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Old 8th April 2008, 21:22   #1
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Default Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor

Route: Bangalore - Mysore - Bandipur - Masinagudi - Kalhatti ghat - Ooty.

Members: Me, my wife, and my parents.

Vehicle: Chevvy Spark.

As April 7, Monday was a holiday, We planned for this weekend trip well in advance. I google for good hotels in Ooty and book 2 cottages at Hotel Lakeview for April 5 to April 7.

Day 1 - April 5, 2008
We start from our home in Vijayanagar exactly at 6:15 am and consistently hitting above 120 kmph speed, we reach Kamath Madhuban, Mysore exactly at 8:15 am for breakfast. We had excellent "Mysore masala dosa" and tea and start again at 9:10 am. Having seen me in good mood, my wifey gives a big shock. She had forgotten to pack jackets and sweaters ! Anyway, we decide that we will buy some local sweaters if it is too cold in Ooty.

We reached Gundlupet at around 10:00 and encountered very bad stretch of road and reached Bandipur at 10:45. The road through Bandipur National Park:
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0025.jpg

Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0026.jpg

Soon, we step into Tamil Nadu and cross Mudumalai and Masinagudi. I was a bit worried because of ongoing tensions between Karnataka and TN on Hogenakkal issue. But things were perfectly okay throughout.

At around 11:20 am, I see the yellow hairpin bend board from a distance. As soon as we reach HP bend, I shift to 1st gear to be on the safer side. My Sparky climbs this curve easily at 20 kmph speed. I shift to 2nd gear as soon as we pass the curve and 2 - 3 HP bends after that were passed in this fashion. Subsequently, 2-3 bends were done in 2nd and 3rd gear.

Somewhere in the middle of one such HP bend, I forget to honk, and to my horror, I suddenly see one white Indica racing at terrible speed right in front of me ! He brakes hard and I brake hard and stop within inches. He was a cab driver and yells at me thoroughly in Tamil. I apologize to him in hindi saying this is first time I am doing ghat road. It took me some effort to climb this curve from stand-still position. As we passed this curve, my wifey says that I was sweating nervously and my face was red with fear.

Rest of the ghat was done in 1st and 2nd gear with extreme caution and I breathe a sigh of relief when we finally reach Ooty.

It was exactly 12:00 pm when we reach Hotel Lakeview. It was a big dissappointment to me that there was no "lake view". Actual lake is some 3-4 kms away and the name Hotel Lakeview gives a falls impression.

Anyway the cottage was nice and best part was that there is lot of space in front of the cottage and we can park our cars right infront of our rooms.
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0033.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0034.jpg

A view from cottage:
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0035.jpg

We take some 30 minute rest and decide to have lunch at room itself as we were very tired. We order for rotis, dal fry, paneer butter masala, and vegetable biryani. The food was okay but not worth the price paid.

After taking an hour's rest, we head to the famous Botanical Gardens. I park my Sparky at the parking area. Right there in the parking area, there were many shops selling sweaters and jackets. Hearing that we are speaking in Kannada, a person bumps into us and talks in Kannada saying that he is from Karnataka. We purchase 2 sweaters from him for my dad and my mom. Upon enquiring with him for good restaurants in Ooty, he suggests Hotel Nahar Nilgiris.

Some pics taken in Botonical Gardens:
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0040.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0044.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0046.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0050.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0054.jpg

After spending an hour and half, we head to Dodda Betta. This is said to be the highest peak at about 8600 ft.
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0057.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0061.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0062.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0065.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0066.jpg

Here, we spend some 45 minuts and head back to the Lake. There was nothing much about lake as it was almost closed by the time we reached there. Just 1 pic of the lake:
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0067.jpg

It was 7 pm now. As our hotel was some distance away we decide that we spend some time such that we will have dinner outside our hotel. Hence he head straight to shopping area of Ooty, i.e. Commercial Road. We purchase some home-made chocolates, tea powder, aromatic oils, and some fancy items.

At this time, all of us felt very hungry and my watch was showing 8:30 pm. We enquire about way to Hotel Nahar Nilgiris and head straight into the restaurant.

