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Old 20th July 2008, 00:22   #1
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Default Bangalore-Ooty-Calicut-Bangalore trip

Day -0
My wife and I had recently taken one week off to get away from the daily grind of Bangalore IT industry (and also because her birthday was falling during that week). We were sitting on our patio late evening at around 8pm when I suggested to her, “why don’t we drive to Ooty?” She was ok and also suggested that we could go and visit my parents in Calicut. So I searched for hotels a bit and called up Sagar Resorts in Ooty for check-in the next day, informed my parents about our arrival, withdrew some cash from a neighboring ATM, and packed our stuff. I also Googled and Yahooed and printed out the few available maps.

This was my first long-distance drive in India (on manual transmission) after driving over 65000 miles / 100000 km in the US (on auto transmission).

Day-1
We left our JP Nagar apartment at 08:05 on our Zen Estilo LXi. We filled full tank near Uttarahalli and proceeded toward Mysore. The road up to Mysore was quite good (4-lane, divided) except near some towns when speed-breakers and signals popped up. We took a left turn onto a road (ring road?) after Shrirangapattana at around 11:00 that said the way to Ooty. Directions were surprisingly clear and we got onto the road to Ooty in a few minutes. We had a 4-minute restroom stop before Nanjangud and a 41-minute lunch break between Nanjangud and Gundlupet.

A part of the road from Gundlupet to Bhandipur (about 10 km) was full of potholes and had to be driven at around 15-20 kmph. Soon after, we entered Bhandipur National Park – amazing scenery that beats the scenic drive through Interstate 84 in Portland, OR area toward Multnomah Falls, the most beautiful I have seen before. We saw some elephants, deer, a bison, and some monkeys. Somewhere near a place called Theppakadavu, we hit a T-junction; the road to the left goes to Masinagudi and the one to the right goes to Gudalur. We took the left toward Masinagudi (as per the tips I had obtained from Team BHP). We paid INR 20 for the Karnataka guy and INR 10 for the Tamil Nadu guy around the check post for no reason. And they wouldn’t even give us a receipt for it!

Very soon, we hit the 36 hair-pin bends on Masinagudi ghat. They are pretty sharp and steep and go down from #36 to #1. I was on 2nd gear throughout until the #1 when a Qualis (rental?) car popped up from nowhere toward downhill, which forced me to completely stop our car exactly at the hairpin bend. From there, I had to be on 1st gear until I revved up and took to 2nd gear after some distance.

Finally, we reached the hotel at 15:20. The hotel had excellent view of Ketti valley and the Ooty-Coonoor railway track. I have to admit that it was mind-blowing scenery. We could also walk around the roads through the hills. My wife particularly liked a nearby hotel Hill Country Resort because of the roads that lead to it and the music box they had kept (and played) at a few places en route. Our only issue with Sagar was its pathetic toilet/ bathroom, not measuring up to INR 5200 we paid for two nights.

08:05 – Bangalore (0 km)
08:47 – Kengeri (16 km)
09:06 – Bidadi (33 km)
09:17 – Ramanagaram (46 km)
09:32 – Channapatna (60 km)
09:50 – Maddur (79 km)
10:10 – Mandya (98 km)
10:33 – Shrirangapattana (123 km)
11:24 – 11:28 – Restroom stop (160 km)
11:38 – Nanjangud (168 km)
11:41 – 12:22 – Lunch break (170 km)
12:57 – Gundlupet (202 km)
- Bhandipur (-)
14:05 – Masinagudi (240 km)
15:25 – Ooty Hotel (274 km)
Average speed – 38 kmph

Day-2 (her birthday!)
Both my wife and I were particular that we stick to nature (or its simulation) as much as possible. We visited Botanical Gardens in Ooty and then drove to Sims Park in Coonoor. Then I convinced her to go to Dolphin Nose/ Lamb’s Rock (mountain peak points where I had gone during my previous solo trip to Ooty in airplane/ rental car). The road to both these places is in the same direction. I was amazed to see how dangerous and narrow these roads are. In most places, there was space for only one car with a mountain on one side and deep gorge on the other. Both my wife and I were quite scared and by the time we reached Dolphin Nose (we skipped Lamb’s Rock), we were all in a mood to get back to our hotel.

