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Old 3rd March 2009, 13:42   #1
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Default Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!

Bangalore – Ooty – Bangalore

Members: ROYs in AltoLXi

Since New Year 2009, my family just forgotten about those wonderful long drives, weekend trips because I work for an organization which was in news for all wrong reasons in recent times. With running loans (car and home both) and speculations of salary freeze looming large on us, it was prudent to settle on a cost cutting mode. On a positive note, this experience taught my family some innovative cost cutting measures which otherwise we ignore. I must thank my wife and sister for that.

With timely intervention of government and things showing signs of improvement, now it was my time to give it back. I floated the idea of a trip in the month end. Wife was reluctant initially but she agreed later. Checked the company intranet and found that Dingle Dale (Satyam Guest House) in Ooty has available rooms for this slot (27Feb – 1Mar). I blocked it immediately.

As the day approached I can see the excitement in my wife’s face. And why not, after some real testing times we are going for a trip again. She prepared everything a day before and after an early dinner we hit the bed at 9:30PM and set the alarm for 3AM.

Day-1 (27th Feb): Bangalore – Ramanagaram – Chennapatna – Maddur – Mandya – Srirangapatnam - Mysore – Nanjangud – Gundlupet – Bandipur – Masinagudi – Ooty

Although both of us get up at 3AM but our plan of starting at 4AM took a hit as I had some official work to be delivered before the month end. Wife prepares some sandwitches while I am glued to the laptop till 4AM. Then after a quick shower, wake up the baby, load the stuffs in the car and start by 4:55AM. Both mom and the kid looked very excited.

Roads were empty in Bangalore at that hour. Within 15min we pass through MG Road, Richmond Road, Corporation Circle and onto Mysore Road flyover. Once we pass NICE road crossing, car started to hit 100+ kmph speeds. I kept the speed in 80-100kmph range in the dark as you never know Mysore road is famous for throwing surprises.

Within no time we pass the Silk City, Ramanagaram and just before we enter Chennapatna the traffic converged into one lane. The other lane was blocked for some road over-bridge construction. I lost some considerable time crossing it as it was lined up with trucks. During this drive, started to feel hungry and wife fed me with the sandwitches and before we could reach Mysore our stomach was full.

Once passed Chennapatna, the drive was smooth and we saw day break out after Maddur. With day light the speed to increase to 120kmph range and hit a top speed of 135kmph; soon we were passing the Sugar city, Mandya. With almost no traffic at that time, we reach Mysore Ring Road signal at 6:55AM (exactly 2 hours from home). Another 15min we cross the city and stop at Kamat Madhuvan at 7:10AM for tea. I covered about 150km from home in 2hr 15min. Had we not got stuck at Chennapatna we could have done this even faster.

After a small break of 15min at Kamat for tea, we start at 7:35AM. The morning drive on NH212 was wonderful. The stretch from Nanjangud to Gundulpet was smooth and fast.

The only bad stretch: At Gundulpet NH212 curves to the right towards Wayanad and I take the straight road to Bandipur. Initial few kms were patched compared to my last drive in Oct07 but after that it is the same old story. All broken tarmac and we were on first and second gears. I preferred to drive on the adjacent untarred road than on the broken tarmac with full of potholes. It took us 20 odd min to cross 10km.

Inside Bandipur Forest
Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4728.jpg

Road improve after Hangala Village once we enter into Bandipur range. Now we can speed up. Soon we were passing through the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary. Jungle was dry and looked like there was some fire as well. We spotted some deers on the way though. We soon pass the KA-TN border and reach Theppakadu at 9:15AM.

Theppakadu to Masinagudi stretch
Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4732.jpg

I took a left turn onto the small bridge to Masinagudi. Unlike last time, this stretch through the forest till Masinagudi is freshly laid and the drive was smooth. Soon we pass Masinagudi and onto an empty straight stretch. I pushed the pedal and cruising at 80kmph. All of a sudden, a deer came out of no where and jumped a cross the road. Had the deer jumped 10m before, nowhere I could have braked to stop the car and things could have been fatal for both the deer and the car. I realized my mistake and did not cross 60kmph after that till the Foothills of Segur Ghat.

