Parsons Valley Reservoir
Parsons Valley Reservoir is a Hydel Reservoir constructed by the Tamil Nadu Government in this region. Placed within the panoramic Parson's Valley at an altitude of 2,196 meters above sea level and covering a massive area of 202 hectares, this reservoir serves the purpose of being the primary source of water supply to the nearby towns of the Nilgiris District and for decades has been meeting the drinking water needs for several towns, villages and including the defence establishments that are set up in Wellington [Nilgiris District].
Parson's Valley Reservoir in Ooty is where nature will call out roaring with its mighty vigour. It is surrounded with the thickest of jungles covered with rare flora and wildlife not meant for the weak hearted to stroll around freely. Therefore, many state that this area must be entered at your own risk as it screams out the word ‘Wild' quite loud.
Parson's Valley Reservoir and the area surrounding it, called, the Parson's Valley, is a reserved forest area and therefore to enter and enjoy a nature walk within, one must obtain prior permission from the State Forest Department. Placed on the Ooty – Mysore Road, you can either enter this area from Ooty or from Mysore though it is preferred to go via Ooty.
The Parson's Valley Reservoir and forest area also acts as a natural habitat for numerous wildlife such as water birds that breed and feed in the water including panthers and tigers and several others, hence, be extremely cautious stay within your designated path and not to get too adventurous as unwarranted situated may call for unforeseen calamities.
All said, do enjoy your trek around Parson's Valley Reservoir Dam and only with a forest guide who will take you though incredible sights such as a store house within the area revealing an appearance of a ghost house as you see it in those strange Hollywood Thrillers.
This place around the Parson's Valley Reservoir is seriously absent of even a single tourist vehicle, hence, if you really want to scout this region, you might have to do a lot of coaxing to obtain permit from the DFO officials and even shell out a few bucks for a guide to take you around. And if lucky, this place is sure to excite you to the brim with its exemplary sights that can only offer thorough enjoyment for adventure hopefuls and nature enthusiasts.
The forest around Parsons Valley Reservoir features uninhibited tall dense trees, crawlers and creepers filled with the sounds of strange chirping of birds and sometimes an occasional growl of a tiger that will alert you completely. Bison are a common sight in these parts, however, it is recommended and imperative not to intimidate them, if you happen to notice one, and for obvious reasons that does not require an explanation.
Apart from the dense reserved forest land, Parson's Valley also features places where a number of Tribes still reside and of the many, most are employed by the State government and owners of local tea estates. This is the safer section of Parson's Valley where you can enjoy nature strolls without the fear of an encounter with the wild. This area is filled with purple hues of rhododendrons trees including scented pine trees that linger around drifting through the forests of Ooty. This is one of those few places near Ooty where anyone would not regret visiting owing to the expanse of scenic exuberance it has to offer.
Parson's Valley is situated in the Mukurthi National Park, a Sanctuary within the Nilgiri District in Tamil Nadu known for its Water Buffaloes. This stunning panoramic valley is just 12 kms from Ooty and you can either opt to trek here or hire a cab to drive you to this Valley.
Parson's Valley is also placed at a short trekking distance from the scenic Mukurthi Peak from where you can enjoy unforgettable views of the region and also enjoy the sights of the artificial Mukurthi Lake situated nearby. This Valley also forms an apt base for short treks or long trekking expeditions to different sites allowing for many to scout the heights and unexplored virgin forest areas that is hidden within the majestic Western Ghats of the Nilgiris.
Parson's Valley was aptly named after a Parson, who was a British engineer who happened to discover this valley way back in 1862 and was instrumental in developing it into what we know today as one of the most beautiful sites near Ooty from where numerous trekking routes commence.
Parson's Valley features a perfect nature setting showcasing heavy forested areas that is home to rare and common wildlife, an array of cascading clear streams, waterfalls and an extravagant collection of Pine trees covering the Pandiar Hills thus offering Trekkers, nature and wildlife enthusiasts with several options to enjoy.
Parsons Valley Reservoir is presently in the brink of suffering from water shortage mainly due to the erratic South West Monsoon that is depleting water storage therefore highlighting a source of concern for the authorities. However, this was resolved with recent rains and heavy downpour that resulted in the increase of water inflow and thus has benefited the Parsons Valley Reservoir to a consequential extent.
According to the Municipal Engineer stated that the Parsons Valley Reservoir held a capacity of up to 16 feet only as opposed to its usual 50 feet depth a few months ago, however, the rains have brought up the water level depth from 16 feet to 48 feet and this will serve the purpose of water supply up till the next summer months.
The Parsons Valley Reservoir is also getting two additional submersible motors over the existing motors to be soon installed for expediting and keeping buffers to ensure uninterrupted water supply to the region.
Another improvement to the Parsons Valley Reservoir is an alternate connection via Kattukuppai since at times the Dam has experienced disruption in power supply especially from the Sandynullah sub-station [Kamaraj Sagar Dam] that consequently has affected, at times, in the water supply from Parsons Valley as well. This alternate connection will help tackle this concern and the project is in the pipeline.
Another proposal has been submitted to the Government to connect water supply link for Parsons Valley Reservoir from the 100+ year old Marliamund Reservoir, known to be the biggest water source for the area until the Parsons Valley Reservoir was constructed some 37+ years ago to meet the water needs of a sizable section of the region. This plan was proposed to initiate a backup plan for water supply to the Parsons Valley Reservoir in case of shortage of water in the future.
A day trek to the Parsons Valley Reservoir and Parsons Valley is allowed and definitely a must-do activity, however, venturing into the undisturbed areas and hiking off-the-beaten track within the reserved forest is restricted by the Forest Department.