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Old 11th February 2009, 01:15   #1
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Default Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)

Flashback series: These are the road trips made while I was not a member of TBHP, or not active in it. No logs were maintained, and even the routes taken have been longer in couple of occasions due to ignorance, so may not serve as a guide. But nevertheless the experience and photographs are shared.

Another long week-end coming close, and no plans as yet, I was thinking on 22nd Dec. It was so late we wouldn't get any accomodation as well, anywhere, whole of Bangalore would be out in this 4 day week-end. So what would be the options?
Suddenly it struck one of our relatives has a house (vacation home) in Kodaikanal, and they had asked us repeatedly to visit there. So made calls to them to check out if anybody was coming there in that week-end. An answer in negative, and the place was decided.
Now what is the distance, would having somebody else as back-up driver be better? "Hmm, around 450 kms, I think I can do it; but let's see if somebody wants to join, otherwise I will do it alone."
Ushashi and Debjit instantly agreed to it and we decided to start early (4:00 am) in the morning on 25th Dec. The plan was they would come down to our house on 24th beginning, so that we do not lose any time in the morning, going around.
Usual posts in the TBHP ensued, some PMs to distinguished HVKumar, and the route has been finalized as Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Thoppur - Mettur - Bhavani - Perunthurai - Kangayam - Dharapuram - Palani - Kodai.
So the wednesday came in no time. Everything packed and we were waiting for our friends to come to finish Dinner and crash to get up early in the morning. But Debjit got caught in office work and finally when we finished our dinner the clock was strinking midnight.
Hmm, is there any point in trying to sleep now and get up at 03:30 am, or should we just start right now. The second proposal got the vote, and we quickly got ready, pulled our bag and baggages, and rolled the car out of the parking lot at 00:40 am on 25th Dec. I was thrilled as this might be my first whole night drive in India (I have done it only once before, in US from Jersey City to Niagara).

25th Dec, 2008
Even at that time there were quite a few number of trucks plying on the outer ring road and hosur road. The road diversion due to work in NH-7 till the Karnataka border added to it. After Krishnagiri, the truck traffic came down. Reading the posts in TBHP I was apprehensive about the road condition from Krishnagiri till Thoppur, but the N-S corridor work in this strech has been completed. And it was absolute beauty. However in some sections there were road work still going on where they have diverted both directional traffic into one side. Despite all these we did till thoppur, 150 km in 2.5 hrs.
From Thoppur the surface was little rough, and patchy for some streches. The road is two lane and had to slown down considerably till Bhavani, and also in the Bhavani-Perunthurai strech owing to having truck traffic in Salem-Coimbatore highway, and work in progress streches.
Once off from NH in Perunthurai, there was barely any traffic. However, towards the morning heavy mist engulfed us, visibility down to 10 ft after the bonnet. Was driving at 10 kmph, with headlights and hazard lights on.
In between lost time around 10 minutes in one accident near Mettur (my vehicle touched an Innova which braked suddenly, and my vehicle skidded after putting hard brake) and 20 minutes in railway crossing after Perunthurai. Also took a chai break at around 03:00 am for 10 minutes.
Stopped at a Idli joint after crossing Palani, at the beginning of the road going to Kodai. Though on the expensive side (one Idli - 5/-, Coffee - 8/-, Tea - 6/-), the food is fresh. It took exactly seven hours (reached here at 07:40 am) to complete the strech of 340 km.
Started from there at around 8:00 and reached Kodai at 10:30 am. Last 80 odd km was done by Debjit, as I was feeling tired and sleepy. I wanted to drive in the Ghat road, so took the turn, but realised that I am not upto it and gave it back to him within 10 km.

