Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 27th October 2007, 23:01   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Banglore
Posts: 72
Thanked: 15 Times
Default Nilgiris Trip : Bangalore- Mavanallah(Masinagudi)-Wellington-Emerald

Nilgiris Trip : Bangalore- Mavanallah(Masinagudi)-Wellington-Emerald

On the Dusshera long weekend we took a couple of days off and drove up to the Nilgiris.This is my first post on Team -BHP and I would like to acknowledge the immense help I got from reading earlier posts on planning the route/pit stops etc.

Thursday 18th October 2007
We started off at 9:30 Am and drove 8 Km on Bannerghatta Road. Takes 30 min of honking and brake stomping to reach Gottigere Lake.The next 30 Km took 20 min –No wonder they call it the NICE road ;-) –I hope the governors rule continues since the governor has stated that infrastructure is his key priority. The drive on the Bangalore –Mysore road was smooth and fast—very light traffic being midmorning on a weekday.

1 Pm Lunch @ Kamat Madhuvan – 150 KM
The place is ok—but not as nice as the Kamat Lokaruchi. Dear wife was not happy with the state of the loos –and she is particular—she once made me change hotel rooms in Chail(HP) just on account of the loo ;-)
Midway through the meal Dhruv announced at the top of his voice “ Potty Aaya” – making half the restaurant lose its appetite –but battle hardened parents that we are I just picked him up and took him while Priya continued eating nonchalantly.

The road is good upto Nanjangud. After that it is bad for a 10 KM stretch. We took a small detour to visit Gopalaswamy Betta. As promised, it was windy and misty, and it started drizzling a bit when we left.

At around 4 Pm we hit the Bandipur/Madhumalai forest. The drizzle had stopped and it was bathed in a soft golden glow that lit up the Bamboo stalks very nicely. We spotted some deer and monkeys but no signs of any other wildlife. One inquisitive monkey even climbed up onto the car bonnet at the bridge just before entering Madhumalai –Dhruv wanted to adopt him and take him with us.

5 PM Wildhaven- Mavanallah -275 KM
At 5 Pm we reached Wild haven and checked in. Dhruv was thrilled with the dogs called Soda and Hotdog, and 4 cats. The property is unfenced, and we were told animals stroll in all the time.
View From WildHaven


After a quick cup of tea, we drove down to the Theppakadu Elephant camp to see Elephants eating giant Ragi Laddoos. We were impressed with how the elephants obeyed their trainers, and ate the food without any spilling—maybe we need to learn their tricks to deal with Dhruvs typical mess at the dinner table.Back at WildHaven we freshened up and then joined our host John around a campfire. He astounded us by shining his torch around –there was a herd of deer grazing just a few meters away from our cottage !!
Dinner was a grand affair—with a delectable Chocolate soufflé for dessert—certainly not something we expected in a place titled WildHaven.

All of us were pretty tired, and no wonder Dhruv asked to be out to sleep at 10 –this is a record of sorts—at home he never sleeps before 12 !!


Friday
6:30 AM-I was up bright and early so I ventured out planning for a hike—the staff told me that two elephants came by to feast on tamarind trees in the resort late in the night, so I better not venture out too far as the elephants may still be lurking around. I followed their advice - Unfortunately this is the only elephant I saw at Wild Haven ;-)


After breakfast we drive upto Wellington via the 36 Hairpin bends. My Alto VX with the 1.1 Ltr engine took the climb without any protest, the early bends were mostly done in 2nd gear. Then Dhruv started showing some motion sickness and I had to take the rest in 1st, making a countdown game to keep him distracted—with a loud cheer when we saw the 1/36 board.

Drove through Ooty without stopping—it is a DUMP (Dirty Ugly Malodorous Potholed).
Refueled at the BP station just before Conoor –the car had done 340 Km on about 20 Ltr –giving a decent average of 17 considering the Drive from Bangalore to Bandipur was done under AC and the last 50 km was a hill road.

