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Old 23rd October 2011, 22:15   #1
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Default Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad


Post our 2010 Goa trip with the team, we(myself and Jagan, ex-colleague) decided to do a re-tour of Goa. But, this time we wanted to take our own wheels. This topic used to pop up in many our occasional meetings and finally one fine day, I guess it was post me booking a Suzuki Swift ZDI that we did finalize to drive down to GOA.

As usual I started out on the plan, and after pouring many hours on Google maps and Team-BHP, chalked out three route plans from Chennai to GOA. But by the time we were all set for the journey it was literally raining cats and dogs, monsoon had set in and the we decided it to be off-seasonal to visit Goa. But I was mentally made up to do a trip, be it Goa or not, I just wanted to do this road trip. So I chalked up a new plan, with Wayanad and Coorg in mind.

The Planning

Though the initial plan was only for DJM and myself for the trip, we had SD joining us from Trivandrum. As soon as the dates were finalized, SD booked himself on an Indigo from Trivandrum to Bangalore, with an ETA of 1900hrs. His return was also booked on a train from Kozhikode to Trivandrum; we decided that he could take a bus from Kalpeta in Wayand to Kozhikode, or we could drop him off at the station. As for the vehicle to take, DJMs wheels for the trip, a 2009 Indica Vista, with 33000 odd kms on the odo was finalized, it being an oil burner would not be a burden on our pockets.

The route plan was finalized as

Leg 1 -> Chennai – Vellore – Krishnagiri – Bangalore - Mysore
Leg 2 -> Mysore – Coorg
Leg 3 – Coorg – Mysore – Gundlupet – Bandipur National Park – Sultan
Bathery – Kalpetta

Tentatively we had plans to return Via, Mysore and Bangalore. Tentative, as we heard that we could also drive back via. Ooty and Avanishi. But we were not sure of the road conditions from Wayanad to Ooty.

The Team

Clockwise from 12 – PDR, PK, SD, JD (Ranjith, Kathiravan P, Suchindhraa D and Jaganmohan D)
Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad-img_0114.jpg

The Wheels
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Sorry!! don’t have a better pic of the Vista.

The Bookings

So, that set, next up was to book our accommodation, finding an accommodation in Coorg was a challenge, most of them were homestays and we were really not sure of these, there were so many of them. Checked out the reviews on T-BHP and Tripadvisor, listed out a few and called them up,

Palace Estate
Honey Valley Estate
Misty Woods

Somehow, we could not finalize on any of the above, either due to non-availability, poor response or due to the tariff being over budget.Again after googling around a bit ended up on this site, Parumpara.

Enquired with them and found that their cottages were available and the their tariff was under budget too, but there were not many reviews on this resort. Also, chanced upon another property of theirs which was listed on the same site (Jungle Coorg), they did have a website of their own (www.junglecoorg.com), but this does not seem to be active now.

We spoke to the team at junglecoorg and finalized the same for 2 nights at a tariff of 3k per night for a dam facing cottage. Also transferred a 50% advance and got a text message for confirmation. They claimed that they did not have internet connection to send an email confirmation, a big mistake that we realized later.

As for Wayanad, same ritual, T-BHP, Tripadvisor and googling, shortlisted the below,
Stream Valley Cottages
Rain Country Resort
Banasura Island Resort
Wynberg Resorts
Green Paradise

Finally we decided to go with Banasur Island resort based on the reviews, the response from resort management, and the lure of the location. Transferred 50% as advance. Most of our communication was via email and they sent out a detailed confirmation email of the advance along with terms and conditions, contact info as well as route details.

All the above said was done by the 30th of July, our trip was scheduled for the 30th of Aug to the 5th of Sep, 2011, now began the long wait to the trip.


27, 28th Aug

i. Upgraded the Headlamps to 90/100 w/o relay,(Could not get a Bosch kit, but went on with the assurance of the shop owner at Jay Car Jewels, Mahalingapuram, that it will not cause any issues. Took a risk as it was a trip with minimal night time driving. He assured us that the Vista with its glass reflectors and inbuilt relay was enough to handle the upgrade.

ii. Did the following at Bosch Service Center at Vadapalani,
a. 40 point check, along with fluid and oil top up
b. Performed a battery test
c. Replaced the wiper blades

iii. Got lot of knickknacks

The Challenges:

26th Aug, with just 4 days to go, SD calls up to inform that PK, another ex-colleague of ours wanted to join in. We did have space in the car to accommodate 1 extra person, but we were not sure of the accommodation. So, started making calls again to both resorts to explore our options. Banasur was a breeze in accommodating the addition, either in the same room or by providing an additional deluxe room.