We order some rotis, pav bhaji, veg pulav etc. Food here was very very good eventhough bit costly.

We then head straight back to our Hotel, Lakeview. As soon as we entered, we saw a huge crowd dancing around campfire with some loud music. We saw 2 Tempo Traveller vans with banner reading "Infosys BANGALORE"

We were very tired. Dad and mom head straight to their cottage. Me and wifey spend some 30 minutes walking around the hotel enjoying cool weather and then go to bed.

Day #2 and 3 to be continued...
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Old 8th April 2008, 22:13   #2
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Nice pictures. The black color Spark is cute and cool.
Yes, I agree that we need to honk and go carefully in the HP bends. But I am unable to understand why the cabwala was shouting. Becasue, seems he came at such a high speed and even he didnot honk is it?
Anyway, good to hear that no issues.

OT: The time shown is like 20:54 on spark picture. but seems to be sunny. Was it just wrong setting?
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Old 8th April 2008, 22:32   #3
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Thanks for the write up, BomBatt.

Good photos and a nice vehicle.

Waiting for part two.

OT: Guess the camera was in PST! :-)
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Old 9th April 2008, 08:35   #4
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Nice writeup and pics BomBatt,

I dont understand why the cabbie shouted at you, the ascent vehicle should be given way at always on hairpins. Cabbie himself should have honked and slowed as he was descending. If it was me, I would have blasted him there for coming on my way.

Hope to see part2 and 3 of your travelogue.

Abhi
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Old 9th April 2008, 09:32   #5
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I am from Delhi, and went to Ooty in Oct 2005. I must say that perhaps it is the best Indian hill station that I have visited. I have visited nearly all during my 41 years of existence.
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Old 9th April 2008, 16:22   #6
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nice pics Bombatt. Waiting for part 2.
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Old 9th April 2008, 17:39   #7
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Beautiful pics. That's why they call it "Enchanting TamilNadu". One of the most interesting, developed and beautiful states in India.Thanx for posting.
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Old 9th April 2008, 17:40   #8
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nice snaps those. The snaps are mostly from ooty. did u visit the sims park and lamb's rock at coonoor? While at ooty you should have checkout 6th, 7th mile reservoir streches. This is a very scenic place which mostly only the locals know about. Great place for fishing and pine forest hiking.
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Old 9th April 2008, 18:22   #9
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Default Day 2, 3, and Return

Day 2 - April 6, 2008
I was in deep sleep and my mobile phone alarm starts ringing. I get up and it was 6:30 am. Wifey just opens her eyes, gives an awful look at me and goes back to sleep again. I go to my dad's cottage and knock on the door. No response. Did not want to disturb my parents from their sleep.

The plan for the day was to land at Coonoor as soon as possible and finish Sim's Park, Lamb's Rock, Dolphin's Nose, Kotagiri and Kodanad Viewpoint, then back to Ooty and do some boating at Paykara Lake.

Finally, it was 9 am when we all get ready and I start my Sparky. We go straight to Hotel Nahar Nilgiris. We order Idli vada, vegetable uthappa, rava dosa etc. Guys, if you happen to be in Ooty, never miss Idli vada at this place. They give some 3-4 type of chutneys and yummy sambar. This is one of the "Kamath" group of hotels and true to their brand name, serve excellent food.

After satisfactory breakfast, we quickly reach Coonoor and head to Sim's Park. Me and wifey go for sightseeing inside the park while my dad and mom relax here
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0077.jpg

Some pics at Sim's Park, Coonoor
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0078.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0081.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0084.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0089.jpg

After spending an hour at Sim's Park, we head towards Lamb's Rock. This route is very scenic with tea gardens and mountain views.
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0105.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0106.jpg

And couple of pics at Lamb's Rock Viewpoint
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0107.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0108.jpg

After pleasant and scenic Lamb's Rock view, we move towards Dolphin's Nose. Couple of pics on the way to Dolphin's Nose:
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0115.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0117.jpg

The approach road to Dolphin's Nose is very narrow and in awful condition. We have to stop our vehicle at the side or negotiate carefully to give way for oncoming vehicles. I was riding behind one Toyota Qualis carefully. Suddenly, to my horror I see one TN state transport bus approaching very fast and he stops the bus right infront of Qualis. There is no way to pass and both of them start arguing with each other in Tamil as to who should take reverse. As the time pass, we have a long 'Q' of vehicles on both sides. After some heated arguments, the Qualis cabbie compromises and agrees to take reverse, and as I was right behind him, I put my Sparky into reverse gear.

