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Old 2nd April 2012, 12:07   #16
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Fabulous views of the Emerald Lake, and those reflections!

How was the drive from Teppekadu (Mudumalai) to Kalhatti via Masinagudi? Any harassment by TN cops nowadays? Are night drive restriction timings till 9 pm - 6 am?

Did you go to Red Hills from Ooty via the lake and Fern Hill, or turned off directly on the Conoor road via LOvedale?
Thank you HVK. You have always been the inspiration for all these adventures!! The cops were stopping cars at the border and checking. From the look of what they were doing, it seemed that they are targeting the bachelor/youngster crowds. They did not stop me. Not sure whether my ARMY sticker helped here!!

The drive from Teppakkadu to Kalhatti via Masinagudi is good except that it is a single lane and you have to go off road when a vehicle comes in front. The road condition otherwise is very good. Once the ghat starts, the road broadens up and the condition is excellent. The only irritating factor is some slow moving vehicles who does give you space.

We went via Ooty city. After reaching Charing cross and Railway station we took Ooty - Emerald route which is picturesuqe. The road condition till Emeralad dam is very good. The last seven Kms to red hills is bad. The last two KMs is definitely not for low GC vehicles though i saw some guests in the resort having driven in Fiesta

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Originally Posted by pganapathy View Post
Awesome photos Fauji. Really makes me want to go back to Ooty. Used to be a regular visitor a few years ago but haven't been there in a while now.

If you park your car in town and take the Red Hill transport, will they also drop you off into town if you want to do sight seeing in the area (by car). How bad is the road to the resort (the last ten km).
Thanks Ganapathy. Yes, they do. Of the seven KMs after Emerald dam first five KMs is manageable by cars. But last two KMs in really bad and i dont advise. In fact, Destiny farm stay have a separate parking place for cars from where they pick up the guests in SUVs. Red Hills does not have that arrangement but you can leave in Ooty town and take their transport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VindyWheels View Post
Fauji,

You are churning out one beautiful travelogue after another and each time the photographs get better!
I loved the snaps, especially the reflections and the lake view from the hilltop. In some of the snaps the land pieces look like a jigsaw puzzle broken by the lovely water body.

Amazing place, this is surely up there in my list. We love old british bunglows set in estates and hill stations (remember my Munnar-valparai travelogue?) I was thinking we will try out the Glendale bunglow in Conoor, but red-hill looks beautiful.

Convey my congrats to your official photographer, she has done some really good work.

Cheers

VW
Thanks Vinod. The views from the top is breath taking. You should plan a trip. Book well in advance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VLOCT View Post
That' some superb views there. Must have been a blast. Looks like a great place to stay and enjoy. Really nice. Cheers.
Thanks VLOCT. Yes we had good time indeed. A good place for a relaxed holiday if you dont want to do "sight seeing" as such!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Good to see the lakes with water even at this time. By May end they sometimes get dry.
Jan end of Feb first week in my opinion form the best time to visit end especially these lakes. There is chill in the air.
Leaves have not yet lost their sheen. Its not to hot but still the sun shines!

Ideal times for a good photography session! And yes these lakes have a view to die for!
How steep is the trek to the top?
Thanks Jayaram. We were surprised at water levels specially in Emerald though Avalanche was bit dry. We were also surprised at temperatures. It was very cold at night.

The trek is not that steep and can be done. It is not easy also. I can call it moderate. The climb will not take more than an hour and half with breaks. Can be doen by anyone who has no medical problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Fauji sir, simply enchanting pictures and such a beautiful place. Waiting for the rest of the travelogue. Rated 5*
Thanks Smarjit. Plan a trip down south!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
Yet another brilliant drivologue from Fauji sir, rated a well deserved 5 stars! Thoroughly enjoyed going through the entire travelogue and the photos are simply amazing sir! All the pictures speak a 1000 words. In particular the photos of Emerald lake are truly wallpaper material and deserve to be framed. Those lake pictures can be mistaken for some valley in Switzerland or Austria!

Awaiting the remaining pictures and the continuation of the travelogue. Also curious to know about the encounter with a tusker

P.S - I'll PM you and take the details of Red hill homestay since I was planning to go to the Nilgiris sometime in May.
Thanks Karthik. You bet. The area around red hills actually looks like being in Europe. We had seen first when we stayed in Destiny. This place beats to it. Give me a call on my cell 98450 44486 and we shall talk.