But at Jungle Coorg resort, we got the shock of our life when the staff at the resort inform us that we had reservations only for 1 day. I promptly send him back the SMS confirmation they had sent us, and after a couple of lengthy calls, finalize that he will have accommodation for us on day 2 also, but instead of the cottage in a deluxe room. Was tired of trying to reason with him that we had booked a month in advance and had got a confirmation on the cottage with dates, decided to go there and blast them in-person.

The Trip

Dawn of 30th Aug. - wanted to wake up early, but woke-up as usual, packed my stuff and reached office late. Had already applied for leave on the 2nd Sep, 31st Aug and 1st Sep were holidays anyways. We had decided to start by 4pm as PK had to come down all the way from Siruseri (an IT hub at one end of Chennai?).

3:00pm - call up SD to find out if he has reached airport, to my surprise he is sleeping at home, informs me that the flight is at 6.15pm and that he is just 10 mins away from Trivandrum airport, confirms that he will be at Bangalore by 7.30pm.

As I had feared, work starts piling up by 3.00pm and I was supposed to leave by 3.15. It’s just a 20 minute ride back home during non-peak hours, so I start shooting emails and make few calls to clear up my tasks, all set by 4.00pm, rush home and reach by 4.30. Surprisingly many had similar plans I guess, as there was quite some traffic at that time.

4:50pm - Stuff last minute things into my bag, take an auto to Jagans place. Auto guy charges me a cool 100 bucks for the 4kms ride, its futile to argue with autowalas in Chennai in an emergency, so jump in and ask him speed, but sadly I don’t think the auto could do beyond 20 KMPH. JD and PK were all packed and were waiting outside JDs apartment in the car.

5.20pm - took me 30 minutes in that rickety auto to get to the rendezvous point. Finally meet them, load up my stuff and the journey begins. WOW, made it.

Check on sleeping beauty, SD, he confirms that he has reached the airport; looks like all four are on for the trip… Wooo ha.

ODO reading
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Tanked up on the way and we are on the highway, nice
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To Bangalore

We hit NH 46 and reach Vellore by around 7.30pm, we decide to break for dinner at Ambur. Ambur is famous for two things, leather and shoe manufacturing companies and the famous Ambur biriyani, it’s a style of its own and quite tasty too.

We reach Ambur by 8.00pm and stop opposite hotel “STAR Biryani”, trot across the highway and eagerly settle at a table, the waiter walks up and first thing he utters is “Biryani over sir”. Shucks man, it was only 8pm and they declare no biryani left. They do offer other stuff on the menu like fried rice etc. but our taste buds were not ready to accept anything but biryani, so off we go in search of the next best hotel, enquires reveal that there is one opposite called Kaja Biryani, so we trot back to the other side again, get into the car and drive of in search of Kaja, not more than 10 meters away we see Kaja Biryani, so we park and go in, to our relief they do have biryani. The place did live up to our expectations and the name of Ambur biryani was not tarnished, it was a great dinner. We did limit ourselves as we had a long drive ahead, long!! as we were yet undecided on camping at Bangalore, I wanted to push to Mysore and break there instead of camping at B’lore.

At Ambur for dinner at Star Biryani
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8.40pm – start off from Ambur and reach the outskirts of Bangalore by around 10pm, did good speeds on this stretch. We call up SD around 9.30pm and find that his flight was on schedule. Seems he was out of the airport by 8pm, and was sitting in one of the airport service Volvo buses on its way to Majestic, stuck in traffic, but SD is oblivious of the time as he is playing around with the LCD in front of him and surfing the net on it.

He was all gaga about this Volvo service, we were surprised to hear that these buses had individual LCD screens with features like, route info, entertainment and best of all, internet, cool ha.

We did decide that we will be halting at Bangalore, rather than drive up to Mysore as,

1. We were not familiar with Bangalore roads to decide on the pick up spot for SD,
2. We did not want to end up in Mysore in the middle of the night and search for accommodation.

So it was decided that SD would proceed to Majestic and get an accommodation and wait for us. SD settles himself in a hotel called Sri Bhavani Palace at Cottenpet, based on some expert advice from an autowala and gives us some vague directions to the place.

We open the NavFree app on my iPhone do a search for the location and it takes us close to the place, we did lose track a bit due to poor GPS signal, but finally after a wrong turn, some enquiring around reach the hotel at 11.30.

SD welcomes us outside the hotel and we settle down in a large double room. It was more than 6 months that we had met SD, so after quite sometime of catch up on things talk, we go to bed at 1am. With plans to wake-up early and alarms set at 5am, optimistic!!

