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Old 31st December 2011, 23:56   #1
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Default Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

So, here goes my first travelogue in t-bhp (elsewhere too!).

My wife and me were planning for a trip for quite sometime and we were almost all set to do a trip during the Diwali week (Oct last week). However, a trek during our previous Bandipur safari (Oct first week) had aggravated my wife's back pain and we had to put off our plans.

So, this time I did not plan anything in advance. Started the search of hotels/cottages/homestays only from Dec-1st/2nd week and I should admit that it was pretty late start considering that we were planning for a trip during the peak holiday season. Got in touch with princezahed a couple of times and thanks to him that we avoided staying in KushalNagar. And, thanks to t-bhp and the zillion threads on Coorg like Coorg Recommendations (Coorg recommendations), I had quite a lot of contacts to find an accommodation. However, 'No' was the answer from almost all of them because of the peak vacation season. Finally, got to know about Golf View Cottages and luckily had a cottage available there for 24th and 25th. Booked at Jungle Mount Adventures for 26th and Vimala Estate in Kutta near Nagarhole national park for 27th. More about the places of stay later.

Coming to the ride, I was a bit skeptical about my cousin's car (Baleno - 2006 model) as he had done the gas conversion very recently and had not even driven 200kms after that. So, I was apprehensive about driving an untested vehicle for such a long distance. But the car behaved superbly. Since I had never driven a gas powered vehicle and was not sure about alternating between gas and petrol, I opted not to use gas at all. Might be a big hole on my pocket but I wanted a tension-free drive.

Our plan was like this - Start from Chennai by train on 23rd night and reach B'lore by 24th early morning. Take some rest at cousin's place. Start by 24th forenoon to Coorg. Visit Mysore Infosys campus on the way. Spend three days in Coorg. Go to Nagarhole national park by 27th noon. Do the safari and stay at Vimala estate. Start back to B'lore on 28th to catch the train back to Chennai on the same night. We were almost able to make it to this plan except for a few deviations.

Day 1 (24th Dec): Reached Bangalore (Mahadevapura) by around 5am. Couldn't catch proper sleep in the train. After taking some rest at my cousin's place, we started by around 10:30. Took the ORR-Bannerghatta road-NICE road to reach B'lore-Mysore highway. The drive was a breeze. I think it was near Srirangapatna that I slowed down seeing a Esteem with our t-bhp sticker. It was Rohit Tripathi who was proceeding towards Ooty with his family. After exchanging greetings with him, I proceeded with my drive. Took the right at Colombia Asia Hospital. This stretch is under construction and is not that great.
After tanking up, went to the Mysore Infosys campus. My wife is an Infoscion and she did her training at this very campus 6years back. She wanted to show me this campus for a very long time and the time has come now. The moment I entered the campus, I was totally spellbound by its sheer magnitude. We spent around 2 hours there - waked for some distance, cycled for some more only to get exhausted and realizing that we had not even covered 40% of the entire campus. Infoscions in the forum: I really envy you people for this one campus alone..

Global Education Centre
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Multiplex inside Infy campus
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A nicely laid out and well maintained track.
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Had lunch at one of the 7 food courts and off we proceeded towards Coorg. The stretch from KushalNagar up towards Madikere is pure awesome with winding roads. I loved every curve of this stretch. Thankfully, I got a chance to drive again in this stretch the next day.
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It was quite dark when we reached our place of stay - Golf View Cottage near Club Mahindra Holidays. We were also quite exhausted by then that we just had our dinner and off to bed.
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Old 1st January 2012, 01:10   #2
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

Day 2 (25th Dec): Woke up at around 6:30ish and made a quick start. Decided to skip the complimentary (9am) breakfast at cottage and started by around 8:15. Had a quick breakfast at Hotel Neel Sagar near the bus stand and proceeded towards KushalNagar. By the time we reached Dubare elephant camp it was already 10:30am. The 9km stretch from GuddeHosur to Dubare was really in a bad shape. Especially the one between the main road to the car parking area is terrible. Next, we had to wait for the boat for a solid 30minutes. All these things made sure that we would miss all the elephant bathing, feeding stuff. Finally when we reached the island, there was only one elephant which was being fed and 2 more elephants for the ride.