As I look back through the rear windshield, I become very nervous. I had to pass 25-30 vehicles parked one behind the other on one side and on the other side there were big stones and tree branches. I stall the engine a couple of times while passing on these stones in reverse gear. A couple of times, I almost scrape other vehicles. At this time, some 10-15 cabbies and other drivers gang up around my Sparky to help me. Someone is shouting right vangaa... right and somebody is shouting left... ponga... left and inbetween I hear steady... steady irkada... steady... (Tamilian brothers, excuse me, thats what I felt I heard). I also hear somebody shouting "you are unfit to drive on this road !"

At this time, one Muslim cabbie comes to my rescue and offers to drive the car. He sits on the driver's seat and in no time drives some 1 km in reverse at super speed and parks my Sparky at a safe corner. I thank him wholeheartedly and sit on the driver's seat again. It took another 30 minutes for the bus and all other vehicles behind it to pass through us and we finally reach Dolphin's Nose.

Some pics at Dolphin's Nose:
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0121.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0123.jpg
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0125.jpg

We spend some time here and head back to Coonoor. Thankfully, there was no problem on the way back. Before reaching Coonoor, we stop at a place called Orchid Square, which is a shopping complex with restaurant.
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0134.jpg

As we were hungry, we decided to have lunch here itself. All the tables at the restaurant were full, and we had to wait some 15 minutes to get a table. It took them another 20 minutes to clean the table and take our order. We ordered for stuffed aloo paratha, stuffed paneer paratha, mixed veg curry, dal fry and plain rice. It took them almost 30 minutes to serve, but the food was very good.

It was 4:30 pm when we reached Coonoor. It was very late and we canceled the plan of Kotagiri and Kodanad viewpoint and instead headed to Ooty. We crossed Ooty quickly and hit Gudalur Road towards Pykara Lake. On the way we came across one small lake and stopped there for some time.
Three-day weekend trip to Ooty and Coonoor-dscn0136.jpg

As we started from here, driving seemed never ending and still no sign of Pykara Lake. Finally, it was 6:40 pm when we reached Pykara and to our dissappointment a security guard standing there tells us that the lake is already closed. We have some tea at the roadside stalls and after some time, head back to Ooty.

As we get near Ooty, just in the outskirts, I see one BP "pure for sure" petrol pump with In&out shop. I stop here for petrol and air pressure check. It was almost 8 pm and we head straight to Nahar Nilgiris for dinner.

Day 3 - April 7, 2008
The plan for the day was to check out from the hotel as soon as possible, have breakfast, then visit Rose Garden, and from there to Bellikkal. But my parents were in no mood to visit any other places and wanted to reach home directly.

We check out from Hotel Lakeview at 9:45 am, and after breakfast at the usual Nahar Nilgiris, head straight to Bangalore. Finally at around 5 pm we reach home at Vijayanagar. Only highlight of the return jurney was "Jolada rotti oota" at Kamath Madhuban in Mysore.

This is my first long-distance trip with my parents on my Sparky. They enjoyed it as much as me and my wifey. Only disappointment was if we had planned properly, we could have covered Kotagiri and Pykara Lake ...may be next time.

Total Distance covered: 680 kms
Fuel efficiency 14.5 kmpl (80% of the journey done with A/c on).
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Old 9th April 2008, 19:10   #10
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Guys, Please do not look at the date and time on the pics !

Actually, I bought this camera (Nikon Coolpix L14) along with 2 Ni-Mh batteries and some Vartu 15 min charger on April 4, that is the day before my trip and that too in the evening. I had no time whatsoever to go through the user's manual. I just asked the guy to make all the settings such that all I have to do is click the pics.