DAY 2 To Coorg

05.00am – deep in sleep, somewhere an alarm rings, someone snoozes it, this ritual continues till 6.00am and finally I push myself to wake up at 6.15am.

7.00am – we are all up and ready. Have Coffey and vacate the place. We enquire about the route to get on to the Mysore Highway and are promptly directed, also, up comes NavFree again and I set the route, it pretty much guides us to this Highway, with just one hiccup, a left turn it wanted us to take was a no entry!

Tank up on fuel and air on the way and reach the highway by 7.30, there was quite some traffic on this road, due to constructions going on.

Loading Up
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Early traffic in B'lore
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8:30am – We stop for breakfast at hotel Kamat, load up on hot idly, vadas and coffey.

At hotel Kamat
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Post our heavy breakfast, we move on. Do decent speeds on this stretch, quite a bit of traffic on this section thought and more than a few mountains (read Unmarked Speed Breakers, now I remember quite a few others had mentioned this in their TLs).

On the way to Kushalnagar
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12.45pm - Finally reach Kushalnagar, call up the resort and get directions, the route to the resort was quite nice, green all around.

Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad-img_0086.jpg

1.00 pm – reach the resort, meet Mr. Chandru who messed up our bookings, exchanged pleasantries for almost 30 minutes with him. Finally after a lot of squabbling, suggestions and threats we come to an agreement.

Forewarning to any fellow travellers planning for this resort, double/triple check your confirmation with these folks, I have a strong feeling that they doctor their bookings, as this did not happen just for us as we found later. Also, they strongly try to push you to their parent resort (parampura).

2.00 pm – are shown to our cottage. The cottages are not bad by the way, a little sit out with a small table and couple of chairs. The room has a queen size bed and a divan, also opens up to a small private area, has a mini refrigerator and a TV. The bath has a tub and an open sky shower area too. Not bad for 3k a night I guess for (2+1). The room also open up to a small private sitout kind-off, which we could not use because of the constant rain during our trip.

The Cottage
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We wash up, and get to the dining area for a buffet lunch, a very average spread. Lunch done, we move on to the sit out near the dining hall area facing the water, sit there chatting and relaxing for some time.

Sit-out facing the water
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4.00pm - Got back to the cottage, decided to freshen up and drive up to town. The drive from the resort to the main road is around 2-3 KMS and is quite green all along, stopped in between for a photo shoot and then continued. Once we reached the main road, we had to take a left for Kushalnagar, but since we had already been through Kushalnagar we decided to drive to up to Madikeri. The drive from Kushalnagar to Madikeri was quite a drive; I literally loved the smooth roads and the twists and bends in it. Sadly, could see quite a few accidents on this stretch, the smooth and wet roads get you addicted to speed and your guardian angels need to work extra time to keep you on the road I guess!!

Madikeri was quite foggy and rainy when we reached; bought a few essentials for the night, a local sightseeing map and started on our drive back to the resort. We spent the rest of our evening at the resort. Tried to order some food and all that they had for non-veg was chicken. Dinner again was buffet and they have a unique way of announcing that dinner is ready, they start playing music in the dining area with a crappy sound box.

One important thing that we had missed was an umbrella, as it was either drizzling all the time or raining heavily. We did buy a couple of them the next day.

Post dinner we retire to the cottage and hit bed after watching a cricket match.

Day 3 – 1st Sept, 2011.

Woke-up quite early around 7.30am, strolled around the resort and spent some time watching the waters, and by the time I was back it was 8.00, time for hot water, but alas no sign of it in any of the taps. Call up the reception no one picks up, walk up to the reception and find one of the staff, he assures me that it will be on in 20 minutes.

So myself and Jagan decide to take a ride in the paddle boat, it was a nice quiet and serene 30 minutes of boat ride. But we were advised not to go beyond a point as it would annoy the dam authorities, did not get to find out why though!!

Paddle boat ride
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An hour goes by and finally we go finish our breakfast and enquire the staff about the hot water, they inform us that a pipe had broken and hence the delay and that they are working on it. Wait for another hour and finally we decide to take a cold shower.

10.00am – get out of the resort, visit Nisargadhama and the Tibetian Monastery/golden temple.

Nisargadham is a island formed by river Caurvery.

At Nisargadhama
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The hanging bridge to the island
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The old hanging bridge - decommissioned now I guess
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At the Tibetian monastry - Bailkuppe near Kushalnagar is one of the largest Tibetan settlements in south India
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The Gold coated statues
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After coming out of the Golden temple we visited the shops there. Each of us bought wind chimes and key chains at the Tibetan store. For lunch we stopped at a hotel in Kushalnagar on the way back from the golden temple.

