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A road trip to Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Valparai, Topslip and Parambikulam in car

A road trip to Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Valparai, Topslip and Parambikulam in car

It was beginning of August 2017, I was stressed a lot due to hectic project work and decided to have a short break. I immediately checked for the destination to travel along with my leave approval. I got my leave approved for 14th August which was a Monday and 15th August was holiday due to Independence Day. The plan and destination were finalized by my wife and son along with itinerary. The next challenge was to find the right accommodation at Anaimalai near Valparai and again it was my wife who searched and booked the accommodation at one of the best budget resorts at Anaimalai. The resort is Royal Cottage and it is very near to Masaniamman Temple.
August 12, 2017 – Saturday – Travel from Chennai to Anamalai Tiger Reserve
August 13, 2017 – Sunday – Travel to Valparai and return to Anamalai
August 14, 2017- Monday – Travel to Topslip Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Parambikulam and return to Anamalai
August 15, 2017 – Tuesday – Return from Anamalai to Chennai
We started near Adayar on 12th August at around 5.30 AM and planned to take the following route:
Adayar – Tambaram – Chengalpattu – Thindivanam – Villupuram – Ulundurpet – Salem – Bhavani – Perundhurai – Palladam – Pollachi – Anaimalai
There was lot of expectation and excitement with my kids as we need to travel around 600 kilometers to reach Anaimalai. Traffic was normal and I was cruising with 3 digit speed comfortably. At around 7.15 AM, we crossed Thindivanam and as usual we got held up at Villupuram toll for some time due to huge traffic. After crossing toll I was again able to reach 100+ Kilometer in car and at around 8.30 AM we stopped at Arya Nivas for much needed breakfast. It was bit crowded and we waited for our turn. Finally we completed our breakfast and started from there at around 9.15 AM. Soon at around 10 AM we took the right turn into the route which takes us to Salem, which is a combination of both 2 and 4 lanes and it is less crowded. We further need to travel another 130 kilometers to bypass Salem and I was comfortably doing 3-digit figure in the car. Till Salem it is a well-known route to me as I had self-driven more than 10+ trips and beyond Salem, I need to explore. We switched on google maps as we need to take correct diversion at the main junction into the route which takes us to Bhavani and Perundhurai. The road work was going on near main junction and unfortunately google maps made us to take a wrong diversion into Bangalore route instead Bhavani and Perundhurai route.

As my wife is native of Salem, she soon identified and alerted me within next 2 kilometers. I took the next U turn and came back near main junction and took the right diversion which takes us to Bhavani and Perundhurai at around 12 PM. It was again scenic road with bit of lorry traffic and soon we crossed Perundhurai at around 1 PM and headed towards Avanashi and Palladam. We skipped our lunch and managed with available snacks with the intention to reach Anaimalai near Valparai at the earliest. We were near Palladam and need to take left diversion and google maps confused us and we took the right diversion and entered into Avinashi and travelled around 1 kilometer. Soon we realized that we missed the route due to google maps and again we took U turn and came back to the highway and again we took another U turn reach Palladam. For second time, google maps confused us and took us back to Avinashi route. So, we repeated the same U turn activity for one more time and now we decided not to follow google maps. I enquired nearby locals and based on their guidance we took the next left diversion and the time was nearly around 3 PM now. It was 2 lane road for next 80 kilometers till Pollachi and I again switched on google maps despite warning given by my daughter. We were nearing Pollachi and I was searching for the right direction and as warned by my daughter, google maps misguided us and I took a wrong turn. After driving few meters, we realized that we are on the wrong direction. We decided to switch off google maps and took locals guidance and reach Anaimalai at around 5.30 PM. Finally, we reached Royal Cottage and we all were very hungry and tired. We were received nicely by Royal Cottage owners and it is best budget resort to stay and it is very near to Maasaniamman temple. The resort is owned by 2 brothers and they are very helpful and they arranged early dinner for us from their home-made food. Royal Cottage is a safe place to stay with family and kids. We ended our day 1 with early sleep with next day plan to Valparai.


