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Old 13th July 2009, 05:51   #1
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Default Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!

Route: Bangalore – Ooty – Coonoor – Kotagiri – Bangalore

Ooty again!!! This is my 3rd trip to Ooty this year and “The queen of Hill stations” just takes my breath away all the time. The last time I was at Ooty was just a month back with my buddies to escape the summer heat at Bangalore. After planning the dates, landed at Ooty on the counting day for the Lok Sabha polls. Sober weekend it was at Ooty. And because of the so called “Season” at Ooty, the place was crowded. But again it felt good being at Ooty enjoying the pleasant weather even in peak summer.

I decided to drive to Ooty again this month with my wife. Its “Off-Season” at Ooty this time of the year and prices for accommodation is almost half the rates. This time I included a visit to Kotagiri and ride the Nilgiri Mountain Railway when at Ooty. Booked tickets for the train ride online as suggested by other TBHPians. So it was me and my wife in my trusted Swift D again to Ooty.

Preparation:

The car has done close to 20000kms and is scheduled for its service. Not much of driving in the last 2 months, just clocking close to 500kms a month. The previous day before the trip gave the car a nice wash, filled up fuel at IOC and got the air pressure checked. All bags packed, decide to leave Bangalore by 6:00AM the next day, so that we are at Ooty by noon to catch the train at 3:00PM.


Day 1 (25th June, 2009): Bangalore – Mysore – Nanjangud – Gundalpet – Ooty

Woke up only by 6:00AM and after a quick bath and light breakfast, left the house only by 7.15AM. I decided to take the flyover through City Market towards Mysore Road. Stopped at a temple for 15 minutes and we were at the outskirts of Bangalore only by 8:30AM. Mysore road was surprisingly empty and Swift D was able to stretch its legs. By 9:30AM we were parking the car at the McDonalds outlet after Channapatna. Breakfast of burger and fries, we rejoin Mysore road. Kept a steady 90-100KMPH and were in Mysore by 11:00AM. The roads were jam-packed near the Bus Stand and took almost 30 minutes to cross the City and join the Mysore- Ooty Road. Should check out the ring road to bypass the city but have heard it’s close to 25kms to join Mysore – Ooty road. We were running behind schedule but were able to make good time on the 2 lane Mysore – Ooty road. Not much traffic and in an hours time stopped at Café Coffee day before Gundalpet. The stretch between Mysore and Gundalpet is in good condition. The roads 30-40kms before Gundalpet was freshly tarred which made the ride super smooth.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07441.jpg
Towards Gundalpet at Nanjangud

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07443.jpg
Railway tracks along the road at Nanjangud

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07445.jpg
Freshly tarred roads towards Gundalpet

After Gundalpet it’s the bad roads again which seemed to have improved from the previous time and I see some heavy machinery for road making parked near the village for the turn towards Gopalswamy hills. I also see some work going on repairing the road. I feel it might take another 2-3 months to fix this 10km bad stretch after Gundalpet. Enter Bandipur forest and keep a steady 50KMPH looking out for wildlife. Spotted herds of deer’s and near the Bandipur Tourism Office spotted some domesticated elephants having their breakfast. While I waited in the car my wife took a couple of pictures including a baby elephant with its mama elephant. Enter Mudumalai and take the left towards Masinagudi. The weather has been pleasant all along and I know it’s going to get better as we climb up the Segur Ghats.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07450.jpg
Towards Bandipur

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07464.jpg
Domesticated Elephants at Bandipur

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07465.jpg
Inside Bandipur

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07469.jpg
Approaching the Checkpost towards Mudumalai

By 1:30PM we are climbing up Segur Ghats with Ooty another 25-30KMS to go. Tackle the hairpin bends and as we climb higher and higher, I put on my jacket as its getting colder. By 2:00PM we are inside Ooty navigating our way towards our hotel. I had the rooms booked at Nalapad Residency.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07480.jpg
Just before the climb up Segur Ghats

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07482.jpg
Straight road towards Segur Ghats

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07504.jpg
View from the hotel balcony

It’s a decent hotel with clean rooms and bathroom situated on a quite stretch towards Ooty Lake near Rex School. The tariff is half of what it was during the “Season” time I was in Ooty last month, ranging from Rs.700-1000 during this time of the year. Check in by 2:15PM, keep the luggage in the room and after freshening up we are out of the hotel in the next 20 minutes. The railway station is just down the road less than a kilometer. Park the car at the railway station and find our way towards our coach. We still have another 10 minutes to spare and am hungry. Pick some biscuits and take some pictures of the train and the diesel loco. And settle into our seats when the train is about to leave. This is my first ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and all excited. We share our seats with an Old American Couple who are taking the train all the way to Mettupalayam. Had seats towards the right side of the train which has the most scenic views.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07508.jpg
Nilgiri Mountain Train

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07511.jpg
Just before leaving Ooty Station

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07512.jpg
1400HP Dreamdiesel!!!