Had lunch here,
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2.30pm – Start driving towards Madikeri, we were planning to visit Abbey falls and TalaCauvery, but by the time we reached Madikeri, it was close to 3.30pm. Reasons for the delay, the hotel delayed to server our basic order and more accidents on our way; we stopped at one to check it out. As a result of the delay, we decide to skip Abbey falls and drive on to Talakaveri, which is 48 Kms from Madikeri at an altitude of 1,276m.

Accident on the way to Madikeri
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Reach foggy Madikeri
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By the way, it was Lord Ganesh’s birthday and there were a few processions on our way to TalaCauvery resulting in a lot of traffic, and some tight squeezes on the narrow roads.

We reach around 5pm, almost closing time of the temple and as we park and get out of the vehicle, the heavens open up, this time with a heavy downpour and none of us had neither an umbrella nor did we have our rain gear with us. But we did not wish to miss our chance to offer our humble prayers to Goddess Caveriamma. So go up the flight of stairs and reach the top, completely drenched and shivering. Our teeth start to clatter in the cold and wet weather, we see a couple of priests warming up in front of a recently used agni kund which had flickered down to a few embers, we join them to get some warmth and wow what a relief that was.

At TalaCauvery
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The rains did not seem to let up and we decide to offer our prayers in the rain, once done, wanted to check-out the view point at TalaCauvery, had to go up a flight of stairs to the view point, but it was foggy and raining so JD advised against climbing the stairs in the rain. So we decide to return and start descending the stairs, all this wet and chilly weather results in an urgent call of nature, we rush in different directions in the rain to find the rest rooms. Finally PK locates it at the lower levels of the entrance and what a relief it was, this is one search that I will never forget. Thanks PK.

6.00pm - we have hot tea at one of the stalls at TalaCauvery, and start our trip back. We decide to skip everything as we were all wet and tired for the day, also we had to travel early next morning to Wayanand.

8.00pm – reach the resort change into dry cloths, have dinner and retire around 11pm to start our trip early next day. By the way, we were shifted to the deluxe room by now, nothing great about this to mention here.

Some images of the resort
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Cottages, lined up neatly
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View from the cottage
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Day 4 - 7.00am

Though we had decided to start a bit early and reach Wayand by 12.00pm, we could wake-up only around 7.00am that day. We are all set by 8.00am, but then decide to finish our breakfast and start around 9.00am. Breakfast music starts playing around 8.30, so in the mean time, JD tried out the open kayak and KP and SD went on a ride in the paddle boat.

The Open Kayak
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Post breakfast, we settle our bills, tip the staff, ensure not to thank the manager and leave.

9.00am - Start driving towards Kalpetta Via Mysore

.....to be continued.

Last edited by ranjithpd : 26th October 2011 at 23:15. Reason: Updated for text changes
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Old 27th October 2011, 12:12   #2
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues forum. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th October 2011, 19:40   #3
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Well narrated. Im glued to this thread since I'm planning to do a similar trip with my family in the near future. Your candid feedback about the place of stay in coorg is much appreciated. Though the location looks good, I feel the service isnt anything to speak of. Looking forward to reading your rest of the travelogue too.

Thank you ranjithpd for taking the time and effort to pen this down.
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Old 27th October 2011, 22:06   #4
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It is an interesting travelogue. I drove up to bangalore only in this route. I ahd been to Mysore by train. It seems a lovely places to be visted. Though I travel often throughAmbur I never thought of the Famous Biriyani. During next trip towards Salem let me try Star Biriyani. Whenever I go to Dindigul I never miss Venu Biriyani. The room booking mess is interesting and others should be cautious. Seems once booked we have to remind the hotel again and again that it is for 2nights and deluxe cottage weekly once. The golden temple of Bylakuppe is missed by many people. It is nice you visited there.
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Old 28th October 2011, 00:39   #5
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Thanks navan49

Originally Posted by navan49 View Post
The golden temple of Bylakuppe is missed by many people. It is nice you visited there.
One reason could be that its got poor signs on the road leading to it, we had to enquire more than couple of times to find the route.

Also, do keep me posted on your feedback on the Ambur Biryani
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Old 28th October 2011, 08:23   #6
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Thanks for the excellent review, i have done ooty and munnar in my car, was just planning for bangalore coorg some time sooner, this will surely help me!
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Old 28th October 2011, 17:16   #7
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Great pictures Ranjith. Wayanad is been in my list for long. I am planning for the Wayanad trip in December.

I read in your post that you upgraded the headlamps to 90/100 without a relay. This is news for me. Did it work perfectly without any issues? Whats the current status of that? Is it still fine?

