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Old 1st April 2012, 00:03   #1
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Thumbs up Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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.

Long weekend of Ugadi was like god sent as we planned our next outing and this time it had to be ooty. Since we started planning late, we were not able to get accommodation in some known places. We also tried in the charming farm stay of Mansoor Khan - the director who directed Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander and Amir Khan's uncle - but we were not lucky. I had just bought the latest issue of Lonely Planet and there was a special section on Hill stations of Tamil Nadu. As Brinda was browsing through, she stumbled upon Red Hills nature resort in Red hills on the outskirts of Ooty. I had read about it and the reviews had been good. We were again sceptical of availability and nevertheless gave a try. I called up Vijay Kumar, the amiable host of Red Hills and he said that he has two rooms left and we have to make quick decision and confirm to him next day by paying an advance amount of Rs 4500. I told him that we will do so and next day morning, the first thing i did was to deposit the money and send the scanned copy of the bank's receipt. This time we were three of us - self, Wifey and friend of ours - Ravi (Rakirank on TBHP)

With accommodation confirmed, we decided to leave Bangalore after Ugadi lunch at home.

We left Bangalore at 11 after an early lunch of Mavina Kayi Chitranna (Mango flovoured rice), Shavige Payasa (Semiya Kheer) and Mysore Pak - my mom makes it the best - specially made for Ugadi. We always avoid the regular Bangalore - Mysore highway as it would be choc-a-block with holiday crowd. We went through the time tested route via Kananakapura - Malavalli - Kollegala - Chamarajanagar - Gundlupet - Masinagudi - Ooty. This is a familiar road having driven on it umpteen times in the last one year. Road condition is good and there is hardly any traffic on the road. We breezed past - the last thirty KMs on Kalhatty ghat with 36 hairpin bends was really adventurous and thanks to Scorpio it was a cake walk - to reach the outskirts of Ooty at 4 PM after a break of 45 minutes in Cafe Coffee day in Gundlupet.

I called up Vijay who gave me directions to come to Red Hills from Ooty. Red hills is at a distance of 25 KMs from Ooty railway station. The drive is very picturesque as we go through beautiful valleys of Ooty. Being dry season, the terrain was all brown except for the spots where the carrots were being grown with borewell irrigation. We had earlier traveled on this road after rains and it is heavenly. The details on the road conditions etc is given in my post No 399 on this thread

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...y-road-27.html

The last ten KMs of the road is really bad and if you are driving a car with low ground clearance, it is better to park it in the city and ask Vijay to pick you up. He has arrangements for safe parking in the city. This is where Scorpio comes as a winner as it comfortably negotiated the bad roads and incline to reach the place around 5 PM.

As we reached Red hills we were dumbstuck by the beauty of the place. Perched on a hill with magnificent views of the lakes and valleys in the front and the hill as the backdrop, this is a fantastic place. The Bungalow itself is more than 150 years old built by British. There was a chill in the air. Fortunately i had asked my wife to pack two shawls. It came to our rescue as temperatures dipped dramatically. It was very cold at night and mercury was around 10 degrees. We fresheend up and had a relaxed evening in front of the fire place.

The rooms in the resort are quite spacious. Each room has a fire place which is functional. Sitting infront of fire place was again a nostalgic memory for me having experienced it in the officers mess while serving in army years ago. The place was so cosy that we got up only when the staff of resort called us for dinner. A good dinner and we hit the bed with an aim to get up at at 5.30 to watch sun rise which i understand is awesome.

The fire place kept us warm through the night as we had good sleep only to get up early in the morning. It was still dark as we moved in torch light to the vantage point in the resort to see spectacular sun rise for which red Hills is famous.

We were not dissappointed as you can see from pictures. It was one of the spectacular sun rises i have ever seen. As the sun came up and beacme brighter, the mist enveloped the mountains. When the mist finally gave way, we had beautiful view of the valley.

After watching sunrise and a nice cup of tea, we decided to go for a drive to explore Emerald lake and surroundings. Early morning sun is best for photography and my wife who is the official photographer wanted to experiment and see. What we saw was spectacular sights of the lake.

Let the pictures tell the story from now on !!!
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Last edited by Fauji : 1st April 2012 at 00:14.
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Old 1st April 2012, 00:47   #2
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Default Trek in the hills and spectacular views of valley

We returned from the drive to Emerald lake, had a quick breakfast and ready to go on the trek. Vijay insisted that we do the trek as the views from the top are to die for. We were anyway game for it and started off.

This is a small trek and took us around three hours to complete. But climbing was quite tough and we could see many in the team slowing down considerably. Nevethless everyone of us made it to the top of the hill and had views of our life.

Again, let the pictures take over....

