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Old 20th May 2010, 18:43   #601
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Originally Posted by RajaTaurus View Post
I am planning for a Rendezvous with Ooty next month with my 2 wives. One will take us and the other will be my co-passenger. Now, I kind of getting discouraged to take my 2nd wife through such terrible roads.
haha good one! Which one of them is more demanding?
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Old 20th May 2010, 18:47   #602
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^^ Well, First one is demanding me not to head to second one's demands, which as you know, are not that meet-able with the road conditions we have. Now you tell me WaattuDooo.!

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Old 20th May 2010, 19:14   #603
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Originally Posted by RajaTaurus View Post
C_L, I have been and am a silent viewer of possibly one of the best travelogue I have ever read in my life.
The Avalanche lake and emarald dam are dreamy and 'out of the galaxy' places. Well, I am planning for a Rendezvous with Ooty next month with my 2 wives. One will take us and the other will be my co-passenger. Now, I am kind of getting discouraged to take my 2nd wife through such terrible roads.
Query: Are there any transport or cabbie (trustable) operators available in Ooty, who could take us to these places? Is it advisable to take hire tour operators? Expert advise requested please.
First of all, thanks a ton for those wonderful words of appreciation and encouragement, Raja Ji.

I am glad that you are planning a trip to one of my favourite places on earth. One word of caution. A car will go through hell to reach these places. You wouldn't want your second wife to be tortured, right? We went there only because Tavera is a very tough vehicle.

You can rent MUVs from Ooty for this trip. The rate should be in the range of 500 - 1200 for these two points and also Fern Hill. You have to negotiate. Your hotel's travel desk will be able to arrange a taxi for you, but that might work out to be about 15% costlier.

You can directly go to a travel agency in Commercial Street or approach any cabbie parked there! The best option would be to opt for a MUV like a Tavera or an Innova or a Bolero! You don't need to worry about safety as long as you hire an authorised taxi guy.
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Old 20th May 2010, 21:35   #604
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Oh my god! what happened to that Tempo? It looks like it was bombed just like it is shown in movies. Hope you were able to find some solution to the traffic or was it a stay at Coimbatore?
It was really shocking, seeing such a big vehicle, eaten by flames. Could it have been a short circuit? We'll never know. Any expert here who can tell us what could have caused that?

What happened after we got stuck was hilarious! More on that as the story progresses!
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Old 21st May 2010, 09:26   #605
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@C_L, Thanks mate. I will probably hire a full day cab from the hotel to take us to few selected places around Ooty.
Keep the pictures and the gripping stories flowing.
Safe Driving.
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Old 21st May 2010, 10:37   #606
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Originally Posted by RajaTaurus View Post
@C_L, Thanks mate. I will probably hire a full day cab from the hotel to take us to few selected places around Ooty.
Keep the pictures and the gripping stories flowing.
Safe Driving.
Thank you, Raja Ji.

Two suggestions from my side.

Insist on a new MUV with NEW tyres. Worn out tyres may not be able to handle the torture. Believe me, the last adventure you want on a vacation, is standing in the hot sun with your wife, in the middle of a reserve forest, when your driver changes a punctured tyre!!

Opt for an AC vehicle. It was pretty hot, when we were there. But it is entirely up to you.
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Old 21st May 2010, 15:20   #607
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Sure, will keep those tips in mind. Thanks a lot.
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Old 21st May 2010, 17:18   #608
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Wink Finally... A place to call it a day!!

We were stuck in the traffic jam for over twenty minutes, without being able to move an inch. Our situation was akin to a fish in an aquarium. There was nowhere to go! We got very worried when there was no change in the situation even after half an hour. Then some good Samaritans from the town donned the mantle of traffic wardens and prevented vehicles overtaking the ones already in the jam and thereby completely blocking the other lane too! We got so angry with the behaviour of some imbecile drivers who had absolutely no sense in their so-called brains.

We slowly started inching forward and I saw an opening on the left side of the road. What happened next was two kilometres of off-roading! I completely left the tarred road, seeing a mud path on the left side. My gamble paid off and soon we reached a traffic signal, which we learnt, was causing the mega traffic jam. There were two traffic cops standing there, but they were merely spectators to the utter anarchy reigning there!

