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Old 4th October 2007, 18:06   #1
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Default Trip to Masinagudi - September 13, 2007

I'm posting this with a couple of weeks delay, thanks to Abhi who's been reminding me on how many trip-reports I have pending to be posted here.
I'm just doing copy/paste from my MSN Spaces (which is really more than detailed report so plesae forgive me for making all of you going thru all the noise here - I normally keep those for myself to cherish those memories later) because of time constraint.

Members:
Kunal, Nimisha and Myself in our Palio-D

The Start:

We were planning for the trip for about a week. I had already sent a fax to the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chikmagalur and asked him to book a room at Lakkavalli FRH. We were planning to leave by Thursday evening and my wife’s asking me are we going or not! That’s because I did not have confirmation from FRH and also had a Plan-B for Masinagudi.

Change in Plan:

I called Deputy Conservator, Chikamagalur and he said he has not received the fax. Now our destination was fixed right before we were about to leave. We started at about 4.30 from Bangalore, got the tank-full at Shell, Hosur Rd and took NICE Rd from Electronic city, there was a truck stuck at diversion on NICE Rd and lot of traffic jam we had to come to Banerghatta Rd thru some village road and then took the normal Mysore Rd route via JP Nagar. We were more than 2 hours late when we hit the Mysore Rd. We had a good dinner at Indradhanush and decided to stay at a hotel in Mysore and start early in the morning. Luckily I got an “okay” hotel in front of the Church and we decided to spend the night rather than searching for a decent one around. We started again at about 6.30 in the morning.


Gopalaswamybetta:

The road between Gundlupet and Bandipur is bad, after crossing the KA-TN checkpost, we realized that we had a plan to go to Gopalaswamybetta too. We took a U-turn and went back till the turn that leads to Gopalaswammybetta. We paid 50Rs (vehicle parking charge) at the base of the hill and started climbing. The hill drive is very steep and roads were narrow too – good that there was no traffic at all – we were wondering if we get to see someone at the temple on top. The hill-top was really nice with clouds passing-by and the misty view of the forest rest hose and other hills from the top. We did some photo-session while we are waiting for temple to open. Spent sometime struggling with sugarcane sticks we picked up on the way when a truck was being loaded with. We finished darshan at the temple, priest at the temple explained the history and some myths associated with this temple nicely. We walked down to the rest house (under construction) nearby and enjoyed a nice view of the surrounding hills.

A view from Gopalaswamybetta during a misty morning..








We started towards our destination, Wild Haven in Masinagudi again at about 11 AM and a sweet gesture by wife that I could not say No to, “we are hungry” we stopped at Bandipur Plaza right before we enter the WLS area and had some uttapa, vada, dosa.. before we start again. Once you cross the KA-TN border and drive few KMs you will have a narrow bridge on the left side that goes to Masinagudi and the right turn leads to Gudalur. This is the Thepakaddu forest office reception center where you can book jungle safari – they don’t have open jeeps like Bandipur but you have to settle with the department Van (Rs 35/- per person) that makes lot of noice.. there are lot of private jeep operators also found at this junction and they will take you for safari on the main roads for about 2 hours – they would charge 600 Rs for the same. It seems in Mudumalai, private operators are not allowed to enter the forest trails for safari.

Drive thru Bandipur WLS and wild life around was amazing..









Way to Wild Haven:

Take left towards the narrow bridge for Masinagudi. We reached Masinagudi village crossing the mudumalai sanctuary area – asked a Jeep garage guy about the Wild Haven and he said it should be another 12 KMs from the village, “take second right after another narrow bridge ahead”. We saw a sign-board with at least 10 resort names on it, all of them are situated on the right side of the road. We entered that area just to check out those resorts. We reached a village (Bokkapuram) where we could see a couple of resorts around one of them was Belmont where we can see horses grazing in their farm.. I knew the place we have booked is not in this direction, I had a look at the place / route using Google earth and know that it should be somewhere on the left side of the road and is one of the only two resorts in that area. We immediately came out of Bokkapuram and continued on Ooty road ahead. After another 10 KMs we saw a milestone for Wild Haven on the left side of the road. This road gets better after you cross the Mudumalai WLS area. However the road is narrow and you have to get off the road to let someone overtake or let the oncoming traffic pass thru – as someone said earlier, the thick edges on the road are dangerous if you don’t get off and on the road carefully.