Last edited by rameshnanda : 28th October 2011 at 17:19.
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Old 28th October 2011, 17:27   #8
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Another suggested route is Bangalore > Mysore > Hunsur> Nagarhole> Kutta> Kalpetta (waynad)
This route will take you through a reserve forest, plenty of animals can be spotted in nagarhole , you can see lot of coffee plantation in Kutta (coorg) region, then you can move on to Kerala via Tolpetty forest (fantastic bamboo forest) very good roads.
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Old 28th October 2011, 23:31   #9
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Originally Posted by rameshnanda View Post
Great pictures Ranjith. Wayanad is been in my list for long. I am planning for the Wayanad trip in December.

I read in your post that you upgraded the headlamps to 90/100 without a relay. This is news for me. Did it work perfectly without any issues? Whats the current status of that? Is it still fine?
Thanks Ramesh, most of these pics are from my IPhone 3gs, not bad ha , but a DSLR is the need of the hour I guess.

The Vista was running without relay until recently, no issues faced becoz of the upgrade...lucky!! But JD met with an accident recently and had to change the headlights including the assembly, so no long term review on that possible now.

Have a couple of crappy pics of the upgrade impact, will post them for you.

Originally Posted by tj123 View Post
Another suggested route is Bangalore > Mysore > Hunsur> Nagarhole> Kutta> Kalpetta (waynad)
This route will take you through a reserve forest, plenty of animals can be spotted in nagarhole , you can see lot of coffee plantation in Kutta (coorg) region, then you can move on to Kerala via Tolpetty forest (fantastic bamboo forest) very good roads.
Thanks for the suggestion, we do have Wayand in our hanker list tj123, and will try out your suggested route then. Ramesh guess you can consider this for you Dec plan.
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Old 28th October 2011, 23:44   #10
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Originally Posted by ranjithpd View Post
Thanks Ramesh, most of these pics are from my IPhone 3gs, not bad ha , but a DSLR is the need of the hour I guess.

The Vista was running without relay until recently, no issues faced becoz of the upgrade...lucky!! But JD met with an accident recently and had to change the headlights including the assembly, so no long term review on that possible now.

Have a couple of crappy pics of the upgrade impact, will post them for you.
Ok. When I decided to upgrade the headlights in my car, I went against the 90/100 and instead opted for the Osram NB+ and its good. There is an improvement of 50% over the stock.
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Old 29th October 2011, 06:07   #11
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Thanks for your effort to prepare this travelogue.. Enjoyed reading it!
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Old 31st October 2011, 01:18   #12
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Day 4 – To Wayanad

9.00am – Start driving towards Mysore, on the way stop at a shop to get loaded up on essentials like water and biscuit’s, we carried a bislery 5ltr can, but could only replace it once. Decide to roll non-stop to the resort at Wayanad, call them up and let them know that we will be there for lunch, around 2.00 – 2.30pm. Little did we know then that destiny had other lunch plans for us.

Getting ready for the trip, SD pumping up the left front
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Reach Mysore around 10.30am; cross Nanjangudu around eleven, tank-up on fuel at the BP outlet on the outskirts. After Mysore four lane roads are under construction, but the road condition is quite decent. Post the fuel top-up we take a bio break, this is when we got hit by a bug I guess.

JD, gets into the car, plugs in his mobile charger and realizes that the car is completely turned off and with one had on the charger and the other on the key turns the key to acc position to get the battery on but hits the ignition also in the process, the car responds with strange sound and goes dead.

Break point/Breakdown point
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All efforts to restart the car are in vain, we painstakingly check the fuses, god there so many of em, all of them seem to be perfect. Meanwhile SD was put on to the task of finding the nearest service center. We had earlier during the planning stage decide that non of us should carry our work with us, but SD being the workaholic he is and on a support project, carries around his lappy like his kavach, he does a great job of googling and finds one, Suson Motors in Mysore. We call them up and explain our situation, they say they will send out a tow truck and that they will try and fix the issue if possible or else they would have to tow it back to the service station.

The wait begins
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They wanted to know our exact location, though we knew we were somewhere on the outskirts of Nanjangud, to give an exact location, we stopped a motorcyclist and requested him to help us by explaining to the service guy on the phone about our location, which he thankfully did in Kanada. All four of us thanked him profusely and started to wait for help to arrive, after idling on the road for 40mins, we call them up again and they respond back saying the mechanics are on their way and should be there in 10-15minutes, we eagerly look out for the service truck; one arrives finally at around 12.10pm.