After spending another five minutes waiting at the signal, we were able to break free from the jam. What followed was another bout of high speed driving. I switched on my projectors and put my foot on the accelerator. I honked continuously to prevent vehicles from the opposite side/lane, coming into my path. My horns worked wonders and two wheelers were literally jumping out of the way. I scared the hell out of some riders, who still had the audacity to overtake stationary vehicles and come directly in my path! There were other vehicles following me and suddenly I observed that I was actually clearing the way for a LOT of vehicles. Realizing this, I pumped up my accelerator and what followed was some typical high speed driving.

To cut a long story short, we reached the rendezvous point, which was Hotel Annapoorna, a little way after the AnnaMalai Chevrolet showroom, by 7.50 pm. My odometer read 87, 687 kilometres. We needed 75 minutes to cover a mere 32 kilometres!!! Such was the intensity of the traffic jam. I must have covered the last ten kilometres in 6 or seven minutes!!! I don’t know the exact time as I was too busy scaring people!!!

We also had a backup plan, in case we were stopped by the cops for rash driving. I told my sister to act as though she was suffering from severe stomach ache!!! But luckily, we reached the hotel in double quick time. But there is a problem. I won’t be able to go to Coimbatore anytime in the near future! If anyone of those unfortunate bikers remembers my Chevy, I will be in big trouble!!!

We parked our Chevy beside the hotel and quickly transferred my sister’s luggage into the Indica which was waiting for them. We quickly bid them goodbye. There was a travelling time of about 1.5+ hours to Palghat. But I was confident that they would make it. The only worry was the usual mammoth traffic jams near Walayar check post, in the Kerala border. I told the driver to take a shortcut to avoid the check post and ensure that they reached the railway station in time!

My sister’s family left the hotel by 8 pm. The time we spent with them was truly memorable and suddenly we felt very sad. They had been constantly with us for two days and all of a sudden, we felt a big void in our car! I had driven all the way from Pune just to meet them!

We decided to take a break at Coimbatore. There were no major towns, once we left Coimbatore! We did not feel like looking for another hotel, so we decided to have our dinner from Annapoorna Restaurant! We quickly freshened up and had a couple of Dosas and lots of Idiappams and Vadas. They tasted awesome. The cost was very very reasonable at Rs. 168.

We returned back to our Chevy and checked our engine and all oil and coolant levels. My Chevy’s AC was switched on the entire time we were stuck in the jam. But thankfully, everything was in perfect condition and we heaved a sigh of relief. I did some stretching and soon was ready for the last leg of our night drive. I knew that trying to reach Tanjavur or Trichy was not feasible, especially after such a tiring drive through the ghats and then through the jam. So we decided to stop over at Erode for the night. It was the right decision considering the circumstances.

I washed all of Chevy’s windows and the windscreen too. There was a kilo of dirt which I removed!!!

Finally we started our drive to Erode at 9.30 pm. The route was the same we took to reach Coimbatore. We had to go via Annur, Avinashi and Perunthurai and then take the right turn to Erode from the highway! Language was not at all a problem for us and with some help from the locals, we were soon speeding down the super smooth highway to Annur. There were road dividers and the four-laned road was very good. But we had to be careful about big blocks of concrete which were broken off from the dividers to enable two wheelers to take U-turns. I kept up a steady speed of 90 kmph. I had a Skoda for company. My driving must have inspired confidence in him and soon, that guy was tailing me at 80 - 90 kmph.

Our joy of driving through such wonderful roads was short-lived, when the highway became two-laned all of a sudden. I slowed down and drove very carefully.

One word of caution. Trucks from the opposite direction will try to run off smaller vehicles from the road, when they overtake. Stay in the middle of the road and do not give side even if you see a vehicle coming straight at you. They WILL run you off the road mercilessly. Be warned, that there is no safety if one leaves the tarred road. If you stay in the middle and do allow them to overtake, they will go back to their own lane. Honk like hell! But this move is not for the faint hearted!!!

We drove through long lonely stretches of the highway with that Skoda for company. I was doubly careful about overtaking when I noticed the Skoda’s driver following me blindly, even when overtaking! My wifey was nervous when she saw some near misses for the Skoda guy. We decided to slow down and we made him overtake us and then we tailed him at a safe distance!

We contacted my sister and brother-in-law by 10.10 pm. We felt tremendous relief to know that they had managed to reach Palghat and boarded the train with just moments to spare !!!