Drive thru Mudumalai WLS with wonderful Nilgiris view






Wild Haven is less than a Kilometer from the main Road via mud road, the place is really good not many resorts around, no villages around. Our host John, is really a nice person – I briefly spoke to him about the programs for rest of the day and next day and we got settled with room right opposite to the Nilgiris view. The view of the hills from this place is really good. We had the blue hills right in the front of the verandah. Man!! The view of the blue hills was really breathtaking… there are other hills adjacent to it and half covered with those cotton white clouds. My wife is still trying to find out the reason why the last hill on the left side is so different and looks blue in color – may be because of the light spread on the hill thru some black clouds and the color of the rock on that hill. The blue light from the mountain vanished after sometime and we could see the same thing next day morning again…amazing stuff..

Amazing blue mountains..









We chose to get the lemon juice after we settled in our room. There are very few activities you get here except talking about wild life with John, going to the salt lick / water hole and watch for wild life if you are lucky you get to see a group of elephant right in the front of the Resort. We could see one elephant hanging around for a while at the water hole / salt lick in front of the resort. However, we were not looking for any sort of activities here. My kid was behind the birds around as usual and started filling camera memory. The food served by these people was really amazing. They seem to use minimal spices – it was the authentic taste of the home grown vegetables and no spice added for taste. It was simply yummmmmmy…







The Evening:

Wife wanted to take a small nap after such a good food and I set with a book in verandah and also ensuring my kid doesn’t go too far while playing with birds and a resort dog around..
The other resort that I was talking about in this area belongs to Mark Devidar, a famous naturalist. His property is ideal for wild life observation in this area. We decided to visit his place as I was keen to see this guy and his popular verandah that many people talk about…we were there in the evening at about 4.30 and I spent a few minutes talking to him while my wife and kid stayed back inside the car as two over enthu looking farm dogs received us as soon as we parked there J He allows only known people for observation in his verandah – I told him that I shall take sometime next time and plan for couple of hours at your place.

We started towards the Theppakadu reception center for Safari that my kid and wife wanted to go for – I kept telling them that the safari on a van is no fun, most of the animals will run away as soon as they hear the noise of Van from distance and remaining wouldn’t show up because of the noise that we’ll have inside the Van with all the kids and other people. I had to drive a little quick and in another 25 minutes, we were at reception office 20KMs from the resort via masinagudi village and bumpy roads of mudumalai sanctuary. We were happy that we are more than 5 minutes early before the last bus leaves for safari (we wanted to go in the last trip only as that’s the time when you have more chances to see wild life). But we were disappointed when the lady at the counter told us that the last bus can leave only if there are at least 25 seats booked – we were only 3 and knew that its not going to happen. We had a tea / ice-cream break at a refreshment parlor in front of the booking center – I also spoke to one of those private jeep operator but did not find it that interesting…


Our Own Safari / sighting Leopard:

Later, we decided to go on the main roads of Bandipur and Mudumail WLS on our own and started driving towards Bandipur. I engaged 3rd gear and took the foot off the throttle, wife and I took ownership of either sides of the road and started searching for some wild life around. The car was going at 20KMPH @ ~900RPM constant. Instructions to everyone in the car, no one is going to scream out of curiosity, lets not get excited and scare others if they spot something, my kid has this habit “daaaad!!! Look at that!!!” it’d surely be some kind of bird, a peacock or some weird tree..