Help arrives finally
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The service guy goes through his routine for 20mins, checks all the fuses, checks the battery and a few other stuff that we did not know about and finally announces that we need to be towed to the service station, curse our luck, but not so bad either, he says Suson service center at Nanjangud is just a 2km drive.

Somehow, we keep our cool during all this time; given the fact that three out of the four of us are volatile in nature. We thank our stars that we are stuck on the outskirts of Mysore and not in the wilderness of Bandipur.

SD gets into the tow truck, while the service guy steers the Vista with us in it. We reach the service station around 1.30pm and after an initial check, the service advisor informs us that as its lunch time we would have to wait till 2pm to find and fix the issue. We are advised to have lunch and come back. Feeling gloomy we walk out, we had lost a lot of time already, once outside within minutes catch an auto and ask him to take us to a nearby hotel; he charges 15rs for a 2km ride.

SD in front, on the way to grub
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The hotel that he intended to drop us was closed so he does a U-turn and drops us off in-front of a wine shop and informs us that we can get good food at the restaurant on top of the wine shop. Though the restaurant does not look promising we decide to check it out. Apart from the fact that people were having both food and drinks there was only one young fella serving around 30 odd customers. After settling down at a table, we did contemplate on finding another hotel, based on the findings in Google places, but decided not to as we were running out of time already and this was making us uncomfortable.

We order for steamed rice, fish fry and chicken curry, thought the place did not seem to be hotel at all and was more of bar I guess, the food was quite good. It was almost 2.30 and we were finishing lunch, when we get a call from the service station that the vehicle is ready. We quickly settle our bills and walk out, only to find the same auto at the nearby auto stand, thank our stars again as we did not have to explain the route.

Reach the service center around 2.45pm, the car was ready and waiting outside. Tried to find out what the issue was but the staff at the reception could not get hold of the service team to explain it to us, all that the bill said was “Laptop Service”, we wanted to start asap as I very vaguely remembered reading somewhere that the Bandipur route gets closed by 6pm(not sure of this). So, without waiting for the service personnel to, we decide to move on, settle the bill (1400rs for towing and 400rs for Laptop service), thank them and start back on our journey. Decide not to use the chargers for the rest of the trip, not so happy decision for me as my phone is a big sucker on charge when on 3G, but had no choice.

Reach Gundlupet around 4.15pm, takes us almost an hour to cover 30 odd kms because of the traffic on the 2-laned roads. Check our tire pressure in the left wheel was at 20ps, SD pumps it up quickly to 33 and start off again, hit the entry to the Bandipur forest check post close to 4.45pm. No checks at the check post, we later googled and found that the entry to the forest is from 6am to 9pm, so do plan accordingly.

Made two stops, one for a photo session inside the Bandipur forset and one for chai as soon as we crossed into Kerala, post our tea break it was a non-stop run to Kalpetta via Sulthan Bathery.

JD at Bandipur
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6.45pm – reach Kalpetta, the roads are as expected, not so good. Call up the resort and ask for directions, they ask us to take a right at the Chemmanur Junction in Kalpetta and proceed to Padinjarethara. Once we reach Padinjarethara, we were asked to take a left at a T-Junction and proceed to the Banasursagar Dam site; we reach the dam entrance around 7pm, call the resort again, they ask us to keep driving straight.

We reach a point where the roads are non-existent, add to that, its pitch dark and raining heavily, and we could hear the sound of water flowing rapidly close by. We roll ahead and reach a point where there was sign reading “road ahead closed for maintenance”, we call up the resort from here and they confirm and that we are on the right track and that we should proceed ahead.

JD was driving and he was not at all sure that we were on the right track, so double check with the resort on the route, switch to my mother tongue Malayalam, which isn’t that great given the fact that I grew up in TN, confirm that we are on track and ask JD to drive on.

We reach a small bridge which is under repair, with sings that the bridge is closed for maintenance, call up the resort again and they say that it’s safe to drive on. SD had to get down here and guide us as it was partially blocked by construction materials. Finally see the lights of the resort and reach the resort around 7.30pm. Advice to fellow travellers to this resort, please try to reach before it gets dark or be ready for a small adventure of sorts.

No pics of all this as my phone was dead by this time, but I did shoot a lot of videos from the handycam, can post it if anyone is interested in them.

Once we reached the resort, we were given a warm welcome and accommodated quickly; we decided to take an additional deluxe room in the naalukettu house, which was a small room with a bed and bath, far too basic for the cost(3k per night). The main room was on the first floor with two balconies one overlooking the mountain and the other facing the waterfront, and after the tiring drive we felt home.