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is one of the oldest mountain railways in India. The stretch between Ooty and Coonoor, the coaches are hauled by a Diesel Loco and then by steam Loco towards Mettupalayam on this meter gauge track. The entire stretch between Ooty and Coonoor is through green hills and rolling tea estates. You come across a couple of tunnels between this stretch and tall girder bridges.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07523.jpg
Tea estates viewed from the train

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07527.jpg
Negotiating a curve

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07536.jpg
View from the train

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07537.jpg
View from the train

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07538.jpg
About to enter a tunnel

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07540.jpg
View from the train

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07547.jpg
A bridge near Wellington

We are at Coonoor in about 45 minutes. We have another 45 minutes before the next train back to Ooty. Find a restaurant near the Railway station and have a quick lunch there. As we are getting back to the Railway station I hear the crisp whistles of the steam loco. Rush to the front to take pictures as the train is about to leave. The steam loco pulls away quite effortlessly with the steam whistle being used generously. What an experience to look at the steam loco spewing out steam and the way the pistons move. Then we head back to the train waiting at the platform for the ride back to Ooty at 4:30PM. The ride back to Ooty from Coonoor takes an extra 15 minutes because of the uphill climb. By 5:45PM we are back in Ooty and the temperature seems to have reduced drastically. Get in the car and head back to the hotel close by.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07553.jpg
Steam Loco leaving Coonoor station

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07557.jpg
Loco shed at Coonoor taken in B/W

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07570.jpg
On the way back to Ooty

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07571.jpg
On the way back to Ooty

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07601.jpg
Ooty at night - taken from Hotel Balcony

Get back to the room to take some rest as it’s been a hectic day. We order tea and snacks to the room. Switch on the television and hear about Michael Jackson’s death. My wife is pretty saddened to hear about his death. She has been a big fan of him since childhood. Bid Adieu to the "King of Pop". His music will live on forever. Watch news for some more time and we head off to Charring cross for dinner around 8:30PM. Buy some Ooty chocolates and then decide to head over to Shinkows Chinese Restaurant near the SBI bank or Collectors Office at Ooty. We had a nice and quite dinner. The temperature outside was between 13-15 degree C. Head back to the hotel, order extra blankets and doze off by 11:00PM.

To be continued....

Last edited by dreamdiesel : 13th July 2009 at 05:53.
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Old 13th July 2009, 08:57   #2
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Hi ,
The diesel engine is not 1400 HP ,it is 4000 HP.

YDM 4.
Y- metre guage.
D- DIESEL.
M- Mixed(to haul Passenger and goods )
4- 4000
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Old 13th July 2009, 09:03   #3
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Hey, great description of the journey. You have almost sold me to Ooty for another trip just for the NMR. How did you book the NMR online ? when I searched in railways website, it showed up only 1 train.
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Old 13th July 2009, 09:28   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecherian View Post
Hey, great description of the journey. You have almost sold me to Ooty for another trip just for the NMR. How did you book the NMR online ? when I searched in railways website, it showed up only 1 train.
Thanks Joe. I really enjoyed the journey on NMR. Though I have been to Ooty several times, this is the first time I made the journey on NMR. Tickets were booked at IRCTC Online Passenger Reservation Site.

I have attatched the train schedule for your reference.
MTP-OOTY%20Timetable[1].pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRADEEP KUMAR View Post
Hi ,
The diesel engine is not 1400 HP ,it is 4000 HP.

YDM 4.
Y- metre guage.
D- DIESEL.
M- Mixed(to haul Passenger and goods )
4- 4000
I actually looked at the specs from here...
[IRFCA] Indian Railways FAQ: Diesel and Electric Locomotive Specifications
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Old 13th July 2009, 09:44   #5
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Thanks DD. Looking forward to the second part of your travelogue
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Old 13th July 2009, 09:53   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRADEEP KUMAR View Post
Hi ,
The diesel engine is not 1400 HP ,it is 4000 HP.

