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Old 31st March 2014, 16:02   #1
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Default Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Ooty was never my favorite tourist destination. I had felt it was bit too crowded. Compared to Ooty I feel Kodaikannal has much more to offer. Due to that though it is only ~ 280 KM's from Bangalore we never planned a trip there.

However few travelogues of Coonoor on TBHP kindled my interest, also a friend of mine who is posted in Coonoor kept raving about the beauty of the place. So consulted couple of friends and hatched a plan. It was to be a three day trip to Ooty & Coonoor, 3 couples in two cars.

Day 1 -22- Feb -2014
We meet up at silkboard and start at 5.20 AM, we decide to take Kanakpura - NH 209 to Gundulpet instead of speed breaker ridden Mysore road. Since it was early morning we decide to go via BTM - JP Nagar route rather than taking the usual NICE road. There was huge oncoming truck traffic till Kanakpura, we stopped at Kanakpura for tea just to give our eyes which were blinded by high beams of trucks on two lane road.

It is past 6.40 AM when we start from Kanakpura. We drive towards Chamarajanagar and stop at Nijaguna residency for breakfast. Time is 08.35 AM.

This is a swanky place located some 200 meters off NH on the left side as soon as you exit Chamarajanagar town. However the service was slow and food average.

We start after breakfast at 09.50 AM, and head towards Gundulpet. Road from Chamarajanagar to Gundulpet is bit narrow and broken off at many places, however traffic is sparse.

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We cross Bandipur forest entry at 10.50 AM, there are quiet few speed breakers once you enter the sanctuary area. Some of them not properly marked. If you are not familiar with the road it is best to follow a vehicle in a distance.

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Ooty is only around 50 Kms from here, however due to curvy roads it takes around 2 hours. We take the left at Theppakadu and proceed towards Masinagudi road.
The road from here till few KM's after Masinagudi is bit narrow and broken, meaning if another vehicle comes in opposite direction both has to get off the road. However to avoid this what taxi drivers and local vehicles does is they keep to the center of the road and barrel at you in full speed. I had read about an incident when a TBHP member had a narrow miss mentioned on routes thread, now I understand the whole story.

Road widens and surface improves once you cross Masinagudi. We come across a biker gang.
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Soon after the ghats start. There are a total of 36 hairpin bends in what I remember as 32 Kms, most of the bends have convex mirror like the one seen in pic to help see oncoming vehicles. Personally I feel those a bit distracting, I like the old fashion way of slow down, honk and continue.

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Our stay was booked at Co-operative guest house in Charring cross, we reached there at 12.45 PM, ODO reading 284 KM's.

We take rest for a while and head for lunch at a place suggested by my friend. The restaurant Shinkow's Chinese is located near to Botanical garden junction. Food was tasty and the place had an old charm, for those from Bangalore it is something like Koshy's.

After lunch we head off to St Stephens Church.



St Stephens Church

Church islocated near to restaurant and is around 2 KM's from the botanical garden. Church is around 200 years old and though located next to road was almost empty.

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Glass etching

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Church done we start off to botanical garden.


Botanical Garden

Botanical garden is an old time favorite tourist location in Ooty, parking space is at premium around the garden. However there is a private parking lot who charge Rs 50 for car opposite to the ticket counter.

Botanical garden ticket counter

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Glass houses

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Garden was too crowded, mostly from college tour group.

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One of the many canons kept inside the garden

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Boat house

Our next destination was boat house. There are both row and pedal boats available for rent. Pedal boat are charged Rs 300 for half hour slot. However water was bit too dirty for us enjoy the evening boating to the full extent.

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We saw this car in parking lot. Well, not sure who the driver is. As Jeremy Clarkson would have told, all we know is that he drives a Ford Fiesta.

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_1922.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 31st March 2014 at 20:25.
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Old 31st March 2014, 21:08   #2
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Day 2

Today's plan was to visit in and around Coonoor. Our first destination was Coonoor railway station, after a half hour drive from Ooty we reach station at 09.50 AM. Parking space in front of station is limited and being a Sunday didn't help either. Luckily we were able to squeeze both cars in one end of parking lot and make it to station in time.

Steam locomotive from Metupalayam to Coonoor reaches around 10.10 AM and returns to Metupalayam at 3.30 PM. Route between Coonoor and Ooty is done by a diesel locomotive.

Coonoor station

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Steam locomotive shunted towards the yard.

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Diesel locomotive coming from Ooty

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Not just the locomotive, even signalling system is from the past

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Nilgiri queen in yard

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Kodanadu view point - Kotagiri

We head over to Kodanadu view point from station at 10.35 AM. The road from Coonoor to Kodanadu via Kotagiri is in superb condition passing through beautiful vistas. We reach view point at 12.00 PM after covering a distance of 42 KMs from station.

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2025.jpg

There is sufficient parking space and both parking and view point entry is free.

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It was slightly misty when we reached there, guess the view will be even great on a clear day.

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2032.jpg

We take a small break near view point and start back towards Coonoor at 12.45 PM.

SIM's Park

SIM's park is en-route Coonoor from Kotagiri. We reach there after an hours drive from Kodanadu view point.

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2039.jpg

The park is not that big compared to botanical garden we visited the previous day, however it was less crowded and the boating area though small was clean.

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2053.jpg

We take about an hour to see around the park and return back to Coonoor for lunch.

We head off to Dolphin's nose once we are done with lunch.


Dolphin's Nose

Dolphin's Nose is located at a distance of 12 KM's from Coonoor. The road though narrow is pretty decent most of the places.

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2095.jpg

Since it was late in evening the place had got bit misty, the place is surrounded by tea estates -

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This guy was not happy on being photographed

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Lambs rock

Lambs rock is a short detour from road to Dolphins nose to Coonoor, to reach the view point you have to walk around half a KM through the forest.

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2119.jpg

View from here is almost similar to that of Dolphins nose, however since it was past 06.00 PM we spend only few minutes on top and start back.
We head to my friends tea factory to get a guided tour of tea making process and head back to Ooty.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 31st March 2014 at 22:20.
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Old 31st March 2014, 22:44   #3
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Day 3

After breakfast we spend some time purchasing chocolates, however we found that most of the shops open only after 10.00 AM. We checkout from hotel and head towards Pykara lake. On way back we had decided to take the Pykara - Gudalur route to Bangalore.

Our first stop was near Kamaraj Sagar Dam -

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2128.jpg

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This is a small dam and entry to the top of the dam is blocked, however saw some kids crawling through a small opening in the wall. We decided against the same and head further.

Tree Park

Few KM's ahead of dam on road side we see an entry marked as tree park. This is an area where there are lots of coniferous trees. Guess this is a favorite place for outdoor shoot of marriage videos, found few groups there.

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Shooting Point

This is a grass hill next to road, though the climb towards the top is bit steep view more than compensate for the same.

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Pykara water fall

Six KM's from shooting point is Pykara water fall. You need to park the car next to road and walk around half KM for reaching entry to the waterfall.

Road from highway towards water fall-

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-suh_2220.jpg

Ticket counter to water fall

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The walk and also a small break near waterfall to have snacks means it takes around one and half hour to see the place. It is 02.30 PM when we towards Pykara Boat house.


Pykara Boat house

For anyone who is not looking for pedal boats Pykara boat house is the better option compared to Ooty boat house. The place is bigger, better maintained and not crowded.

Boat house is located off the highway, you need to pay an entry fee to use the road. However the road is in bad condition.

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We were not keen on boating hence spend some time enjoying the view and then started back around 03.00 PM

The road via Gudallur is broken at most places slowing down our progress. Once we cross over to KA we stop at Jungle Lodges Bandipur to check if their restaurant was open. It was 05.20 PM and restaurant was closed, our next plan was to visit Gopalswami hill en-route. However before checking with JLR person was informed that entry to hills are closed around 04.30 PM itself.

We head off towards Bangalore and since we had skipped lunch stop at CCD Gundulpet for a break. We start from CCD at 06.30 PM and head direct to Bangalore.

Gundulpet - Mysore traffic was bad, also saw trees adjoining the highway being cut. Not sure if there is any road widening plan.

Mysore - Bangalore traffic was the usual circus a bit better due to it being a weekday. We take NICE road from Kengeri and reach HSR layout by 10.45 PM.


Distance & Fuel:
Vehicle : Alto, 4 on-board
Total KM's : 769
Petrol used: Rs 3200 (Not sure of the liters due to price difference between TN & KA)

Last edited by mpksuhas : 31st March 2014 at 23:18.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 22:30   #4
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Route Details

Onward Journey - Map link

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-onward.jpg


Return Journey - Map link

Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore-return.jpg


Epilogue
  • State Highways in TN are in better shape than NH's. Most highways around Coonoor were in great shape
  • Masinagudi - Ooty route is doable in any car, had seen questions regarding the same in route information forum. We did the journey in Alto 800 with 4 adults and luggage.
  • Kodanadu view point is beautiful, however the highlight was twisty roads from Coonoor till there
  • TN police check-post at TN - KA border did a 15 min check of all bags in car. From past experience it is usually for alcohol bottle.
  • Parking space is at a premium in Ooty & Coonoor. Finding a restaurant with parking space will be bit tough.
  • Bangalore - Ooty route discussion thread.
  • We were not able to visit few famous tourist attractions in Ooty including Avalanche, Upper Bhavani lake due to lack of time.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 9th April 2014 at 23:18.
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Old 10th April 2014, 21:26   #5
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th April 2014, 22:16   #6
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Lovely photographs and a beautiful place.
We too had been there about a year earlier. Flew to bangalore and hired a self driven etios. It was a 7 day trip in which we covered ooty, connooor mysore and coorg.
We found coorg, the most beautiful of all the places though
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Old 10th April 2014, 23:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manasmadaan View Post
We found coorg, the most beautiful of all the places though
Thanks Manasmadaan.
Yes, Coorg is comparatively less crowded than Ooty. Could you please let know details about your self drive company.
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Old 11th April 2014, 10:11   #8
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Some of my favourite pictures from this travelogue: The cannon, railway signal & the monkey.

I had been to Ooty when I was a kid, and have 0 memories of it. None of the images reminded me of anything.
Probably a good idea to add this to my list of places to visit.
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Old 11th April 2014, 13:56   #9
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Lovely pics and nice travelogue! I had been to Ooty for New Year celebration and took the same route (Masinagudi for onward and Gudalur for return). How was the weather around this time? When I visited, it was probably the coldest day of the year

It is commendable that you did Masinagudi in an Alto 800 with 4 people + luggage. During my trip, I didn't spot a single hatchback on this route - most were taxis (Innova/Xylo). Also did you spot any wildlife in Bandipur or Mudumalai forest area?
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Old 11th April 2014, 19:57   #10
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by parrys View Post
I had been to Ooty when I was a kid, and have 0 memories of it. None of the images reminded me of anything.
Thanks.
Since you dont have any memory of the place I guess it is safe to visit. Ooty like most tourist places has changed for the worst. Those who visit with old memories will be surely disappointed.

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I didn't spot a single hatchback on this route - most were taxis (Innova/Xylo). Also did you spot any wildlife in Bandipur or Mudumalai forest area?
Thanks.
During our visit also it was cold during night. But days were warm.
Yes,. Masinagudi route is not that common among private cars I guess. Most vehicles we came across also were taxis.
We were able to spot deer, peacocks. Strangely unlike previous trips no elephants though.
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Old 11th April 2014, 20:12   #11
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

@Suhas, nice pics. Like you said, better to avoid Ooty for accommodation.

You must have missed the rose garden - they had cut all the plants in preparation for the summer.

Kodanadu viewpoint has a parking fee, of about 15 or 20.

Rates for boating at Ooty are better than at Pykara.
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Old 11th April 2014, 22:07   #12
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

very beautiful pics. Got back the memories of good old days when we used to live in Ooty. Kodanadu viewpoint has a parking fee!!! when I had visited a long time back, there was no parking fee. Seems like almost all the tourist spot in Nilgiris are commercialised.
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Old 12th April 2014, 00:17   #13
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

Thanks for a lovely travelogue.

I have a question though. If someone is visting Ooty in their own car and wants have a train journey in that cute train, how should one go about it?
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Old 12th April 2014, 09:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Thanks for a lovely travelogue.

I have a question though. If someone is visting Ooty in their own car and wants have a train journey in that cute train, how should one go about it?
Strongly recommend that you BOOK your tickets in advance. In the summers, even booking this would be an issue. Its just out of question to stand in the counter and get a ticket. As an example, three years back, i parked my car at Coonoor. Stood in the queue for about half hour ( ~ 200 people in queue ). The ticket counters open only 5-10 minutes prior to the train arrival/departure and within one/two minutes, the tickets are exhausted.

Its a lot different in winters though.

After this incident, i always book a FIRST class ticket, online, irctc. Helps a lot.

And my preference is to take the first train out from Coonoor to Ooty - spend a few hours at Ooty, take the bus from Ooty to Coonoor, take my car from the coonoor station and go back to the hotel.

Suhas did a wise thing by trying off-beat non-tourist routes - e.g. The Coonoor-Kodanadu view point via Kothagiri. These places are less crowded and offer better views. Another good drive is from Coonoor towards Kil Kundah - glorious twisty roads, absolutely zero traffic, great views and peace of mind from the crowd.
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Old 12th April 2014, 09:54   #15
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler - Ooty & Coonoor from Bangalore

You can leave your car parked at the railway station in Ooty. It's safe and pay the guard a tenner to keep an eye. This made sense to me since I would be returning to the same station anyways. The bus stand is a stone's throw away as well.

I left my car there for four odd hours (Rs.20 + 10) and came back to no nasty surprises.

OT:
Book first class tickets. (To be honest, I wasn't blown away or anything by the train ride as such. But the first class cabins are definitely more fun than the other.)

Take a look at The Accord Highland. That's my favorite place to stay in Ooty. Brilliantly located!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Thanks for a lovely travelogue.

I have a question though. If someone is visting Ooty in their own car and wants have a train journey in that cute train, how should one go about it?

Last edited by Tassem : 12th April 2014 at 09:57.
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