Segur Ghat (36 Hairpin bends): For those who don’t know this is the steepest road in South India. 36Hairpins and about 7-8km you are in Ooty from Nilgiri Foothills. The car started the initial 2 bends with ease in third gear as we had the momentum. We stopped at the 4th hairpin bend (Bison View point) for some water and pics. With lesser load compared to last drive and with better skill I could cover all the bends in second gear except one (where I had to go behind a mini bus in first gear). This road is one way now for outstation vehicles. Hence with lesser vehicles in descent, the climb was comfortable and enjoying.

Pics at Bison View Point (Hairpin bend 4)
Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4733.jpg

Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4736.jpg

After crossing Segur ghat, the road meets the Gudalur highway (NH67) to Ooty. The road is re-laid and beautiful to drive (last time it was a nightmare drive of 5km from there to Ooty). We reach Fingerpost at 10:30AM and another diversion to Golf Road for a km to reach Satyam Guest House (known as Dingle Dale). Tripmeter read 274km.

Satyam Guest House is a beautiful palatial bungalow built by britishers a century back and we were welcomed by Ratan (the caretaker), his wife and his naughty kid. Ratan is a Nepali and a native of Darjeeling and his wife a Bengali. It was like a home-coming for them as they could speak in Bengali with us.

After refreshing ourselves and decided to watch the T20 match. In between, we had nice homely food at the guest house consisting of roti, rice, dal and chicken curry. I had already planned that I will not go to the crowded ooty lake and Botanical garden which I had already visited in the previous trips.

After an exciting T20 match, we got ready for Dodabetta peak, the highest peak of south india. Dodabetta is the left road at Charring Cross signal, straight one goes to Coonor. The climb from ooty to Dodabetta was awesome and we passed some nice plantations and valleys. This is actually the road to Kotagiri. We need to take a small diversion from this highway into a single lane road to reach Dodabetta peak.

Needless to say, Dodabetta did offer some breathtaking scenaries all around. We clicked some pics there. While my wife and kid were sitting at a corner, a flock of college girls surrounded my kid and started taking pics and playing around. Probably my kid was the youngest of the lot there at that time.

Pics at Dodabetta
Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4761.jpg

Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4766.jpg
College Girls playing with the kid
Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4760.jpg

Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4770.jpg

During return, wife did a small shopping at the government shop and slowly and leisurely descended to ooty by 6PM and drove back to the Guest House. End of a wonderful day. On reaching the Guest house, we could introduce to other associates of the company who have come from Chennai & Hyderabad. There were about 5 kids in that bungalow and it was a fun filled evening followed by a nice homely veg dinner.

Kid at Guest House Garden @evening
Travelogue: A weekend at Nilgiris !!-100_4773.jpg

Finally we retired to bed by 10PM.


to be continued...
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Old 3rd March 2009, 13:49   #2
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Great pics...will keep an eye on this travelogue..keep'em coming.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 14:00   #3
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So the Alto is out once again. Cute kid. You guys are so close to Ooty.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 14:03   #4
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Can't wait to read the rest of the report. Nice to see Abhijit again zipping in the Alto! Missed your "novelty" of travelogues for some time! Great pictures and very cute baby girl!
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Old 3rd March 2009, 14:31   #5
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Aare, where is your kurtha

Nice one buddy, after a looong time. Good to hear that the Alto is back on its long distance journey.

Vacation and with T20... Umm, great.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 14:48   #6
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abhi its better late than never pal. You know the travelogue section missed your blogs for quite some time and yeah regarding the bad times your company is going thru, cheer up man times will change.

