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Old 10th April 2007, 23:30   #1
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Default Trip To Emerald near Ooty with Pics

The long weekend of 6th, 7th and 8th and the persistence of my better half made me try and escape the ever increasing heat of Bangalore. Had limited options as one needs to plan and book well in advance. In my case both did not happen. By the time it was decided as to how many people and when, it was already 4th noon. Calls to most of the weekend getaways were unsuccessful, then a friend who is in the holiday business as contacted and urged to get us any cool place within driving distance from bangalore. He came up with a place called Destiny Farm stay near Ooty. Even then he could manage to get us only one room for seven of us including 2 kids. The seven included wife, moher and me along with a friend and his family. We decided to take his Pajero for the trip.
THE JOURNEY:
We started off at 10.30 PM on 5th, Mysore road was choc o bloc with people like us getting away from Bangalore. Most of the vehicles were Tempo travellers and Qualises. Stopped around 11.30 PM for piping hot kababs at Grand Taj at Channapatna. This guy is open all night I suppose. One more stop after Maddur at Coffee day for the loo and away we went.
I took over the wheel from my friend at Gundlupet, roads were so so but it did not matter for the Pajero. Once inside Bandipur forest the roads were better and the only wildlife we saw was a startled sambhar. After the Karnataka border we took the straight road into mudumalai towards Gudalur, this is the longer route but vehicles are not allowed at night on the Kallari ghat route. It got very foggy in the forest and the Pajero has pathetic lighting as stock.
Reached Pykara lake too early to enjoy the beauty of this placid water body. I have only seen Pykara early in the morning and minus the tourists it ranks as one of the best sights to greet you on a misty morning.
Reached Ooty at about 6 AM,and got directions for Emerald which is the name of a tiny village about 23 kms on the Ooty-Avalanche road. This place, Emerald has a small dam and the reservoir of this dam is what the name is all about. The road to Emerald was new, the last time I had been here 2 years ago, there was no road at all.
At Emerald we need to turn right to head towards the dam


View of Emerald dam.

Another couple of kilometers of beautiful scenery and we turn off into a dirt track. This is as far as a normal car can go, the dirt track is strictly a jeep trail. The Pajero showed its worth here, it climbed over rocks and ditches with ease. Two kilometres of this track and you suddenly come across Destiny Farm Stay

First View from Destiny.

This is a farm stay owned by a local lawyer with lots of acreage with some of the best views in the nilgiris. The farm arranges for pick up from ooty town in case you travel by car. They have a couple of beat up jeeps and their latest aquisition is a 4WD Swaraj T3500,

The Pajero gets a complex!
This, I believe is among the first vehicles sold outside the army.
After checking into a huge room with a fireplace we had a hearty breakfast and fell asleep, woke up for lunch and the place was getting full wth other weekenders.They have a total of 18 rooms. Against my protests to hang around the lovely locale, it was decided that we go down to Ooty for shopping (Basically my friend wanted to pick up booze) the womenfolk bought chocolates in the town brimming over with people. Returned for dinner and the drive at night on the dirt track is cool. They had a campfire going and a couple of Darjeeling lads who work there sang some lovely songs to the strains of a guitar.
Early next morning I trekked off into the hills to a log cabin owned by the same people, it is an amazing place, high up on a ridge with no habitation around for a couple of kilometres and in themidst of a deep pine forest.

View of Emerald lake from atop the hills.

Returned for breakfast and again was overruled for another sojourn into Ooty to catch the mountain train to Conoor, the train was packed like sardines and I chose to drive into Connor instead. On the way back I was again bullied into suffering the train ride back to Ooty while my friend brought back the car.
Same campfire and songs and only people missing were a bunch from Bangalore who chose to go camp in tents in the forest.
Next morning, I decided to check out the off road capabilities of the Pajero, coaxed a relcant wife to get up and join me and off we drove into the hills along the same path I had trekked the previous morning. This path is very narrow and can barely accomodate a car, but again the Pajero proved its mettle.

at home in the hills.
We drove till the path ended and then realised that the left rear wheel was flat. It was a place where I could not even turn the vehicle around,


Noticed flat tire here.
I had to reverse the car along the dirt track till the place in the previous photograph in order to find suitable ground where I could attempt to change the wheel. then I realised I did not have the key to open the spare wheel. so it was a long trek back to camp, where I obtained the key from my friend and we took a guy from the farm along and began the uphill trek again to change the tire and bring the vehicle back.