It started raining very heavily soon, wind was howling through the balcony door at the back. Could not see much as it was dark outside expect for the lights from the resort and a few distant ones, guess from the dam site. Once we were settled in, we took a quick bath and headed for dinner. The heater in the bath is a gas powered one and was pathetic, required help from the staff to get it working, was a pain throughout our stay, but a similar gas based heater in the deluxe room was doing a good job.

Food was buffet and though it was not a great spread was quite good all through our stay. The next morning, woke-up early (7am), went out to the balcony and was blown away by what I saw. It was… I am not that good a writer to conjure up words to describe it, but it was cold, windy, greenish all around, misty and with a large water body in front of you…simbly breathtaking. Got our tea served, had it in the balcony soaking up the view while sipping on some hot chai.

View from the front balcony
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Me havin tea
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From the rear balcony facing the hills
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The Single Cottage
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3rd Sept – 8am
Though you could hit upon quite a few activities in and around the resort, like speed boating at the dam, trekking, playing TT/Carrom, all that we did was to simply unwind.

Trekking was something that interested us most, but, with all the wetness around we were advised against trekking as there was a very good probability of getting leached, but myself and JD did go off on a mini trek around the resort, where JD did get introduced to a little leach.

Had breakfast around 9am, Kerala style, puttu(steamed ground rice layered with coconut), kadala(black chickpeas/chana) curry, Chapatti, Chicken gravy, and toasts with cheese/Jam washed down with some hot tea. Post breakfast we decided to check the car for any damages and found that the front left tire had a puncture, SD and JD fixed up the puncture, and replaced it with the spare. Cleaned up the junk in the car, collected it in a cover and disposed it off in a garbage bin nearby.

The Left tire
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11.30am, were sitting in the porch chatting with the staff, when we saw that the speed boats rides had started as the rain gods had taken a break. So we decide to drive up to the dam for the ride. As soon as we come out the resort we find a place where water was gushing in a stream, we stop the car and check it out, this time it was SDs turn to get introduced to a leach but to papa leach, he did pull it off easily, also KP found one crawling on his legs, was luckily he found it before it could start on its breakfast. We then moved on to the dam, constantly checking out for any leaches…guess you know that crawly feeling. We reach the dam, and rains starts to pour again, also the place was too crowded so decided to go back to the resort and spend the rest of the day there.

SD gets leached here
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1.30pm – come back to the resort after driving up to Padinjarethara. Have a good lunch, spend the rest of the day sitting out in the balcony watching the speed boat rides and chatting. Around 3pm, one by one all of them go off to have a quick siesta, with no plans for the rest of the day, guess that was the best thing to do. I bring out a pillow and settle on the balcony with “The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho”, drift off to sleep after a couple of pages.

5.30pm – KP walks in and I wake up, we order for tea and snacks, palampori (sweet banana fritters) and onion pakoda, the snacks were really good. Post this, we had earlier in the morning while chatting with the staff opted to get a massage, something that we wanted to do early in the day, but we were told that we will be informed once the person comes in. But by the time we were back from the drive to the dam, other guests were queued up before us.

Around 7.30pm, we are informed that we could go in for the Ayurvedic massage. After some deliberations, as none of us were in the mood for a massage, JD decides to check it out and based on his feedback rest of us could go for it. We were also remorse that they put us in the last spot, though we had asked for it early in the morning. While JD went for the massage, we settled down for a game of rummy.

8.30pm - JD walks in, looks quite refreshed, but announces that the massage is not VMF and so the rest of us decide not to opt for it. His feedback; thought it was good, he said we have had better. Also, there was no steam bath there, which was something we enjoy immensely.

9.00pm – Have our dinner, retire to our rooms play cards for a long time and finally retire around 1am. Decide to leave the place by 10.00am next day via Mysore and Bangalore.

To be continued...
Do let me know if I am rambling a bit too much
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Old 5th November 2011, 23:19   #13
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Default Re: Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad

4th Sept, 7.00am – Wake-up early and started getting ready for the trip back, have trouble with the heater again, so go down to the deluxe room and finish my bath, we are all packed and ready by 8.30am.

Finish our breakfast of upma(made from Suji), appam(kind of rice pancake) with egg curry and toasts. Go back to our room, settle our bills, not settle actually, as we did not have enough cash with us. The resort had intimated that they do not accept cards and that they only accept cash.

We had earlier checked with the staff on the nearest ATM and they had said it was only at Kalpetta, they said that they will send a person with us on our way back and we could draw money at Kalpetta and hand it over to him there, so it was decided that Sudish a staff from the reception will be joining us till Kalpetta.

