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Old 25th July 2013, 15:03   #1
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Default Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

It was the shrill annoying note of the alarm which dodged me out of a beautiful dream that morning. Reluctant to wake up, I still pressed my face hard on the pillow, with some distant hope that the dream will continue further. I was negotiating a tricky curve amidst the misty mountains.

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-dscn6157.jpg

I could still see those chain of hairpin bends and the steep incline which stared at me at each bend. The tall trees decked up the roads to pristine beauty and the mist had spread across a veil over the greens on the mountains. Before I could swerve out to the grand openness after the curve, I was shaken out of my dream. Somewhere suspended in the air, I heard a croaky voice “Time to wake up”. That was my wife (hope she doesn’t read this. The compliment of ‘croaky voice’ is definitely not going to be taken on a lighter vein).

But, soon that beautiful picture diffused from my mental frame. "This is so unfair. It was such a nice dream!!"

And so, the seed was sown...

All through the day, I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about that wonderful sight I missed in my dream.
"Couldn’t have the alarm waited a little longer to buzz?"
I was left between nowhere. Neither did I get that ‘kick’ of pulling out of the curve, nor could I see the view from atop. That sense of loss and dissatisfaction.

It did not take much time for me to realise one thing: “I need a road trip”


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Next two hours saw me glued to the screen of my laptop with the internet munching away at many travelogues and route maps. Many places sprang up for consideration which included Masinagudi, Kodai, Coorg etc. And finally I stamped my signature on OOTY- nestled within the Blue mountains aka Nilgiris.

Many days of brainstorming and definitely many hours on Tbhp later, I had shortlisted which all places to visit, what route to follow and where to stay.

Before I get any further, I would like to thank the following fellow Bhpians for their help and support in planning and materialising this trip:
ranjitp1
ampere
mallumowgli
kala
vsbabu
voyageure
Arun.K
Fauji
RSUDARSANAN

Also, thanks to mjothi and fauji’s travelogues which gave almost all that I needed on a platter.

To mention a few threads which I went through as preparation for the drive:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/owning...ays-ghats.html (ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...tte-rules.html (Highway driving etiquette and rules)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/owning...ing-rains.html (ARTICLE: Safe Driving in the Rains)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/owning...road-trip.html (ARTICLE: Preparation for an Indian Road Trip)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...l-driving.html (Tips required for hill driving?)

These threads give invaluable driving and etiquette tips. Most of us would be aware of all. However, a refresher reading before the drive wouldn’t hurt and is highly recommended.

The ride was Ford Figo 1.4 TDCi Titanium.

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-0.jpg

The car had comfortably served me for 72,000 Kms in the last three years of ownership. I was not new to driving through Ghats too.
(My previous drive to Mookambika- Chikmagalur- Jog falls- Mysore- Kochi)
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ur-mysore.html

My leave from office have been approved well in time and there was no uncertainity in that part too. Now what remained was the wait for the day to come.
As the D- day drew closer, I was getting all the more excited. All the boxes in my check off list have been ‘checked’.
The only thing I couldn’t keep a check on was the dependability of weather.

Mr Murphy has always been a ‘good’ companion for me. He never failed to surprise me whenever I had something planned.
This time too, he did not fail to leave his mark.
Three days before I was about to start the journey, it started raining heavily in Kerala. All I could see in the satellite picture was ‘white’ and then the parts of India North of Nagpur. I called up the place where I made my arrangement of accommodation and all he said was : “Saar, It is raining here saar”

I had already made up my mind.
“Come hell or high water, I am driving to Ooty!!!”

And so, with the rain still pouring over my windshield, we set out on a rainy road trip.

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Route

The route followed was:
Kochi- Angamaly- Wadakkanchery- Chelakkara- Pazhayannur- Alathur- Kollengode- Pollachi- Coimbatore.

As soon as I reached Mannuthy, the roads paved way to craters. This snap is of a better part of the road. I couldn’t get a snap of the worser ones.

