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Old 1st December 2008, 20:38   #1
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Wink Long Weekend Trip to Ooty from Bangalore

Folks,

Itís been sometime since I joined but never had a chance to contribute so far. Thought I could write about my recent trip to Ooty from Bangalore during Thanksgiving holidays, and here is my attempt. This route is well explored in other threads however Iíll touch upon the road status and the stop overs experienced.

Day 1 27th:

We set off at 5:30 AM from White field, took Airport road and Richmond circle, City market flyover to get to the Mysore Road. Thought of driving through Nice corridor from Hosur road (Via Varatur, Attibelle) but dropped the idea as it involves few off-road drives before get to the actual road. BTW, We were 4 of us in our Civic (Me and my wife and 2 kids less than 5 years) The drive to Mysore was fabulous in the foggy morning (with less traffic). Didnít feel like pushing beyond 100 as 1) I am not familiar with that route developments for a while 2) Also, you get a amazing feel if you have unused power at your disposal 3) Touching 160 plus between Krishangiri and Vaniyambadi (NH7) is not tough but somehow I am not comfortable doing this here.. Familiarity plays a big role in speeding -)

Reached Kamat Lokruchi at 7:15. Nice little place. Good sight to see the waiters in clean whites so early in the day. Well,.Try to avoid the left side seating as its near the Shed where they breed the cows. Food was great and we have loaded more than usual to get ready for the travel and planned for a lean lunch. Started off and went into Mysore City to reach Nanjancod. (I skipped ORR road based on many suggestions in the threads and it turned out to be a good decision). Its easy to read through the signs within Mysore city to find Najancod road and its pretty much straight forward route from there.

Philosophically speaking, the roads will have a particular tuned rhythm at that time of the day when you are driving. What speed should I drive now, is the question? It could be 80 or 120 Kmph depends on the rhythm. Sometimes, 120 plus cant help if you are inconsistent and varying speeds erratically and 80 plus will be a song would yield a better result in timing. Moreover, you will be frustrated soon with varying speeds. But at times, you will look funny in the road, if you donít drive at 140 (Naa. Enough on the crazy theory..)

Mysore - Nanjancod - Not bad but no good either. Can go at 55Kmph levels.
Nanjancod to Gundulpet - Amazing road though narrow. No big potholes this time. 70 to 100 mostly.
Gundulpet - Bandipur - Hell, there is no road. Time for a break. Currently, there is a temp fix happening (Loading Red sands to fill the Potholes) 20 Kmph levels if you like your car. Actually, I am on the lookout for a Trooper 4X4 and Iíve been thinking to catch up this road for a stress test early next year :-)
Just before bandipur, you would again see the roads are getting better. We did a pit stop at the Pugmark rest rooms( Bandipur Jungle Lodges). Not bad either. The Drive from Bandipur to Thepakkadu is a breeze through the forest. Great shape and grounding. We saw a group of Deers very close to the road. Thepakkadu is where you take the right to go to Masinagudi. Again narrow roads but good. I see a Innova ahead of me stopped suddenly. Some 2 wheelers were also standing around. Thats because of the group of elephants grazing very close to the roads some 300 Ft ahead. Waited for 10 mins. Local bikers said its ok to pass through. We zipped it off in 2nd gear with little fear but the elephants didnt give a damn to our existence. feeling bit insulted we continued.:-)

Nothing much to mention about the 36 hairpin bends. Being alert is the key. Made it mostly on 2nd gear. Though, 3rd is working, I find them strained a lot. Hondas are designed for plains and straight roads and definitely not for uphill tasks. The kerb weight shows up well in hilly roads. Reached Ooty around 1:30 PM. Went straight to the Hotel.

