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|23rd December 2008, 12:05||#1|
A Week's Leave and A Weekend to Cherish! Bangalore-Ooty-Bangalore!
As you already have guessed, this is yet another thread on Bangalore-Ooty trip. But typing all this just to relive the experience and come back to these memories when needed. Well I guess its just the 'CANCERIAN' nature which wants to hold onto the beautiful moments gone by.
We (Me and my better half) had been planning for a trip for quite sometime to get away from our hectic daily-lives. We had Wayanad, Munnar and Ooty among others in our minds. We wanted go to a new place this time and hence Ooty was the last option, but after weighing our options we decided on Ooty to be a safer bet with a 1 year old todller.
December comes with everyone waiting for the Xmas and NewYear Holiday Season. But in our ITES field nothing is so predictable and hence I was given a weeks leave before the actual Holidays from 15th to 19th Dec. So I had one week in hand to plan a trip and make sure there wont be any hiccups. I had a few things to be done on my car for quite sometime and had no time for it, so here was my chance.
First stop Tyre-Zone: Since my Zen was still running stock MRF ZVTS at 54k kms, you can imagine why Tyre Zone was my first stop. The tyre were worn with side-walls cracking and there was no way i would dare take to the highway on them. Got Goodyear GPS2 Stock size (OT: got set of 4 for 1650 a piece, a steal compared to Tyre-Empire price of 1950). Felt much safer and smoother now.
Second Stop Windshield Experts: Using a second-hand car has its trade-offs and mins were a few scratches and cracked windscreen. Got the insurance to cover most of the costs except for the 50% fees of labour, rubber beeding and adhesive.
Last But not the least Smart-Cars a small but good MASS: Got all fluids topped and car inspected in and out. No leaks, no rattles and nothign as per the supervisor ther.
So now ME and MY RIDE are Ready to Take on the 300kms stretch HEAD-ON!!
We decided to start early and reach Ooty by 12:00pm max since we had just the Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21th at our disposal.
After reading several threads on Ooty trips by AKROY and DreamDiesel among others, I decided to take the shorther route via Masinagudi and the 36 Hair Pin Bends.
Tanked-up and got tyre pressure checked on Friday night.
We got up at 3:00am (an achievement in itself on a Saturday), got ready and were in the car 3:55am and on the road at 4:00am.
Route: Bangalore-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gundalpet(and the horrible 10km stretch)-Bandipur-Masinagudi-Kalhatti Falls area-Ooty.
Took the Old Madras Road and touched Mysore road via MG Road and the long Market Flyover. No one except some rick fellows on road. Before we knew it, were close to kengeri and starting flying past the closed shutter was all shops.
Reached Channapatna and stopped for some Hot Tea and biscuits at a small Tea Shop. Wifey wanted to stop at McDonald's and thought that since on the highway, it may be open early morning but it wasn't.
OT: Around the Srirangapatna-Mysore stretch I crossed 130kmph, my highest ever and my Zen's as well (from as long as its been with me)
We were at Mysore around 6am, same scene here to, empty roads and shops shut. Missed the Ring-Road on purpose and drove straight into the city. Somehow was not at able to find any signs to Ooty initially so asked to directions and were able to get around the city in no time.
Back on the Highway and zipping towards Bandipur.
Great roads and no traffic, couldn't ask for anything better start. But my joy fizzled out on reaching Gundalpet. From the Gundalpet junction the roads start to deteriorate. And just as you think it might get better in a couple of kms it JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE. The horror was on for 10kms and belive me the mud road on the sides of the tarmac was mush better to drive on.
Past the bad 10kms stretch the road become great again. Reached JLR Pugmark crossing some misty roads at 8:00am. Halted for 30mins to Stretch, Unload (you'd know what i mean ) and Reload (Breakfast). Good food. Some foreingers just returned from their Ealry morning Jungle Safari and looked pretty dejected to me (from little or no sitings).
Back on at 8:30am and Forest area started. Maintained a steady speed of about 60kms with no speeding, honking or loud music. Well, this was not only because the signs REQUEST you to do this but the forest and its residents deserve to remain in their peaceful habitat. Spotted a Mob of Spotted Deer grazing, Three Peacocks roaming around and some monkeys.
