam. Drinks and snacks are slightly expensive than the MRP here.
Aliyar Ashram - It is the home of the Vethathiri Maharishi Kundalini Yoga and Kayakalpa Research Foundation, founded by Shri Vethathiri Maharishi in 1985. In a beautiful natural setting at the foothills of the Western Ghats and in view of the Aliyar reservoir, the Temple of Consciousness is the focus for a silent revolution, transforming the lives of thousands of people, irrespective of creed, color, race, religion or nationality. Vethathiri Maharishi Institute for Spiritual and Intuitional Education is a unique Institution which provides residential spiritual education. The Temple is an architectural beauty, built in the shape of vernacular OM and so it is known as Omkara Mandapam.
Monkey Falls - Monkey Falls is located at the 29th KM junction on the Pollachi-Valparai road. An entry fee of INR 15 per head must be paid at the check post located along Aaliyar - Monkey Falls route.
Masani Amman Temple - Masani Amman Temple is situated at a distance of 15 km from Pollachi. This sanctified shrine attracts large number of devotees. Here, one can see Goddess Masani Amman in the lying posture. The idol has four hands, two hands placed on the ground, two hands raised above. While the top left hands hold a skull and snake and other two hands holding drum and a trident.
The Pollachi Market - Pollachi is famed for its market (சந்தை), especially for Jaggery and cattle (மாட்டுச்சந்தை). The Jaggery Market in Pollachi is the Asia's biggest Jaggery Market. All buses that goes towards Anaimalai, Sethumadai, Kaliapuram, Meenakshipuram, Govindhapuram goes through this place. Alight at "Sandhai Pettai" bus stop or railway station bus stop.
Thirumoorthy Hills - Thirumoorthy Hills is located at about 50 Kms from Pollachi and 20 kms from Udumalpet. A perennial stream flows by the side of Sri Amaralingeswarar temple and nearby there is Thirumoorthy falls. Thirumoorthy Dam is just adjacent to this place.
Amaravathy Dam - This place is 20 kms from Thirumoorthy dam. One must take the left road near Chinnar check-post (Tamilnadu side) along Udumalpet - Munnar road, to reach this place. The Amaravathy Sagar Crocodile Farm, established in 1975, was once the largest Crocodile nursery in India is nearby. However, due to poor maintenance and lack of facilities, only few Crocodiles are now alive . Entry Ticket: INR 3
Boating at Aliyar, Amaravathi and Thirumoorthy Dams
Trekking at Topslip, Parambikulam, Valparai
Elephant Safari/Van Safari in Topslip and Parambikulam