I am not going to detail about the hotel stay for the next 3 days however, I can help a bit to plan your itinery around Ooty. We have decided to hire a car for sightseeing. Reasons: 1) I can spend time with my Kids 2) To avoid wasting time in figuring out the places 3) The locals can take you through places/roads that you cant see otherwise 4) The cost of spending on hire car is less than the wear outs of our own car in the narrow winding bad roads

The cost of hiring a Indica will typically work out between 1500 to 1800 INR and you have the flexibility of adjusting the standard Itinery. Add another 700 for Tavera and 1000 more for Innova

(Feedback/Comments )

To be continued:
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Old 2nd December 2008, 14:14   #2
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Default turn left for masinagudi

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Originally Posted by rshiv View Post
Folks,

The Drive from Bandipur to Thepakkadu is a breeze through the forest. Great shape and grounding. We saw a group of Deers very close to the road. Thepakkadu is where you take the right to go to Masinagudi. Again narrow roads but good. I see a Innova ahead of me stopped suddenly.
When coming from Bandipur, you turn left to go to Masinagudi. Did you take the Gudalur route ?
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Old 2nd December 2008, 22:58   #3
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Rshiv,
Nice travelogue.
good write up.Hope this information will help me a lot for my Bangalore – Mysore –Ooty trip in Dec Last weak from Hyderabad. By the way did you reached Ooty on same day 1.30PM ? if so how much time did you spend at Mysore.
Appreciated if you post some pix
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Old 2nd December 2008, 23:18   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rshiv View Post
We saw a group of Deers very close to the road. Thepakkadu is where you take the right to go to Masinagudi. Again narrow roads but good. I see a Innova ahead of me stopped suddenly. Some 2 wheelers were also standing around. Thats because of the group of elephants grazing very close to the roads some 300 Ft ahead. Waited for 10 mins. Local bikers said its ok to pass through. We zipped it off in 2nd gear with little fear but the elephants didnt give a damn to our existence. feeling bit insulted we continued.:-)
Now, that calls for the pics. Where is it?

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Originally Posted by rshiv View Post
We have decided to hire a car for sightseeing. Reasons: 1) I can spend time with my Kids 2) To avoid wasting time in figuring out the places 3) The locals can take you through places/roads that you cant see otherwise 4) The cost of spending on hire car is less than the wear outs of our own car in the narrow winding bad roads

The cost of hiring a Indica will typically work out between 1500 to 1800 INR and you have the flexibility of adjusting the standard Itinery. Add another 700 for Tavera and 1000 more for Innova

(Feedback/Comments )

To be continued:
Hiring a cab in those hilly area will certainly lessen your burden of driving and parking etc. You can enjoy the scenes much leasurely. After all thats why you are there right?
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Old 3rd December 2008, 09:20   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potlaravi View Post
Rshiv, Nice travelogue.
good write up.Hope this information will help me a lot for my Bangalore Ė Mysore ĖOoty trip in Dec Last weak from Hyderabad. By the way did you reached Ooty on same day 1.30PM ? if so how much time did you spend at Mysore. Appreciated if you post some pix

Thats right ! We reached around 1:30 PM same day. Infact, you can save more time if you were on Mysore road before 5:30 am


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Originally Posted by ak-47 View Post
When coming from Bandipur, you turn left to go to Masinagudi. Did you take the Gudalur route ?
You got that. Thats a slip. I took the narrow bridge in Thepakkadu to go via Masinagudi


mjothi - Havent had a chance to organize my photos yet. I'll get that soon
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Old 3rd December 2008, 10:54   #6
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Some photos here:

1 and 2 @ Kamat Lokruchi in Mysore road ( Need to right turn while going from Bangalore)
3,4,5 & 6 @ Gundulpet to Bandipur (Short Stretch though)
7,8,9 & 10 & Bandipur to Tamilnadu border
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Old 4th December 2008, 00:43   #7
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It was chilling 12* C when we reached Ooty, drizzling and cloudy and the hotel guys told me that there is nothing to venture out. We had spent the remaining day around hotel watching the Mumbai events.