Then at home I click some test pics and there was a massage saying battery exhausted. I remove the batteries and recharge them. I think at this time, I messed up with the settings. Moreover, I did not know that date and time will be printed on the pictures

Again at the end of Day 1 (April 5), I had to remove the batteries and charge them again.

@mjothi and akroy:
Yes the cabbie didn't honk, may be because he was descending and it was easy for him. Whereas I was ascending and I thought I should have been more careful. In that situation both of us should have honked and driving cautiously. Anyway, him being a cabbie, I did not want to argue with him.

I was at a steep incline right in the middle of HP bend and right in the middle of the road with my right foot firmly on the brakes. At that time, I feared that another cabbie will come behind me and start honking and yelling at me !

@vasudeva
I feel, Kodaikanal is equally good, if not better.

@Rotorhead
As you can see from part II, we completely ran out of time to visit any other places.

Also, before the trip, we had some apprehension that people at Tamil Nade will be hostile towards us because of the Hogenakkal issue. But right from stepping into Tamil Nadu border and throughout the journey, people were very friendly and cooperative. Moreover, 50% of the vehicles there were "KA" registered !
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Old 9th April 2008, 19:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BomBatt View Post
As I look back through the rear windshield, I become very nervous. I had to pass 25-30 vehicles parked one behind the other on one side and on the other side there were big stones and tree branches. I stall the engine a couple of times while passing on these stones in reverse gear. A couple of times, I almost scrape other vehicles. At this time, some 10-15 cabbies and other drivers gang up around my Sparky to help me. Someone is shouting right vangaa... right and somebody is shouting left... ponga... left and inbetween I hear steady... steady irkada... steady... (Tamilian brothers, excuse me, thats what I felt I heard). I also hear somebody shouting "you are unfit to drive on this road !"
I could understand how tensed you wud have been at that time.

As and when u get a chance, practice reversing. This willl help a lot in improving your judgement.

Also try to exercise the control with clutch on steeps, so that ghats can be easily handled with handbreaks, if not with clutch.

Good that you have faced this, so that u learn how to handle driving under tense situation
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Old 9th April 2008, 21:26   #12
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Nice pics and narration Bombatt. Enjoyed the pics the most. Yes, I also stayed in Lakeview (w/o lake) when I went to ooty with wifey. That was in 2000 AD. FE of 14.5 kmpl is way too less. Are you sure about the FE figure? Couple of points would like to stress upon. No offences meant.

1) You need a special practice in reverse driving man.
2) Drive more in the inclines and you will learn on how to hold on to your wheel.

Rest you will learn by yourself by taking the vehicle out often. :-)
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Old 10th April 2008, 09:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snaronikar View Post
1) You need a special practice in reverse driving man.
2) Drive more in the inclines and you will learn on how to hold on to your wheel.
There is only one answer - Practice, Practice and more Practice !!

The more your drive on highways the better you get...I still remember my first drive to Horseley Hills and I was literally sweating in cold conditions for those petty 150kms and also in the hairpins at night. But more and more outing things got eased out, plus you get to know your car well with time.

Abhi
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Old 10th April 2008, 11:09   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BomBatt View Post
Also, before the trip, we had some apprehension that people at Tamil Nade will be hostile towards us because of the Hogenakkal issue. But right from stepping into Tamil Nadu border and throughout the journey, people were very friendly and cooperative. Moreover, 50% of the vehicles there were "KA" registered !
Hi Bombatt, I am from ooty and I dont know about the rest of tamilnadu but rest assured, such issues dont affect ooty . This being a close knit community you will hardly find people fighting over such trivial issues such as linguism and religion. Being a local you tend to know most of the locals either personally or thru some contact or the other. The only squabble you will occassionally come across re the local wannabe heroes/gunda's fighting over trivial things such as girls and stuff. Otherwise a harmless fun loving lot.
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Old 10th April 2008, 11:34   #15
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BOMBATT really BOMBAAAT pics/coverage ..


now i am thinking of following ur plan this weekend.
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