YDM 4.
Y- metre guage.
D- DIESEL.
M- Mixed(to haul Passenger and goods )
4- 4000
Pradeep he is right, the power of YDM 4 is only 1400 HP and not 4000 HP. While you are right in the way the classification is done, the numbers not always reflect the power rating.

For e.g WAP4 would mean

W - Broad Gauge
A - AC Traction
P - Passenger
4 - 5000 HP.


Sorry guys for going OT, but we are still on wheels and Horsepower
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Old 13th July 2009, 10:25   #7
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A very crisp description dreamdiesel and you've captured some gorgeous greenery. The "Chook Chook" along with the sound of the whistle is what a Train is about (or should I say "was" about). Waiting for part deaux.
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Old 13th July 2009, 10:44   #8
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Hey nice. Bought back memories of my recent trip (was there in Ooty from May 14 to May 17).

Even I felt Ooty is very crowded and thought I wont return. But now, I feel like just driving there, sitting on a vantage point and just enjoy the chilled weather. If only the place was well maintained I would visit it more often. Waiting for updates on your travelogue.
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Old 13th July 2009, 13:10   #9
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3rd trip to Ooty in the same year, happens when you have a powerful diesel vehicle and good roads -.
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Old 13th July 2009, 22:41   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
3rd trip to Ooty in the same year, happens when you have a powerful diesel vehicle and good roads -.
A good highway muncher it is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinsid View Post
Hey nice. Bought back memories of my recent trip (was there in Ooty from May 14 to May 17).

Even I felt Ooty is very crowded and thought I wont return. But now, I feel like just driving there, sitting on a vantage point and just enjoy the chilled weather. If only the place was well maintained I would visit it more often. Waiting for updates on your travelogue.
Ooty is definitely crowded. But there are a few places thats not crowded and Ooty during Season should be avoided IMHO. But again Ooty/Coonoor is one of the better hill stations closer to Bangalore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dzire2Travel View Post
A very crisp description dreamdiesel and you've captured some gorgeous greenery. The "Chook Chook" along with the sound of the whistle is what a Train is about (or should I say "was" about). Waiting for part deaux.
Right on dot. How I miss those earlier train travels i did with my family pushing your head towards the window grill trying to spot the engine on the curve with a whiff of diesel smoke and sound of whistle. With Electric locos you miss all that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
Pradeep he is right, the power of YDM 4 is only 1400 HP and not 4000 HP. While you are right in the way the classification is done, the numbers not always reflect the power rating.

For e.g WAP4 would mean

W - Broad Gauge
A - AC Traction
P - Passenger
4 - 5000 HP.


Sorry guys for going OT, but we are still on wheels and Horsepower
Yeah..Lots of wheels and horsepower!!!
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Old 13th July 2009, 23:15   #11
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Default Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!

Day 2 (26th June, 2009): Ooty – Coonoor – Kotagiri – Ooty

Wake up by 8:00AM in the morning on a cold Friday. I can see fog on the distant hills from the Balcony. Get ready and we are out of the hotel by 10:00AM. We head towards Charring cross for breakfast. Breakfast is at Hotel Durga at the junction after Charring Cross towards Ooty-Coonoor road. We are on our way towards Coonoor by 10:30AM.

The way towards Coonoor is a well paved 2 lane road. It’s full of blind twists and turns and if stuck behind a slow heavy vehicle, it’s difficult to overtake as you have very limited straight stretches to see oncoming traffic. Takes 40-45 minutes to reach Coonoor and are on our way up to Upper Coonoor to head towards Dolphins Nose view point.

The road from Coonoor to Dolphins Nose view point is on a single lane well paved road. It’s about 10KMS from Coonoor and is a spectacular place to visit. The road passes through thick vegetation and rolling tea estates. And you also have spectacular views in between of the plains below. The weather being clear we had a good time looking at the views. We stopped at one of the numerous tea estates for photo shoot. On the way towards Dolphins Nose view point we take a 2-3KM deviation towards Lambs Rock View point. It’s just another viewpoint where you see the Coimbatore plains below. Spend about 15 minutes here and we are back on the way towards Dolphins Nose view point. We are at the view point by 12:30PM.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07616.jpg
Enroute Dolphins Nose

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07617.jpg
Tea Estates

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07625.jpg
Yours truely with Swift D

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07631.jpg
View from Lambs Rock