I am adding some pictures of Destiny. It has more activities compared to Red Hills like horse riding, rapelling, diary etc. Red Hills is more picturesque and good for a quiet holiday.

It is a bowl - where they grow special vegetables like celery etc - surrounded by hills

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc00393.jpg

The backwaters of Avalanche lake comes on the periphery of the farm. When we went in January 2009 it was dry.

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc00424.jpg

The view od Avalanche dam when you climb a small mound in the farm.

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc00527.jpg

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Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Rightly said. We should enjoy these outskirts before it becomes the "regular" tourist spot !!!

Beautiful captures. Btw, one thing missing. Where is the Scorpio
Thanks Jothi. Hopefully it should not become another tourist spot. But you never know. Another small hotel is mushrooming next to red hills. Yes, i will post the picture of the Scorpio

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Lovely pictures, Ooty is the best get-a-way for a weekend as well, we usually stay at Sherlocks on Tiger hill, which is far away from the usual humdrum of Ooty. But this Redhill is definately inviting.

@Fauji: hows the Mansoor Khan's resort? Is the stay worth for the room rates, also the food price seems a little steep.
Thanks Motomaverick. We have stayed in another property of Little Earth group - Destiny farm stay - which is again lovely. But this place beats them all by sheer location.

I have not been to Acres Wild, the home stay of Mansoor khan. But i have had read good reviews on this.

Last edited by Fauji : 2nd April 2012 at 12:12.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 12:14   #17
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Thanks Motomaverick. We have stayed in another property of Little Earth group - Destiny farm stay - which is again lovely. But this place beats them all by sheer location.

I have not been to Acres Wild, the home stay of Mansoor khan. But i have had read good reviews on this.
Yeah Destiny Farms is really nice place, though I have not gone there, one of our family friends stayed there and really loved the place. I have stayed in the other properties of Little Earth group namely Kings Cliff & Sherlock, out of which Sherlock is the best.

Quote:
sorry to butt in If you are referring to Acres Wild Farmstay, I can vouch for the quality of service in that place. Both of the hosts there, Mansoor and his wife are super hospitable hosts and the stay is well worth the price. The property is amazing, has some good views and you will have a different experience with the cheese making going on in the farm. The rates are quite economical compared to many other speciality resorts in that area. I had stayed at Colby cottage at Acres wild and loved it thoroughly; wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone who wants a different kind of ooty trip.
Thanks Karthik for the information, we are planning sometime in April mid but according to them it will fall under season rates

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Old 2nd April 2012, 12:46   #18
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Wonderful travelogue Fauji. I had visited Red Hills in Nov 2008, and hiked up the hill at the back. Lovely place. Recently I drove down to Emerald Lake for a picnic...wanted to have lunch at Red Hills but it was full.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 16:59   #19
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Smile Drive to Avalanche dam, boat ride in the lake, Yummy chocolates of King Star!

The trek was a fantastic experience though tiring. The route for coming down was through real forest and we had to make a file to make sure that none of us were lost. Our guide Rajendran was telling us the stories of Elephants in the forest and we were keeping our fingers crossed not have any encounter with the big guy.

We definitely needed bath and after freshening up, what else to look for but the chilled one!! Vijay only serves Beer and if anyone wants to have other liquor they have to get themselves. The setting was perfect. Chill in the air, sun on the hill and greenery around!! What else one can ask for.

The staff calls us for lunch and we fill our stomach. The dining table discussion is "What next?". Nobody was in mood to rest and sleep and we also had to go town to buy famed Ooty Chocolates from King Star. The option was either to go in the afternoon or pick up chocolates on the way back.

The decision was made and we left at 3 PM after taking some rest. On the way we were to visit Avalanche dam, boat ride if there was no rush and then explore Commercial road. A friend of my wife had recommended that Sidewalk cafe in Nahar Hotel serves best Pizza and she wanted to try it as well.

The first stop was Avalanche dam. A small detour off the road - a dirt track of half a KM - takes you to the dam. All dams in the hills are manned by cops. When we went to Emerald dam in the morning, there was a police outpost but there was no one and hence we were not questioned. But now in Avalanche two cops stopped us and asked us what we were doing there in Tamil. I told them that we came to see the dam in my broken Tamil. He does not allow saying that unless we have a permit from Executive Engineer, we can't enter. Now i plead with him saying that i am ex Captain from Army etc and he says " Pongo sir, pongo" (Please go sir) !!! Sometimes this army stuff works!!