It seems that they reached the railway station and the train was in the second platform. After some acrobatics, they crossed the railway track and boarded the train. The train left just five minutes later! It was a lesson for us to forecast unforeseen blocks and hindrances and leave enough time for travel!

We were at peace at last and drove through Annur and soon reached Avinashi. Shortly the toll road started and the drive became so uncomplicated. We paid a single toll of Rs. 34 somewhere in the highway. The toll road was 4 laned, akin to Hosur – Salem road.

We drove very fast and soon reached the Erode Bypass. We missed the first right turn to Erode, but took the second one by 11.30 pm. We went inside the city and asked directions to the bus stand. We must have driven about 20 kilometres inside Erode and finally spotted Hotel Park Palace. It was a two star hotel with a good AC room at Rs. 825 only. The added attraction was the guarded, locked parking in the basement.

We quickly parked our Chevy in the basement. After a quick check of his shoes and his beautiful heart, I was satisfied and checked into the hotel. Our Chevy’s odometer read 87, 797 kms. We had covered 110 kilometres in less than two hours.

The hotel was very basic and our room was good and the best part of the deal was a super cool AC.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-room_at_erode.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2-room_at_erode.jpg

We freshened up and slipped into a well-deserved slumber by 12.30 am.

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 21st May 2010 at 17:36.
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:48   #609
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Annaoorna ! Thy name is tasty food ! Have been having food there ever since I was a fiver! Kept going after long times in my life (5-9-17...) to CBE. But the food was always the same: Yummy.

If you dont believe me ask HVK! He is another Annapoorna lover.
What say you sir?
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Old 21st May 2010, 19:33   #610
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Annaoorna ! Thy name is tasty food ! Have been having food there ever since I was a fiver! Kept going after long times in my life (5-9-17...) to CBE. But the food was always the same: Yummy.

If you dont believe me ask HVK! He is another Annapoorna lover.
What say you sir?
I agree with you 101% Ampere! The food was awesome! We started with a Dosa and a set of Idiappams and Kurma. We simply couldn't resist repeating the order and after finishing that, we again ordered Vada and another two sets of Idiappam. Boy, it was yummy!!! The tea they served was one of the best we ever had! Sorry Darjeeling!
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Old 21st May 2010, 19:45   #611
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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
I agree with you 101% Ampere! The food was awesome! We started with a Dosa and a set of Idiappams and Kurma. We simply couldn't resist repeating the order and after finishing that, we again ordered Vada and another two sets of Idiappam. Boy, it was yummy!!! The tea they served was one of the best we ever had! Sorry Darjeeling!
You make my mouth watery CL by saying what you had... I miss TN hotels badly the Annaporna's, Saravana Bhavan's . This June on vacation trip I am going to full fill it.

You will not believe it last time I had got parcel from Annaporna and had it in Pune.
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Old 21st May 2010, 21:41   #612
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Default Day 5…. Velankanni… here we come……….

Day 5…. Velankanni… here we come……….

We woke up after a very relaxing sleep by 9am on the fifth day of our journey. As expected, the LG AC in our room turned out to be stunner! We were literally shivering in the early morning and I had to bring up the temperature! Now I know which brand AC to look for, when I decide to buy one for my house!

We had decided on a late start on day 3 as there was not much distance to cover and Velankanni was our final stop for the day. So it wouldn’t really matter if we arrived a bit late. Little did we know what was in store for us! Will the decision to leave late, cost us dearly? We had no inkling as to what was awaiting us! More on that as the story progresses!

We had covered a total of 1714 kilometres to reach Erode. We had travelled an average of 570 kilometres per day till then. We had almost 320 kilometres more to cover to reach our favourite pilgrimage. But we knew that it would be a really hard drive through some of the most unforgiving terrains in the country. The temperature was always constantly at 40+ degrees and the sun was as bright as ever. There was no better recipe for quick dehydration and a possible disaster!

We stocked up on water, sweets and juices. But nothing was more important than experience on those roads. If a driver is not able to identify the first signs of dehydration and fatigue, then God help that person! I had firsthand experience, so we took enough precautions to counter the effects of the harsh, unforgiving sun!

With a quick prayer, we left the hotel after a quick checkout by 10.30 am. Loading our stuff into Chevy was always time consuming, especially with our dear Sony occupying the best possible place!

We quickly got out of the city roads with the help of locals who gave me crystal clear directions to exit the city and we sped along the highway to Thiruchengode. We thought of having our breakfast en-route. I really wanted to try the local restaurants for a change.