I feel the itch to go and see ooty now, its been reaaaaal long since I have been there. BTW cute Junior you have there.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 15:19   #7
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abhi was the child able to with-stand such a long ride?
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Old 3rd March 2009, 15:25   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuraliR View Post
abhi was the child able to with-stand such a long ride?
Murali - this is nothing for the child, Abhi is been travellling since the birth of the child which has done more than these long trips.

Due to some reasons he had stopped going on long trips as he mentione due to the company.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 15:53   #9
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sorry for going OT :

@gowda79 : yes, i have been reading the travelogues and well aware that Abhi has been travelling since the birth of the child.

But, that was at a time when the child would not know much.

It is at this age that more of the tantrums start.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 16:05   #10
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Nice to see you back in this section. I always liked your detailed travelogues with timings and speed, which is really helpful for future reference. You seem to always work on improving your skill , second gear on entire ghat section. Man, I wanted to drive again in that road to verify, whether its my poor driving skill or the fuel quality, the real culprit as I struggled to get up in 1st gear with my Swift.

Speeds of 120 kmph in an ALTO for a leisure trip.. Think about it, when you would have reached, if the speeds were maintained at or below 100 kmph? May be at 11.00 hrs instead of 10.30 hrs. Trying out high speed for records on an empty stretch once, is different from keeping continuous high speeds, with famil, esp when we are on a leisure trip

But why are we not following this? Have asked this question many a times to myself, but still tempted to do around 120 kmph when on Bangalore or Mysore highway

Feed us with more pictures
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Old 3rd March 2009, 16:33   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Aare, where is your kurtha
Mahesh, keep watching this thread. You will get the kurta soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuraliR[/I
] was the child able to with-stand such a long ride?


MuraliR, kids have amazing adjustment power. My kid is practising long drive on baby seat and thoroughly enjoys the drive. Never cribs.
It was we adults who get tired more often. I caught cold due to change in weather conditions

Surprise, I am misquoted here. I dont do speeds for records. NEVER EVER !! Although my post sounded that I did this much distance in this time but nothing for record. As a matter of fact, I checked the watch only after reaching Kamat. Whatever speeds I am comfortable with in my car I do that.
On not so leisure trips (longer trips) where time is critical, I do it non-stop but not higher speeds than my comfort level.

Abhi

Last edited by akroy : 3rd March 2009 at 16:34.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 17:47   #12
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Hey Abhi, nice to see your travelogue again . Waiting for updates on the return journey and photos, I hope you've taken the Gudalur road and I want to know the conditions. Yes this time of the year it'll be dry and also Bandipur had bad forest fire recently. I was kind of surprised not to see anyone reporting it in TBHP ;-). BTW seems like TBHP's once favourite haunt Gopalaswamy Betta surroundings were badly affected due to the forest fire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Whatever speeds I am comfortable with in my car I do that.

Abhi
Exactly, it's the comfort level that matters and the road too.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 17:51   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Hey Abhi, nice to see your travelogue again . Waiting for updates on the return journey and photos, I hope you've taken the Gudalur road and I want to know the conditions. Yes this time of the year it'll be dry and also Bandipur had bad forest fire recently. I was kind of surprised not to see anyone reporting it in TBHP ;-). BTW seems like TBHP's once favourite haunt Gopalaswamy Betta surroundings were badly affected due to the forest fire.
Not wanting to hijack Abhi's lovely travelogue - both Mudumalai & Wayanad sanctuaries have been closed on account of the dry conditions.

Also the Gudalur - Ooty roue is fully done up and worth making the detour just for the lovely sceneries it throws up while climbing up.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 18:35   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
Also the Gudalur - Ooty roue is fully done up and worth making the detour just for the lovely sceneries it throws up while climbing up.
This is great news! It was a real pain to cover the stretch through Gudalur town during our previous few Kerala trips. So, we started taking the Coimbatore route recently. Now, the next one is going to be vial Gudalur-Nilambur.

Regards
Rex
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Old 3rd March 2009, 18:58   #15
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Good one there Abhi, a well deserved outing, pity I could not join you, thanks for calling anyway.
Now rest of the travelogue please .
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