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|13th April 2009, 13:08||#1|
Ooty reclaimed- Good Friday weekend 2009.
Travellers: myself, wife, father, mother and son.
Date: 10-12 Apr 09.
Steed: My 5 month old Honda City VTEC.
It was in my 3rd sem Engineering in 1996 that I had last been to Ooty with 3 other college friends. So simply put, I had no recollection of the place, apart from just one fact- it was crowded! When my parents came on their annual visit to Bangalore on 8-Apr, my Dad asked me, so what are we doing in the long weekend. Mom wanted to go to Ooty, the research began and found out that Ooty had no hotels/resorts available. After trying the whole day on 9th, came to know about a non-exsistent “Julia resorts” which had 2 rooms available. Quickly booked and paid an initial advance in Axis bank to confirm our booking. Next was the route research and sight seeing places in tbhp site, where our very own travelogue “guru”, Abhijit (“akroy”) helped immensely and guided me in every single step. Thanks Abhi, you are awesome!
Day 1: (Bangalore to Ooty, Doddabetta peak, Ooty Lake)
Route: Bangalore – Ramanagram – Chennapatna – Maddur – Mandya – Srirangapatnam - Mysore – (NH212) Nanjangud – Gundlupet - (bad roads of 10km to) Hangala - Bandipur –Mudumalai- Theppekaddu - (take left on bridge to) Masinagudi – Kalhatti- Ooty.
Initially had planned a 7-7:30am start from Bangalore, but on Akroy’s strong insistence, planned a 5:00am start from Hebbal, bangalore. Inspite of trying hard, we could leave home only at 5:40am. Hit the Mysore road (via vidyaranyapura, tumkur road, bangalore university) around 6:25am. Traffic was quite thick by then and could do only 80-100kmph speeds (in-frequent 120-130s), lots of cars trying to leave bangalore. Also could not do the non-stops runs, stopped twice (5 mins) before Ramanagram and Srirangapatna for nature breaks and once at Chennapatna to buy some candy for mom, wifey and kid. (I hate to take breaks during my drives, but gone are those days where I could do things my way!). Reached Mysore city around 8:10am. (Time taken to reach mysore- 2.5 hours). Was out of city limits (via ring road) and hit Nanjangud (NH212) by 8:40am. We did not stop for breakfast, had some sandwiches made by wife in the morning. Now the runs were a steady 100-120. Reached Gundlupet in a whisker. Just before crossing the CCD at Gundulpet, my son dropped a bomb, very sweetly and almost in a whisper, he said, “Dad, potty!”. Paranoid, I almost jumped into the pitlane and halted right in front of CCD, jumped out of the car with the kid and hit the CCD men’s room! 10 mins later, things were back under control! Started again and was greeted by an interesting drive thru’ Hangala village, roads were non-existence for some 10+ kms, some patches were under repair. I was initially skeptical that my City would be all bruised & bleeding at the bottom, but to my surprise, it took the roads quite well, though I was treading only at 40-50kmph. (Needless to say, I was pretty impressed and fell deeper in love…with my car!). Finally crossed Bandipur at 10am and reached Mudumalai. While crossing the Mudumalai forest, we spotted a herd of spotted deers. And the lot was quite defiant, they saw us and kept looking at us without moving. Of course we did not break the peace by doing anything silly (by clicking pictures with flash, making loud exclamations of surprise/excitement or honk).
After that, we reached Masinagudi and found a beautiful lane with red Gulmohor flowers. The scene looked straight out of MS-OS Desktop background picture.
Took the left after the bridge to go via the Segur Ghats where there are 36 hairpin bends.
The drive thru’ the ghats was non-eventful, I have driven thru’ ghat sections before (Shiradi ghats, Kodai, Horseley Hills, Yelagiri, Nandi Hills), so this section threw no surprises to me. Only thing was, these bends were lot more steeper and since I had a 4 adults (2 of them over-weight!) and a boot full of luggage, it was difficult to take the hairpin bends in 3rd gear, mostly did in 2nd and some in 1st.