Avalanche had less water but still picturesque. This place should look great after rains. We did not stay long and left for city. The drive from Avalanche to city must be one of the beautiful drives especially after rains. Now we saw brown patches with some green spots.

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0389.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0390.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0384.jpg

We had seen two boat houses when we were coming to Red hills as the road goes next to it. I am always averse to long queues in these boat houses. When it is crowded, it in no fun to be there and many a times, we have skipped. The best time to come for boating in any place is early in the morning. So, when we decided that we do boating, it came with a caveat - only if it is not crowded and there is no waiting. We parked the car and walked to the booking counter. To our surprise, there was no queue and we took the ticket and went to the jetty. We took ticket for one boat which can accomodate eight persons and cost us Rs 385. So, we now have an exclusive boat for three of us!

Actually, we were not disappointed. Though the shores of the lake is dirty, it is still a picturesque place. The lake is huge and the pine covered shores provide a pretty sight. As we moved around we could see the huge crowd in the other boat house. I asked the boat man what is this all about. He said that the boat house where we got in does not get many tourists as they are not aware. Strangely this boat house is named "Honeymoon boat house". Anyway, we had good time and returned back after half an hour. The boatman asked me if we want an extra round - obviously for a tip - which we were not interested.

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0407001.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0408001.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0409001.jpg

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Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0450001.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0455001.jpg

Now our next stop was to look for good Ooty chocolates. The best place to explore is Commercial road around Charing cross. I had heard about King Star as the best and went straight to the small shop to buy the chocolates for mama, chacha, friends etc etc.....

My wife was told by her friend that she should try pizzas in Sidewalk cafe in Nahar Hotel. We took a bet that it would not be as good as you get in Bangalore and not worth trying.We land in Side Walk and order for Pizzas. I make no comment but eat. But my wife says you win the bet and i rest the case. To be fair, i was not bad but not the best.

We walked back to place where we had parked the car and started our journey back. It was turning cold as we entered Red hills. The bonfire was already lit in the middle of the small garden. Having experienced cosiness the fire place on the previous day, we did not want to move out untill the boys called us for dinner.

It was a small break but refreshing one in real sense. Mind blowing locales, beautiful vistas of lakes, clear night skies, adequate chill in the atmosphere, the fire place, the trek and the views, the birds............all made this a memorable experience as i settled the bill with Vijay, bid good bye to him and started moving to Bangalore after breakfast.

Red hills is also a birders paradise. Some pictures of the birds we captured during the stay.

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0475.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0480.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0485.jpg

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Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0183.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0188.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0199001.jpg

Coming down on the Kalhatty was more difficult than going up as we were moving almost as a convoy. Some of the drivers are so cautious - or are they nervous - that they neither go fast or allow others to overtake them. Driving in second gear through out the ghat, we took almost one hour to reach teppakadu junction.

Now we were on a fantastic road and were zipping. Suddenly we saw the vehicles in front halted in the middle of the road. It did not take much time to realise what it was all about. A young tusker was enjoying his lunch on the roadside. Naturally people were not sure whether they should continue to stop or keep moving. After waiting for few minutes the first car moved, then the second and we too crossed over. We captured the guy in our lenses.

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0509.jpg

Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty-dsc_0513001.jpg

After a good lunch in newly opened Nijaguna Residency in Chamarajanagar - more details in my post on road conditions mentioned in the first post of this TL above - we were in Bangalore by 6 PM.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 23:16   #20
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Beautiful place. Is that lake man made (as in due to a dam) or natural?
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Old 3rd April 2012, 20:06   #21
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Wonderful travelogue Fauji. I had visited Red Hills in Nov 2008, and hiked up the hill at the back. Lovely place. Recently I drove down to Emerald Lake for a picnic...wanted to have lunch at Red Hills but it was full.
Thanks Nilanjan. Yes, there are many daytrippers who come to Redhills resort for lunch. Samething with Destiny as well.