We saw a huge bison on the way grazing on the road side and also a few female elephants with their small ones playing around. I kept telling my wife that keep an eye on some trees around, Abhi could spot a leopard on a tree and we stand a good chance too as its getting dark slowly. We saw a tusker grazing on the side of the road and the other side of the road two elephants are enjoying bath in the pond – all this while it was raining slowly – wipers functioning at low speed. Wife was busy taking the pictures of an elephant on her left side and I hardly look at the RVM or on the road in front but keep watching for a big cat on my side of the road. I gave a regular glance on the road in front and saw something, it was not very close, we were at about 100 meters (or may be more) far, the first thought came to my mind was “a dog!!!” nope!! I’m in a forest, it must be a jackal (all this happened in a fraction of second – when I spotted that shadow), it was already at the half way crossing the road and I immediately told my wife to look at it… next moment we realized that it’s a leopard!! I could see that “nazara” for next 3-5 seconds or may be less while I realized that the tail is really long and it has to be leopard only. My wife also screamed, it’s a leopard!!! My kid said he saw that too but not sure what was that.. I kept moving and stopped the car right at the place where it entered the bushes on left side.. my wife is using her hand signals to tell me don’t stop,, keep moving, she is not talking at all until we went few tens meter away from that place, we took a U-turn again and went pass the same place but it was really dark and we cannot make out where exactly that big cat disappeared. Wow! I couldn’t believe that I saw the leopard in wild for the first time. However, we couldn’t take any picture of this wild cat, it was worth an experience to spot the leopard crossing the road few 10s meters away. Now, I was in mood to go around that road for one more time but my wife said we’re not going to spend more time here and we have to cross the KA-TN border before 8 (in another 20 minutes).

We continued going at the same speed / RPM and I found that I’m not pushing the throttle anymore on a slope either the engine is maintaining the RPM / Speed on its own that was amazing, I thought I will check the capacity at couple of very steep climbs on mudumalai WLS roads. We crossed KA-TN boarder and now passing thru mudumalai WLS after the thepakaddu narrow bridge we started going thru the rough patches of mudumalai. There was one slope that I was sure that car would not climb at 20KMPH / ~900RPMs / 3rd gear and my foot off the throttle, but to my surprise it climbed that slope too, we paused at the top before descending down the hill as there was an elephant on the left side; it was grazing on an edge about 15 feet above the level of the road / car as the road is been cut thru this hilly area, amazing wild life here!!




The car in the middle of the forest:

We were moving at this same speed and RPM and suddenly I felt some jerks off the car, I immediately engaged the 2nd gear thought it would have been because of another up-hill that car was trying to climb with no throttle, but I found that I’m getting constant jerks in 2nd,3rd and 4th gear too. I was scared for a moment; a thought of spending night inside the car in the middle of the forest just ran across my mind and I started pushing the throttle slowly, wanted to make sure I reach masinagudi village as soon as possible. The car was jerking all the while irrespective of any gear I engage. Stopped at Masinagudi, shut off the engine and had a quick smoke, started the engine again to see if jerks are still there. The engine is experiencing the jerks at idle RPMs too. I remember the Jeep garage guy I spoke to in the morning on that road and some how managed to call that mechanic from his home nearby, he spent more than half an hour checking fuel supply, main supply and return flow with no luck. He told me that this has something to do with either the fuel pump or the fuel filter – he did not find any problem with the main supply or return path. Neither I see the Injection System Failure indicator on dash indicating any failure.

He told me to get this checked either at Ooty or Mysore with a Fiat service center only.. I knew there are none in Ooty or Mysore. Finally I drove it down to the resort another ~10 KMs from that village. Had the dinner and the food was really good. I never had this kind of food anywhere, any restaurants..had a word with John about any mechanic in that area and his manager told me he will call one in the morning.
We were tired and went to bed with mixed feelings. We were happy about our own safari but worried about the problem appeared in the car. We may not be going to morning safari now and the plan of going to Ooty for one day is also washed off..


Scary Jungle Trek:

I have to wake up early next morning for the jungle trek. We started late as guide from the nearby village took sometime. I was introduced to Selavaraj who is my trek guide. I was the only person interested going to jungle trek on that day. We started at about 8.15 in the morning and within 10-15 minutes we were inside the Nilgiris forest on the other side of the road from our resort. Selvaraj was trying to tell me that he had a news that Tigre has passed thru this area at around 4 in the morning and he is trying to find the trail. We were walking parallel to the path which looked like some trail, Selvaraj told me that this is the path tiger normally takes and we are walking few meters away from that path to see if we can find that tiger on his trail!!!!!!