Reached Ooty at 11:30am and got into the hotel at 11:40. So, home to hotel was 6 hours exact and distance was 277km. Did not refuel at Ooty on day 1, so no idea about the FE, yet.
After relaxing for some time, we all got out of the hotel at 1pm. Tried the Nahar Hotel for lunch, had a long waiting line, then went in search of some other hotel. Surprising, every single restaurant was packed with waiting lines and took us quite some time (45mins) to locate one (hotel Alakapura) and finish lunch with veg thalis! At 2:10pm we reached the railway station to book Coonoor train tickets for next day morning train (9:15am departure). Again to our surprise, there were just 4 tickets left in the second class compartment. We thanked our stars and got the tickets! Time: 2:45pm; our first sightseeing stop in Ooty was doddabetta peak.
It’s 9km from Ooty centre and has an ascent with 7 hairpin bends. It’s the highest peak in South India with a miniature observatory on top. There is a small children’s park, where it’s nice for kids to hang around. Unfortunately my son had slept off, just when we reached doddabeta, so he couldn’t enjoy the park and was sleeping in the car. But we liked the views from the peak, which was over-flowing with people. We clicked some quick snaps and headed back to our car. Enroute, there are series of shops which are on the pavement between the car park and doddabeta. Wife liked a scarfe from one of the shops, damages were Rs. 20. Whew! Got off easy! There was a major traffic jam at the parking lot, which took almost 20 mins to clear and then we started our descent. Time: 4:35pm; Next stop - the Ooty lake.
Doddabetta Peak Entrance
View from D. Peak
The entire lake complex is called the Boat House; we reached there at 4:55pm, stood in the serpentine line which moved pretty fast and got the entrance tickets at 5:10pm. (Entry Fees: Adults- Rs. 5, Camera- Rs. 10 and Video Cam- Rs. 100. It’s a mystery as to why movie camera entry ticket is 10 times costlier than a still one! The answer eluded even the ticket counter guys!). We entered the Boat House and I immediately stood in another long serpentine line for Pedal boat. 3 types available, pedal (ord and deluxe), row and motor boats. Got the tickets at 5:30 in 4 seater deluxe pedal boat for half and hour ride. (Rs. 125 + Rs. 125 = Fees + refundable deposit). Unfortunately, my boat had a problem, my side of the pedal did not have any tension and did not displace any water. So it was left to my wife (for a change!) to do the hard toil. We could not go around the lake, as she could take us only till the middle and then brought us back. I then talked to the incharge and told about our boat problem and we got another shot in another boat immediately. This time the boat was fine and we did do a round of the lake. The difference between 1996 and now was, ooty boat house is not not just a boating place. It is also a mini amusement park with some rides (Dashing Cars, Tora Tora and 2 more- didn’t try them) designed for kids (both young and old). My son wanted to get into Tora Tora. I braved it with my son and by the time it was over, I was pukish and my son was all smiles. It was around 6:55pm, and we decided to return to our hotel. Some pics:
There was major traffic in all roads, it took us almost 30 mins to reach our hotel at a distance of 2km.
After returning to our hotel, we just relaxed for some time. Went out around 8:30pm for dinner. Had dinner at a place called “The Planter’s Paradise”, the non-veg restaurant attached to Hotel Glanton Manor. The order was small, the cost was astronomical and the quantity minuscule! Only thing was, the food was tasty. Came back by 9:45pm and retired by 10:15pm.
The weather in ooty now is wonderful, going from Bangalore (from 36 C), Ooty was pleasant in the day with chilly winds and nights become slightly colder than the days (14-15). During the days you don’t need sweaters, though I saw everyone wearing a sweater/jacket. Evenings, everyone was wearing caps/scarfes/mufflers along with jackets. So, it was overall pleasant with chill breeze and no sweat!
