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Valparai

Valparai is a Taluk and hill station in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is located 3,500 feet (1,100 m) above sea level on the Anaimalai Hills range of the Western Ghats, at a distance of 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Coimbatore and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from Pollachi. There are 40 hairpin bends on the way up to Valparai from Azhiyar. While major portions of the land are owned by private tea companies, large forest areas continue to be out of bounds. As of 2011, the town had a population of 70,859.

Geographic location of Valparai is at 10.37°N 76.97°E. It has an average elevation of 3,914 feet (1,193 m).

Valparai is about 64 kilometres (40 mi) from Pollachi and 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Udumalai. The road from Pollachi to Valparai has 40 hairpin bends. It takes about 2 hours to reach Valparai from Pollachi on State Highway 78. TNSTC operates buses from Valparai to Pollachi, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Udumalai and Palani. Valparai is connected to Athirampalli falls by road and is 130 km from Valparai to Chalakudi

Valparai is a mid-elevation hill station (Ootacamund is considerably higher). The tea plantations are surrounded by evergreen forest. The region is also a rich elephant tract and is known to have many leopards. The drive to the town from Pollachi passes through the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary noted for elephants, boars, lion-tailed macaques, gaur, spotted deer, sambar, and giant squirrels. The area is also rich in birds, including the great hornbill. Water bodies at Monkey Falls and Aliyar Dam are also seen en route. Valparai receives among the highest rainfall in the region during the monsoons (around June).

The Valparai range is also habitat to the Nilgiri tahr, an endemic wild ungulate. These mountain goats inhabit the high ranges and prefer open terrain, cliffs and grass-covered hills, a habitat largely confined to altitudes from 1200 to 2600m in the southern Western Ghats. Their territory extended far and wide all along these hills in the past, but, because of hunting and large-scale habitat destruction, they now exist only in a few isolated sites like the Anaimalai Hills. The human-elephant conflict here is a delicate issue. The tea plantations are a hindrance to the movement of wildlife, particularly elephants who walk large distances to reach water bodies and feeding areas.