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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:36   #1
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Thumbs up Unforgettable Udagamandalam

Officially named Udagamandalam, Ooty or the "Queen of Hills" is the most popular hill station of the South and also one of the best known hill resort of India. So, we planned a trip to enjoy its extraordinary scenic beauty from Bangalore by car.

We started from Bangalore on 25th September at about 5am. Taking route through Mysore road, we entered the SH17, via Channapatna, Mandya, we reached Mysore ring road by about 7:15am.

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Then via Nanjangud, we entered the Gundulpet town by 9am and take the NH67. The road from this point to Bandhipur National park was also unforgettable. And now onwards the journey is through the forest.

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The forest saddles both Karnataka and Tamilnadu states across their border. On the Karnataka side the forest is called Bandipur National Park while the forest on the Tamilnadu side is called Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Both are tiger reserves and National Parks of importance. And the whole forest falls in Western Ghats.

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About 20 min drive, we cross the check posts and we entered Tamilnadu state and we were then at Madumala National Park by 9.40am. The board saying "Be a silent passer" can be seen on road sides. We could see spotted dears, peacock, elephants and gray langurs in these forests. After crossing the forest area, we reached a junction Theppakadu, from here there are two routes to Ooty. One via Masinagudi and the other via Gudalur.

We choose the route via Masinagudi, since this route is shorter and had about 36 hairpin curves. The scenic beauty of Western Ghats while climbing these hairpins is really a memorable one. I wished I had camera on my eyes so that I could snap each moment.

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At last, we climbed the 36th curve and had to go a bit more to reach the Ooty town. By 11am, we reached Ooty town and had to search for a good hotel. And by 12pm, we hired a room at Queen Residency. This hotel was situated in between the carrot fields, so we could see ladies digging out the carrots and collecting them in a bag.

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We had our lunch at the hotel and took rest. By 6pm, we planned to go out and see Ooty town. It was so cold outside that we had to wear the woollen dresses. We had dinner in the town and were back at room by 9pm and had a good sleep.

Next day, we got up and had our tea enjoying the scenic beauty and the cold, also we planned some places to visit for the day. So we set off by 9am, had breakfast and reached the Ooty lake, so we planned to go for boating before the sunny afternoon.

Ooty lake appears in an L-shape, and it was artificially formed by John Sullivan. We took the row boat and enjoyed the beauty of the blue hills, munching the fresh Ooty carrots. There are also lake gardens and toy train rides nearby.

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The next nearby place was Thread Garden. It was a unique experience to see the colourful flowers exquisitely made from threads. It seems that the plants and flowers are entirely woven by hand without any help from machines; even needles have not been used in creating these wonders. The effects are so elaborate and natural that it is very hard to believe that they are artificial.

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Then we set off to see the highest peak of Nilgiris and Tamilnadu. Again we had to climb through hills enjoying the beauty of tea estates, carrot, cabbage cultivations to reach the tourist spot "Dodabetta peak". The view of Ooty town from this peak was just awesome.

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Then while climbing down from Dodabetta peak, we visited the "Tea factory and museum". It has an entry fee and they show the whole process of making tea from the tea leaves, we also bought some fresh tea powders. There are also homemade chocolate stalls nearby to this area.

The wax museum is also a spot to visit, which is just on the same route. Here the wax statues of personalities of Indian history are housed in a 142 year old bungalow.

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The Ketti Valley also known as "Switzerland of Southern India" due to the year-round pleasant climatic conditions and the view point called "Valley View" is located on the route to Coonoor.

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Tired of travelling and being hungry, we reached back to the town and had a fantastic SouthIndian Thali. With stomach-full, we thought of entering the Botanical Garden and take rest for a while. By then it was 3:30pm. It is an English styled terraced garden in an area about 22 hectares and has the most colourful collection of flora in Southern India. There are about 1000 varieties of plants, shrubs and trees. The beautifully maintained garden also has exotic varieties of orchids, rock plants, medicinal plants etc.

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The Raj Bhavan is also located nearby. Walking around the garden takes hours and by 5:30pm we took almost a glance of the garden and came out. The Tibetian shops nearby this place are good for shopping.

That was the planned schedule for the day, and we had our dinner from Hotel Aryas in the Ooty town and were back to our room at Queens Residency to escape from the chilling cold outside.

Since we had to head back, schedule for the day was very short. We had to wait a bit for our breakfast in the Ooty Sarvanas, but never miss the delicious breakfast from this hotel.

Then by 9:30am, we reached the Rose Garden, the largest Rose Garden in India, perched on the lower slopes of Elk Hill and are over an area of 6 hectares, being landscaped over 5 terraces. There are several varieties of roses with each variety name being written, but since it was not the rose season, we could not enjoy the beauty of roses.

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By 10:30am, we went to the Ooty Municipal Market to buy carrots, cabbages, sugarcanes and apples. They were so tasty and cheap.