Reached KA-TN Border post. The who lifted the bamboo asked 20 bucks as entry fees. Once paid, he suggested taking the shorter route to Ooty via Masinagudi and advised taking the first left (narrow iron bridge) after 4kms from the Post. The roads on this side of the Post are just simply awesome. I took the advise given for 20bucks, passed Masinagudi and were at the foothills of the 36 Hair-Pin Bends.
History: I think a bit of a flashback is just apt here. I own a 2001 Zen LX. Its my first car. I have never been close to my dad's rides although learnt to drive in them. Owned the car for 7 months now and been driving in Bangalore since then. I did not know the history of the car for the past 7 years and didn't know if i could reply on it for a long run and the dreaded 36-Hairpin bends. Also, driving for 7months only doesn't qualify me as an expierenced/expert driver by any stretch of imgination. Hence due to lack of exposure to such roads, I was terified initially to take the 36 Bends Route. But after reading Threads from AKRoy and others and reading about M800's doing it comfortably, it was all down to getting rid of nervous and tackling my fear. Fear I say, because even the scenes from movies where cars crash and burn in valleys flashed my minds too
Back to present, and after taking the car passed amost 250kms without a hitch, i was more confident now. Initially skeptical, I practised Enginer Braking a couple of times before the Bends started and also reminded myself of the simple logic 'If the car carries enough speed and momentum into the curves, it will make it up easily'. I managed a couple of curves in 3rd gear and the rest in 2nd easily besides one. On one curve (turning upwards from my right), there was a local TN bus coming downhill. The curve was narrow and the bus had some issue cutting through so I had to let go of the brakes and fall back a couple of yards (without the reverese gear engaged). This one i had to take on in 1st gear only cod there was no Speed or momentum on our side. But my little Pocket Rocket ATE that curve easily too.
After crossing the 0/36th Bend Board, I was relieved to have acheived another Feat. From there, to our resort was again a breeze. I took it slowly and cautiously. The Fresh and Chilly Mountain Breeze mixed with Fragrance of Eucalyptus plated along the roadside was just mesmarising. For a moment that i crossed 280kms and 36 Hairpins. Reached the resort 'Kluney Manor, Victorian Resort' and marked the car at 10:30am.
Travelled 290kms from home to reach here.
Its was Off-Season at the time and hence hardly any crowd. The resort just a couple of families besides us. The Resort was excellent. Beautiful lawns, spaces and warm cottages, Great View and Excellent service. I prefer doing all by booking before i leave home and hence prefer spending a lot of time online searching for places and reviewing them inside-out. Found this decently priced resort with all amenities i would like. Got a good deal from Make-My-Trip and booked in for one noght right away.
The resort has 2 types of rooms, The Cottages and The Suites.
(For ones who need more info: Kluney Manor a luxury ,a victorian resort in Ooty, the nilgiris, tamil nadu,india )
We booked and were alloted a cottage called Peeress overlooking a plush green lawn, the ooty valley and the lake.
We decided to take a shower and freshen-up before noon, have lunch and leave for some site-seing. We wanted to see something new this time as i have visited the place a couple of years ago wih the KSTDC Package Tour. Discussed with the travel desk at the resort and planned the site-seing as follows.
Day-1: Halfday to Pykara Lake, Pykara Falls, Shooting Point, Some Dam etc (Indica hired for Rs.900)
Day-2: Halfday to local Ooty sites like Doddabetta, Tea Factory, Botonical Garden Etc.
The food there was good and pretty resonably priced for the quality. Post lunch, the cab was ready for the Day-1 Trip. Did not expect it to be so punctual i must say.
The Site-seing tour started, and first thing we saw was the Ooty Golf Course. Then came the HPF-Hindustan Photo Films. Didn't wait anywhere, just like some snaps.
Reached a pine forest area, saw a Sambhar but he scampered into the forest before my Eye piece could catch it in its full glory. Then came the first stop, Kamaraja Saagar Dam. We stopped at the reservoir area. The place was beautiful, 'Picture Perfect' as they call it. We then continued onto next stop called 'Shooting Point'. Its was more of a movie shooting than the army shooting range. Beautiful place again, over looking the reservoir. From there proceeded to the Pyraka Falls. From the road we had to walk for about a km to the falls area. Water was scarse and the Waterfall had hardly any Water Falling from anywhere.
