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Old 18th August 2008, 14:44   #1
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Default Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai

This was a trip which I had undertaken about a month back, but could not put this up as I had not transferred the images from the camera to my computer. This may not be the usual travelogue because I had not noted down the distances etc. in the usual sense, am putting up some of the pictures which we had taken during the trip. Ever since I moved to Chennai from Bangalore I had not visited the forests of Nilgiris (I used to run away to them at the earliest opportunity). So the possibility of a slightly relaxed Friday gave me an opportunity to miss work and head out to the Greens. The distance was not going to stop me.

Car - Wagon R Vxi

Route taken - Chennai - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Mettur - Sathyamangalam - Chamrajnagar - Gundlupet - Bandipur - Mudumalai - Thorapalli. We stayed at Hotel Haridagiri which is just outside the Thorapalli checkpost on the way to Gudalur from Mudumalai. A decent place to stay we got a Triple Bed room for about 800 bucks a night, the bed was big enough to accommodate 4 of us comfortably, (Two kids, my wife & myself).

While trying to chalk out the route to Bandipur the one stumbling block which was coming up was the possibility of crossing Bangalore during peak hours. Not wanting to do that I decided to take the road less taken and opted for the above route. It was good and bad, in the sense that I had some awesome roads upto Aasanur after Thimbam ghats, it was bad after that, especially when you travel the Aasanur - Chamrajnagar stretch was horrible to cover especially in the dark. Having started at around 1.30 after picking up my daughter from her school at Anna Nagar, we got stuck in a jam after Koyambedu, losing time early on, nevertheles we reached Krishnagiri at around 4.45 because of some good progress once we crossed Sriperumpudhur.

When we reached Dharmapuri we decided we will have some grub considering that we might not get good hotels later on. Normally I stop at Hotel Rama's but decided to stop at Meenakshi Bhavan, since it was the first time I had seen the hotel and it looked good as well. It turned out to be a good choice and has gone into my recommended list straight away. With two kids these stops normally are long ones for me and ended up starting at 6.30 from Dharmapuri. But the reasonably good state of roads beyond Krishnagiri despite work in progress gave me hope that it should not be an issue going upto Thoppur with the sun down, it was a decent drive upto Thoppur were we took the road to Mettur. The road from the turn off till Thimbam ghats was good and looked newly laid as well in most places.

Around 9 we reached Sathyamangalam till now the roads had been kind to us, it was kind for another 30 odd kms until the time we reached Karnataka border the last 20 odd kms to Chamrajnagar was awful delaying me even further, finally getting me to Gundlupet at around 12.00 in the night. The roads from Gundlupet upto Bandipur park entrance has been discussed enough in this forum, nevertheless calling it road is an understatement. After tiptoing around finally reached the park entrance after which the roads were good, but keeping in mind that animals might be moving around I decided to stick to my regular routine of not exceeding 40 kmph when ever I travel in these stretches. Sighted a few elephants and guars until bumping into a small elephant herd with a young calf right in the middle of the road just before Theppakadu. Fortunately they decided to split and graze on both sides of the road giving me an opportunity to move on. Finally reached the hotel around 1.30 after travelling almost 12 hours from Chennai.

The long drive meant that I dozed off immediately only to wake up at 5.30 in the morning for the safari at Mudumalai. Since it was a Saturday morning and the weekenders from Bangalore had not reached meant that we had to wait for the 1st fan to fill up before leaving, what a contrast it was in the evening. The safari at Mudumalai was good because never in my life I have seen such a big herd of Gaurs (Bison) must have been around 30/40 atleast. With the usual round of spotted deers just before we finished our safari we were gifted the unusual sight of a peacock dancing in full glory, also patiently allowing us to take some snaps.
After a quick trip back to the hotel we decided to go to Gopalswamy Betta, despite making umpteen number of visits to this place I have never gone inside the temple as somehow I always end up reaching this place after the morning safari at Bandipur, I could never muster courage getting into the temple without taking a bath. The climb to Gopalswamy Betta was as usual good except that my Wagon R seemed to stuggle at times, not sure if its because of the fuel I filled up at Chennai, never have I had a problem till date either here or the Sirgur Ghats. May be I will stop filling fuel from the HPCL pump at Mogappair. The temple was quite crowded, so it took us an hour or so to finish our darshan, lovely idol and a peaceful experience.

After a slow drive back down the hill we decided to have lunch at Bandipur Plaza, the food was not so great, since we had already arranged our night safari with a local guy we decided not to take up the evening safari either in Bandipur or Mudumalai, while crossing Bandipur saw about 25 cars parked, looks like Bandipur gets more visitors than Bannerghatta. This meant a welcome nap of about half an hour, till my son decided it was time for him play.