This is not a thick forest but pretty much laid out with small bushes, rocks and shrubs all around.. It was difficult for me to ask this guy a question because of the language, I ask him something and he will answer me something else… I also wanted to keep as quiet as possible because we were going thru the forest. Slowly I started feeling that silence in the area we were walking along and all weird thought started running across my mind. I asked Selvaraj that how many times he has spotted tigers, he again said “four” I don’t know which question he was trying to answer. Later, I asked him does tiger attacks tribal if they are passing by or trekkers!! He understood this at the first attempt and said “yes” !! I asked what to do if you feel tiger is going to attack or attacking or whatever as I had never been that much adventurous to witness tiger in that mood. He got this question too and said “run” I simply said bugger you should have told me this before!! (I was just talking to myself – I knew its going to be adventurous but never thought of it getting this much adventurous); he said don’t worry, I’m here to protect you, he said this in symbolic language showing the small weapon (like a big rounded knife - something similar to sickle!!) he was carrying (I again thought aloud, what this small weapon is going to help both of us with if tiger comes and stands in front of us!! “beta tu to bhag jayega, I wouldn’t be able to run either – he he he..) anyway, after walking with him for sometime, he took me on a rock / plain area, paused there for a while and said we probably would not see tiger today, it might have gone deep inside the forest. I told him fine,, lets search for something else now… we started going another direction, after walking for about 10-15 minutes he again stopped at one place and examining the place around,, it was lil wet ground due to rain and he said “tiger” “pug-mark”,, I asked him, are we again behind the tiger!! He said “yeah, yeah, if we are lucky, we’ll get to see tiger today”. I was walking happily for past few minutes was enjoying the nature around and now again got alert… started watching for pug-marks ahead and also watching in those bushes around, some places it was dense bushes around with rocks, you never know when you will ram into the tiger or his den.

Now I started talking to him about an elephant, their nature and how they attack,, he showed me about 50-60 feet distance and told me that elephant will charge if we go that close else it is okay… I was okay with the elephant, we can spot them from the safe distance and easily avoid conflicts (however, this forest is known for notorious elephants and more people are attacked by elephants than other wild cats ..). however, selvaraj wanted to show me the tiger and was putting his all efforts to search for the tiger – I wanted to tell him that we will go other route, jeep safari is a better way to spot a tiger and not on the jungle trek by walk, I have my family waiting for me and I have my car to be fixed before I have my 1:1 with tiger, so lot of things are yet to be done.. but this guy was not able to understand what I was trying to tell him and finally I gave up and started walking behind him. Later we saw a bison grazing from a distance and we took another route again, we saw a skull of full grown bison and some bones around that area – tiger might have enjoyed his food here for few days at least.

After a while, we came to a rock at good height from where we can see more distance. Selavraj lit a bidi and I was happy to see that, I told him to give me one too and he started walking after I lit one,, I said,, lets wait until we finish this, I normally don’t smoke while driving, riding, walking, like to enjoy smoke while smoking J. We started again, crossed a small stream and roamed around in that area for another hour - did not get to see any thing but I was enjoying the nature around, the sounds of the birds and everything moreover we were away from the tiger trail also so it wasn’t that scary as before… at about 9.45 we found ourselves very close to the road and I could hear the sound of vehicles passing on the road. We decided to go back as I wanted to check out at 11 and also worried about my car, how am I going to take it back to Bangalore in this condition!! Would it go another 260KMs or not!! and lot other questions I had in my mind…







The Journey back:

I was back into the resort by 10.20 and told the story to my wife, my kid was disappointed and asking me why I did not follow the tiger..I simply said shut-up!! Tiger was scared and ran away…
I tried to check whether I’m able to start the car or now, it took more than a couple of attempts to start the car. We left the resort at around 1 PM had a last glance to the blue mountain in front of our room and started our return journey, we stopped again at Thepakaddu reception office – wife and kid wanted to go for that van safari, we found that its going to start at 3PM only and we started moving ahead from there, as soon as we crossed mudumalai it started raining heavily while we were driving thru Bandipur region. I have found that the car is not even able to go over a simple slope I had to down-shift to 1st for those small slopes. This is probably the first time I had fully pressed the throttle paddle on my car when it was in 3rd gear – a simple slope (not very steep) and car is not responding at all, I was expecting that as I push the throttle, at least the RPM should go up but car is not ready to respond or move, its going at its own pace at less than 20KMPH and varying between 900-1200 RPM – it doesn’t have any problem when the road is plain, as far as I keep the RPM going up on a plain road or depress the throttle completely, engine will not jerk if I try to maintain the speed or RPM the engine will immediately start jerking. I was still worried about this and did not know what would be the problem.