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Originally Posted by akbaree View Post
Beautiful place. Is that lake man made (as in due to a dam) or natural?
Thanks Akbaree. There are many small rivers which originate and flow through the valleys of Nilgiris Biosphere. The Tamil nadu governemet has built small dams at vantage points to store the water for power generation , irrigation and driking water supply. The backwaters of thes these dams forms beautiful lakes.

This is something simlar to what we have seen in Malnad region of Karnataka around Jog falls where the Karnataka power corporation has built small dams across rivers and use water for power generation. The backwaters look lovely! Since most of the area is under forest, only trekkers will get a chance to view them.

Take a a look at this Google earth picture of Malnad. Isn't it amazing?
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Old 3rd April 2012, 22:01   #22
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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Thanks Akbaree. There are many small rivers which originate and flow through the valleys of Nilgiris Biosphere. The Tamil nadu governemet has built small dams at vantage points to store the water for power generation , irrigation and driking water supply. The backwaters of thes these dams forms beautiful lakes.

This is something simlar to what we have seen in Malnad region of Karnataka around Jog falls where the Karnataka power corporation has built small dams across rivers and use water for power generation. The backwaters look lovely! Since most of the area is under forest, only trekkers will get a chance to view them.

Take a a look at this Google earth picture of Malnad. Isn't it amazing?
Thanks Fauji. The check dams may create beautiful lakes and recreation facilities, but in my understanding they do a lot of damage as well. I remember reading particularly on Linganamakki - quite a few villages submerged when that reservoir came to existence. And it also negatively impacts the bio diversity or the region. But I am going here; sorry.
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Old 4th April 2012, 12:14   #23
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Default Re: Drive to Avalanche dam, boat ride in the lake, Yummy chocolates of King Star!

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After a good lunch in newly opened Nijaguna Residency in Chamarajanagar - more details in my post on road conditions mentioned in the first post of this TL above - we were in Bangalore by 6 PM.
Fauji Sir, its always a pleasure going through your DLs
I have one query on the Kanakapura route. I haven't gone thru the road conditions thread yet. So, pls excuse me if this query has already been answered there. On the Kanakapura-Malavalli route, are there any good joints for breakfast near to Bangalore if we leave early from home?
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Old 4th April 2012, 12:16   #24
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Fauji sir,Hats off to you.
Your travelogue leads us to completely different serene part of Ooty. I had been to Ooty many times and tired of total chaos, madness and I really hate to say that people are raping the nature over there. I just cant believe that your photos are from Ooty . I am waiting for monsoon season to read your new adventures in monsoons. I am 100% sure that you might have already planned some beautiful locations to visit in monsoons !
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Old 4th April 2012, 15:42   #25
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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Thanks Fauji. The check dams may create beautiful lakes and recreation facilities, but in my understanding they do a lot of damage as well. I remember reading particularly on Linganamakki - quite a few villages submerged when that reservoir came to existence. And it also negatively impacts the bio diversity or the region. But I am going here; sorry.
Don't have to feel sorry at all. You are absolutely correct. Yes, Linganamakki submerged many villages. Fortunately the dams in Nilgiris are small and in middle of forests and hopefully there was no advserse effect on the eco system.

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Fauji Sir, its always a pleasure going through your DLs
I have one query on the Kanakapura route. I haven't gone thru the road conditions thread yet. So, pls excuse me if this query has already been answered there. On the Kanakapura-Malavalli route, are there any good joints for breakfast near to Bangalore if we leave early from home?
Thanks Floyd. Bangalore - Chamarajnagar will be two and half hours if you leave early say, 6 AM. You can comfortably have BF in Nijaguna. If you are leaving late say 7.30, then you can have BF at Gokul in Kanakapura or Hotel Annapurna in Kollegala.

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I am waiting for monsoon season to read your new adventures in monsoons. I am 100% sure that you might have already planned some beautiful locations to visit in monsoons !
Thanks rao sir. Yes, we too were surprised, though we had had the glimpse of this area when we went to Destiny farm house. Not yet planned for monsoon, we should start now
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Old 5th April 2012, 13:37   #26
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Everything about this travelogues is beautiful - the place - Nilgiris, the stay - Red Hills, the route - Kalhatty, the car - Scorpio. :-)

Coincidentally, I took my family too to Ooty during the same Ugadi weekend, and we stayed at Kings Cliff. I think I'll try Red Hills next time soon.
As you said, the Kalhatty ghat drive up and down is definitely adventurous. Slow movers are a pain.
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Old 7th April 2012, 22:48   #27
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What does one do when the mercury soars in Bangalore and rains play hide and seek? Old timers always said that it normally rains after holi in Bangalore. Rain. It did. In few spots and after that there was never a sign of cloud anywhere. The heat intensified and it was time to escape from it and move to cooler environs.