We reached Wellington around 1 and checked in at the Riga hotel. The Quaint hotel is on a hilltop right next to the Wellington Cantonment, and has wooden flooring and a creaky old elevator. It even has a Vintage Austin 1937 model in its Lobby.


The hotel is right next to the Wellington Cantonment station. Dhruv was happy watching the trains come and go. Knowing that Dinner would be at the Hotel, we drove to Coonoor for lunch, and then went to Sims Park post lunch where Dhruv made us hire a paddleboat to row in the tiny lake.
In the evening we took the train ride from Wellington Station to Lovedale and back. The ride was lovely—reminding us of the Kalka-Shimla train that we had grown up watching. On the way to Lovedale we got only 2nd class tickets—for a princely sum of Rs4 –seeing that the train was full of tourists, I think the railways need to increase the ticket price substantially. Riding back we took the first class—even that for Rs 50 is a steal.


Picnic @`Lovedale—Highest Point on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway


Saturday
After breakfast at Riga, we drove through Wellington Cantonment –past the Memorial and the Madras Regimental Center Barracks. There is a cute lil bakery where we bought the melt in the mouth homemade Nilgiris chocolates.
We drove Drive Down to Destiny Farm stay in the Redhills area about 25 Km from Ooty.
Ellsworth Statler, the hotel-chain pioneer, said that the most important factor influencing the success of a hotel operation is "location, location, and location". Destiny seems to be following it to the T –the view is just breathtaking –but the rest is simply bad.
The ride up to the Farm in an Army style truck was bumpy as hell, and we nearly overturned a few times—no wonder the place is called Destiny. During check in we were told that the lock to our room was broken, it would be fixed soon—but neither was it fixed, nor did we even hear any mention of the lock by the staff thereafter. The food was oily and spicy at lunch and dinner, but breakfast was really the pits—stale bread with fungus on it !! When my wife pointed it out, the serving staff just nonchalantly removed the few slices on display and that was it—no apologies, or even an attempt to stop serving bread for breakfast after that !!

Fantastic View of Emerald Lake From Our Room.



Dhruv went horse riding and we were surprised that he took a full 15 minutes ride without getting scared. There are also Rabbits/Guinea Pigs and Geese to keep the kids entertained.
Some Views From Destiny

Sunset over the Lake


Sunday
I woke up early as usual and went for a hike around the lake. After a leisurely breakfast we drove back. This time Dhruv was asleep at the hairpin bends and we were down in 45 minutes. Tired of the oily/spicy food we decided to ask John in WildHaven if we could drop in for lunch on the way back. Ever hospitable, he invited us over, and we had a sumptuous lunch. Reaching Mysore around 4:30 p.m, we decided to give the Dasara a miss and took the Ring Road. Once we got to the Highway, we saw many participants of the Vintage car rally. That was the high point of the stretch—otherwise it was bumper to bumper with a zillion Bangaloreans trying to make it back, made worse by the heavy rain. We decided to take a coffee break, but all Kamat/Café Coffee Day were overflowing, so we ditched the rest break and just drove on reaching home by 8 PM.

Trip Statistics
Total Distance Covered: 715 KM
Overall Average :18 KMPL

Day 1 Bangalore-Mysore-Bandipur-Mavanallah (275 KM)
Day 2 Mavanallah – Ooty-Wellington-Coonoor
Day 3 Wellington-Destiny(Via Ooty)
Day 4 Destiny –Ooty-Mavanallah- Mysore- Bangalore
paragpatankar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2007, 08:00   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
akroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Posts: 2,414
Thanked: 29 Times
Default

Excellent Account Parag, What a start to the forum!! with an excellent experience of Nilgiris...

Just a small query:
How is the road condition from ooty - coonor? I know traffic condition is generally heavy...Also how was the road condition to other places from wellington?
Why so much price difference between 2nd and 1st class ?

You didnt visit any place in Ooty (Botanical Garden, Dodabetta, Lake)?