Before I forget, the funny part or the best thing about Mysore is that all the attractions are within Mysore CBD where as the people live in the outskirts. So, you donít see much crowd any time of the day. I would any day go to Mysore to stay in Ginger(cheaper) and visit the Zoo, Lake, and Palace all within 5km radius.


Day 2 28th:

Hired a Tavera, went through around Pykara activities like lake, falls and Grassland areas. The grassland is awesome where you need to walk up to a small hill and can do horse rides. We did covered Doddabetta though I couldnít find anything fancy about it. Itís fast becoming a heritage place. The interesting activity was the shopping we did on the sides where you get lot of Chinese jewellery. That was fun! You get chains and bracelets for less than 10 rupees, which in fact was cheaper than what you get in Shanghai. Amazing supply chain growth in India! We then went to Rose Garden found it empty since itís out of season. Drove around the Ooty Lake (We liked the Pykara lake better!) Had lunch at Nahar and get dropped at Ooty railway station. The ride to Coonoor was awesome but ensure you get seats on the right side facing the drive that has all the valley views. The first class is always full and be prepared to be in the queue for the unreserved class. The cabbie picked us up in coonoor station and went to SIMS Park and a tea museum nearby. We couldnít go to lambís rock and other viewpoint as the roads got blocked that day. We went to wellington Gymkhana to catch up with an old friend of mine and happened to see all the shooting spots and celebrity houses on the way to Ooty.

Day 3 29th:

We started off early and went to Botanical garden. Every time, it gives a different meaning and freshness even after years. I loved the 30 Rs. instant photo sessions. The senior officials of the horticulture dept. were staying in residences within that garden. Now, thatís a garden villa. All done. Ready for shopping. Bought some Cardamom tea and Eucalyptus oil. Went to Kashmir emporium and bought few things. Chellarams is closed for lunch and went to Mohanís ooty (Most of the shops are closed between 1:30 to 3 pm on business days and fully closed on Sundays) Mohan is little expensive but they have an interesting collection of Antiques and paintings. Tempted to buy the wooden swing with brass hangings later on settled and happy with a small Krishna/ Radha Idol.



Day 4 30th:

Lazy morning! Wanted to drive through Mettuplayam and Sathi to reach Bangalore and my wife was against it. Started around 1 PM, took the Gudalur route to reach Theppakadu. Road until Gudalur was great except for few development activities nearing Gudalur. Your driving skills would definitely be tested and improved with the narrow downside turns up to Gudalaur. Road is horrible through Mudumalai forest range until Thepakkadu. We stopped at Bandipur Plaza which we thought is not clean and went back to pugmark (Bandipur Jungle lodges) The Jungle lodges are good concept in Karnataka but itís expensive. A night stay package (Safari ride, Food & accommodation) for 2 persons costs you a cool 6000/- there. Had late lunch?? and headed towards Mysore.


The ride was good. I was tailgating a Innova (I like that all the time) and reached Mysore ORR road. Thatís where I took the bad decision of getting to ORR road and its like going on and on and on. Stopped at Indradanush for dinner. Started off to Bangalore. Heavy traffic on the Sunday evening. Driving between 100 to 120 where I get to meet an interesting Santro with kids and family. He was speeding, frequently applying brakes, on a high beam and was definitely irritating. Not to be offensive but imagine in the road full of high-speed cars, and this guy is going at 130 plus, with a feather touch body, without an ABS and with the family. I liked his guts and but somebody didnít. The Skoda guy who he was following applied sudden brakes for no reason and it took a while for him to bring the car back to control. He moved to lane 2 and disappeared. I guess he was succumbed to family decisions thereafter.


Reached Bangalore around 9:30 pm.

Now, will I ever go back to Ooty? If Iíd ever do a trip back to Ooty in future, Iíd definitely ignore all these places that have become commodity and unhygienic. Here is my list of places for the matured traveler.

