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Old 9th April 2007, 20:01   #1
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Default Kotagiri (near Coonoor) - 4 day trip

Kotagiri is an unspoilt hillstation near Coonoor(17km away) -reminds you of Munnar.

It is less crowded than Ooty or Coonoor (in fact not crowded) and is cooler too! I travelled out there imagining that all hillstations are getting warmer and at this time, wouldn't need a pullover but was pleasantly surprised with temperatures reaching mid teens and being close to late teens for a large part of the day (in April) - its all in celsius lest you start getting shivers.

I left Bangalore on Friday, filled fuel at my customary stop for trips towards Mysore(Shell on Mysore road). It took me 2 hours to Mysore and a pit stop for us at the Lalith mahal palace for lunch - it is royal & beautiful and not all that expensive for lunch(considering its a star hotel) - suggested place for lunch.

My first night halt was at Masinagudi, before the 36 hair-pins. It took me a long 3 hours from Mysore as we were lucky enough to spot quite a few deer(3 varieties - the usual spotted, the ones with antlers and some lrger sized ones with no spots) and a different variety of monkey(the one with a very long tail, black face and bushy body - larger in size than the ones we get to see normally). Some peacocks as well. It could be because we were nearing evening.

The spot at Masinagudi was good with nothing around but mountains all around, absolute silence with just birds making some sounds and the sunrise was awesome with the sun rising in between two mountains.

It took me an hour to Ooty via the 36 bends, an hour more to Conoor and then an hour more to Kotagiri. As I realized later there is an excellent and very picturesque road(direct) from Kotagiri to Ooty via Doddabetta(the highest point in the nilgiris) that took me only 2 hours from Kotagiri to Masinagudi via ooty avoiding Coonoor altogether. The decent was all on 2nd gear with attempts at 3rd gear being futile as the car would start to run, needing me to break more! Trust me, 2nd gear keeps it in control with occassional dab on the break at the turns.

The choice to make to Ooty as stated many times is the Masinagudi route(36 hairpins, good road quality, no buses or lorries, shorter) or the Gudalur route(bad road but no hairpins or steep incline, frequented by lorries and buses, longer, beautiful Pykara lake on the way). This decision point comes immediately after Mysore->Nanjangud->Gundlupet->bandipur->checkpost->Mudumulai and then a 'T' junction where you need to decide whether to take the left(masinagudi) or right(gudalur). The left starts with a very narrow bridge which allows only 1 vehicle at a time. Immediately after that is an elephant camp to the right if you please.

From Coonoor, you could also go to Mettupalayam(2 hours) either via Kotagiri or another route. Mettuplayam to Avinashi, Krishnagiri, Hosur and Bangalore. The last time around to Coonnor, it took me 8.5 hours via this route to Bangalore.

One of the challenges for the food lovers is that there aren't any decent places to eat after Mysore before Ooty(unless you are at a resort a bit away from the road). There is the Pugmark(Jungel lodges run) retaurant just before Bandipur on the way to Ooty but as I found out, its not anything to write home about.

I (the car!) consumed 44.15 litres (tankful to tankful again from Shell on Mysore road) and covered 615 km on it. That returns a pretty decent 14km/l considering we were 4 of us(+bootful of luggage), with AC set at about 23 degrees, had the 2nd gear climb and decent on 36 bends and a bit of a dash from Bangalore to Mysore and back (2 hours each way from Shell pump to Mysore's circle, with 1 5-minute pit stop for coffee).

With this, I cross 8700Km on my Corolla H2 and reaching pretty close to the first service(at 10,000Km).
The trip was a pleasure with no complaints from my parents(both over 70), which was a delight for me considering that one of the reasons for me to choose the Corolla over the Civic was the back seat comfort, ingress and egress. No complaints on the car so far. The boot proved to be a real boon and as we Indians love it, we ended up occupying every inch of it with our luggage (Corolla has one of the larger boots, so its a concern on luggage quantity front!)

Road conditions -
Bangalore to Mysore - as you know
Mysore to Nanjangud - a bit bumpy but ok with a few bad stretches
Nanjangud to Gundlupet, Gundlupet to Bandipur - same as above with a few deep potholes ones in a while, narrow tarred road stretch at places
Bandipur - decent
Mudumulai - Better
Masinagudi to 36 hairpins start, good

Weather - hot till you reach Mudumulai. Will post Kotagiri pics soon.
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Old 9th April 2007, 21:31   #2
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Nice write up. I lived there for 2 years. One of un-spoilt places on blue mountain. So what did you do there? Where you stayed??