We start loading the car, while we were at it we find some other guests, with a Coimbatore registered Swfit getting ready to leave as well, so we decide to enquire with them on their route plan and to our delight they suggest that we should go via Gudalur, Ooty, Annur and Avanishi, and also confirmed that the roads are good all the way and that it was scenic one.

9.30am – Thank the staff, who were quite friendly and helpful throughout and drive to Kalpetta along with Sudhesh.

The Nalukettu House of the resort, hope to be back again.
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It’s a 30mins drive to Kalpetta and all along the way KP keeps us entertained with his interview of poor Sudhesh, who answered all his queries right from where his hometown was, which Tamil film star he likes, to who he thinks was a good actor between Mamooty, Mohanlal and Rajinikanth.

Reach Kalpetta bus stand with Sudhesh’s guidance, bid farewell to SD. Drove to the nearest HDFC ATM, draw up cash and settle the bill. Bid farewell to Sudhesh and off we are to Chennai. We tank up at a HP bunk in Kalpetta.

The drive back via Gudular and Ooty was amazing, good roads all along till Ooty, had tea break in between around 12pm.

On the way to Ooty
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Reached Ooty by 1.30pm. The roads as well as the view is amazing on this stretch, we were so caught up with excitement of the drive that we did not care to stop en route.

We did not stop at Ooty either, the drive from Kalpetta to Ooty was full of twists and I was feeling great as long as I was driving, but once JD took over the wheels I started feeling a bit nauseous, so I retired to the rear seat. JD wanted to have lunch at Ooty but both myself and PK were in no mood for lunch, both of us where feeling nauseous, because of the fast drive via the twists and turns I guess.

These twists and turns made us sick
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Reached Ooty
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Half way through our descent from Ooty I took over the wheels, made me feel better again. We reached Avanishi around 4.00pm, stopped at a bakery there, had snacks and tea and moved on. Somewhere in between Annur and Avanishi the AC unit stopped working or rather the blower stopped I guess, we did not bother to check what the issue was as it was working intermittently.

Reached Salem by 6pm, we had a debate here on which route to take, either via Krishnagiri and Vellor or Via Attur and Thindivanam. Finally decide to take the Vellore route, reach Thoppur ghats and got stuck in a mega traffic jam, two state transport buses and a big trailer lorry had broken down and were causing this jam.

The road on the ghat section is an engineering challenge I guess, I have never seen it in the right shape and it has always been kind of wobbley, add to that the rains made it difficult for the heavy vehicles I guess.

The traffic at the ghat section delays us by 30mins, we reach A2B, Thoppur around 7.00pm, tank up on fuel, there was big crowd here, so decide to have dinner at Ambur and we drive straight on to Ambur. Reach around 8.30pm, stop at Star Biryani to try our luck again but no luck, biryani was over by the time. We do a U-turn to Kaja biryani and have our dinner there.

9.30pm – Start off post a good dinner, JD drives I sleep on this stretch, reach Chennai, Porur around 12.30am on the 5th of Sept. 2011.

That ends our wonderful trip, had not planned on doing much of sight-seeing on this trip, as it makes a short trip like ours quite stress full.

Thanks for reading.

Some random pics
The recreation area at the Banasur Resort
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Clicked on the descent from Ooty
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At Coorg, The Tibetian Golden Temple
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Old 17th December 2011, 00:55   #14
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Default Re: Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad

That was some trip you guys made..awesome!The rsorts are breathtaking to say the least.I would like your feedback on the 100/90 headlight upgarde!Did you use 2 H1 90/100's and 2 H7 90/100's?How is the illumination and any pics of the same woul be much appreciated.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 23:06   #15
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Default Re: Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad

Originally Posted by Sam.k View Post
That was some trip you guys made..awesome!The rsorts are breathtaking to say the least.I would like your feedback on the 100/90 headlight upgarde!Did you use 2 H1 90/100's and 2 H7 90/100's?How is the illumination and any pics of the same woul be much appreciated.
Yes, we did use 2 H1 and H7s and it did boost the illumination quite a bit. But as mentioned we are yet to fix up a relay, partly due to some people saying that it cannot be done, recently checked with the Bosch Service center at Vadapalani and they said a relay cannot be fitted on to a Vista, same story at Mahavir, GP road.

If you are planning to upgrade, get it done with a relay, check with Motomall, Mount Rd. or Haute Car Zone, OMR. Both places did tell us that it can be done. We just couldn't find the right time to be there.

Pics are below, sorry about the poor quality of the pics

Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad-lowbeam.jpg

Chennai to Coorg and Wayanad-highbeam.jpg

Do Keep me posted of your upgrade

Mods, please move to the lighting thread if not appropriate here
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