1. Western catchment of Parsons valley - 40 Kms from Ooty
2. Froghill view point/Needle rock - 40 kms
3. Kundha penstock - 50 kms
4. Avalanche Forests - 25 Kms
5. Upper bhavani - 60 Kms
6. Mukkurthi Fishing Hut - 35 kms

Most of them require a prior permission/approval from the forest Dept. and I suggest you to plan accordingly with your hotel guides or through other sources.

That brings us to the end of the story. The bonding between my car and me has increased with this trip and I am thinking of a quick drive to Chennai. Donít bother; I wont do a write up on that
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Old 17th December 2008, 15:58   #8
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Originally Posted by rshiv View Post
Nothing much to mention about the 36 hairpin bends. Being alert is the key. Made it mostly on 2nd gear. Though, 3rd is working, I find them strained a lot. Hondas are designed for plains and straight roads and definitely not for uphill tasks.
A friend of mine with 15,000 kms of driving experience in Chennai roads (mostly city traffic) is planning to visit Ooty. He has not driven in any steep roads other than Yelagiri. He will be traveling with his wife, 4 yrs and 1.5 yrs old kids. Car will be Santro

Will he be able to do this ghat section? What if a tempo van comes in the opposite direction, do one need to take reverse or two vehicles can pass through at one time

Have driven couple of yrs back, but could not remember in detail
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Old 17th December 2008, 16:15   #9
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@Surprise - If he has driven the Yelagiri climb without any problems , then he will be able to easily do the Ooty climb too.
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Old 17th December 2008, 17:52   #10
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Thanks Vikram. Since he has heard lots of feedbacks saying its too steep with continuous hairpin bends (36), concerned a bit with his kids on board. Will pass on this feedback.
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Old 17th December 2008, 18:42   #11
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RShiv,

A wonderful travalogue.

And a good idea to hire a cab. As mentioned, save a lot on trying to figure out the route and driving fatigue and most of all, you can spend time with family instead of putting your focus on road!

The time that you went was one of the best times, with the shower and the very cold climate!

And about the car: any surprises? How much fuel did (s)he consume?

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...Since he has heard lots of feedbacks saying its too steep with continuous hairpin bends (36), concerned a bit with his kids on board. Will pass on this feedback.
All that is pure dungsville stuff!!! If you know how to drive and keep to your side of the road and drive courteously, anyone can take care of the 36 pin bends!
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Old 17th December 2008, 19:13   #12
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That was a good getaway RShiv and I have some relatives coming down and might head down to Ooty this month end and will be bugging you for sure. Hope you dont mind....check your mailbox
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Old 17th December 2008, 20:16   #13
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That was a good getaway RShiv and I have some relatives coming down and might head down to Ooty this month end and will be bugging you for sure. Hope you dont mind....check your mailbox
VJ, check my response. Hope that helps !!

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RShiv,

And about the car: any surprises? How much fuel did (s)he consume?
Actually, I did'nt bother to check this time as its a mix of straight and hilly roads and may not really give you the right metrics.

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Will he be able to do this ghat section? What if a tempo van comes in the opposite direction, do one need to take reverse or two vehicles can pass through at one time Have driven couple of yrs back, but could not remember in detail
Yo, its not all that bad, the roads are big enough for two. But be watchful during the bends as the buses will take a bigger turn cutting across the lanes.
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Old 18th December 2008, 13:13   #14
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nice travelogue. where is this Kamat Lokruchi? how far from blore on blore-mysore road. liked the trees. should be a nice place to unwind after a winding drive (looong way from Hyd). nice pack of deers there.
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Old 18th December 2008, 13:32   #15
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Was in ooty on 27th for a bereavement in the family. There was very very tiny droplets of rain all through. It was a wonderful climate, couldn't really enjoy it due to the circumstances.

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Thanks Vikram. Since he has heard lots of feedbacks saying its too steep with continuous hairpin bends (36), concerned a bit with his kids on board. Will pass on this feedback.
Not at all a problem. The road is wide enough & the curves are much wider to accommodate enough traffic, one of the best ghat roads you will see.
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