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Old 4th October 2007, 11:14   #1
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Default Weekend Travelogue: Ooty-Mysore

Bangalore – Ramanagaram – Channapatna – Maddur – Mandya – Srirangapatnam – Mysore – Nanjangud – Gundlupet – Bandipur – Theppakadu – Masinagudi – Mavanalla – Ooty – Mysore – Bangalore

Members: ROYs (Abhi, Wife, Abhi’s Parents) in AltoLXi

This was just a sudden planned trip. As my parents were in Bangalore for 10 days, we did have plan for a small trip. My dad last visited Mysore when I was 6month old and he was more inclined to see Brindavan garden and Palace. For me it was like, “No, Not again”. Slowly the trip extended to Ooty and I got a Friday off for me. Since I did not have much time to book hotel, I asked an agent to do it which was the mistake which I later realized. You pay him upfront and you have no other choice but to stay there.

As usual I loaded the car with the 20lit water bottle a day before, did a full tank and checked the tyre pressure. Mom and wife did the regular packing and we were ready for this trip.

28th Sept, 2007 (Fri): We get up at 3:30AM but my initial plan to start at 4:30AM failed as everyone took some time to get ready. Finally the car started at 5:20AM from CV Raman Nagar. As usual passed OMR, Corporation Circle in quick time and hit the Mysore Road flyover. We were out of the city by dawn and the car was zooming. It was nice to see that with so many loads the car (340kg approx) was hitting 120kmph pretty easily. Weather was excellent as well for a nice drive plus the nice Bengali numbers in the ICE was adding aura to the occasion. I hit a top speed of 130kmph at a down slope near Srirangapatnam.

We reached the Mysore Ring Road by 7:10AM and to Kamat Madhuvan on NH212 at Mysore by 7:30AM. My tripmeter read 153km. 153km in 2 hours was fast considering that we passed Bangalore and Mysore city in a very slow pace.

This was the first time I went to Kamat Madhuvan and I liked the food as well as the ambience. We had some nice masala dosas with the Kamat special chai.

At about 8:15AM, we start the journey again, amidst some heavy traffic reached Nanjangud. I think there were some elections happening there which added more problems for traffic. Anyway after Nanjangud, it was like empty stretch of road. There are occasional speed humps midways made by villagers, so careful in 3 digit speeds. I was aware of it hence was hovering between 80-100kmph. Soon passed Gundlupet, the roads were not so smooth in the initial 7-8km till Hangala village. I am doing this road twice in a month, went to Bandipur last month. Soon the smooth stretch arrived and zoomed past quickly. We stopped for a water break at Pugmark restaurant for 15min and quickly passed Bandipur national Park.

Soon we reached Thepakadu, that is the TN border and gate of Madhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Straight road goes to Ooty which is the normal bus route. We turned left on a single track bridge. This is the Ooty road via Masinagudi and 30km less than the former. Initial 6km road was single track amidst the dense jungle but the road condition improved before Masinagudi and it was well marked. Within no time we were passing Mavanalla which the foothills of Nilgiris (just before the famous 36hairpin climb). There are lots of resorts there. Probably lots of people come down there.

The Steep Climb: Soon we hit the 36 hairpin climb. This was really an endurance test for my car with full load. It was the steepest I have encountered in my life. Initially my father got really scared seeing me drive in such a steep road (infact this was the first time he saw me driving on a highway). I didn’t tell him about this climb (otherwise he would not have agreed for Ooty). The car was not pulling at all in second gear; I had to engage first quit often. I did some red line push in first gear in the first two hairpins just for a test and felt some smell of coolant. After that it was smooth acceleration in only first and second gears. I could hardly keep it in second. I and my wife were enjoying the drive, not sure about my parents. It was an amazing experience, it was indeed very steep which we later realized while descent. It was like 36 Hairpins and 14km and you are in Ooty. After the climb, I must the car handled it pretty well.

Masinagudi road meets Gudalur road about 7km before Ooty and from there the road was bumpy (not potholed though). We finally reached Hotel Charring Cross at 11:30PM. I was not at all happy with the hotel. No proper car park and view and at Rs 825 / room it was quit expensive. Anyway I had no choice as I had done the payment already.

Some pics at Botanical Garden & a near by stadium



The "Maine Pyar Kiya" shooting point below


At lunch inside hotel, slept for an hour. Weather in Ooty was chilling. At 4PM, we walked down to Botanical Garden which was just few minutes from hotel. Spend nice time there; clicked lots of pics, mom and wife did some timepass on the roadside shops. We decided not to go anywhere else, had dinner and back to bed.