We started at around 8 AM to Valparai and we packed home made food provided by Royal Cottage owners for both breakfast and lunch and headed towards Valparai. We soon crossed Aliyar Dam and we decided to visit while we were returning back. We need to take 40 steep hair pin bends to reach there. It was nice scenic drive in car with lot of twist and turns towards Valparai and we saw lot of monkeys while climbing. These hair pin bends are famous for elephants and lepords as we had a few points for them as well. After climbing around 30 hair pin bends, we stopped our car in dense forest area and had breakfast. We also came out and played with a small waterfall like area and it was bit risky. We enjoyed those thrill and chill for sometime and again started climbing remaining steep hair pin bends and reached Valparai.
We first visited Balaji temple and prayed there for some time. The route to reach Balaji temple was very steep and narrow and our driving skills were tested. Then we travelled further and stopped near few tea estates for pictures and then went to Karamalai Annai Velankanni church. We also played in a water stream near church. Soon we travelled to Koolangal River and kids really enjoyed playing in chill water. It was almost around 11.30 AM and we started towards Nirar Dam and also visited Nallamudi Viewpoint. At around 1.30 PM, we visited Pooncholai estate after walking into the area for more than one kilometer. It was such an amazing experience to walk in chill climate were the locals advised us to look out for elephants and lepords.

It was a thrilling experience and we came back safely to our car. We then had a quick lunch and visited Sholayar Dam. We had wonderful time there till 3.30 PM and soon we realized we are lagging behind our planned time. We started back and while returning back we quickly visited Chitti Vinayakar Temple and started our downward trip. We were driving with utmost care as it was a real challenge to test our driving skills where we need to cross 40 steep hair pin bends. We earlier had a plan to visit Monkey Falls and Aliyar Dam during our return. As we were running short of time, we decided to skip Aliyar Dam and went to Monkey Falls at round 5 PM. Myself and both my kids were enjoying with bath and water was very cold. It was nearing 6 PM and we were instructed by guards to vacate as it was time to close. We then travelled to our resort for much needed rest. We completed our eventful day with nice dinner and headed towards sleep with next day plan to Topslip and Parambikulam.


We started at around 8 AM and plan was to cover both Topslip anamalai tiger reserve and Parambikulam. The owners of Royal Cottage were courteous enough and they again provided us a package of food for both breakfast and lunch. We reached check post on the way to Topslip and furnished our details and they advised us with do’s and don’ts to be followed as it is a reserved forest particularly for elephants. We were strictly advised not to stop our car in between or get down till we reach Topslip for our safety as elephants may cross at any movement. It was real forest with thick greenery and no signal for mobiles. We travelled around 23 kilometers and reached Topslip. After reaching Topslip anamalai tiger reserve, we quickly had our breakfast in the car itself and went for elephant safari. It was an amazing experience while elephant carried us on its back and we enjoyed the safari for around 45 minutes. Soon we went to another place in Topslip where we saw how elephants were maintained and we went near and touched a few elephants.

After spending enough time in Topslip, we started travelling further inside the anamalai tifer reserve forest towards Parambikulam at around 12 PM with strict advice that not to stop our car anywhere in between till we reach Parambikulam for safety by forest rangers. It as an amazing experience to drive in the dense forest with no mobile signals. We reached Parambikulam at around 1.30 PM and I immediately went for tiger safari booking. We got our slot at 4 PM and we still had time. We completed our lunch in the car itself and we were advised to park our car in the parking lot and not to carry any plastic bottles or any eatables during safari in their vehicle. We started exactly at 4 PM and during safari we saw variety of deers, monkeys and squirrels, but we couldn’t able to spot any tiger as they used to get hidden on hearing the vehicle sound. Overall, it was an amazing safari in dense forest and we returned back at around 6 PM to our car near Parambikulam entrance.

When we started our return journey, it was already dark and we were driving in complete dark in dense forest with no lights. What an amazing experience and thrill to drive in dark dense forest with only headlights on. While returning back we saw buffaloes and elephants on the way with a foot away from our car. We were also bit worried that it should never attack us and we were driving slowly as there are no roads or light inside the forest. We almost took 3 hours to reach anamalai tiger reserve and we reached our resort safely after a thrilling drive in the car. We had a good dinner and headed for sleep with the thought that we should return back to Chennai, next day.

We started around 9 AM from the resort and took the return route after memorable 3 days. We were driving at good speed in car through Pollachi, Palladam, Perundhurai through Avinashi road and reached Salem at around 2 PM. We had our lunch after Salem and headed towards Chennai through Ulunderpet, Villupuram and Thindivanam. The traffic was heavy when we reached Ulunderpet and we need to negotiate other speeding vehicles and finally reached home at 8 PM.

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