If you are in Bangalore, the only place you can escape quickly is Ooty and it's sister towns Coonoor and Kotagiri. Ooty is not new to us having been there many times before. We also hear everyone comment about how crowded Ooty has become. Yes, it has. But the beauty of Ooty lies in the outskirts with places like Avalance, Redhills, Coonoor and Kotagiri which are still nice and beautiful.
I intend to make a trip to Ooty sometime between May and June. Do you think the weather will remain this way during those months?
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Old 8th April 2012, 03:43   #28
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Awesome travelogue and lovely photographs Fauji sir. We've also once visited that place (Emerald Lake and Red hills) (4-5 years back) and it was after rains. It was really beautiful. The views from the Red Hills are simply amazing. The roads were bad then also but now atleast you've good roads till Emerald (or is it Avalanche?).
BTW, how did they allow you to take the Kalahatty route while coming back? We've been shown the road via Gudalur when we reached the junction (and this happened to me before also). Even we were also in the Nilgiri's during that same time as you were i.e. Ugadi holidays but we went to Kotagiri side (Pristine Valley). That's also an amazing place, we loved the stay there. Probably we've missed you guys at Nahar Sidewalk Cafe just by a whisker. We liked the food there thuogh, specially the pasta.
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Old 9th April 2012, 16:49   #29
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Originally Posted by verditer View Post
Everything about this travelogues is beautiful - the place - Nilgiris, the stay - Red Hills, the route - Kalhatty, the car - Scorpio. :-)

Coincidentally, I took my family too to Ooty during the same Ugadi weekend, and we stayed at Kings Cliff. I think I'll try Red Hills next time soon.
As you said, the Kalhatty ghat drive up and down is definitely adventurous. Slow movers are a pain.
Thanks Suresh. Kings cliff is a cute place tucked away in a small hillock away from the hustle bustle of Ooty town. It is a typical British bungalow. How was your experience in this place? You shoud try Red hills next time.

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I intend to make a trip to Ooty sometime between May and June. Do you think the weather will remain this way during those months?
The rains will start only from 15 June onwards when the place is closed till Sept. Till then it will be fine. In fact the place will be lovely after couple of mango showers. Confirm by calling Vijay Kumar @ 9442254755.

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Awesome travelogue and lovely photographs Fauji sir. We've also once visited that place (Emerald Lake and Red hills) (4-5 years back) and it was after rains. It was really beautiful. The views from the Red Hills are simply amazing. The roads were bad then also but now atleast you've good roads till Emerald (or is it Avalanche?).
BTW, how did they allow you to take the Kalahatty route while coming back? We've been shown the road via Gudalur when we reached the junction (and this happened to me before also). Even we were also in the Nilgiri's during that same time as you were i.e. Ugadi holidays but we went to Kotagiri side (Pristine Valley). That's also an amazing place, we loved the stay there. Probably we've missed you guys at Nahar Sidewalk Cafe just by a whisker. We liked the food there thuogh, specially the pasta.
Thanks Kaushik. Yes, the road till the Emerald bridge is fine and beyond it is bad. I think there should have been some blockade due to accident on the ghat and for this reason they would not have allowed you. This is one risk on the ghat. If there is an accident, you are stuck.

Sad, we could not catch up in Sidewalk. Yes, it is not bad place. How was Preistine valley? Can you share more information?
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Old 9th April 2012, 17:00   #30
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Thanks Suresh. Kings cliff is a cute place tucked away in a small hillock away from the hustle bustle of Ooty town. It is a typical British bungalow. How was your experience in this place? You shoud try Red hills next time.
This is my second trip to Kings Cliff, and because I was really impressed by the experience first time. This time also, my expectations were met or exceeeded. Very ideal place for a family trip. Kids will love it. Unlike a hotel or resort, it has the personal touch. People are good, food is great. And not too expensive.

Somewhere I read Sherlock is also too good, need to check that one out. Saw your Red Hils photos, really impressive. Have visited Avalanche years ago, never stayed there.. Next time will try it out.
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