Tripmeter for Day1: 275km

29th Sept, 2007 (Sat):

Route: Ooty – Masinagudi – Bandipur – Mysore

We get up at dawn after a nice sleep, did some early morning photography, checked out of the hotel by 8AM. I opened the bonnet of the car to see everything is in order. Suddenly I notice that the coolant bottle is almost empty. I got scared initially. Opened the bottled and found that there was hardly any coolant left. Soon opened the radiator cap and found that the coolant was fine there. Immediately called up Lokesh (of Suraksha Car care, Bangalore) and told him about the situation, “He told to pour some clean water in the coolant bottle”. I poured drinking water to the max level in the coolant bottle and then started the car. Probably the first gear redlining uphill could have overheated the engine. Now I know what not to do at that steep climb when I come next time.

Anyway, we headed straight to the Ooty Lake and came to know that it will open only at 9:30am. We did some photography outside and moved to the Punjabi hotel near bus stand where we had breakfast in my last visit. Had puri-chole and tea for breakfast and then started the drive downhill at 9:30AM.

Pic of Ooty Lake


Driving Downhill: Even before we hit the first hairpin bend, we saw multiple warnings / sign stating, “Keep second gear downhill”. Even in second gear my car was hitting 50kmph. I had to use the foot brake alongwith the engine brake to control the car in the descent.

At Hairpin 15 we decided to stop the car and do some nice photography. We could also see the Kalhatty falls from there. Further downhill there is a road which goes towards Kalhatty falls. The road is good and also the very scenic compared to the Gudalur route.

Pics at Hairpin 15

Kalahatty Falls as seen from Hairpin15




We also stopped at the hairpin 30 where there is a valley view where one can spot wild bisons. We also stopped there.

Coconutwater break at bandipur


Remaining journey to Mysore was as usual. We only stopped for Coconut water at Bandipur and reached Kamat Madhuvan for lunch at 1 PM. We had an excellent North Karnataka Thali meals (similar to Lokaruchi@JanpadaLoka) and spent a nice one hour there before moving towards Mysore and checking in Hotel Airlines, Mysore. It also rained very heavily while entering Mysore.

After a nice rest and a bit of the cricket match @ Chinnaswamy we headed towards KRS which was about 20km from hotel. We reached there by 7pm. My father was very excited to be visitng KRS (his last visit was in 1979). According to him, many things has changed here and it looked more beautiful and structured. After the light-sound show and some pics we headed back towards Mysore.

We stopped by at Hotel Heritage about 5km from KRS near the Srirangapatnam-Hunsur road. We had some amazing tandoori roti, chicken curry alongwith dal, egg-burji and spend a nice hour there. The hotel is huge and has a great ambience. We start from there at 10PM and reached our hotel in Mysore at 10:30PM and retired to bed.

30th Sept, 2007 (Sun): Although the Mysore hotel was better than that of Ooty’s but the restaurant in the Mysore hotel was amazing. We had some amazing dosas and chai at a throw away price. Headed towards Mysore Palace, saw that it will open at 10:30AM, it was only dad who was interested to go there. Somehow I convinced him that we will get late here and also I have some pending office work to do today only before going to office. He agreed to skip this and we headed towards Zoo. None of us had seen the Mysore zoo yet.

Amazing Zoo: It was indeed beyond my expectation after entering the zoo compound. It was the best zoo that I have seen so far (previous zoo were Alipore, Kolkata, Zoological garden, Hyderabad and Banerghatta near Bangalore). It was very well maintained and with nice collection of rare birds, animals, chimpanzees, deer, tigers, elephants. It was a fabulous experience. I can see my dad liking it now after missing out the Palace visit. It was only 12:30PM that we could come out of the zoo. I will surely visit Mysore zoo again with a whole day to spend. This time we had some time crunch.

Some pics of Mysore Zoo







We start the return journey at 12:45PM. We soon hit SH17, stopped by at a IOC pump. I was very much interested about the mileage after the powerful hill drive. Car drank 27lit for 471km. Kool !! that’s nice. Remaining journey was high speed one with speed hovering between 100-130kmph. By 1:45PM, we reached Indradhanush for lunch. We had paneer butter masala, tandoori roti, rice and dal except my dad who was in thali mode. He had South Indian thali.

We start from Indradhanush at 2:30pm but this time it was heavy traffic throughout. Still we could manage the next 75km in 2 hours and reached home by 4:25pm. It was a nice and satisfying trip, moreover this was my first trip with my parents and they were very happy too.

Total distance Home to Home: 611km
Fuel Mileage: 17.5 – 18kmpl (I have to do another refill to calculate the exact mileage)

Signing off
Abhijit Kumar Roy
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:20   #2
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Fantastic review. Youre a pro at this arent you. Lovely pictures too. Keep them coming.
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:25   #3
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excellent travelogue as usual and great snaps. keep up the good work
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:26   #4
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Abhi
As usual a great travelogue and nice pics.
Keep them coming.