Changing the tire! Whew! (the guy from the farm and my friend)
Finally returned, by which time all was packed and we were ready to leave. Began the journey back to Bangalore, this was quite uneventful and got a glimpse of an illuminated Mysore Palace.

Mysore Palace in all its splendour.

Total Distance Covered : Approx 800 kms
Fuel Used: Normal HP diesel
Economy : 7.7 kmpl(checked on onward journey)
No. Of people: 5 adults 2 children with minimal luggage
Driving Experience: Pajero is good for off roading, it is very assuming
on normal roads, but on ghat roads the rear tends
to slide in curves at higher speeds. happened
twice and the first time we almost slid off the
Hills.
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Old 10th April 2007, 23:49   #2
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Great trip luke!
Is the lawyer by any chance known as ken(kenneth)?
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Old 11th April 2007, 08:40   #3
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Excellent writeup Luke...Nice pics as well and is tempting me to go this place but can my ALto do that off-roading....
Anyway, just wanted to know the state of Gudalur road to Ooty, few months it was the worst....

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Old 11th April 2007, 09:33   #4
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Nice pics and write-up Luke. Am planning to visit the same place in May for atleast a week. Just chill at Destiny no going anywhere else, cause Ooty will be over crowded.
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Old 11th April 2007, 09:34   #5
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TSK: I think the guy's name is Vijay Prabhu

AK: alto can go as far as Emerald village, best thing would be to park the car at King's Cliff, a hotel owned by the same people, which is in Ooty, they would then transport you to Destiny.

Gudalur-Ooty road is not very different from 2 yrs ago, only this time didn't have to wince at all those potholes cos the car can easily handle it.
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Old 11th April 2007, 11:31   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
AK: alto can go as far as Emerald village, best thing would be to park the car at King's Cliff, a hotel owned by the same people, which is in Ooty, they would then transport you to Destiny.

Gudalur-Ooty road is not very different from 2 yrs ago, only this time didn't have to wince at all those potholes cos the car can easily handle it.
Thanks Luke, So Masinagudi route for me...No Gudalur route till it improves...
Can you please give me the contact numbers and address of this hotel / resort?

Abhi
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Old 11th April 2007, 11:45   #7
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Nice writeup and nice pics there too Luke...
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Old 11th April 2007, 12:02   #8
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Nice write up and pics ,pal... although you showed the true auto enthusiast in you by describing quite a bit about the Pajero and its capabilities.
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Old 11th April 2007, 13:22   #9
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The emerald lake brings back very fond memories for me. My uncle used to take us for fishing there in his 1960s Jawa. We sit there the whole day & catch a couple of small carps & then end up buying a few big ones from the local shop & take it home saying we caught them.
But i see that the lake has become quite shallow as is the pykara, another favorite fishing place for us. Now these places have become tourist attaractions.
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Old 11th April 2007, 13:29   #10
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Great photos especially one taken on cliff while pajerro is riding through the mud road. Did they charge you just for a visit.
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Old 11th April 2007, 15:57   #11
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Great write up and pics.

Was Pajero comfortable for seven people for a long drive ?
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Old 11th April 2007, 16:25   #12
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Quote:
Did they charge you just for a visit
Didn't quite get you here swathyd.

Quote:
Was Pajero comfortable for seven people for a long drive ?
5 adults can sit quite comfortably in the first 2 rows, kids were at the back. Only niggling thing is that ppl in the second row need to get off the vehicle every time someone has to go to the last row.
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Old 11th April 2007, 16:27   #13
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Honestly the pics don't do justice to the place. The weather and pure air can never be replicated in any photo. Have some more okey dokey pics if ppl are interested.
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Old 11th April 2007, 16:57   #14
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@ Luke : In a travelogue, the more the pics, the better it gets. Please go ahead and put them up.
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Old 11th April 2007, 17:40   #15
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Some more pics

View of the Farm Stay


Steam Loco at Conoor


The Chaiyya Chaiyya Route


view of the Nilgiris from Destiny


dawn atop the hills


In the clouds
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