The view from the Ghat Road
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9614c.jpg

Finding the house was not much of a problem, it was on the observatory road and a km before the observatory, the direction was very proper and we reached there in no time. Little tired from the sleeplessness, relaxed for a while in the drawing room cane sofa's, sipping the hot tea and enjoying the nip in the air.
Decided to take an early lunch and Lonely Planet guided us to the Royal Tibetan restaurant in PT Road. After lunch crashed to bed to compensate for the night's sleep. The trip was planned as a leisurely one, 4 days are more than enough to see Kodai, so no 'sightseeing' on day 1. Evening we went out to do some grocery, the house had full fledged kitchen and Gargi volunteered for cooking; prefering that over going out for dinner in cold night.

26th Dec, 2008
Woke up late, finished the breakfast at home and went out for sightseeing. First stop was Coaker's walk, a km long walk through a paved way having a beatiful view of the valley below. I remembered staying in the hotel just beside the Coakers walk when I visited last in 1998, the hotel is called Villa Retreat now, do not think that was the name back in 98.

View from Coaker's Walk
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9623c.jpg

After the leisurely stroll through the huge maze of tourists and the cacophony generated which was still unable to nullify the pleasure of viewing the pristine nature, we came out and headed towards Bryant Park, a botanical garden just across the road.
Good walk in the Bryant park (good for me, some exercise at least ), and then boarded the car to head out to pillar rock. In between saw another sightseeing point but it was so crowded we decided not to stop and went ahead. It was around noon when we reached the pillar rock, and suddenly the fog appeared and the whole valley and mountains, and thus the pillar rocks was covered by the thick white curtain.
Came back, had lunch and headed back. We went to the lake for boating after our afternoon nap, only to find out that the time had passed, so we decided take a walk around the lake instead. It was quite a long walk (4 km, the next day I measured it using car's odometer). Read book in the evening, yes, we were carrying few books as well.

27th Dec, 2008
Our first destination was Bear Shola falls. After parking the car, it's a km work through the shola (forest?) to reach the falls. It's not in the typical tourist sightseeing spot, so the crowd was less and the place enjoyable.
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9649c.jpg

The one reason could be the accessibility, its on a very narrow road. And while parking the safari, I was thinking how to take it out; but then postponed the thought till the time came. By the time we reached back the problem had increased, as there have been a long queue of parked vehicles after me, there is no space to take a U turn, show I had to reverse my car for about 500 m in very narrow road, with cars parked in one side and just enough space to get my safari through. By the time, I completed the manouever with the help of other drivers guiding me, I had sweats on my forehead even in that cold in Kodai! Strongly recommend keeping the car a little before the place, where it is possible to take a U turn.
We again wanted to go to the Pillar rock as we had not seen it the day before, and also realised the view point which we skipped was one of the famous view point - 'green valley view' or 'suicide point', wanted to cover that as well. However being a holiday, there were few traffic diversions, and we were diverted to upper lake view road, and got a fantastic view of the lake from here.
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9656c.jpg

Continuing straight we realised we were back at observatory road. Continued straight on that, hit Berijam. Enquired about Berijam lake, and it seems one needs permission from DFO to enter there as it is inside a forest. We didn't know it and didn't plan for it . In between, we went inside a pine forest, seeing large congregation of crowd over there, and walking over the carpet of fallen pine leaves was an unique experience.
Now continued from their to pillar rock, this time we were appraoching it from the other side, and this was longer route. The luck was with us and we were able to see the pillar rock.
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9660c.jpg

We stopped at green valley view, it has a straight drop to the valley, and I guess the name suicide point came as it might be very easy to commit so from there, currently it is fenced (height of 15 feet).

View from Green Valey View/Suicide Point
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9663c.jpg

Debjit was not feeling well so they stayed back home in the afternoon, we took a round of the lake in the car and came back.

28th Dec, 2008
We wanted to start back early, but not to early to start the descend in foggy condition, so it was decided to be at 07:00 am. There was some logistical issue in handing back the key, which delayed us by half an hour and we started at 07:30.
The way back was even faster in the daylight. We stopped at the same Idli joint for 20 minutes and started again at 9:30 (1 hour 40 minutes for the downhill which took us close to 2 and half while going up). Though plan was to have lunch in Bhavani, we reached there at 12:00, so decided to continue further. Was in lookout for eating joint in Mettur onward. Finally stopped at BP Petrol bunk/A2B for lunch just after Thoppur at 13:45, started from there at 2:15 to reach home by 4:30.