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To be concluded - Avalance dam, customary boat ride - not a bad experience - and tusker on the road!
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Old 1st April 2012, 01:07   #3
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Wonderful images, Fauji!
Looks to be a great experience away from the Bangalore heat. The place is very beautiful. As you said, I have been telling this to so many people that driving thru Blr-Mysore road and going to Ooty is no more fun as it used to be 2-3 years back, so much commercialized and all. However, this looks to be a very good place.

We once spent a more time at Wlington during our Ooty trip and thats another beautiful and interesting place.
We also tried to see if we can make it to Avalance and there is a resort/stay option (glass house) up there. However, I heard that it needs some permissions and also you gotta have a strong vehicle, preferably a 4wd.
Keep them coming, this is another wonderful triplog from you and I shall also wait for Avalance/Avalanche experience.
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Old 1st April 2012, 05:37   #4
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Very beautiful pictures, we have been to Ooty a few times but still pictures made me feel like we should go there once more.

How was the experience at the resort, in terms of food and VFM, food and cleanliness of the place? Is this the link of the resort (Red Hill Nature Resort).

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 1st April 2012 at 05:45.
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Old 1st April 2012, 16:16   #5
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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 Ketan View Post
Wonderful images, Fauji!
Looks to be a great experience away from the Bangalore heat. The place is very beautiful. As you said, I have been telling this to so many people that driving thru Blr-Mysore road and going to Ooty is no more fun as it used to be 2-3 years back, so much commercialized and all. However, this looks to be a very good place.

We once spent a more time at Wlington during our Ooty trip and thats another beautiful and interesting place.
We also tried to see if we can make it to Avalance and there is a resort/stay option (glass house) up there. However, I heard that it needs some permissions and also you gotta have a strong vehicle, preferably a 4wd.
Keep them coming, this is another wonderful triplog from you and I shall also wait for Avalance/Avalanche experience.
Thanks Ketan for your feedack. Though crowded sometimes, Ooty is still old world and oozes charm. If you go off beaten track, then you will encounter lovely places like Wellington you mentioned. Did you stay in Madras Regimental centre or Defence services Staff college or Wellington gymkhana club? The positive aspects are the roads are fantastic which makes driving a pleasure.

There are two fantatstic places to stay if you want to explore Avalanche/Red hills area. One is Red Hills Nature resort were we stayed and other one is Destiny farm stay which is also fabulous. Each one is fabulously located. Destiny is in a bowl surrounde by mountains where as Red hills is on the hill overlooking the valley below.

Destiny - the Farmstay Resort

Yes, you need to have car with good GC to explore the area. Being summer was easy but during or after rains, you wil hardly find proper roads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Very beautiful pictures, we have been to Ooty a few times but still pictures made me feel like we should go there once more.

How was the experience at the resort, in terms of food and VFM, food and cleanliness of the place? Is this the link of the resort (Red Hill Nature Resort).
Thanks Mayank. Red hills can not be called a full fledged resort. It is more of a home stay. Vijay and his wife take care the place quite well. They have ten rooms and adequate staff to manage. The rooms are really spacious, clean and has old world charm. The Location is the King here as you have fabulous views from your room itself. We felt that food can be improved - specially veggie - a liitle. Ravi loved his chicken though. One of our peeves was that morning coffee/tea was served only at 7.30 AM. If you are up at 5.45 for sun rise, this is a long wait. They charge Rs 6K - full board - which is due to fact that this is peak season in Ooty. Rate should drop to Rs 5K in second season. Yes, it is VFM taking into consideration all aspects though food can dfinitely be improved.

Yes, the website is correct.
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Old 1st April 2012, 20:40   #6
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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?
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Old 1st April 2012, 21:37   #7
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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).
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Old 1st April 2012, 22:49   #8
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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
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Old 2nd April 2012, 04:44   #9
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

That' some superb views there. Must have been a blast. Looks like a great place to stay and enjoy. Really nice. Cheers.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 06:34   #10
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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?
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Old 2nd April 2012, 07:18   #11
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

Fauji sir, simply enchanting pictures and such a beautiful place. Waiting for the rest of the travelogue. Rated 5*
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Old 2nd April 2012, 07:32   #12
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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.

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Old 2nd April 2012, 09:15   #13
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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But the beauty of Ooty lies in the outskirts with places like Avalance, Redhills, Coonoor and Kotagiri which are still nice and beautiful.
Rightly said. We should enjoy these outskirts before it becomes the "regular" tourist spot !!!

Beautiful captures. Btw, one thing missing. Where is the Scorpio
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Old 2nd April 2012, 10:44   #14
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 11:13   #15
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues:- Beat the heat - A quick escape to Red Hills, Ooty

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@Fauji: hows the Mansoor Khan's resort? Is the stay worth for the room rates, also the food price seems a little steep.
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.
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