Last Stop for the Day was the Pykara lake. This is must visit, less crowd hence better than the ooty lake. I dont know if its a perception but i found it to be bigger, cleaner, deeper and more scenic than the Ooty lake. Went boating with couple of others.
We were dropped back to the resort by 5:30pm. Fatigue was catching up, since our day began at 3am. But decided not to knap and after an hour of brief halt got a hotel staff member to escort us to Charing Cross Area (Market Area) for some shopping and dinner. Bought some oils, tea and Chocolates. Got my lil one some toys as well. And then my better half was struck by the shopping-bug. We bought some Kashimiri Dresses etc. before begging the bug to leave her alone.
We had a heavy lunch at the resort so did not wanna have anything heavy or splurge on it. So went to a relatively small place opposite the charing cross plaza across the fountain. The food was good and it was new place opened 5 days ago. Not as expensive as charing cross but great in warm corner.
Reached the resort by 9:00pm and retired for the night.
Day-2 (Sunday 21st):
Started the day with a hearty breakfast (Bread Toasts, Omlet and good old Idly Vada Sambar). The Cab was at the resort on time once again at 9:30am. I guess the Off-Season had a lot to do with Punctuality.
Started the day with Doddabetta. Reached there a found some crowd, but not too much. Before reaching the place, I was struck by the same old BUG again. Bought a hat for my wife and Binoculars for me. May be off-topic, but i got a decent piece fo binocs. I got a Tasco 30x25mm with Night Vision for 300-bucks after a hard bargain. Reached the place (which was great to test its capabilities). We were Awe-Struck with what we saw. As we all know, the Doddabetta Peak over looks Coimbatore Town on oneside and Ooty on the other. The view from the coimbatore side was Breathtaking.
We could see the cloud before us covering the town of coimbatore (just like one would see from inside a plane looking down on a cloudy day). I was simply speechless for a moment. Clicked a lot of snaps and vids and moved onto the other side. Time to put the new binocs to the test, We could clearly see Ooty town and as far as we wanted to see. The magnification and clarity was good enough for me to skip the Telescopes which are always crowded. Clicked some more snaps and proceeded from there.
Reached the Tea Factory. Saw the tea making process , had a sip of the sample tea and it was good. Just behind the Tea Fatory was a lil chocolate factory (Check the pics as nothing much to say). Chatted with the guy making chocolate and tried his recommended chocolate biscuits and it was YUM!
It was 11:30 already and hence we decided to skip the Ooty Lake and headed to Botonical Garden. The garden was the same since the last time i was it. We were just the 2 of us then (as by baby is about 1y3mnths) and had some fond memories. Clicked a set of photos and headed back to the resort to checkout.
Before he dropepd us back to the resort, I inquired with the cab driver if private cars are allowed down the same 36-Hairpin Bends or will we have to take the longer route. He suggested to proceed to the junction and check if there are cops stoppign anyone, if yes tell them you wanna go to the Masinagudi (Gopalaswamybetta if i remember correctly) and they will let you go generally(Handy Tip).
Reached the resort and checked out right away. Completed the formalities got the Windscreens Washed and were on the road again at 1:00am.
Reached the 2 Floor BP Petrol bunk, tanked-up again and was slightly surprised to see 294kms took up 19lts.
Started the journey and luckily didn't find anyone at the junction where 2 routes fork out (Guess the lunch-time had to do a lot with it). Started the decent and was very cautious again. Kept the car in 2nd gear most of the time especially on curves barring a few straight stretches where i was able to manage the 3rd gear safely. Saw a lot of cars coming up with the holiday season starting. reached donw safe and in no time where back to the excellent roads in the Madumalai Tiger Reserve. Reached the TN-KA Border post and the same guy confirmed i paid Rs.20 while going up Crossed the Bandipur Forest with the same steady speed, no honking, no music etc. No spotting this time as it was a warm afternoon.
Reached the JLR Pugmark Area but decided to go to the Bandipur plaza this time for lunch. From Ooty to JLR Pugmark in 2 hours was not bad. Back on the road in 30mins or so.
Back to the horrible roads in Gundalpet (10kms). Next found a number of cars getting back to Bangalore as it was the end of the weekend. Found myself playing NFS with a Santro Xing for a long stretch and then with a Indicab and Mitsubishi Montero. I know the later were more powerfull than my rocket but i had the size and handling-in-traffic features on my side to squeeze through safely there they had to wait to more room .