The night safari was again very good because we got a very good driver who knew how to spot shadows, ended up seeing a herd of about 20 elephants just before the Masinagudi Check post. All in all worth every penny of the Rs.600/- I paid him. A good night's sleep ensured that I was sufficiently re-charged the next day morning. A quick safari at Bandipur which was nothing to talk about except for a crested serpent eagle (why does it always happen at Bandipur in the morning I dunno) and a breakfast at Hotel Niligiri near Pugmarks (this also has deteriorated since my last visit to this belt) we headed back to the hotel only to pack up and leave.
This time the road conditions around Chamrajanagar and between Bandipur - Gundlupet meant I took another route, Thorappalli - Gudalur - Ooty - Kothagiri - Mettupalayam - Sathyamangalam - Mettur then onto Chennai via the usual route. The road conditions were awesome right through.

The highlight had to be the sighting of the highly endangered Nilgiri Langur near Pycara dam on the main Ooty - Gudalur road, pity it decided to cross the road even before I could open my camera shutter.

We had our lunch at Mettupalayam, took me about 3 1/2 hours from Thorapalli to Mettupalayam. Reached Dharmapuri around 6.30, decided to have a break at where else Meenakshi Bhavan, ended up spending close to an hour, finally reaching Krishnagiri at around 8.15, where the only chaos in my entire trip happend.

Even though I had enough fuel to possibily take me upto Vellore, I decided to tank up at BPCL, Krishnagiri. After checking with attendant about credit card payment I filled up the tank, only to realise that there was a connection issue at his bank for the approval, despite trying for 10 minutes nothing happened, against a bill of about 1500 I had about 1000 bucks with me. It meant an unnecessary trip to the town to withdraw cash from the ATM to pay the bill. It was 8.45 and I was still at Krishnagiri. The Mileage was 16 between my fill at Gudalur and Krishnagiri despite climbing up from Gudalur to Ooty and coming down via Kothagiri upto Mettupalayam and A/c all the way from Mettupalayam to Dharmapuri, not bad, the BPCL Gudalur seems to be a decent pump in that case.

With both my kids on the verge of sleeping and my wife also ready to do the same if given a chance, I decided to do away my usual 80/90 kmph drive and started driving down at around 120 which meant that I reached Poonamallee at 11.15. But a traffic jam at Maduravoyal meant that I had to go back to Poonamallee to take the Avadi road onto my house at Padi meant I reached home at 12.30. All in all 3 days driving which would mean that I would not be itching to go away for the next couple of months.

Photos are not in order sorry for that.

Comments & Feedback always welcome.

Cheers

Srikanth
Attached Thumbnails
Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-bandipur-gundlupet-road-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-bandipur-plaza-hotel-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-beetle-size-my-palm-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-bhavanisagar-dam-view-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-crested-serpent-eagle-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-gaurs-everywhere-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-greenery-everywhere-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-gudalur-ooty-road-large.jpg  

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Old 18th August 2008, 14:50   #2
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Some more pictures of the trip, apolgies if they are an overkill.
Attached Thumbnails
Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-my-mommy-best-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-top-world-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-peacock-dance-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-sunflower-field-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-tea-estates-gudalur-large.jpg  

Bandipur - Mudumalai Trip from Chennai-view-g-betta-large.jpg  

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Old 18th August 2008, 15:10   #3
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Nice writeup. You got a good shot of the Peacock. Great.

I remember stopping at that Bandipur Plaza(?) while returning from Wayanad. The color reminds me,but not sure of the name.

Btw, where is that bug from? Hope not from your plate. lol. (One more reason to sort the pictures)
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Old 18th August 2008, 15:12   #4
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Nice narration and pic srikkanth, you could have put caption before each pic for better viewing.

How is the Theppakadu - Gudalur stretch? It was horrible sometime back but heard that Ooty - Gudalur stretch is relaid and it is excellent now, didnt know about theppakadu - Gudalur stretch.

Abhi
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Old 18th August 2008, 15:18   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Nice narration and pic srikkanth, you could have put caption before each pic for better viewing.

How is the Theppakadu - Gudalur stretch? It was horrible sometime back but heard that Ooty - Gudalur stretch is relaid and it is excellent now, didnt know about theppakadu - Gudalur stretch.

Abhi
The road between Theppaadu & Gudalur is not great but manageable, I personally would not mind roads being bad inside forests as animals are safer because of that.

But I did read a couple of days back that forest department permission is being awaited to relay the Thorappally - Kakkanalla stretch in Mudumalai, which possibily should happen in the next few months which would take care of the condition of the road.

On the pictures, I agree, may be time for me to use one of those picture editing softwares, next time hopefully I should be able to address it. Thanks for your feedback.
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Old 18th August 2008, 15:24   #6
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nice writeup.
first pic of road horrified me.
nice pic of peacock.
and man, where is car photo?
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Old 18th August 2008, 15:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
On the pictures, I agree, may be time for me to use one of those picture editing softwares, next time hopefully I should be able to address it. Thanks for your feedback.
No pictures to edit.
It is all in Team-bhp. Upload your pics and place it under your comments whereever you want. See my latest travelogue (Blr - Pondi). I used the latest T-Bhp feature and I never edited the pics.