Day-3
We decided to check out of the hotel and proceed to Calicut because we had covered most of what we wanted to see in Ooty/ Coonoor. We left at 08:55 and reached Calicut at 14:25. Of this 5:30-hour drive, 4:30 hours were amazingly scenic with a mind-blowing landscape. We traveled via Gudalur, Chundale, Vythiri, and Thamarassery. The route was dotted with winding and broad roads in excellent condition up to Gudalur and then tea estates after tea estates. Between Ooty and Gudalur, there are 4 hair-pin bends. Between Chundale and Adivaram, there are 9 hair-pin bends.

08:55 – Ooty Hotel (0 km)
10:37 – Gudalur (52 km)
11:43 – Karnataka-Kerala Border (91 km)
12:23 – 12:40 – Chundale, Lunch Break (121 km)
12:44 – Vythiri (125 km)
13:31 – Thamarassery (156 km)
13:54 – Kunnamangalam (172 km)
14:25 – Calicut Apartment (189 km)
Average speed – 34 kmph

Day-4
Rest in Calicut

Day-5
We left Calicut at 07:55 and reached our apartment in Bangalore at 16:32. We went through the Thamarassery ghat (the 9 hair-pin bends between Adivaram and Chundale). The scenery had become so mundane by now that we probably only enjoyed the Bhandipur forest between Sulthan Bathery and Gundlupet. There are a lot of speed-breakers in this area (3-4 in one go), but if you go at a good speed (like 80kmph), you are fine. If you lower the speed, you feel the effect of speed-breakers more.

07:55 – Calicut Apartment (0 km)
08:32 – Kunnamangalam (17 km)
08:51 – Thamarassery (32 km)
09:37 – Vythiri (63 km)
09:43 – Chundale (68 km)
09:49 – 09:53 – Restroom Break (72 km)
09:57 – Kalpetta (74 km)
10:25 – Sulthan Bathery (97 km)
10:50 – Kerala-Karnataka Border (118 km)
11:24 – 11:30 – Lunch Break (151 km)
11:35 – 11:46 – Gundlupet, Tea Break (154 km)
12:20 – Nanjangud (188 km)
14:20 – 15:02 – Snack Break at Indradhanush (296 km)
16:32 – Bangalore Apartment (369 km)
Average speed – 43 kmph

We didn’t measure exactly, but I think we got around 20 km/ liter of petrol for the entire trip for about 800 km (99% on the coolest level in the air-conditioning, lowest level in the fan). My wife took down the timings and distances based on what I was telling her while driving.

Thanks,
ccn
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Old 20th July 2008, 01:25   #2
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Nice report ccn and truly you might have had a good outing and do post pics to make it more interesting and refreshing.
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Old 20th July 2008, 07:16   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccnarayanan View Post
Between Ooty and Gudalur, there are 4 hair-pin bends. Between Chundale and Adivaram, there are 9 hair-pin bends.

08:55 – Ooty Hotel (0 km)
10:37 – Gudalur (52 km)
ccnarayanan,

How did you find the Ooty-Gudalur stretch? I see you spent about 1 hour 40 minutes to cover the 52 odd kilometres. I did this in March (other TBHPians have also done it later), and it was HIDEOUS and fit only for a SUV! I am lucky my fully loaded Aveo (3 adults, 2 kids, full luggage etc) scraped only once.

They WERE working on the road though. I am keen to do Ooty again but shudder to go through that stretch again. For some reason, the PWD/RTO/Forest department generally bar vehicles from descending via the Kalhatti/Segur (Masinagudi) route thereby leaving Ooty-Gudalur-Gundlupet the only route.
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Old 20th July 2008, 10:34   #4
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Default Ooty - Gudalur

Hi itwasntme,

Actually, the timings I had specified are from the hotel in Ooty to Gudalur town with a stop for petrol/ air pressure (about 20 min). Also, there was some construction going on near Ooty town that involved policemen guiding vehicles one way (so, about 15 minutes to wait for your turn)

I was driving at 60-80 kmph to enjoy the scenery. The road condition is excellent (2 lanes, one each way, marked well) with no potholes. I suspect they repaired it recently. There were a few stretches where construction was going on and one lane was closed, but the other lane was in good condition. The good thing about Gudalur route as compared to Masinagudi is that you can drive on 3rd or 4th gear throughout the Gudalur - Ooty stretch.