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We took the diversion to Wadakkanchery from there and also visited Vazhani Dam on the way.
However, we did not get out of our car due to the rain. Just some customary snaps, and we were on our way back!!

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Coimbatore- Karamadai- Manjur- Ooty.

The route from Karamadai to Ooty through Manjur was a less travelled one and thanks to RSUDARSANAN for suggesting this. The road had its share of good, bad and ugly stretches. Mostly it was good. However, the drive was an amazing experience with 43 hairpin bends thrown in and nature’s beauty keeping pace. Unlike in Kerala, it wasn’t raining at Coimbatore and further. So we had a pleasant clear climate till we reached Ooty.

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First glimpse of cloud topped mountains. Near Karamadai

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Spider man and spider woman

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“why there’s no net when I do this???”

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43 Hairpin bends

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Old 25th July 2013, 15:18   #2
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

As we started our ascend

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My dedicated GPS device was completely lost as it did not have the roads charted on it. Whilst, the google maps app worked like a charm.

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Cloud in a bowl eh??

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Twig and the blue sky

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The sunlight had painted over the beautiful picture on the mountain folds

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As we came out at Manjur and took the diversion to Ooty, we came across the next set of hairpin bends

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Our initial plan was to visit Avalanche and Emerald lakes enroute to Ooty. As it panned out, we were already late (Thanks to the many hours spent on shopping at Coimbatore) and wouldn’t be able to do justice to the place. Moreover, I did not want to drive on un known terrain at night.

So, we took the route through Lovedale to reach Ooty...

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Old 25th July 2013, 15:28   #3
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

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with a break at Chamraj tea centre.

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Looks like spider kids love tea too..

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The first glimpse of lush green tea plantations of Ooty.

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We reached Ooty in good time, before it got dark. We checked in at Ratan Tata Holiday Home. The place is quite nice, homely and adequately furnished. It is a bungalow built by Sir Ratan tata and they extended excellent hospitality.

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The approach road to the Holiday home

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Indoors

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My daughter was very much amused by the piano and the type writer!!!

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Walkway within the bungalow premises

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Soon to follow: The places visited at Ooty.
Pardon me if I am a bit late. Paucity of time!!!
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Old 26th July 2013, 13:41   #4
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Dhanush, nice travelogue there! Could you give more details about the stay? Can anyone make the booking for it? And, was your car registered in Haryana?
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Old 26th July 2013, 13:52   #5
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Looks like your daughter is wondering...
Why is this computer looking so weird? and
Where is the monitor??
May be she is seeing a type-writter for the first time in her life.

Oops, Just on a lighter note

Last edited by Ddrive : 26th July 2013 at 13:55. Reason: corrections
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Old 26th July 2013, 14:24   #6
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrive View Post
Looks like your daughter is wondering...
Why is this computer looking so weird? and
Where is the monitor??
May be she is seeing a type-writter for the first time in her life.

Oops, Just on a lighter note
Yes. She was seeing a type writer for the first time in her life. She took some time to adjust to the fact that the type writer directly printed onto the paper rather than on the screen

Quote:
Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
Dhanush, nice travelogue there! Could you give more details about the stay? Can anyone make the booking for it? And, was your car registered in Haryana?
Thanks CliffHanger.
The Tata Holiday Home is situated right in the centre of the city, near the Railway station.
As far as I know, anyone can make booking there. You might as well check that up.
The contact number is : 0423 2442216.

Food is not available off hand. They take orders for food some 3 hours in advance and prepare it accordingly.
So, even if you have made booking for the stay and land up in the evening at 1900 and ask for dinner, they will politely say "No" (like what happened with us).
Also, they have a menu for each day and you will have to make good with what they provide.
Regardless, the food was very good for our tastes.

Yes. My vehicle was registered in Haryana. I was working there when I bought it.
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Old 26th July 2013, 15:33   #7
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Thinking of places to visit in Ooty... they are aplenty.
Far so many that you will not be able to see all of them during a three day stay at the place; unless it is a touch and go exercise to tick all boxes.