Abhi
akroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2007, 08:39   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Banglore
Posts: 72
Thanked: 15 Times
Default

Ooty-Coonoor road is pretty good surface once . Traffic was light when I was driving to Coonoor on Friday, but was pretty heavy on the drive back on Saturday.
Roads in/around Coonoor are all good. i did not do too much driving in that area, so dont know how the other roads like the Wellington-Kothagiri-Ooty road are.
I drove thru Ooty 3 times (On way to Wellington, Way to Destiny, Back to Blore), but did not stop there at all.
I am allergic to crowded, touristy hillstations. having seen Shimla go to the dogs. I used to prefer going to Chail which is as beautiful, and not at all crowded.

Ticket pricing befuddles me. they even have a "Season and off season price on the 2nd class tickets. Season price being 6 Rs and Off being 4 ;-). No wonder it is a loss making route. in each station I saw a staff of 2-4 people and I saw passengers getting on/off at only 3 major stations-Ooty/Arvankadu-there is a big Cordite(Gunpowder) factory, Coonoor.

BTW- Your account of the Ooty trip was one of the posts I had read and found very informative and usefulin planning the trip.
paragpatankar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2007, 10:38   #4
BHPian
 
Ketan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 828
Thanked: 160 Times
Default

Nice write-up Parag,
Food at WildHaven is super fantastic and John is a very good host.
Good that you could go uptill wellington and enjoyed the train ride, I have heard Lovedale is one of the beautiful places to stay and roam around..
I agree with you, I'd avoid crowded places and spend all my time to a rather beautiful isolated place; driving thru those 36 hairpins would be the only driving factor to visit Ooty..
Ketan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2007, 12:31   #5
BHPian
 
greatDrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 546
Thanked: 4 Times
Default

Very cool writup dude.
I missed going towards conoor when I visited Ooty last year. Had to return back in 2 days as I was with my inlaws.

And I agree that Places like Shimla are not anymore a Tourists attractions.
I once drove Noida to Shimla/Kufri in Feb 2003 after getting a call from one of my resident friend who told that it had snowed heavily.

This time when I go back, I am going to visit places like Chamba, Chail & Dulhousie.

Cheers.
greatDrive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2007, 11:18   #6
BHPian
 
im_srini's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Portland
Posts: 956
Thanked: 368 Times
Infractions: 0/1 (5)
Default

Hi Parag, very nice & informative account of your trip - made for some very interesting reading. I'll be driving down to Coimbatore during Diwali, & was contemplating a drive into Ooty also. Your trip was an inspiration ! The monsoon weather should make for very pleasant driving (provided it doesn't rain cats & dogs).

I guess Akroy's instilling in every Alto owner (lover ?) the urge to "Let's Go" - Maruti should give him a medal
im_srini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2007, 13:38   #7
Team-BHP Support
 
mobike008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 10,746
Thanked: 7,963 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
I guess Akroy's instilling in every Alto owner (lover ?) the urge to "Let's Go" - Maruti should give him a medal
That was funny!

@parag, absolutely wonderful account of the trip and the pictures do full justice to it
mobike008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2007, 14:07   #8
BHPian
 
mogambo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 126
Thanked: 6 Times
Default

Amazing how all kids go "potty aya" just during meal time... Been there, doing that :(
mogambo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 09:50   #9
BHPian
 
sada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 93
Thanked: 5 Times
Talking