BTW its actually 40km from cunoor.
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Old 9th April 2007, 22:26   #3
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14 Kmpl is a terrific mileage considering that you have driven in the ghat section as well. Nice trip.
Cheers
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Old 10th April 2007, 08:42   #4
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Excellent writeup Subbarp, Pls let me the place where u resided in Kotagiri...PM me the contact details if u want...

Nice to see that there is a decent route to bypass Coonor otherwise Ooty-Coonor is big pain...

Eagerly waiting to see the pics...

Abhi
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Old 11th April 2007, 23:34   #5
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Hi,

We actually stayed at an accomodation arranged by my parents, so wasn't exactly a commerical establishment, but there should be some good places out there. In & around Conoor, Taj Garden Retreat and Kurumba resort(from the Orange County guys) are good choices.

thanks

Last edited by subbarp : 11th April 2007 at 23:36. Reason: adding stuff
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Old 11th April 2007, 23:51   #6
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And where did you halt in Masinagudi? i did a bike trip once from Mysore to Coonor and passed through Masinagudi. It's a small town. Are there lodges around the place?
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Old 12th April 2007, 00:00   #7
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Default resorts around masinagudi

Quote:
Originally Posted by watfor View Post
And where did you halt in Masinagudi? i did a bike trip once from Mysore to Coonor and passed through Masinagudi. It's a small town. Are there lodges around the place?
I am not aware of any lodges within Masinagudi itself but there are some good resorts near masinagudi (about 4 - 8 km off the main highway). Some of these are Monarch safari park, bearmountain resort etc.
To reach here, you need to cross masinagudi(the place where you find lots of Jeeps parked) and a choice of a straight road and a road going slightly left.
On this road, you get a small bridge almost immediately. Take the 2nd right turn for about 10 odd resorts...
You would need to reserve for almost all of them as they tend to go full.
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Old 12th April 2007, 00:53   #8
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Good write up subbarp ,I could actually visualize every single place that you have mentioned through the drive. Ooty is like my 2nd home and thanks to my colleague who is from Ooty.
Also if you remember there is a restaurant just after the bridge before you enter the ghats called Glanton Manor.They serve pretty good food.

Some pictures please, would do justice to the readers here .
Quote:
a different variety of monkey(the one with a very long tail, black face and bushy body - larger in size than the ones we get to see normally).
Am taking the liberty to post this,hope you dont mind !!


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Old 12th April 2007, 09:17   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Good write up subbarp ,I could actually visualize every single place that you have mentioned through the drive. Ooty is like my 2nd home and thanks to my colleague who is from Ooty.
Also if you remember there is a restaurant just after the bridge before you enter the ghats called Glanton Manor.They serve pretty good food.

Some pictures please, would do justice to the readers here .

Am taking the liberty to post this,hope you dont mind !!


Those are langurs, commonly found in these forests
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Old 18th April 2007, 11:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subbarp View Post
Kotagiri is an unspoilt hillstation near Coonoor(17km away) -reminds you of Munnar.

It is less crowded than Ooty or Coonoor (in fact not crowded) and is cooler too! I travelled out there imagining that all hillstations are getting warmer and at this time, wouldn't need a pullover but was pleasantly surprised with temperatures reaching mid teens and being close to late teens for a large part of the day (in April) - its all in celsius lest you start getting shivers.

I left Bangalore on Friday, filled fuel at my customary stop for trips towards Mysore(Shell on Mysore road). It took me 2 hours to Mysore and a pit stop for us at the Lalith mahal palace for lunch - it is royal & beautiful and not all that expensive for lunch(considering its a star hotel) - suggested place for lunch.

My first night halt was at Masinagudi, before the 36 hair-pins. It took me a long 3 hours from Mysore as we were lucky enough to spot quite a few deer(3 varieties - the usual spotted, the ones with antlers and some lrger sized ones with no spots) and a different variety of monkey(the one with a very long tail, black face and bushy body - larger in size than the ones we get to see normally). Some peacocks as well. It could be because we were nearing evening.

The spot at Masinagudi was good with nothing around but mountains all around, absolute silence with just birds making some sounds and the sunrise was awesome with the sun rising in between two mountains.

It took me an hour to Ooty via the 36 bends, an hour more to Conoor and then an hour more to Kotagiri. As I realized later there is an excellent and very picturesque road(direct) from Kotagiri to Ooty via Doddabetta(the highest point in the nilgiris) that took me only 2 hours from Kotagiri to Masinagudi via ooty avoiding Coonoor altogether. The decent was all on 2nd gear with attempts at 3rd gear being futile as the car would start to run, needing me to break more! Trust me, 2nd gear keeps it in control with occassional dab on the break at the turns.

The choice to make to Ooty as stated many times is the Masinagudi route(36 hairpins, good road quality, no buses or lorries, shorter) or the Gudalur route(bad road but no hairpins or steep incline, frequented by lorries and buses, longer, beautiful Pykara lake on the way). This decision point comes immediately after Mysore->Nanjangud->Gundlupet->bandipur->checkpost->Mudumulai and then a 'T' junction where you need to decide whether to take the left(masinagudi) or right(gudalur). The left starts with a very narrow bridge which allows only 1 vehicle at a time. Immediately after that is an elephant camp to the right if you please.

From Coonoor, you could also go to Mettupalayam(2 hours) either via Kotagiri or another route. Mettuplayam to Avinashi, Krishnagiri, Hosur and Bangalore. The last time around to Coonnor, it took me 8.5 hours via this route to Bangalore.

One of the challenges for the food lovers is that there aren't any decent places to eat after Mysore before Ooty(unless you are at a resort a bit away from the road). There is the Pugmark(Jungel lodges run) retaurant just before Bandipur on the way to Ooty but as I found out, its not anything to write home about.

I (the car!) consumed 44.15 litres (tankful to tankful again from Shell on Mysore road) and covered 615 km on it. That returns a pretty decent 14km/l considering we were 4 of us(+bootful of luggage), with AC set at about 23 degrees, had the 2nd gear climb and decent on 36 bends and a bit of a dash from Bangalore to Mysore and back (2 hours each way from Shell pump to Mysore's circle, with 1 5-minute pit stop for coffee).

With this, I cross 8700Km on my Corolla H2 and reaching pretty close to the first service(at 10,000Km).
The trip was a pleasure with no complaints from my parents(both over 70), which was a delight for me considering that one of the reasons for me to choose the Corolla over the Civic was the back seat comfort, ingress and egress. No complaints on the car so far. The boot proved to be a real boon and as we Indians love it, we ended up occupying every inch of it with our luggage (Corolla has one of the larger boots, so its a concern on luggage quantity front!)

Road conditions -
Bangalore to Mysore - as you know
Mysore to Nanjangud - a bit bumpy but ok with a few bad stretches
Nanjangud to Gundlupet, Gundlupet to Bandipur - same as above with a few deep potholes ones in a while, narrow tarred road stretch at places
Bandipur - decent
Mudumulai - Better
Masinagudi to 36 hairpins start, good

Weather - hot till you reach Mudumulai. Will post Kotagiri pics soon.
That was a great writeup, fuels my desire to go there even more! I have a few doubts to clear, and it will be great if you can help me on those.

1. I will start from mysore, lets say some day morning (very early, if necessary), how much time is it expected to take ( driving via gundulpet, masinagudi, ooty, dodabbeta/conoor)?

2. Are there hotels/lodges etc in kotagiri, where i can go and stay without any prior reservations ( or rather, are they likely to be full?

3. What other things are there do around kotagiri? places to visit etc?

PS: Awaiting your photos too!
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Old 23rd April 2007, 09:44   #11
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When I went in January, the roads in ooty/Conoor area were terrible - have they been relaid?
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Old 23rd April 2007, 09:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
When I went in January, the roads in ooty/Conoor area were terrible - have they been relaid?
I was there last week. The roads have not been relaid.
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Old 20th July 2007, 08:20   #13
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The roads in the forest are average but not too bad. The roads before and on the hairpins to Ooty are good. The road becomes horrible for about 1km just at the entrance to Ooty as soon as the other road(truck route) merges with the ghat road(hairpin bend route). In this stretch, I had a bottom scrape even with the Corolla. Be very careful as the ditches are fairly deep here. After you pass this stretch, the road is passable but you have sudden bad stretches. Road to Conoor is average. Road to Kotagiri via doddebeta is quite good.
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