Though I had made a list of all the places to visit there, even before I started the journey I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it all count.
So, on the outset itself, I had fore warned my wifey that we would not be able to visit all the places. The main purpose of the journey for me was to enjoy the drive and have a relaxed holiday. The idea of running from pillar to post with a strict time schedule did not appeal much to both of us.

I am attaching herewith the word docs which I had prepared with distances. Additionally, I am attaching the Lat Longs of major places to visit at Ooty; for all those who want to navigate there with their GPS devices.

Lat Longs.docx

places to see in Ooty.docx

Around Ooty

1. Botanical Garden
2. Ooty Lake
3. Boating (Go to Honeymoon Boat house – less crowded)
4. Rose Garden (2.4 Kms)
5. Fern Hill Palace (4.2 Kms/ 3 Kms)
6. Thread flower show opposite boat house

West

1. Mukurthi National Prk (31 Kms towards Gudalur)
2. Pykara Falls and lake, boat house (20.9 Kms and 21.8 Kms)
3. Kamraj Sagar Dam (10 Kms towards Gudalur)
4. 9th Mile (shooting spot) (14.1 Kms)
5. Glen Morgan- countryside, ideal for drives and picnics
(34.1 Kms towards Gudalur)
6. Kalhaty Falls (13.4 Kms) On Masinagudi Road

North West

1. Theppekad Elephant camp (35.1Kms)
2. Masinagudi (28.5 Kms)

East

1. Tea Museum (~5 Kms)
2. Doddabetta (9.3 Kms)
3. Kotagiri (29.3 Kms)
4. Kodanad view point (46.6 Kms, 18.3 Kms from Kothagiri)

South East

1. Coonoor (20 Kms)
2. Dolphin’s nose (11 Kms from Coonoor)
3. Needle Rock view point

South West

1. Avalanche (30 kms)
2. Emerald Lake (17.8 Kms)

Looking at all those destinations, the list of course is exhaustive.
However, we visited only those many places which could be counted on our fingers.

The main person to play spoilt sport was the rain and visibility.

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With the omni present fog and mist, there was no point in going to any places which offered a long range view.
So off the counter went all the view points.

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It wasn’t actually raining at Ooty. It was a persistent slight drizzle. That drizzle brought about a lot of moving Fog. Though the fog negated our plans of all the view points, we did actually like the climate there.

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It definitely was COLD!! And bone chilling at that.
However, fog flowing in front of us was a sight to behold. As if though it’s been poured out from a container to other.

We saw this all along ....
Billows of it flowing down the mountain... blowing across tall trees... flowing onto the roads from the hedge as we drove past them.
It truly was an experience which cannot be equated to words.

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We mostly spent our time in and nearby Ooty.
We once ventured into the western parts of the town towards Masinagudi. But we returned half way through as the roads started to wither off and mainly as the visibility dropped.
No point in risking it when the nature is against you, right?

9th Mile/ shooting point, Pykara boat house and Glenmorgan

We started our sight seeing with the drive to 9th mile aka shooting point.

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The drive was outstanding. The vegetation with a through and thick moss cover over the branches gave it an eerie look. I was thanking the rainy season!!!

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Shooting point was all slushy and did find nothing great to write home about. Actually, with the drizzle and the fog cover, we couldn’t see the actual beauty of the place.
My son was too excited about the horse and took a ride and a customary snap with it.

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-9.jpg
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Old 26th July 2013, 15:50   #8
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

We headed straight to Glenmorgan after 9th Mile.
The drive, again was an out of the world experience. The road is broken at places and does not have a smooth surface.

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On the road which leads to Gudalur from Ooty, there is a clearly marked diversion towards Glenmorgan. The road is completely wooded and it was bit scary too with us being the only travellers on the road.
Perfect example of a lonely road!!!

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To add to the spice were numerous trees and branches fallen off onto the road, and us dramatically making way, wading through them all.
“Nice set up” I thought.
Since it was off season and also due to the ongoing rains, seemed like the authorities were also warming themselves around the fire place.

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Glenmorgan estates were one which did not figure in many travelogues. It was one which came up only once or at max twice in all the reports I read. Also, I had not seen many snaps too of the place.
I was actually in double mind as to whether I should go there or not.
But, as I travelled on that road less taken, I was happy for my choice.

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The more I travelled, the happier I was.
What a place!!!

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Had it been the lush green lawns alone, I wouldn’t have been so impressed. It was the fog which played that pivotal stroke.

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After the impressive drive to Glenmorgan, we retraced our path back to the main road

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We continued our drive towards Pykara waterfalls and boathouse. With the constant drizzle and two weather sensitive kids in tow, we did not even get down from our car.

We then went on a drive towards Gudalur. The roads were initially in very good state.

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However, soon the reduced visibility and the gradual deterioration of road condition took the better of us and we turned back towards Ooty.
Enroute, we had tea from a road side tea shop.
What a tea man!!... I had three in a row, with Ms Missy (the cat) in company

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We also visited the Chocolate museum on our way back to Ooty. They claim this to be the first of its kind in India. Sorry, I do not have any pictures of the museum.
They had made figurines and portraits with various chocolates. It is worth a visit. The entry fees is Rs 20 per head and for each ticket, we got chocolate dippings worth the same amount from inside the museum.
They also had chocolates on sale there.
I found their chocolates to be better than the famed King Star chocolates at Commercial street. The museum chocolates were cheaper too.

Having nothing else to do, we thought of finishing the visits to tea museum, Rose Garden and thread garden.
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Old 27th July 2013, 13:59   #9
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

So the travelogue is up and running. Great. Waiting for the rest - hills during the monsoon is always ethereal.

Beautiful snaps. (btw, I remember someone commenting about 1/3rd rule and what not in whatsap!! To hell with the rules - when the location is so heavenly, of what use are the rules, eh?)
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Old 27th July 2013, 14:43   #10
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Tea museum

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Tea Musuem is a step by step demonstration of the tea manufacturing process.

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Though my wife and kids found it very interesting, the best part for me was the complimentary tea which was served at the end of the visit.

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They also have a chocolate museum by name. However, the ‘museum’ part is only in the name. It was more of a chocolate shop with a few other shops and eateries.

The rose garden came in next in itinerary. Not being the season of bloom, the roses were all prominent by its absence. Some were still standing proud.

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However, looking at the extend of the garden and maintenance, I would love to visit the place during the periods of bloom to see it in full glory

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The thread garden opposite the boat house is one place which should not be missed if you are of a kind who appreciates art work. The entire garden was woven out of thread, and we found it hard to believe that the flowers and leaves were artificial. Such was the level of perfectionism.

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Boating in the lake was one which we kept for the next day and as it turned out, it did not materialise too.

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 27th July 2013 at 14:59. Reason: adding the last set of pictures
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Old 27th July 2013, 16:05   #11
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Did you go into CBE ?

You can also do : Pollachi-Palladam-Karumathampatti-Annur-Karamadai
No need for me to mention about snaps and the drive! Picture perfect.
The location of Vazhani dam is beautiful.
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Old 27th July 2013, 16:25   #12
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Dhanush,wonderful travelogue, really enjoyed it thoroughly and you gave me a new insight into a totally different route to reach ooty from Kerala with enough and more of curves to negotiate. Photos are a wow.Will definitely mark the Tata holiday home for future.
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Old 28th July 2013, 00:26   #13
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Eagerly waiting for the remaining part of your travelogue. I can understand about the time constraints you are facing, but still I hope you upload more pics and details soon.

I am really happy to see Ooty again. Its a very nice feeling especially for me.