On our way to the Dubare Elephant camp
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Feeding the lone elephant. We later realized that we could have skipped this Dubare Elephant camp totally since we had experienced the same in Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage in SriLanka last year.
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Our next stop was at Cauvery Nisargadhama. The main attraction of this place is the hanging bridge which takes you to the deer park, rabbits enclosure, elephant rides etc.
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A view from the hanging bridge.
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Cute rabbits in their enclosure.
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You can feed the deers with cucumber (Rs.10/- per plate)
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Thats me there!!
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Up next was the Golden Temple at Bylakuppe. Heard that the Tibetan settlement at this place is the 2nd largest one outside Tibet.
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We went there by their prayer time and their prayer with different instruments being played was really nice to see and hear.
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Sculptures of Buddha. I am not sure about the other sculptures. Please throw some light if you are aware of.
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Liked this carving in the wall.
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Just as we were driving towards KushalNagar for our lunch, we spotted this Logan with a 'got brakes?' sticker on its rear. Thought that this guy would have been rear-ended by someone and this sticker had resulted!
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Post lunch, we were proceeding towards our cottage for a rest when a direction board for Abbey Falls changed our (rather my) mind. Though my wife was against it, I convinced her saying its just 8kms. But that 8kms was terrible with very little or no road left and I was forced to drive on a very hard terrain. Finally we reached Abbey falls, only to know that we can have a peep at it and come back.
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So, here is my piece of mind for all: If you have never seen a falls in all your life, then go and visit Abbey falls. Else, why to waste time?

And then came the last visit for the day - Raja's Seat.
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Definitely worth a visit and the breathtaking view of the sunset was just awesome. The sky turned from yellow to orange to red before the darkness set it. Pure bliss I would say and I was astonished by the power of Mother Nature.
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Lastly we concluded our day with a round journey from Cauvery Patna station back to the same station in a toy train!
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Old 1st January 2012, 09:19   #3
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

Day 3 (26th Dec): Again skipped the complimentary breakfast and checked out of the cottage by 8am. Went straight to Omkareshwara temple which is less than 2kms away from the Madikere bus stand. After darshan, went to Hotel Neel Sagar again for breakfast. The hotel, a small one, serves good vegetarian breakfast.

Proceeded to Talacauvery/Bhagamandala directly from there. After you cross the initial stretch of bad roads till the Y junction towards Mangalore and Talacauvery, you will enjoy the ~45kms drive in those winding roads with lots of ups and downs. Didn't click any photos as photography is prohibited at both these places.

Enroute to Talacauvery from Bhagamandala (8kms uphill)
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Our next place of stay - Jungle Mount Adventures (JMA) was in Kakkabe. The Google maps route showed just a single line for ~28kms from Talacauvery without any signage. I made a mistake of not filling up fuel with the tank already 3/4th empty. We were a worried lot as we were told that there will not be any petrol stations on the way. Just took the plunge and started driving as I had no other option left and thankfully nothing worse happened.

Reached JMA by around 2pm. The road leading to JMA from the main road (school junction) is a nightmare. Its nothing more than a muddy foot path where you will have to drive.
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The cottage is in middle of errr... umhhh... (searching for the right word, yep got it).. NOWHERE. Its on the banks of a river and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. This place is plainly for taking rest as you could do nothing more than that. We did some canoeing on the 'double outtrigger canoe' which would make sure that the canoe wouldn't capsize.