I did Bangalore-ooty-coonor and back in May 2007 in my Maruti 800 5-speed ( I have a special attraction to the Maruti's discontinued models, the 5-speed 800 and Alto 1.1). On my return, i was not allowed to come back via the 36 hairpin bends by the cops and had to take the Guddalore route, very horrible stretch; believe it or not, it took me almost 5 hours to cover the 75 KM stretch. How could you take the hairpin-bend route on your return? I was told by some of my friends later that we need to bribe the cops to enter hairpin-bend route on return. Did you do the same thing? The reason the cops gave in not allowing that route is - chances of brake failure is high due to constant braking!
sada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 10:15   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
hvkumar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 7,369
Thanked: 3,354 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sada View Post
I did Bangalore-ooty-coonor and back in May 2007 in my Maruti 800 5-speed ( I have a special attraction to the Maruti's discontinued models, the 5-speed 800 and Alto 1.1). On my return, i was not allowed to come back via the 36 hairpin bends by the cops and had to take the Guddalore route, very horrible stretch; believe it or not, it took me almost 5 hours to cover the 75 KM stretch. How could you take the hairpin-bend route on your return? I was told by some of my friends later that we need to bribe the cops to enter hairpin-bend route on return. Did you do the same thing? The reason the cops gave in not allowing that route is - chances of brake failure is high due to constant braking!
This restriction by the cops is news! There is no ruke against any car going up or down - TN cops are among the worst in India, and this is simply a ruse to collect bribes. Keep in mind that this road is closed from Kalhatti to Theppekadu/Mudumalai between 8 pm and 6 am - even afte rteh gate closes, you can pay a small "fee" and go through.
hvkumar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 10:49   #11
BHPian
 
abhilashvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Bangalore/Calic
Posts: 367
Thanked: 31 Times
Default

Quote:
On my return, i was not allowed to come back via the 36 hairpin bends by the cops and had to take the Guddalore route, very horrible stretch; believe it or not, it took me almost 5 hours to cover the 75 KM stretch. How could you take the hairpin-bend route on your return? I was told by some of my friends later that we need to bribe the cops to enter hairpin-bend route on return.
True here. Even I was not allowed by the cops, they have a barricade manned by two police men. Had to take the Guddalur route which took me more than 4 hours to reach Masinagudi. But my friends who left Ooty after a few hours in another car managed to come on the same route by taking a Right deviation (half a kilometre after the main entry - I was told so) and they reached masinagudi with in 45 minutes.
Quote:
Keep in mind that this road is closed from Kalhatti to Theppekadu/Mudumalai between 8 pm and 6 am - even afte rteh gate closes, you can pay a small "fee" and go through.
You can get permission from the cops if you can prove that you are staying in a resort in the area
abhilashvk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 11:57   #12
BHPian
 
jango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New York & kotayam
Posts: 798
Thanked: 19 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhilashvk View Post
You can get permission from the cops if you can prove that you are staying in a resort in the area
Or still bribe them. Once we were going to ooty and reached the same check post at around 3:00am. The gate was closed as usual, but after paying the guard Rs 50/- he let us slip easily, otherwise we had to wait till 6 in the morning for the gates to open..
jango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 12:15   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
Lukeskywalker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,396
Thanked: 1,149 Times
Default

Good report Parag, I've been to Destiny too and sad to hear that the place is going down the drain in terms of service, but as you said, the location is what matters.
Lukeskywalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 14:58   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
akroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Posts: 2,414
Thanked: 29 Times
Default

Even I used the 36 Hairpin route both to and fro in my recent OOty trip in Sept end...I did it in day and no one stopped one...

Abhi
akroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 16:34   #15
BHPian
 
sada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 93
Thanked: 5 Times
Default

yes, there is another road half a kilometer after the main entry to the right which connects to the main entry. I was stopped by the cops here also whom I tried bribing, but they asked me to go back to the main entry and try there. I was not aware that the Guddalore route was so horrible, so thought of taking a chance instead of going to the main entry and plead. Anyway, bhpians now know how horrible the Guddalore stretch is and how long it takes to cover the distance.
sada is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Weekend trip to Masinagudi,Nilgiris rajshenoy Travelogues 10 3rd January 2014 15:57
Advice on trip: Hyd-Karwar-Mangalore-Wellington rs49 Route / Travel Queries 15 13th November 2010 16:52
Trip To Emerald near Ooty with Pics Lukeskywalker Travelogues 19 9th July 2010 21:53
Roameo on the Emerald Route Roameo Travelogues 113 30th December 2009 13:22
Bangalore to Wellington,TN HarryB Route / Travel Queries 16 12th March 2009 01:19


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 07:50.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks