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Old 28th June 2013, 20:03   #1
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Default Tea Gardens, Misty clouds and a bit of offroading: A weekend of fun at Sinnadorai

This trip was initially planned to celebrate our anniversary, but due to certain unavoidable domestic issues, we had to postpone it for a week.
We'd have bumped into Fauji had we gone as per schedule, so Fauji got to visit this place and put up an awesome trip report of the Sinnadorai Bungalow at Mangorange at Nilgiris.

Friday 21st June 2013

As per Fauji's suggestion, we had decided to totally avoid Mysore road and take the Kanakapura road to reach Gundlupet. It was a very sensible suggestion and the drive till Gundlupet was thoroughly enjoyable with sparse traffic and very good roads throughout.

We left home by 6 am and took the NICE road from Tumkur road and reached the Kanakapura exit in less than 20 minutes, we were at Kanakapura by 7.30 am and decided to have breakfast at Vasu's Hotel, this place has decent food and gets pretty crowded quickly, luckily we found one of the 4 odd tables empty and had our breakfast.

We only stopped once to enjoy the scenic locale just after the Shivanasamudra turnoff and clicked a few pics

The lovely road after Malavalli
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The 30 km stretch from Chamarajanagar to Gundlupet is slightly on the rough side but motorable. We soon passed Gundlupet and then reached the forest entry gate at Bandipur

The forest checkpost at the entrance to Bandipur Tiger Reserve
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The forest guards stopped us to explain few basic rules of driving and behaviour inside the reserve, this is a welcome initiative by the forest department, but wish people actually pay heed to the instructions.

The green foliage was returning due to the onset of Monsoon
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The drive through the reserve was uneventful with hardly any wildlife spotting, this mainly due to the fact of the time of day and the season where the animals find enough food within the range itself.

The only Pachyderm we spotted was a captive one
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and some Deer
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Somehow, the forest looked greener on the Tamilnadu side
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As we were driving through Bandipur, Deepak (Bombatt) calls and asks if we are game for a drive to Kundapur to experience the rains, we invite him to our trip instead, so it turned out that he would join us on Saturday for a one night stay.

The Sinnadorai Bungalow is located at a place called Pundalur which happens to be on the Vythiri-Calicut Highway coming from Gudalur, so we need to turn off right at Gudalur and travel for some 25kms till we reach a Tea factory called Carolyn Tea Factory which is owned by the same group which owns the bungalow ie. The Parrys Group.

Once we reached the Tea factory, we were instructed to ask for a guide to take us to the bungalow which is situated well within the tea plantation. It is very confusing to drive by oneself without a guide as all the roads look alike within the plantation and there are no signages. After a short drive we reach and park the car in at the Bungalow, to our delight, we are the only guests that weekend.

The Sinnadorai Bungalow
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We were greeted by Shanmugam the caretaker who showed us to our room, the room was huge, very clean and well furnished

The room interiors
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The well appointed bathroom
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After unpacking and freshening up, we walked around the bungalow and checked out the surroundings before lunch was announced. The spread was substantial and the food too was tasty, after a hearty meal we decided to take some rest.

We emerged in time for tea and pakoras which were served in true english style in the sit out adjoining our room. Once we were done with tea, we decided to take advantage of the clear skies to take a short walk into the plantation surrounding us.

The trail that led us into the estate
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green vistas everywhere
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Looking up
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or straight down
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After an enjoyable short trek we headed back as daylight was fading and sat around listening to the sounds of nature.
Mrs. Meenu Nair, the lady in charge of the place visited us and we had a pleasant conversation with our little daughter dominating most of it.

Dinner was served with suitable inputs about of liking taken into consideration and it was another wholesome meal. Post dinner we walked a bit inside the huge house listening to stories of elephant visits to the estate narrated by Kannan the assistant cum guide.

Finally we decided to call it a day and went to bed.

...Contd.
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Old 28th June 2013, 21:37   #2
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Saturday 22nd June 2013

The melodious Malabar Thrush woke us with a fantastic tune, the sky was overcast and it seemed to have rained all night, the mists kept rolling in and the tea gardens kept disappearing from view time and again.

What a fantastic way to be woken up, hot tea was served and we listened to the patter of raindrops and the elusive thrush which kept up its tune.
A leisurely breakfast followed and then a phone call to Dhanushs who was in Sulthan Bathery 25 kms away, preparing for the Wayanad OTR, we decided to meet up once Bombatt and wife arrived. next called up Bombatt to check on his progress, they had just reached Chamarajanagar and would reach us by 12ish.

So we just hung around doing nothing till noon when a couple of phone calls later they arrived having lost their way in spite of bringing along a guide from the Tea factory, language was the issue and the guide had taken them to the GM's bungalow instead.

Deepak arrives in his Spark
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A round of tea and a guided tour of the place later, we settled down at the table for lunch, again a heavy meal and a quick recheck of things and we told the caretakers that we'd be back for dinner and also discussed the dinner menu. then we set off for Sulthan Bathery in the Safari.

The 25 kms drive was through a constant drizzle which did not allow us to take any snaps of the lovely tea gardens we were passing, we finally reached Sulthan Bathery and Dhanush made a dramatic entrance even as Deepak was asking about what ride Dhanush had. our daughter instantly liked the rugged jeep and promptly switched over along with my wife.

Dhanush in his Jeep
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I had informed Dhanush that we needed to pick up a cake for Priya (Deepak's wife) who had celebrated her birthday a day before, so a short drive later we reached this bakery where we ordered a cake to be taken later on the way back, once that was done, Dhanush asked us if we'd be interested in a small OTR into the jungles to see a tree house accomodation an acquaintance of his owned, we needed no second thoughts, so off we went following Dhanush

Tea Gardens, Misty clouds and a bit of offroading: A weekend of fun at Sinnadorai-16.jpg

We enter the forests
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The path was quite slippery and we drove in 4H, the jeep easily led the way and we slipped and slided a bit in the ruts but were able to keep up

Black Storm in it's elements
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After a lovely drive through dense vegetation we reached this settlement deep within the forest where there were hardly a handful of houses. But the view was breathtaking.

Elephant's playground
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The rides after the jungle crossing
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The place had a basic cottage and a tree house for the adventurous, elephants frequent the meadows we were told and hence they had built a viewing platform

The Viewing Platform
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The tree house
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After spending some time at this marvelous place we decided to return, on the return, on a sharp lefthander the safari slid into the ruts and got stuck, all attempts to get it out resulted in it further sliding into the walls of mud on the left, my wife, kid and Deepak got off and I reversed a bit and and gunned it out of the rut, the vehicle was moving horizontal to the trail for quite a while before I could straighten it and keep the nose dead ahead. After this small adventure we regrouped for a small photo session

Black Storm poses after a little adventure
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Once we reached back on to the main road, we stopped for coffee and then went collected the cake and bid goodbye to Dhanush. Thanks once again Dhanush for a wonderful outing.

Back on the Tea trail
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We reached the bungalow as the darkness fell and surprised a barking deer right at the gate, we went inside and it was time to cut the cake

Priya and our daughter cutting the cake
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the customary group snap
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After an evening of festivities and polishing off another large dinner we all crawled into bed promising each other that we will have an early morning trek into the tea plantation.

Sunday 23rd June 2013

Again we were woken up to the thrush singing away but once again the rain gods put paid to our plans of trekking into the plantation. Instead, we armed ourselves with the umbrellas provided and marched along the road
in the rain

Some snaps to cherish
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After breakfast, Mr. Mahesh Nair, who runs the estate came to see us off and we packed our bags and started the journey back.

The misty roads to Gudalur
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Green woods enroute to Theppakadu
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Awesome roads inside the jungle
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Hitch hiker in the jungle
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Angry young man trying to hide
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Once we were out of the reserve, we sped homewards, just before Chamarajanagar, a lovely patch of yellow beckoned, it was a small Sunflower patch amidst barren landscape, we stopped for a longish photoshoot

Black and yellow
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In all it's glory
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The copilot shows off her ornaments
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We reached Chamarajanagar for lunch and stopped at Nijaguna Residency, it was a lovely place with modern amenitiessurprsing for a small town, we relaxed for quite a while there and even the food was very good, a recommended place for travellers on this route.

Nijaguna Residency at Chamarajanagar
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After lunch, we decided to drive back non stop to our homes, so it was a quick goodbye at the parking lot and we sped on our individual ways home. We reached home by 8 pm, this concluding another wonderful drive.
Thanks for reading and a special Thanks to Fauji and Dhanushs for making this trip so memorable.