The cottage where we stayed. Just behind it was the river where we did canoeing.
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Fog descending down over the plains.
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The next day morning, my wife had to rush to the car to fetch her shoes because of the damn chilly weather.
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View of the cottage from the river bank.
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Fog settling down on the river.
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Yours truly doing some rowing.
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Sun rays peeping onto the river through those branches.
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Last edited by callvvijay : 1st January 2012 at 23:31.
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Old 1st January 2012, 13:56   #4
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

Day 4 (27th Dec): After doing some canoeing in the chilly early morning river, we started towards Nagarhole National Park by around 9am after our breakfast. With the fuel indicator almost nearing the 'E' mark, we took another chance to drive till Virajpet - a distance of ~25kms. We opted against driving 11kms in the opposite direction towards Napoklu for refuelling. The roads till Virajpet was okay. After refuelling at Virajpet, proceeded towards Kutta. The road between Kaanur and Kutta was in a pathetic condition. Finally reached Vimala estate by around 1pm with terrible head-ache and body pain. The lunch was ready by the time we reached. Upon advise from Mr.Pattu about the safari timings, we had our lunch and immediately left for the safari. Unlike Bandipur safari, we were not taken in a jeep here in Nagarhole. Instead it was a mini-bus here.

Apart from the usual deer spotting and monkey spotting which we were able to do just as we were driving in the forest, here are the other animals we spotted.

Solo-elephant
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Wild boar
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Sambhar
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We also spotted tiger's paw prints (pug marks).


Day 5 (28th Dec): After getting ready for our travel back to Bangalore, we roamed around the coffee estate for sometime.

Road leading to Vimala Estate:
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The same road from the other side:
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Cottages. There are a couple of cottages on to one side of the road and a couple near the owner's house.
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The estate owner, Mr.Pattu's house.
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View of the estate and some coffee seeds:
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We had our breakfast and started from there by 9ish. The drive through the forest was interesting though we couldn't spot anything other than deers and monkeys.

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On the way back to Bangalore, somewhere near Ramnagara spotted this ML registered Honda City. From Meghalaya?? I was actually surprised!
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Reached my cousin's place in the afternoon. After getting some good rest, we came back to Chennai taking Chennai Mail that night. All-in-all it was a pleasant trip and I enjoyed the drive quite a lot.

Last edited by callvvijay : 1st January 2012 at 23:28.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 07:50   #5
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

Reviews:

Golf View Cottages, Madikere:
Cost: Rs.1500/- per night for B&B
Food quality: Ok to Good.
Hospitality: Good
VFM: No.

Good place. As I had mentioned in my posts, we skipped the breakfast on both days of my stay. However, we did have dinner over there and we were not charged anything extra. They have a big house in the front where a 18-member family had occupied. Apart from this, there are 3 smaller cottages just enough for a couple.

I was a bit skeptical about this cottage as I did not find any reviews about it in the net. However, the moment I entered, I saw a CH registered RangeRover apart from a Innova and a Xylo (all belonging to the 18-member group) and I could relax a bit.

Sandeep is the care-taker of this cottage - a nice chap. The second day, when I was talking to Sandeep, I had a bad throat. Noticing this, his dad (his parents do the cooking) gave me some hot rasam (soup). Superb!

Jungle Mount Adventures, Kakkabe:
Cost: Rs.975/- per head per night for cottage stay which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner + kayaking and canoeing any number of times at your will.
Food quality: Bad
Hospitality: So-so
VFM: No

This place is suitable for those who wish to be really away from the mundane life. You wouldn't be able to see people at all except for the cooks and caretakers of the cottage. Again, this place is a strict no-no if you are planning to visit places in and around Coorg and stay at this place overnight. But for a calm and disturbance-less vacation, you can choose this place - just eat, sleep, do some canoeing/kayaking.

Vimala Estate, Kutta:
Cost: Rs.850/- per head per night for cottage stay which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Food quality: Excellent. Home-made food with a nice dessert with every meal.
Hospitality: Excellent
VFM: Yes.