A pleasing day with a nice drive and some good sight seeing places! Tomorrow is exciting for the kid! End of day 1.
To be continued...
|13th April 2009, 13:33||#2|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Thanked: 26 Times
Wonderful start nnandi, I am sure the 5:40 start helped a lot. A 7:30AM start would have ruined one of your visits instead of two for sure. Nice pics.
Eager to see the remaining travelogue.
|13th April 2009, 13:45||#3|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NAMMA BENGALURU
Thanked: 2,434 Times
Thank you buddy for the exact details, which most of us wont follow.
I stay at Vidyaranyapura, and your travelogue will certainly help me in the future
Keep it coming.
|13th April 2009, 14:46||#6|
|13th April 2009, 15:16||#7|
Day 2: Coonoor.
Day 2: (Ooty Coonoor train ride, Coonoor sightseeing, Charing’s Cross shopping).
Woke up at 6:50am, the night’s sleep was with lots of breaks. It happens to me whenever I sleep outside of home! Eyes still aching, I slowly completed the morning rituals. Got ready by 8:00am and then had breakfast. By 8:45am, we reached Ooty railway station. There was a major traffic jam inside the station and the parking lot was overflowing, so initially parked in the lane next to the station. The toy train had not yet arrived, so my wife started searching for a parking inside. (She knew I would not be at peace if I did not park the car at a safe place). For the next 15 mins, I waited anxiously. Eventually the train chugged into the station. Then, as I was about to come inside the station, my wife called and said, she had found a nice parking slot just at the entrance. I quickly fire the engine and parked the car inside. Then ran into the station and took my place next to my wife and kid. It was 9:10am and still had 5 mins before the train started. So, got down again and took some pictures of the station, the train.
Finally the train left at 9:15am sharp and there were a lot of yells and whistles from inside the coup. I could see my kid’s excitement in his eyes! He kept putting his hand and head out of the window and I kept bringing them inside, finally closing the window. The entire route was very scenic and the views were breathtaking.
The train reached coonoor at 10:15am (Stations: Ooty-Lovedale- Ketti-Aravankadu- Wellington-Connor). Some details about the train. Train name: Ooty-Coonoor Passenger, Train No- 667. Daily departures from Ooty at: 9:15, 12:15, 15:00, 18:00. There are 4 bogies, 1 First Class bogie (Rs. 101/ticket), 1 2nd Class bogie (Rs. 18/ticket) and 2 unreserved (tickets on the spot at ticket counter, but during season time, there is huge rush). These tickets can be booked from any railway ticket counter within India and also via Internet. That saves some time and assures a reserved seat!
I had earlier booked an Indicab to do sight seeing in Coonoor, seeing the tremendous traffic jams and very bad roads leading to all sight seeing spots, I was happy not bringing my car to coonoor. We located our driver, Stephen and got into the cab. The moment we started, someone on the road pointed out that we had a flat tyre. So, we had to first go to the tyre puncture shop and wasted one full hour there. Then at 11:30am, we headed for our first destination, Lamb’s rock. It was 5 km from Coonoor center, but traffic was very very bad in the narrow winding roads. The scenic beauty was even more picturesque. If Ooty and Coonoor had a competition in scenic beauty, then it would be difficult to adjudge the winner. Some pictures.
View point Enroute to Lamb's rock
We reached Lamb’s Rock at 12:15pm. It was a view point from where the valley looked grand. It was quite misty on top. So the view was not clear. But the mist and fog gave the view another dimension. After some clicks, we left the place at 12:40am.
View from lamb's rock
Day 2 : Coonoor contd in next post...
|13th April 2009, 15:28||#8|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked: 233 Times
I want to visit Ooty again!
great write-up and pics of ooty.
It's been almost 10 years since I have been there. You have triggered lots of fond memories from my school field-trips!
|13th April 2009, 15:36||#9|
|13th April 2009, 16:05||#10|
Day 2: Coonoor continued.