ccn
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Old 20th July 2008, 11:48   #5
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A few photos:

1 - Bhandipur forest
2 - Deer
3 - Elephants
4 - View of Ketti Valley from hotel
5 - View of hotel and Ketti Valley
6 - Road through the mountains near the hotel
7 - Ooty - Coonoor train seen from near the hotel
8 - Map of India in Botanical Garden
9 - Flowers in Botanical Garden
10 - Flowers in Botanical Garden
11 - World map in Sims Park
12 - Flower clock under construction in Sims Park
13 - View of the lake and island in Sims Park
14 - Flowers in Sims Park
15 - Walk way in Sims Park
16 - View from Dolphin Nose
17 - Tea estate on the way to Dolphin Nose
18 - Ooty - Gudalur road
19 - Ooty - Gudalur road
20 - Ooty - Gudalur road

ccn
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Old 20th July 2008, 12:08   #6
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Hey, the Gudalur route sounds great now! Either that or your car is a mini hovercraft :-)

Read some of the posts in this thread about the state of the road earlier:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ooty-trip.html (Bangalore to Ooty Trip)
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Old 20th July 2008, 12:34   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccnarayanan View Post
Directions were surprisingly clear
Good travelogue. But it would have added more spice if you had posted pics of your travel.

Nowadays, even the remotest place in Karnataka, AP, TN, Kerala where I have travelled extensively, have the directions and signboards. You see, India is also coming to the standards of the developed countries.
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Old 20th July 2008, 12:40   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccnarayanan View Post
...
1 - Bhandipur forest
2 - Deer
3 - Elephants
...
...
19 - Ooty - Gudalur road
20 - Ooty - Gudalur road
Hi ccn,

Take a look at this post, it tells you how to include photos within text so you can write captions directly above/below them if you wish.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...tml#post746793

cya
R
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Old 20th July 2008, 23:31   #9
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Hey great write up. Now how's the road from Gudalur towards Vythiri? I think there are a couple of routes, one from Gudalur to Sultan Battery and the other to Vythiri through Chundale. Is this deviation right from Gudalur or a little further on the NH towards Nilambur if I'm right?
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Old 21st July 2008, 07:43   #10
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When you reach Gudalur from Ooty, you will hit a 4-way (?) intersection and there are posted directions to Calicut (turn left). I took this road that took me to Chundale and then Vythiri. I think the straight road goes to Sulthan Bathery. The road conditions were very good except near the border checkpost where for about 20 meters, it is bad. I could maintain 60-80 kmph. There is also a fork near the border checkpost (I think the second checkpost). The left goes to Calicut and the right goes to Sulthan Bathery.



Quote:
Originally Posted by csentil View Post
Hey great write up. Now how's the road from Gudalur towards Vythiri? I think there are a couple of routes, one from Gudalur to Sultan Battery and the other to Vythiri through Chundale. Is this deviation right from Gudalur or a little further on the NH towards Nilambur if I'm right?
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Old 21st July 2008, 10:33   #11
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Nice pics there and definitely well written travelogue to tag along with.
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Old 21st July 2008, 19:09   #12
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Nice travelogue and fine pics.

Abhi
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Old 21st July 2008, 20:08   #13
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Hi CCN,

I too have a Zen Estilo Lxi. I would've loved to hear a comparative report on the drivability of the Estilo on those hairpin bends vis-a-vis other small cars.

I travel a lot in the general direction of Ooty (Blore-Gudalur-Nilambur), but have never done Ooty in the Estilo. It's a very tempting drive.
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Old 22nd July 2008, 08:15   #14
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Hi MM,

I don't have comparisons since I haven't driven any other car in the ghats in India.

I read somewhere in Team BHP and hence took care to be on second gear throughout the hairpin bend area. I reallly experienced this and would have liked more power and torque available. If I go to first gear, it was hard to speed up and come to second gear (see my experience on hairpin bend #1 of 36) and if I am on third gear, it just won't give me enough torque to climb uphill. Other than that, there was no issue. By the way, my car was just a little over one month old, so I can't say about it as it gets older.

ccn
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