This is an awesome place. Just open your door and you will see coffee estate. Food was awesome prepared by the owner (Mrs.Pattu) herself and served by Mr.Pattu. We had all our meals served inside their house in their dining hall. But for larger groups, they do have dining tables in front of every cottage as well as in the front of their house. My wife had mild fever and severe bad throat and the landlady immediately gave some quick relief tonic.

Last but not the least, Maruti Suzuki Baleno:
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As I had mentioned earlier, I was a bit apprehensive to take this car for this long trip as my cousin had very recently installed a gas kit. I opted not to use gas throughout the trip. The car behaved really good. There was a bit of turbo-lag but it was not so prominent. One major negative point I noticed was the absence of dead-pedal. I actually peeped into the A-B-C area and noticed that the dead pedal is placed very much far-behind that its almost useless.

Km reading when I started: 48730
Km reading after the trip: 49580
Total distance travelled: 850kms
Mileage: Around 14kmpl


Thanks!!

Last edited by callvvijay : 2nd January 2012 at 07:54.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 10:59   #6
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

That was a interesting travellogue. I am sure, i will try this itenary sometime.

The photos look awesome.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 11:41   #7
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

Vijay, Good start. Nicely written with good pictures. Remember i keep saying Nagarhole is a must go place and i am sure just one safari does not do justice to this place.

Let us plan for another getaway some time soon and hope we do good 3 or 4 safari's and enjoy the forest.

A question to you on the Deer picture that you have uploaded. Was there any injury on its neck? Is it an attempt that was a evaded?
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Old 2nd January 2012, 13:21   #8
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Nicely written travelogue Vijay. We too had some really memorable time in Coorg and Nagerhole. How good was the river behind the adventure camp? Was the canoeing exciting?

Arvind, that is not an injury on the Sambhar, all Sambhar deers (male and female) have it after they reach their puberty I guess.

Regards

VW

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Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
Vijay, Good start. Nicely written with good pictures. Remember i keep saying Nagarhole is a must go place and i am sure just one safari does not do justice to this place.

Let us plan for another getaway some time soon and hope we do good 3 or 4 safari's and enjoy the forest.

A question to you on the Deer picture that you have uploaded. Was there any injury on its neck? Is it an attempt that was a evaded?

Last edited by VindyWheels : 2nd January 2012 at 13:23.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 23:05   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VindyWheels View Post
Nicely written travelogue Vijay. We too had some really memorable time in Coorg and Nagerhole. How good was the river behind the adventure camp? Was the canoeing exciting?

VW
Thanks VW! The river, from what I heard from the caretakers, is some 20-25 ft deep and is quite a big one. Its so serene and you could hear only birds chirping from there. One positive point is that its not marshy along the banks and has flowing water making it a not-croc-friendly place.

The pin-drop silence in the river when canoeing is just amazing. We actually stopped rowing for sometime in the middle of the river and were just listening to the birds. Bliss!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
A question to you on the Deer picture that you have uploaded. Was there any injury on its neck? Is it an attempt that was a evaded?
I am not also sure about this. But could be like what VW has mentioned as the Sambhars I spotted during my Parambikulam safari also had similar marks in their neck.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 03:14   #10
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Callvvijay - thanks for sharing, but one question. What does VFM stands for in your cottage reviews?
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:30   #11
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Originally Posted by idlebrain View Post
Callvvijay - thanks for sharing, but one question. What does VFM stands for in your cottage reviews?
VFM stands for Value For Money
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Old 8th May 2013, 12:21   #12
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore-Coorg-Nagarhole-Bangalore

Which is the best route from Nagarahole to Coorg, based on current road conditions?
Google maps shows three routes
Nagarahole-Gonikoppal-Siddapura-Coorg
Nagarahole-Gonikoppal-Virajpet-Coorg
Nagarahole-Gonikoppal-Moornad-Coorg

Or go back to Hunsur and take the highway via Kushalnagar?

thanks in advance.
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