I guess I had told you this, but again it was fantastic decision not to choose Kovai-mettupalayam-conoor-ooty route. Landslide rates are high in that route AFAIK.

Drive safe.

Cheers.
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Old 28th July 2013, 12:23   #14
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Nilgiri Toy train

This was one box which I wouldn't have missed to cross in the list of places.

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We had booked our tickets in advance for the train journey for the next morning. Its funny how the train fares were. The local ticket was Rs 5/- to Coonoor. However, the First Class ticket was Rs 140/-. The difference in first class was that instead of 10 people, eight people occupied a cabin. Period!!

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The state of compartments was all the same otherwise. However, one good thing about the first class coupe was that we were in the last compartment through which we got the view through the rear window of the train

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We travelled from Ooty to Coonoor, starting at 0915 from Udagamandalam.

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The train timings are:

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Its best to travel to Coonoor by 0915 train. You will reach coonoor by 1025. The next train from Coonoor is at 1040 towards Ooty and your trip is done.
Another alternative is to travel by the morning train to Coonoor. See the places near Coonoor (Elphinstine falls view, Dolphin’s Nose, Wellington etc) and return by the evening train. You can alternately take a bus too for the return journey.

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Halt at a station enroute

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The train starts puffing again

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The guard station at the rear of the train

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And a parting shot

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-15.jpg

We started our journey back from Ooty after the train journey cutting short the boating in the Ooty lake. In the prevailing weather, we were not very enthusiastic about it. We changed our plans to return one day early due to some impending strike in Tamil Nadu. The direct drive to Kochi, avoiding NH 47 infamous for the ‘supreme’ condition of roads meant that I would be travelling atleast 390 Kms. I did not want to rush things and so thought of breaking the journey at Coimbatore where a friendly accommodation was available, and then drive to Kochi the next day.

The route which I planned on was Ooty- Kotagiri- Mettupalayam- Coimbatore
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Old 28th July 2013, 12:37   #15
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Default Re: Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty

Doddabetta

Initially Doddabetta was not a part of our scheme of things, as it was all foggy and we wouldn’t get a view. However when we saw the sign board towards Doddabetta, and the wooded road which led to it, curiosity took the better of me.
In a jiffy, the steering had started its turn as though in ‘Auto pilot’ mode and we were soon climbing through the battered road to the hill peak.
The drive offered some of the best views with fog laying a beautiful veil for picturesque beauty.

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-1.jpg

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-2.jpg

It was all fogged out at the peak and we knew there was no point in trying the telescope. We were soon on our way back towards Coimbatore

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-3.jpg

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-4.jpg

It was foggy further half way till Kotagiri. But it soon cleared up as we started our descend. Soon, we were driving in pleasant and clear weather conditions amidst greenery.

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-5.jpg

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-6.jpg

The drive through Kotagiri was again absolute bliss with lush green fields and tea plantations flanking our way. The winding road was in superb condition and was indeed a very relaxing drive down to the plains. There are view points all along which gives a panoramic view of the hills around and the Mettupalayam town below.

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-7.jpg

Additionally, attaching three maps which might be of help to others who may venture for a trip to Ooty.
The first map is the map of the town of Ooty and is available on the net. Just that the search efforts can be saved.
The second map is a google map screen shot of Ooty.
The third one is a map of places around Ooty with locations highlighted and marked.

Name:  ootycitymap.gif
Views: 5792
Size:  67.4 KB

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-untitled.png

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-untitled2.png

Well, then all good things come to an end. And so did our short sojourn to the misty hills. We bid good bye to the majestic mountains with lots of good moments to cherish and some frames which will forever remain green in our memories.

Once we came back home, my wife casually asked me:
“When shall we go to Ooty next?”

I said : “Are you the one who will sign my leave application??”

One thing was clear in both of our minds though.
"The day is not far when we will visit the Queen again..."

Amongst the misty Blue Mountains- Kochi to Ooty-8.jpg

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 28th July 2013 at 13:03. Reason: adding maps
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