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Old 14th April 2009, 11:04   #16
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
I agree hellstar on that the route I suggested is longer. But the Gudalur to Ooty route has a lot more of narrow hairpin bends than the Mettupalayam ooty route.

Why take the loger route through Gudalur where road conditions are unpredictable when the shorter more exciting Masinagudi - Segur Ghats ( Kalahatty) road is available. Mettupalayam route is advisable IMHO if you are coming from places south of ooty like maybe coimbatore , cochin , Palghat , Tirchy etc
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Old 15th April 2009, 09:12   #17
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Thanks for the info guys though not intended for me , i just have a few questions, can any one tell me the best hotels to stay in (pocket friendly), Places to see, things to do. Both of us are nature lovers, need to know what all adventures can be done in this region. Thanks in advance.
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Old 15th April 2009, 14:00   #18
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Hi,

Ooty and its surroundings have enough to keep you occupied for 4 days. Some of the things that can be done -

1. Take the forest hike around Ooty town itself. There are maps available which take you into quieter paths around Ooty and are well marked - you can do Snowdon Hall from Doddabetta ridge side and the forest department has other walks as well. I did a part of this last month and it was an awesome experience to enjoy Ooty away from the nosiy crowd.
2. You can drive down to Mukruti/ Avalanche side and do a trek in Mukruti National park
3. You can stay at a log hut owned by Destiny Village people at a remote location all alone (food etc would be sent by the Destiny Village people). On my trip last month, I was told that the couple staying there had heard a tiger roar and came back the next day.

My suggestion would be to check on the internet on other things to do around Ooty rather than trying to go to many places.

My two cents worth!!
You can take a ride (preferably from mettupalayam to coonooor - it takes a long time compared with driving - they still use a Swiss built steam engine of 18xx era) in the heritage Nilgiris mountain train. It will be a romantic journey through tunnels carved in sheer mountain.

Plenty of small dams with hydro electric projects around - try Kundha dam about a dozen km from Ooty.

Go to Botanical Garden and trek up the hills after the Glass house. The crowds will thin out beyond this and you can be lost in the backdrop of tall trees forming a green canopy above you and an undulating grass meadow under your feet.

A walk in Sims park (coonoor) is romantic too - trek down below and you will see few people. I used to study for examination surrounded just by trees as tall as a hill - here a long time ago.

You have a car - so look for hotels near the edge of any town where the rates will be lower. Less crowds and less charges when you move out of the center of the towns like Ooty and coonoor.
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Old 15th April 2009, 16:52   #19
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You can take a ride (preferably from mettupalayam to coonooor - it takes a long time compared with driving - they still use a Swiss built steam engine of 18xx era) in the heritage Nilgiris mountain train. It will be a romantic journey through tunnels carved in sheer mountain.
@Prowler, the Swiss steam engine was replaced long back by a Diesel engine
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Old 16th April 2009, 14:12   #20
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Prowler, the Swiss steam engine was replaced long back by a Diesel engine
Oh. The last time I saw the train was in April of last year. I thought it was the same blue Steam engine.
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Old 17th April 2009, 11:11   #21
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Oh. The last time I saw the train was in April of last year. I thought it was the same blue Steam engine.
Maybe they are running it alternatively. The last time I saw the train, it was running on a diesel. On enquiring at the station, they said that the old one had been replaced with a diesel. This was around 5 years back. I never thought they would bring back the old one after a diesel was brought in.

Anyways, it is good that the old one was brought back. The train will keep it's heritage tag intact.

Cheers!!
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Old 17th April 2009, 12:55   #22
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addyhemmige - My Friend - I called up my friend in ooty and this is what I learnt from him - they continue to run the steam engine from mettupalayam to coonoor and from coonoor to ooty they use a diesel locomotive. So you are right. They have switched to diesel from coonoor to ooty.

The reason they have not done for the other part is the rail track uses a Rack and Pinion system which only the steam engines have the provision. Originally they had about 2 dozen locomotives and now barely a few are in service. They have cannibalized the rest to keep the few going. The gradient is too steep in this part - 1:25. This is the reason why the Swiss engineers thought up the Rack and pinion method to inch up the mountains without losing traction. I had seen a locomotive struggle to push the carriages up the hill when there is no middle rack track. The middle rack system is not present always. They have them only in the steep part. You can feel the jerk when the engine engages the pinion.
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Old 17th April 2009, 14:25   #23
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Interesting piece of info, Prowler. I suppose the rack and pinion mechanism is similar to what we see on the roller coasters in amusement parks.
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Old 18th April 2009, 11:45   #24
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Yes Pjay. Another interesting information about the Niligiris mountain train is - it is one of the few surviving mountain trains in the world with over a century of existance and this is the only "normal" train which negotiates the steepest gradient in Asia.

The other World Heritage train - Kalka - Shimla train doesn't negotiate such steep inclines and so makes do with an extra normal track at the curves to bear the additional load on the rails.

Mountains always are spellbinding. The trains which chug along over them are equally breath taking.
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