|Aliyar dam and reservoir|
Quite naturally, Valparai!
Valparai is a place that is still a good spot for those who would want to have a good taste of the nature. Though there is a steep increase in the tourist and commercialization off late, some place still holds its natural beauty!
The tea estates have replaced the forests in quite a few places, which has let to a forced state of co-existing of the animals and humans. The estates might look quite green and beautiful for the average person, but the conflict between humans and animals have increased indeed.
|Bison entering one of the numerous tea estates for its favorite grass|
At least there are clear markings throughout the town on where animals usually inhibit during the day. This helps in both spotting animals from a safe distance and also avoids conflicts to some extent. Here is one such place where the lion tailed macaques can be seen.
This one seems to be abandoned by its group and lives near the vicinity of humans where it can get some easy food.
|Lion tailed macaque|
While the animals are trying to adopt to such changes in the environment, some of the smaller ones like this Malabar giant squirrel still have their natural environment to an extent. I really hope it remains that way and measures taken to further improve the natural environment.
|Malabar giant squirrel|
The place is still abundant with some birds. Within the tea estates and and on the forests, there are still a good amount of birds. Though the environment for some of the birds like the Great Indian hornbill are shrinking, there are still a few of them which calls valparai its home!
Here are a few of them.
|Common flameback woodpecker|
|Orange minivet - Male|
|Orange minivet - Female|
The lakes, dams and water bodies within and outside the tea estates offer a good hunting ground for the raptors or the birds of prey.
|Crested serpent eagle|
|Changeable hawk eagle|
There were a couple of things that we really wanted to see in Valparai, but it did not materialize. At least not to the extent we wanted to have it.
Seeing a leopard and the Great Indian hornbill was high on our "expectation" list. We did see it, but only a glimpse. During one of the night outings we did near our home-stay, we did see a leopard coming down from a rock with its menacing eyes glowing green in the night. But that was it. Could not get a proper sighting in day time and much less photograph it.
|Leopard photographed in Nagarhole national park. Not in Valparai|
Similar situation with the hornbill. While returning from Valparai, there is a specific view point for the hornbills. We did see a couple of them flying right above our head with their wings making swooshing sound. Just for 2 seconds! That is it! Before we could even say we say it, it vanished behind the trees. Running behind it in the wooded rocky place was next to impossible. Need to visit again looks like!
However, what will not disappoint you is if you are there for a some beautiful views and pleasant weather! Valparai, despite its commercialization and modernization still has offers some amazing views and weather for sure.
|On the far edge of a tea estate|
|Magical misty morning|
|Photo from previous trip|
|Church and stream - photo from previous trip|
|Sun shining through the mist - mobile shot|
A good fun filled trip with friends and a mixed bag of experience. If some of the natural habitats can be maintained or improved, Valparai is definitely a wonderful place to experience!
|Sun after the sunset?|