I am choosing only a few photos from my Flickr albums of the trip, which are
2. Pollachi-Anamalai-Top Slip
3. Top Slip-Parambikulam-Top Slip (public bus route)
4. Top Slip-Valparai
5. Valparai, and my train journey back (that's only the last 5 photos)
We started off from Bangalore rather late in the day, as they had to re-do their tickets to return to the US (18th August is their departure date). But though we did not take the "scenic" route, and travelled through Krishnagiri, veering away before Dharmapuri, on the Pollachi road, there was enough to keep us interested and excited all the way.
I told Sarrah I'd get her chai at one of the "copper boiler chai shops" on the way, and we stopped at Tiruppur, where Lily runs her chai shop. These copper boilers are slowly being replaced by more efficient,but less quaint, stainless steel ones.
Lily's mother lives with her, and she has two daughters. One is married and living in Coimbatore; the younger one works as a teacher in the school near the airport, just a few kilometres away.
Against the monsoon sky, these village guardian deities, called
sit in conference...alas, the car hit a particularly bad pothole as I clicked!
Saradha sat outside her biscuits/snacks stall, looking over her little daughter's homework.
We reached our hotel in Pollachi (Ratna Square, the building in the centre...the one on the left is a movie theatre called "Shanthi", and don't miss the amazing architecture of the bakery on the right!)
The next morning, we had a superb brefus at Amutha Surabhi, just a few doors away,
We stopped for a while at Aliyar on the outskirts,
looked at the temples,
the butterflies and flowers,
and the people eking out their livelihoods
at some cost to the environment
We had to wait around until 9.30 am, when the Tamil Nadu Forest Dept office at Pollachi opened.
We wanted to book accommodation at Top Slip, but could not book accommodation online, and had to wait to talk to the young lady in charge at the Forest Dept office. She did give us a lot of information, but did not even give us an acknowledgement slip; all she did was talk to the Forest Guest House in Top Slip. I do wish the booking could be streamlined...we found the morning enjoyable, but would have preferred spending it in the
Anamalai Tiger Reserve
I'll write about the trip through the Reserve and into Top Slip tomorrow...but will tease you with the largest butterfly in south India, which we sighted (amongst many other Interesting Things) on our drive!