Cheers
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:46   #5
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Good one Abhi, but I don't agree with you in one thing though, I think Gudalur Route is more scenic ;-).Don't mind, it's my personal opinion only.
How is the road now at the entrance of Ooty(once you cross the exit of Kalahatti road) ? It was in shambles when I went there last year.
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:56   #6
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Nice abhi.. You seem to be an expert at this sort of thing.. now I know whom to PM first whenever I plan a trip

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Old 4th October 2007, 11:57   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Good one Abhi, but I don't agree with you in one thing though, I think Gudalur Route is more scenic ;-).Don't mind, it's my personal opinion only.
How is the road now at the entrance of Ooty(once you cross the exit of Kalahatti road) ? It was in shambles when I went there last year.
kaushik, no issues, I have personally not driven on Gudalur road , hence cannot compare, my last trip was in a night bus...I wrote it cause I heard from two of my peers... You must be right as you are more experienced than them!!

Entrance of ooty is motorable now, it is not potholed but uneven initially and gets better while approaching ooty...Also I saw some road upgradation work going on...Lets hope the Gudalur route gets motorable by car soon...I sometimes wonder, being such a famous hill station, why are the authorities not working on the Gudalur route...This road is no where close to the Kodaikanal 50km climb...It is high time that they relay the road...

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Old 4th October 2007, 12:33   #8
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Thats a nice trip, I remembered my last year trip to ooty which was exactly same as how you did. It was unplanned until we reached mysore and then decided to go to ooty.

Mysore zoo is really good, as soon as you enter the gates, you get to see those big Giraafes

cheers
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Old 4th October 2007, 12:35   #9
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Well writeen travelogue. You are one of the motivating factors for long drives



Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy;581320...[I
I also pushed the car in first gear in the initial climbs just to test it but ended up reducing the coolant level...[/i]pls be patient while climbing, put to first gear if required, but dont push hard on first gear...


Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
The car was not pulling at all in second gear; I had to engage first quit often.
Thanks got it clarified

While we were doing downhill, one of my friend was behind the wheels. He was in 3rd gear most of the time. I suggested him to keep in lower gears (2nd) (thanks to Team-Bhp), but he was not convinced with that idea and continued to do in 3rd, until he saw the sign boards indicating its safer to do the downhill in 2nd gear
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Old 4th October 2007, 12:40   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surprise View Post
While we were doing downhill, one of my friend was behind the wheels. He was in 3rd gear most of the time. I suggested him to keep in lower gears (2nd) (thanks to Team-Bhp), but he was not convinced with that idea and continued to do in 3rd, until he saw the sign boards indicating its safer to do the downhill in 2nd gear
Surprise, you can do in higher gears, only problem will be overheating your foot brakes plus your engine braking will not be more effective...It is always better not to overheat your foot brake...

SOmetimes people dont realize this while descent, initially at higher gears the foot brake will work fine but as come down and the brakes gets heated up, the braking efficiency reduces drastically and that can get fatal....so it is better be proactive and use your foot brake intelligently...in both the cases, there is hardly any change in your descent timing...

Abhi
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Old 4th October 2007, 14:15   #11
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Great review !! Hope you have not forgotten to put some coolant in your car, once back in B'lore.
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Old 4th October 2007, 14:26   #12
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Abhi , you never get tired of driving, do you ? Nice report and pics.

I can understand your frustration having stayed at Hotel Charring Cross in Ooty. We stayed there ages ago and made a vow never to go back.
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Old 4th October 2007, 14:36   #13
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Abhi, nice report as usual. The pics from the zoo were refreshing... though we aim to see wildlife in their natural habitat I guess beggars cant be choosers. Should pay a visit there myself sometime soon.

Also not sure if someone else has suggested this to you, but I think Maruti Suzuki would be very pleased to see your records with the - "Lets Go, ALTO!" Maybe you can do an advert for them!
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Old 4th October 2007, 16:47   #14
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Hey Abhi,, great pics and wonderful write-up man!!
These places are very popular and you got to read / hear about them from lot of people. however, its refrashing to read your trip-report and I have to work very little on my imagination power with such a nice write-up..
Keep them coming..
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Old 4th October 2007, 17:18   #15
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Good report Abhi, nice to hear that the zoo is well maintained, I usually skip such places as it is a pity that such magnificient animals are kept in hideous conditions.

Quote:
Surprise, you can do in higher gears, only problem will be overheating your foot brakes plus your engine braking will not be more effective
I have burnt the brake pads on two cars on this stretch.
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