There are various aspects fascinate about Valparai, which is considered as seventh heaven on earth, near Coimbatore, was also marvelous with roads ways, taking us through number of curves and hairpin bends while traveling front and back. And among the 40 hairpin bends, half of them arrive at close distance and as series zigzag is a mild adventure and amusement if someone rides with caution. I have traveled to Valparai twice and both my rides as up and down on this ghat section (mountain road) was amazing.
My first time travel on this road was more excited rather the second one, but unlike early, the later one got me more opportunity to stay on the way with views on awesome curves and bends with lower Aziyar reservoir at rear. It takes at least three hours to reach Valparai from the foothill, if one travel on an average speeds and admiring the scenes alongside the road. From the 9th hairpin bend or Loam’s view, we get a panoramic view on the widespread Aziyar reservoir and road winding along the mountains, forest and waterfalls.
The road to Valparai was constructed in the year 1886 and until then people had only used horseback or single foot path to reach Valparai and its adjacent villages. Everyone knows it’s not easy to built roads on mountains and during the construction of this road; many people had lost their lives exposed to mystique diseases and mosquitoes bite. The road was well planned and constructed on the supervision of PWD Engineer Mr. Mathew Loam and by appreciating his astonishing work; the stunning viewpoint (9th bend) was named after him.
The relative who accompany us throughout our Valparai visit, during our later turn, had much detail to reveal every part of this Western Ghats region. Since a resident of Valparai and retired primary health center employee, he had traveled to even remote areas of Valparai and helped treating tribes had reflected him in learning many things which he mere shared with us. The 9th bend is a vital part of this mountain road and anything damage to it means, totally cut off the transportation from rest of the country.
The 9th bend is also fascinated for the sight of Niligir Thar – a endanger species, that spread only on Western Ghats. Perhaps, Anamalai is the only region where Thars are found at minimum large in numbers. One could find the Thar’s – state animal of Tamil Nadu, grazing on the mound above the 9th bend!