Entered bangalore, took the same city-market flyover again, reached MG ROAD and while waiting in the traffic going towards Old Madras Road to start, we caught a white Hummer H2. A perfect end to a 'Great Weekend'.
Reached RMZ infinity for dinner at McDonalds as that was pendind from yesterday.
Return trip started at 1:15pm from the 2 floor BP bunk and ended at RMZ infinity on OMR at 8:45.
Tanked up next day (Monday after a office trip to EC) and was SHOCKED. The car covered 328kms in 15 lts only .
Overall achieved 16.5kmpl in 590kms.
And now for some pics..
Last edited by Technocrat : 23rd December 2008 at 12:29. Reason: Post Edited. Smilie usage is restricted to two per post on Team-BHP. Please refrain from using excessive smilies.
|23rd December 2008, 14:16||#3|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 737 Times
aah so you stayed at Kluney Manor. I have been a regular visitor there since the time they started it about 3 yrs back. You should have gone ahead and clicked a few pics of the place itself, their landscaping is simply beautiful.
You forgot to mention that Kluney Manor has a touch of the french culture.
Hope you don't mind me adding a few pics
|23rd December 2008, 14:43||#4|
Hey RJSTYLES, you bet i dont mind It was short duration which led to no pics clicked there. The pics are great and they just speak volumes. Thanks man. And as i mentioned these are memories to be cherished so you've actually done a favour cheers:.
|23rd December 2008, 14:43||#5|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
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Nice Writeup and pics.
Gopalswamy Betta is after bandipur and hence can be reached by both the routes (Masinagudi as well as Gudalur). I think he might have told of Kalhatti falls.
|23rd December 2008, 14:57||#6|
Hey Abhi, Glad you liked the write-up. Your thread from last year helped alot, thanks mate.
Well the cab driver definetely mentioned some temple, which one I dont remember and he mentioned it because it is reachable from the ghats route only. Will try and recall and post it here.
And yeah Kalahatti is also a good excuse as you mentioned
|23rd December 2008, 15:14||#7|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2005
Thanked: 86 Times
Congrats on a succesful trip.
1. Do one need to engage the reverse gear on ghats while reversing a bit or can just put it in neutral and release the brake to reverse?
|23rd December 2008, 19:13||#8|
Your point of Right of way to the uphill traffic is spot on but then who will explain that to the Bus/cab drivers. Well in my case, this bus was on the mouth of curve already and the driver was struggling to control its decent and make a turn. So i thought there is no he'll me able to follw the rule any which ways.
|24th December 2008, 01:31||#9|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Thanked: 53 Times
Zenster.. Nice travelogue. Liked the flow and the pictures. How was the weather like in Ooty? Nights must have been pretty cold.
|24th December 2008, 06:02||#10|
Thanks DD, glad you liked it.
The weather was great, may be because i prefer winter chills than the summer sun-burns . Sinply put, Clear Skies, Chilled Breeze, the Night & Early-Morning felt colder than my freezer, outdoors atleast. The Sun once out warmed things up. Perfect weather to enjoy one's self there without heavy Woolens.
|25th December 2008, 06:01||#13|
Hi Rajesh, early morning drive was simply Blissful.
The flowers in the first post where all in the beautifully laid lawns of the resort we stayed at.
I liked the way the 'age of the flower' in that one pic with violet flower as I could see the relatively young flower buds awaiting their turn to blossom and then there were slightly taller older ones which were in full glory.
But the name or type, i have no clue .
|29th December 2008, 07:47||#15|
Hey snaronikar, glad you liked travelogue. At the place I Stayed, the receptionist mentioned that off-season rates are around 2k-2.5k and there are many offers on travel websites too. But in peak season (especially on weekends) the place is generally full as it doesn't have large number of rooms. The rates then vary between 2.5k to 3.5k a night.
FE from Bangalore to Ooty - 294kms took up 19lts - 15.47 kmpl (donno why so less :( )
FE from Ooty to Bangalore - 286kms took 14lts - 20.4 (AWESOME )
Overall - 580km covered in 33lts - 17.5kmpl (GREAT too !)
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