Next location was Dolphin’s Nose. Again the traffic was very heavy and we reached at the spot at 1:10pm. This place is really nice, with beautiful views of the Kotagiri Hills, Mettupalam valley, tea estates and St. Catherine's waterfall very far away. We took plenty of snaps, checked out some shops there and returned to the car at 1:30pm.
Views at Dolphin's Nose
Shops at Dolphins nose
Next stop was a Tea Estate. Now that it was lunch time, traffic was lesser and we quickly reached “Brookland tea estate”. There was a 10 min guided tour of the tea making process, I chose to have a lovely cup of tea while taking a break. (Photography not allowed).
Enroute to tea estate
Brookland tea estate
Felt very rejuvenated and started for Sim’s park. I was not too keen for Sim's park, but my son was. We reached Sim’s park around 2:10pm and asked my son, wife, mom & dad to be back in 20 mins, while I waited in the car.
They came back by 2:45pm and we started our journey back to Ooty. Reached aound 3:35pm and then had a quick lunch. Returned to the hotel around 4:15 and rested till 6pm.
At 6pm, we left for Charing’s cross market. It was a relaxing walk for 15 mins.The area was nice, had lots of shops, mainly selling different types of ooty-made choclates & biscuits, woolen clothes/jackets and clothes. My wife and mom looked around for 1 hour and shopped for choclates and biscuits. And then we retraced our steps back to the hotel at 7:30pm. We relaxed for a couple of hours, before doing a light dinner with some packed food bought at Charings Cross and finally retired at 10:30pm.
Tomorrow, we need to pack and leave for Bangalore, after visiting the pykara spots. End of Day 2.
To be continued for Day 3...
|13th April 2009, 16:52||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2006
Thanked: 10 Times
nice chronological pictures and description , makes me wanna run to ooty again !
|13th April 2009, 18:33||#14|
|13th April 2009, 20:50||#15|
Day 3: Pykara and then back to Bangalore.
Day 3: (Pine Forest, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Shooting point, Pykara Lake and drive back to Bangalore).
We woke up without an alarm at 6:50am. Got ready and checkout by 8:30am. Went to the restaurant “Alakapuri” again for breakfast. I ordered 4 puri sabzis and 1 paper plain dosa (the waiter asked, “saar big?” and I casually said, Yes) and was in for a shock. When the dosa arrived, it was enormous. It span across the table and everyone stared at the dosa! A group of young students commented “family dosa”. We were laughing and embarrassed together!
King size paper dosa
After breakfast, we started for Pykara at 9:15am via Gudalur route (NH67), before tanking up at the double decker BP petrol bunk. The car drank 27.72 lit of petrol (and distance travelled till that time was 336.7km). This road via Gudalur to Mudumalai is butter smooth and definitely more scenic than the Masinagudi route. I was awestruck with the beauty. I did the entire route in my 4th-5th gear, but speeds did not exceed beyond 50-60, as the curvy roads demanded frequent brakes.
Roads via Gudalur route
First spot of the day was Pine forest, we decided we did not want get out of car, so moved on to Kamaraj Sagar Dam. It was a nice view, amongst the lush green was the Dam and had water on both sides. Some pictures of the Dam and the small lake.
Kamaraj Sagar Dam
Lake in front of the Dam
Signage of the sight seeing places on NH67
We then moved on to the other side of the Dam where there was a nice view point. There was horse riding on top of the view point, which was the other side of Dam. The views were breathe-taking from this side too. My wife and kid wanted to do horse-riding, it was Rs. 50 for one round. They did and they felt good and I felt sorry for the horse!
After this, the next place was called shooting point; a slightly elevated expanse of land with a steep climb. From the top, the view of the valley was mind blowing! Every where it was lush green and the breeze was so pure that I felt like sitting in an oxygen chamber! Some views at this point.
To be continued...(Pykara Lake and Drive home)
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