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Old 18th August 2008, 16:33   #8
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Nice travelogue (though a bit too long). Good pics also. Is this all the animals you could see in the Bandipur/Madumalai?
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Old 19th August 2008, 09:49   #9
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@Snaronikar.

I must have seen about 50/60 gaurs in total during my two days and about 30 elephants but most of the sightings were late evening and middle of the night when photography was next to impossible, but the absoulte highlight was the sighting of the endagered Nilgiri Langur on the main Ooty - Gudalur road near Pycara. But it ran across the road into the trees even before I came to a complete standstill, leave alone take take a photograph. Ofcourse the usual suspects like Spotted Deer, Sambar etc were always sighted. In my about 50 trips to Bandipur only once I have seen the tiger so by that probability am possibily still some trips away to spot the king once again.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 16:23   #10
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Wow! Nice write-up Srikanth. Not sure how i missed this thread.

OT: You stay in Padi!! thats not very far from my home . Will PM you shortly

Last edited by Mission_Safari : 22nd September 2008 at 16:27.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 18:20   #11
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Nice report. You did good timings


Whats the distance of the onward and return journey?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 10:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surprise View Post
Nice report. You did good timings


Whats the distance of the onward and return journey?
While I did not calculate the distances accurately, it was about 550 kms while going and the return should have been about 10/15 kms more but involved climbing up to Ooty and climbing down to Mettupalayam via Kotagiri. You almost had about 90/100 kms of ghat driving.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 13:11   #13
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I traveled on the said road on 20th Sep 2008.The road surface from Coimbatore to Ooty is excellent. Ooty to Gudalur surface is also excellent except that the highways dept. has dumped construction materials throughout half the width of the road for building the retaining wall to prevent mud slides. The road from Gudalur to Mudumalai for about 20 km. is quite bad while inside Mudumalai is pathetic. The road condition improved just as soon as Karnataka border started and lasted till the end of the forest. From Bandipur to Gundulpet there is no road surface for about 20 km. Small car owners better be careful. The road improves from the outskirts of Gundulpet right upto Mysore.
We talk of disturbances to the wild animals along the road in Mudumalai and Bandipur. There appears to be atleast 12 night bus services in this route each bus making tremendous noise. Will it make sense to ban night traffic in this section?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 15:43   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
@Snaronikar.

I must have seen about 50/60 gaurs in total during my two days and about 30 elephants but most of the sightings were late evening and middle of the night when photography was next to impossible, but the absoulte highlight was the sighting of the endagered Nilgiri Langur on the main Ooty - Gudalur road near Pycara. But it ran across the road into the trees even before I came to a complete standstill, leave alone take take a photograph. Ofcourse the usual suspects like Spotted Deer, Sambar etc were always sighted. In my about 50 trips to Bandipur only once I have seen the tiger so by that probability am possibily still some trips away to spot the king once again.

Well you can see pics of the nilgiri langur here

They are always at the usual spot just after the lake Cant miss them. Also you can see barking deer cross the road at few points.
You have seen tiger 2 times in 50 visits? that is a good average. In my 30 odd jeep safaris in bandipur havent managed see any tigers so far.
best regards
bala
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Old 23rd September 2008, 15:49   #15
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Originally Posted by tlviz View Post
We talk of disturbances to the wild animals along the road in Mudumalai and Bandipur. There appears to be atleast 12 night bus services in this route each bus making tremendous noise. Will it make sense to ban night traffic in this section?
Hi, actually I would say the more worse disturbance in my opinion is private vehicle who have scant regard for wildlife. I am sure the animals would know the movement of a bus which makes tremendous noise, but may not realise in time to react of a fast moving car, especially after the road was relaid inside Bandipur park. The number of kills have increased ever since this road was relaid.

At the cost of being provocative I would ask how many in this forum slow down once they reach the forest limits, I make it a point that I never exceed 50 kmph how good the road, this speed drops to 40kmph during early mornings, late evenings and nights. How many consciously do that?

Take a look at the youtube video below, am not sure if the the guy in front even realised there was a tiger around, until he finally decides to break when the tiger crosses the road.

As long as people are insensitive to wildlife they are under threat, so being the case the 12 night services hardly matter. If you want to know how bad the situation could be with regard to night buses I would suggest you to make a visit on the Bathery - Gundlupet road you would cry at the number of KSRTC, KeSRTC & private buses which ply on the night, ofcourse none of them reduce the speed when they cross the forest.

Note: Youtube video not taken by me.

Cheers

Srikanth

Last edited by pypkmsrikanth : 23rd September 2008 at 15:51.
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