Trip Stats

Route : Yelahanka-NICE Road-Kanakapura-Malavalli-Kollegal- Chamarajanagar-Gundlupet-Gudalur-Pandalur

Distance: 325 kilometres one way from home

Places to eat : Kanakapura - Vasu's Hotel
Chamarajanagar - Nijaguna Residency
Bandipur- Jungle Lodges and Resorts Pugmark Restaurant

About Sinnadorai's : www.Sinnadorai.com

Contact Person : Mrs. Meenu Nair +91 9443699309
There are 3 rooms in the Bungalow and it's preferable to book in advance, please note, they do not accept cards, so payment has to made in cash only.
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Old 28th June 2013, 21:55   #3
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Well done. Your choice is great.

I know the people who manage this Estate very well. They are lovely people and excellent hosts to boot. Everything in the guest bungalows will be 'Shipshape and Bristol Fashion' as they say!
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Old 28th June 2013, 22:39   #4
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Wow!! Lovely!! It is a lovely place indeed. We were not lucky like you with the weather. Deserve full marks!!

I requested them to keep it small as it is now. Not to commercialise. Hope it remains like that.
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Old 29th June 2013, 09:13   #5
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Good report Hari, it gives great pleasure to drive in monsoon.

Ravi.
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Old 29th June 2013, 10:50   #6
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Good one!! The pics look absolutely welcoming. A monsoon drive is pending for me and you just added another place to the list!!
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Old 29th June 2013, 11:25   #7
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Default re: Tea Gardens, Misty clouds and a bit of offroading: A weekend of fun at Sinnadorai

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
As per Fauji's suggestion, we had decided to totally avoid Mysore road and take the Kanakapura road to reach Gundlupet. It was a very sensible suggestion and the drive till Gundlupet was thoroughly enjoyable with sparse traffic and very good roads throughout.

We left home by 6 am and took the NICE road from Tumkur road and reached the Kanakapura exit in less than 20 minutes, we were at Kanakapura by 7.30 am and decided to have breakfast at Vasu's Hotel
Belated Anniversary wishes Hari!
Fauji did mention about this Sinnadorai Bungalow during a recent conversation and nice to see the pictures of the place now.
The place looks serene, good pictures as well (as usual), thanks for sharing
So you did finally take the Kanakapura road, I guess you weren't as convinced when I suggested the route for your earlier trip to Mysore
(of course, this time you'd have turned left at Malavalli cross towards Chamrajanagar).
I'd asked Fauji again sometime after that and he confirmed that the roads were good for Bannur-Mysore as well.
Also noted your food stops - Vasu (Kanakapura) and Nijaguna (Chamrajanagar), our usual stops now on that route!

Smart co-pilot you got there for the trip, adorned with flowers as well!

Last edited by NPV : 29th June 2013 at 11:30.
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Old 29th June 2013, 11:34   #8
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Quote:
So you did finally take the Kanakapura road, I guess you weren't as convinced when I suggested the route for your earlier trip to Mysore
Thanks for the wishes Narayan, it's not that we were not convinced about the route earlier, I'd heard that the stretch between Malavalli and Mysore via Bannur was not all that good and the limited food options on this stretch made us opt out on our Mysore drive.
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Old 29th June 2013, 12:01   #9
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it's not that we were not convinced about the route earlier, I'd heard that the stretch between Malavalli and Mysore via Bannur was not all that good and the limited food options on this stretch made us opt out on our Mysore drive.
Yes, agree. If the destination is via Gundlupet, then the Kanakapura route seems to be the best route given that you can completely bypass Mysore.
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Old 29th June 2013, 12:04   #10
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Awesome pictures. Is the gateway to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve open to all traffic?
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Old 29th June 2013, 12:14   #11
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Awesome pictures. Is the gateway to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve open to all traffic?
Thanks, yes the Bandipur reserve is open for traffic between 6 am and 6 pm.
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Old 29th June 2013, 13:12   #12
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A short and crispy travelogue with lovely pictures Hari sir.
I liked all the pictures but the best one for me is 'Green woods enroute Theppakadu'
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Old 29th June 2013, 17:17   #13
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A nice crisp travelogue. It is very refreshing to look at the photos...

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Somehow, the forest looked greener on the Tamilnadu side
Hope, no pun intended!
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Old 29th June 2013, 17:43   #14
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A nice crisp travelogue. It is very refreshing to look at the photos...

Hope, no pun intended!
No pun, it was an honest observation.
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Old 30th June 2013, 12:20   #15
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A short and crispy travelogue with cool pictures.

I like the pics,
"Green woods enroute Theppakadu" and
"3 walking in the rain with an umbrella in the tea estate"
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