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And then it was time to start back to Bangalore, but I did feel that time didnít permit me to visit many more places at Ooty like Pykara falls, Simís park etc. and by 12pm we took the same route to reach Bangalore. So next time have to plan a trip to Ooty for 1 week.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:41   #2
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i really liked this "straight from the heart" simple travelogue of yours!
ooty has a firm position amongst my personal "favourite places in the world".
well done and nice photos!
thanks!
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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:53   #3
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@shankar.balan: Thank you, I'm glad you liked them. Yes, it is in my favourites too.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 19:23   #4
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Short, sweet and to the point

Nice Travelogue.

Seems the bandipur roads are laid well. Hope guys dont speed on that...
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Old 3rd November 2009, 19:40   #5
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nicely narrated, thank you for writing
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Old 4th November 2009, 09:38   #6
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@mjothi: Thank you. Yes, the roads are excellent. I've seen some drivers at 100kmph through this stretch, even though the sign board says Go Slow.

@Anoop: Thank you.
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Old 4th November 2009, 09:42   #7
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Nicely Written.To the point.
Keep it up.
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Old 5th November 2009, 02:04   #8
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Great travelogue and the pictures are so tempting that I am unable to resist my self till December.
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Old 5th November 2009, 03:38   #9
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Nice travellogue. Next time around please try pykara lake. There is a dam which is also beautiful.
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Old 5th November 2009, 08:46   #10
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Nice photos and nice travelogue. Very to the point precise and crisp. By the way did you not post any pictures of your car ? Also do share some stats of the trip like the distance you drove and the fuel efficiency you got etc. This is immensely helpful as those would be the very practical numbers for the make of car you drive and maybe they are better than some other fellow BHP-ians.
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Old 5th November 2009, 09:30   #11
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@sidd25, @vikram.vns: Friends, I'm gald you liked it. Thanks for your support.
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Old 5th November 2009, 09:46   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
Nice travellogue. Next time around please try pykara lake. There is a dam which is also beautiful.
Thanks maddy. Yes I heard about pykara lake from my friends too. It is already in my next itinerary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivalent_98 View Post
Nice photos and nice travelogue. Very to the point precise and crisp. By the way did you not post any pictures of your car ? Also do share some stats of the trip like the distance you drove and the fuel efficiency you got etc. This is immensely helpful as those would be the very practical numbers for the make of car you drive and maybe they are better than some other fellow BHP-ians.
Thanks ambivalent. Unfortunately, I donít have a good shot which covers the car. However, you may visit my garage to have a look at my ride. We drove around 270km one side with an average fuel efficiency of 16km. Please note that, Iíve taken the 36 hairpin route to reach the hill top and mostly in 1st and 2nd gear (Swift is very sluggish in 2nd gear, more info (Swift Zxi Ė Performance Issue).), which brought my average fuel efficiency down.
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Old 5th November 2009, 10:53   #13
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Nice travelogue wmanu.

Sadly I have some dire memories of my last trip to ooty some 2 years back. So here it goes-

One fine day we friends decided to go on a trip to ooty in our rented Scorpio. Calicut to Ooty shouldn’t take more than 4.5 hrs. So we set out at 10am in the afternoon to ooty via Nilambur as this was the shorter route. We stopped at Nilambur town(2hrs from college) for diesel and there falls the first bomb, we came to know that the road to ooty is closed because of heavy rains. So now the only way was to go back all the way and go up the wayanad hairpins and proceed to ooty from there (this will take 4hrs). Halfway through the drive, our tire got punctured and to our utter luck the Scorpio didn’t have a jacky and the stepney tire was bald (it looked like one giant tube with no threads). So now we had to find a tire repair shop and with the help from some private bus guys who were kind enough to lend us their hydraulic jacky we got moving again after 2 hours. Again during a pit-stop before the hairpins one of my friends went and stamped on some excreta (s***) and the whole car was stinking from there on. So after some 8 hours of driving we reached Kalpetta and then proceeded towards Gudalur. So now it was 9.30pm and the road through the national park was closed and we were asked to take an alternate route which although not being paved was shorter in distance. Now here begins the real adventure, the road was virtually non-existent and the light from our scorpio was not able to light up the entire road. The entire path was a climb with some hairpins too, both sides of the path had some mega forest with huge trees and some trees were uprooted due to the rain and leaning on to the road, moreover the road was very slippery. The experience was really eerie like some horror story. After almost 2 hours we reached ooty and found some accommodation. The guys at the hotel were kind enough to open up their restaurant and provide us with some food. So there ended our 14 hour ordeal and what a fine machine the Scorpio is, a true offroader. The return trip was incident free through the national park.

PS- During our stop at gudalur we bought a beverage (b***) called Kalyani, please never buy this c***, it was like drinking water.

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Old 5th November 2009, 11:50   #14
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Hey wmanu, first it was Wyanad and now its Ooty, Like Shankar balan this place is also a favourite of mine. Nice narration and pictures, do keep posting more!
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Old 5th November 2009, 13:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Short, sweet and to the point

Nice Travelogue.

Seems the bandipur roads are laid well. Hope guys dont speed on that...
Nice travelogue wmanu ! Although the Bandipur roads were good, the last time I drove on those roads, there were speedbreakers at almost regular intervals on that stretch, have they been removed now ?
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