Fuel efficiency
for the onward journey + sightseeings in Kodai: 9.75 km/l
for return journey (till Hosur, filled full tank in Hosur to take advantage of lower price compared to Bangalore): 12 km/l

Some more pics -

The car on the way up (Debjit on wheels, and Ushashi admiring nature)
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9613c.jpg

The travellers
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9655c.jpg

The stay
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9639c.jpg
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9636c.jpg
Flashback series: Kodaikanal (Dec, 2008)-img_9635c.jpg

BTW, on the way back the entire distance was driven by me, which gave me confidence to go for longer drives, and we went to Bijapur, Badami-Aihole-Pattadkal and Hampi (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...g-history.html (Travelling in history)) a month later.

Last edited by arindamray : 11th February 2009 at 01:19.
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Old 11th February 2009, 09:17   #2
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Thats good trip Report! Good that you are active in TBHP now. So we can read more and more your reclaiming travelogues I enjoyed reading your other travelogue threads too.

Ravi.
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Old 11th February 2009, 09:20   #3
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Arindam, I dont consider this as a flashack series travelogue. This is a recent one and just about a month old. As always, very well written and aptly supported by nice pics.

Is your friend's cottage a homestay? If yes, we can use it as well.

Abhi
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Old 11th February 2009, 12:12   #4
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Surprised to see that a Dec'08 trip being called a flashback trip. Before venturing here, i hoping to see pointers related to Dilip Kumar and Madhubala era..LOL

That's a nice trip and good pictures too. What was the temparature that time?
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Old 11th February 2009, 12:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravibhat View Post
Thats good trip Report! Good that you are active in TBHP now. So we can read more and more your reclaiming travelogues I enjoyed reading your other travelogue threads too.

Ravi.
Yes Ravi, I don't know how TBHP slipped from my mind after becoming a member in Dec 2007. It's such a wealth of information which helps me, and I am trying to contribute my bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Arindam, I dont consider this as a flashack series travelogue. This is a recent one and just about a month old. As always, very well written and aptly supported by nice pics.

Is your friend's cottage a homestay? If yes, we can use it as well.

Abhi
It's only a house, you don't get cooked food. I am not sure if he gives it commercially. However if you are interested I can check back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Surprised to see that a Dec'08 trip being called a flashback trip. Before venturing here, i hoping to see pointers related to Dilip Kumar and Madhubala era..LOL

That's a nice trip and good pictures too. What was the temparature that time?
As I mentioned, these travelogues are based on recollections from memory and photographs, hence thought of calling them flashback. No trip logs and other statistics :(.

"i hoping to see pointers related to Dilip Kumar and Madhubala era" .

To set the record straight, none of the trips in the series will go beyond 4 years - that's the period I have the digital pictures, and I guess my memory will fail me beyond that.

Could not get a reliable source to get the correct temperature, but it was shiveringly cold after sun down, may be going down to 5-6 degrees. BTW, we had a fireplace in the drawing room

Last edited by arindamray : 11th February 2009 at 12:34.
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Old 11th February 2009, 12:52   #6
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Arindam, another interesting and excellent travelogue!
I think like akroy, you would be permanently found excelling in this section of t-bhp!
Loved you first one and this one too, so keep hitting the road and pour in your experiences back here.
Cheers,
Nandi
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Old 11th February 2009, 15:37   #7
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Great writeup Arindam. Keep it going. Lake photograph is just wonderful.
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Old 11th February 2009, 17:10   #8
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@nnandi: thanks.
btw, you might have missed one in between on Coorg http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ay-2008-a.html (Flashback series: Coorg (May, 2008))
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