We stopped somewhere after gundlupet for lunch, don’t remember the name of the place but was not so crowded, wife did some shopping from Mysore Silk shop there and started again. We got a flat tire as soon as we were about to enter Nanjangud, I still need to find out the way how to identify if it’s a flat tire, this is the second time I felt I realized this a little later…we spent total one hour swapping the tire with the spare one and getting the punctures fixed few KMs ahead in the town
The tank was little below the half tank at this time and trip meter was at ~410KMs – decided to fill the tank again, lets see if filling some fuel will fix the problem if it had really something to do with fuel supply…filled ~14Ltr and started driving towards Bangalore, the next stop was at Indradhnush and by the time we finished our dinner it was already around 8.30. – wife got some nice pastries from CCD and we spent some more time enjoying that.. decided to take the NICE route again till E.City as we may face traffic via JP Nagar and Banerghatta Rd. Masinagudi mech instructed me not to push the throttle hard so the entire return journey was at slow pace and not going beyond 70s-80s. We were back to home at around 10.15PM and directly went to bed – no-one was interested in taking luggage off the car – we were tired and didn’t want to miss the sleep that you get after tiresome weekend…


The secret of the jerks – Rat!!!!

I drove the car to GreenTrack on Monday and explained him about the issue, They had quick look at the fuel supply under the bonnet and started with the troubleshooting in different direction, they are not suspecting any fuel supply for now at least. the guy working on it wanted to look at the timing bet in case its disturbed, he opened the cover and we saw something, crushed badly, deposited on one of the grooves along the timing belt. He told me this is the problem, this must be a rat or something and must have disturbed the timing belt.. they took that crushed skull off the belt assembly. He tool long time to adjust the timing belt, he had to take the front wheel off and also had to lift the car engine to completely open the timing belt assembly so all the pulleys can be accessed easily. He finished his job after about 3.5 hours; I took a test ride around and ensured that its no more jerking…I need to make sure I use some kind of horn / intense burglar alarm with security system before starting the car to request any rats to get off the car and take my turn (as I park on road side and not in a safe / closed garage).

This is where we found something crushed badly..



All in all, it was a fun filled trip with some adventures on and off the road

Last edited by Ketan : 4th October 2007 at 18:11.
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Old 4th October 2007, 18:41   #2
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Aah finally your travelogue arrives in Tbhp, ya I too saw that right turn for Bokapuram with a list of resorts while going to Ooty...
Someday probably I will try out masinagudi foothills in some weekend as well...

But nice lesson learnt if you park your car inside a jungle overnight, blow your horns twice and then crank it....Rats will run away...

Abhi
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Old 4th October 2007, 19:08   #3
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You don't have to go to Mudhumalai. The problem is there in Bangalore itself. :-)

Snakes have been found inside the hood. Its warm after a long run and compared to the cold/wet climate an ideal place to be in.

My uncle's car had a cobra coiled up inside. He opened it up in the morning to check if everything was ok.. and there it was...

Both the travelogues were excellent.. Ketan & akroy. great job.
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Old 5th October 2007, 09:14   #4
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That was really nice and detailed writeup. I enjoyed every bit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan View Post
We were moving at this same speed and RPM and suddenly I felt some jerks off the car, I immediately engaged the 2nd gear thought it would have been because of another up-hill that car was trying to climb with no throttle, but I found that Im getting constant jerks in 2nd,3rd and 4th gear too. I was scared for a moment; a thought of spending night inside the car in the middle of the forest just ran across my mind and I started pushing the throttle slowly
Well that was scary.,good that you got through it. btw.. everybody have this fear( of car stalling or tyre puncture) while travelling out of station in night.
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Old 5th October 2007, 15:12   #5
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beautiful write-up, ketan. was a delight to read through.
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Old 7th October 2007, 10:57   #6
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Great travelogue, but where are the pics of the wildlife you encountered on the roadsides?
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Old 9th October 2007, 15:46   #7
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Hi GT,

We could not take the pcture of the Leopard, it was all so quick and before we think of taking a snap the wild cat was already in the bushes...I wish we could have taken the picture of our first leopard sighting!!
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Old 9th October 2007, 16:00   #8
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Nice write up and good misty pics.
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Old 9th October 2007, 17:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan View Post
Hi GT,