The sun was unbearable even at that time in the morning and even after wearing our sunglasses, we felt uncomfortable. We swiftly increased our Chevy’s AC speed to 3.

The drive to Thiruchengode was very good. The road condition was good throughout. There were lots of local buses racing with each other to get more passengers. We did not pay much attention to them and maintained our lane. My mantra to drive safely in TN roads is to never leave the road, even if you see a vehicle coming at you. You have to flash your headlights and stand your ground. Most of the time, there will be huge height difference between the tarred road and the sandy side path. So, if you decide to leave the road, you will most probably end up in a ditch!!! If you keep on driving in the middle of the road, there is less chance that someone will try to run you off the road. This is my experience. I would like to know what my readers think!

We reached Thiruchengode by 10.45 kilometres after driving 14 kilometres. The heat was so energy sapping, even with our AC in triple blast. We quickly decided to halt for breakfast at a roadside restaurant. It was opposite to an Engineering College in Thiruchengode.

I parked my Chevy beside the restaurant and kept the engine running. I went inside the restaurant to see the condition. It was not fit for my queen and so it was quickly decided to have our breakfast in our Chevy. We told the hotel owner to serve us in the car and the gentleman was only to too happy to have an MH vehicle parked before his hotel. Some sort of advertisement I guess!

We ordered Parotta, Egg Masala and Egg Omelettes. We quickly got in the back seat of our car and switched on the triple AC also. The food was served super fresh in banana leaves on steel plates and it tasted superb. The hotel owner had discouraged us, when we ordered for ten parottas, saying that we wouldn’t be able to have so many. We were determined to prove him wrong and had 14 amazing parottas. He was shocked but didn’t show it!

We paid for the food; the bill came to Rs. 132 only, and restarted our drive towards Namakkal by 11.45 am. The drive through the smooth highway was relaxing and we maintained a steady 80 kmph. We decided to keep our speed in check because of the hundreds of mopeds and Luna motorcycles being driven on that road at 20 kmph.

We reached Namakkal after an uneventful drive by 12.35 pm. We had covered 60 kilometres till then. What we saw in Namakkal was awesome. One of the most beautiful stone hills I had ever seen! There were also some temples on top of the hill.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-a_hill_near_namakkal.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2-hill_near_namakkal-click_to_see_temple_on_top_of_the_hill.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-3-beautiful_hill-see_a_temple_on_top.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-4-namakkal.jpg

Hats off to the guy who painted this!


An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-5-hats_off_to_the_guy_who_painted_this.jpg

We stopped at Namakkal and replenished our stock of mineral water and left the city behind by 12.50 pm. The highway to Trichy was welcoming us with open arms and soon we were speeding along. The highway was very beautiful with tall trees flanking it and we enjoyed its beauty tremendously!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-6-chevy_ready_to_roll.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-7-chevy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-8-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-9-highway_to_trichy_from_erode.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-10-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-11-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-12-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-13-highway_to_trichy-beautiful_house.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-14-highway_to_trichy-beautiful_houses.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-15-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-16-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-17-highway_to_trichy-beautiful_trees.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-18-highway_to_trichy-superb.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-19-beautiful-scenery.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-20-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-21-highway_to_trichy.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-22-so_colourful.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-23-a_temple.jpg

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 21st May 2010 at 21:45.
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Old 21st May 2010, 22:26   #613
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Originally Posted by ranjith.rajaram View Post
You make my mouth watery CL by saying what you had... I miss TN hotels badly the Annaporna's, Saravana Bhavan's . This June on vacation trip I am going to full fill it.

You will not believe it last time I had got parcel from Annaporna and had it in Pune.
That is something unheard of!! How did the food stay fresh? You must have taken a flight!!
I agree with you. The food from Saravanas and Annapoorna is awesome!

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Old 21st May 2010, 23:14   #614
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Here is a high-resolution image of Avalanche Lake. Ampere, this is for you! Have a great time there!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-avalanche_lake.jpg
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Old 22nd May 2010, 00:14   #615
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Wow. Look! There's an air conditioned play school in Namakkal! My god. Namakkal has gone top notch with air conditioned play schools!
Ranjith's missing so much of food. Saravanas, Annapoornas, hell even his mother in law's puttu! Add 5 - 6 hours break time for food during your trip Ranjith.
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