Dolphins Nose is another spectacular view point with gigantic ravines found on both sides. In one of the ravine's you can clearly see the awe inspiring Catherine Falls with its continuing stream several thousand meters below. We have nice masala tea in one of the numerous shops selling tea and spices near the parking lot. After about spending close to an hour here we decided to head back to Coonoor for lunch. Lunch at Coonoor was at Hotel Blue Hills. Nice small restaurant with good food. After lunch we decide to head towards Kodanad View Point at Kotagiri by 3:00PM.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07641.jpg
Catherine Falls viewed from Dolphins Nose view point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07644.jpg
View from Dolphins Nose view point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07647.jpg
View from Dolphins Nose view point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07655.jpg
Stopped at this small temple on the way back to Coonoor

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07662.jpg
Tea Estates

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07663.jpg
Swift D

To head towards Kotagiri from Coonoor, one has to go towards Sims Park and take the right at the junction. Kotagiri is about 25KMS from Coonoor and is slightly lower in altitude. The 2 lane road from Coonoor to Kotagiri is fun to drive and offers beautiful views of tea estates. Pass through numerous villages and reach Kotagiri town in about 40 minutes. From here the Kodanad view point is about 16KMS and takes about 30 minutes to reach the place.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07677.jpg
On the way towards Kodanad View point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07678.jpg
On the way towards Kodanad View point

Kodanad View Point is situated at the end of a huge tea estate called Kodanadu Estate. There is also a palatial bungalow situated close to the view point. I am sure the owner enjoys one of the best views South India has to offer. As we are nearing Kodanad view point the scenery unfolds. As a take a curve and look towards my right I am spellbound. I had never seen something like this.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07701.jpg
Kodanad Tea Estate - Greenest tea leaves I have ever seen

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07702.jpg
Kodanad Tea Estate

We are standing on a taller hill and the view point offers a view of the plateau below, with a river snaking its way through the valley. We drive towards the parking lot, lock the car and run towards the view point. Kodanad View point is not the usual tourist place in Nilgiris and is not crowded at all. In fact we and another family were the only tourists there. It’s a short walk down the stairs from the parking lot to the view point.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07707.jpg
Feels like being on top of the world

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07719.jpg
River Moyar joining River Bhavani

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07720.jpg
Cute little monkeys

The viewpoint provides a splendid view of Mysore Plateau to one side and the Bhavani River on the other. River Moyar snakes through the valley between the Mysore Plateau and Kodanadu Hills and joins River Bhavani round the corner. The place was really windy. We spent about an hour here and head back to the parking lot. We have not so good tea here at the parking lot and decide to head back to Ooty before it gets dark.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07721.jpg
River Moyar from Kodanad View Point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07723.jpg
Kodanad View Point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07728.jpg
Kodanad View Point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07729.jpg
At Kodanad View Point

Leave the place by 5:30PM as we see gentle fog rolling across the hills, we take the same road back to Kotagiri and then take the direct road to Ooty that passes through Doddabetta peak. The drive back to Ooty from Kotagiri takes about an hour and we are in the hotel by 7:00PM. Take some rest in the room, freshen up and head back to Charring cross for some shopping. We shop for some woolen gloves and chocolates. Take a walk on the Commercial Street at Ooty.

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07745.jpg
On the way back from Kodanad View Point

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07754.jpg
Dusk at Ooty captured from the hotel balcony

Bangalore - Ooty/Coonoor/Kotagiri in Swift D again!!!-dsc07760.jpg
The fountain at Charring Cross

We then have dinner at Dhaba Express near the Wax Museum on the Ooty- Coonoor road by 9:30PM. Today it seemed to be colder than yesterday. After dinner, head back to the hotel. Watch some news on TV and hit the bed by 11:30PM.

To be continued....
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Old 14th July 2009, 10:06   #12
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Cool snaps.. Loved the night view from Kodanad view point and one before and after that.. keep going
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Old 14th July 2009, 10:35   #13
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Looking forward to read more. Nice pictures, especially at Kodanad.
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Old 14th July 2009, 12:34   #14
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Nice writeup and photos. Thanks for sharing. We went to the exact same places one week after you, except for Kotagiri. whe we were there, the weather was colder and foggy, but thats how i love it !!
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Old 14th July 2009, 14:05   #15
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The snap on the wellington bridge is the same bridge we used to take to get to our school and its always a challenge to cross the bridge when you suddenly hear the train whistle blow from the other hill. I have seen a lot of cattle hit in the very same bridge and flung down into the small river below. While on train while crossing this bridge if one looks out, you feel as if the train is literally floating in thin air since there are no side rails or anything that indicates there is a bridge underneath.
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