We could not take the pcture of the Leopard, it was all so quick and before we think of taking a snap the wild cat was already in the bushes...I wish we could have taken the picture of our first leopard sighting!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan View Post
We saw a huge bison on the way grazing on the road side and also a few female elephants with their small ones playing around. ... We saw a tusker grazing on the side of the road and the other side of the road two elephants are enjoying bath in the pond all this while it was raining slowly wipers functioning at low speed. Wife was busy taking the pictures of an elephant on her left side and I hardly look at the RVM or on the road in front
Ketan:

I was asking for the pics of Bison, Elephants, etc. that you might have forgotten to post.
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Old 9th October 2007, 21:55   #10
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bison pic is right there up in the post,,, tusker and the bathing elephant had been captured in the video tapes I guess, I shall capture the pics off the video and shall post them soon..
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Old 10th October 2007, 03:12   #11
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Thumbs up Masinagudi

@Ketan- Nice write up!
I have been to Masinagudi few months back, its a lovely place. Infact after reading ur writeup i felt like i am in Masinagudi now, But my trip was only Masinagudi direct and back to bangalore for 3 days. We were able to spot a tiger on the main road but able to take a snap as it just vanished in the bushes, lots of deers and was also chased by a tusker during a day safari. We also hired a jeep to go for the safari in the night at 11, this was terrific but my bad was not able to spot any wild cats on that night.
Totally it was a very nice place and yes it is in deed now also.Will try to get some pics soon.
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Old 14th January 2009, 19:12   #12
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Hi Guys,Need some advice please. My previous post lost its formatting. Not sure if this one will retain it either... I am unable to use any of the formatting icons available in the Message Box. Need to check my JavaScript options in IE7.Jan 24th, SaturdayStart in Bangalore by 5:30 AMBreakfast stopover on the Bangalore - Mysore routePlan to reach Mudumalai by 11:00 - 11:30 AM Checkin to Green Park Resorts by 12:00 PMLunch by 1:30 PM. Rest for an hour or so.Take the Mudumalai Van safari by 3:30 PM. Safari would finish by 4:30 PM.Plan to walk around Masinagudi 4:30 - 6:00 PM. Any activity suggestions?Dinner by 7:30 PM. Followed by Campfire, if available.Hit the sack by 9:00 PM. Jan 25th, SundayWake up by 5:00 AM. Get ready.Capture some early morning shots of sunrise.Get ready for the nature walk by 7:00 AMFinish breakfast by 9:00 AM.Laze around and do some more photography.By 9:30 AM, Start to Kalhatty falls and back(how long does it take from Masinagudi --> Kalhatty --> Masinagudi?). Or are there other options?Plan to checkout by 11:00 - 11:30 AMVisit Gopalaswamy Betta on the way back (How much time does it take to visit and be back on road?)Hit the road back to Bangalore.Stop enroute for lunch, wherever feasible.HOME Few clarifications: 1. Is it worth it to pay INR 500 and take video camera on the Mudumalai van safari? I understand that wild animal sightings are unexpected by wanted to know the opinion of fellow TBhp-ians.2. Any ideas on the condition of the Masinagudi - Ooty road at this time?3. Feedback on Green Park resorts, Masinagudi. (Spoke to Mr. Devan for reservation). Are the so-called night safari's worth it?Thank you.
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Old 6th February 2009, 12:27   #13
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hello buddy , i am new comer any ways whats your feed back onthe trip and give some pics and place you stayed and roads how they are.


so far your write up is so interesting but now its like , what happend did u go or not and then how its like
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Old 7th February 2009, 23:36   #14
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@andescondor
I dont know how did I miss your post here!!
anyways, how was the trip? incidentally, I was in the same area on 24-26 January, I was riding my bike to Ooty attending Rider Mania 09.

I hope it'd been a nice trip! Please share you experiance and pics as well.
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Old 20th September 2009, 14:39   #15
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Wink How did I miss this?

@ketan and @hunt: Sorry pals. I just missed this thread. This is very late but still I'll post some information which will be useful to some of our other brothers of T-BHP extended family.

Keep watching!
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