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Old 3rd May 2010, 10:15   #1
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Default Chennai-Coonoor-Bandipur-Bangalore-Chennai

Route:

I took a vacation to Coonoor and Bandipur. April 21st to April 28th. The route I took is Chennai-Vellore-Krishnigiri-Dharmapuri-Salem-Perundurai-Avinashi-Annur-Mettupalayam-Coonoor-Adderley Estate (near Dolphin's Nose)-Coonoor-Ooty-Masinagudi (36 Hairpin Bends)-Bandipur-Cicada Resports-Bandipur-Nanjangud-Mysore-Mandya-Bangalore-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Vellore-Chennai

I must say, the roads were of high quality throughout.

Chennai to Coonoor (Adderley Guest House):

Started at 6:00 AM at Thiruvanmiyur (South East suburb of Chennai) took a 30-minute break at Krishnagiri for breakfast. Reached Salem at about 10:30 AM and refueled at a nice BP station on the ring road. There is a 3-4 km stretch on the Salem-Sankari road, just outside Salem that is two lane, a little slow there, but not a big deal. Salem-Avinashi was quick, contrary to what I heard of the traffic conditions on this stretch. Reached Avinashi around 11:15 AM. The 4-lane road ends a few km before Avinashi, but the 2-lane road up to Avinashi is quite wide, making it safe to overtake. Reached Mettupalayam via Annur around 12:00 Noon, excellent state road. Took a break just before the ghat section for a few min. Reached Coonoor at 1:45 PM as there was slow moving traffic on the ghat section. Reached the guest house at 2:15 for lunch. Total time taken from Chennai to Coonoor 8 hours approximate. I did a lot of 120 kmph on the Chennai-Avinashi stretches. Must say a delight to drive and best of all, it is quite safe. But need to slowdown on the Thoopur ghat due to the steep gradient and speed bumps. Even the two-lane Avinashi-Coonoor was of superior quality.


Coonoor-Bandipur (Cicada Resorts):

Started at 9:30 AM from the guest house and reached Ooty at 11:30 AM after stopping at Coonoor to buy some plants at a nursery. Ooty town was full of traffic, managed to get out and stopped at a BP station just outside of Ooty, where the highway seems to split, not sure of the place, nice place to refuel. Stopped at Barrista for some snacks and started at around 12:15. A little after Hindhustan Photofilms, you come across 2 routes to Mysore, one via Masinagudi and the other via Gudalur. Thanks to Team-BHP, I wanted to take the short and exciting route to Bandipur via Masinagudi. The cop would not allow me, but managed to convince him that I'm aware of this route. I was surprised at the superior English the cop spoke. He was convinced finally and asked me to sign a register with some details and gave me some clear driving instructions. He asked me to drive only in 2nd gear and told me not to overtake. I must say one needs to be careful while driving downhill as the gradient is far too steep on this route. At one point, while on the 3rd gear, I was not able to slow down, I had to quickly shift gear to 2nd and 1st in order to slow down and stop. So one needs to be careful here. Reached Bandipur around 1:45 PM and the resort in 20 min from Bandipur. Great roads forest roads throughout as well.


Bandipur-Bangalore (Benson Town – Central Bangalore):

Started at the resort at 11:45 AM after a swim. Stopped at Maddur for lunch at 2:30 PM. Reached Bangalore around 4:30 PM (Benson Town - Bangalore Central). Good roads throughout. I must say, the Mysore ring road was a bit too long, not sure how the drive through town is. The ring road had a few signals though.

Bangalore-Chennai:
As usual, did it in 4 hours 30 min with no breaks except for refueling at A2B BP Station between Soolagiri and Krishnagiri. I did not refuel in Karnataka, just too expensive.

Total distance travelled approximately 1200-1300 km.

Last edited by bblost : 3rd May 2010 at 11:14. Reason: Font Tags Removed. Please do not copy paste from any editor except notepad.
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Old 3rd May 2010, 10:54   #2
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ha, you forgot to preview your post :(

Its always recommended to paste from notepad rather than ms word etc. And do not forget to preview so you can see how it will "look" for others to read.

Quote:
I did not refuel in Karnataka, just too expensive.
We are left with no option
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Old 3rd May 2010, 11:46   #3
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Good start. I miss the pictures. Please post some.
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Old 3rd May 2010, 11:51   #4
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Hi Ashwin,

Looks like you had a perfect holiday trip which had both components - excellent driving and relaxing in serene environment. Just started reading your TL, would be helpful if you could plz share details of accommodation along with their tariff. Looking forward to more.

PS: Where are the pics?
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Old 3rd May 2010, 13:30   #5
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Crip log you got there. Would appreciate some nice pics. Which vehicle were you driving? Want to know from perspective of ooty - masinagudi route.
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Old 3rd May 2010, 13:57   #6
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Nice brief travelogue there. You did not follow the cop's instructions did you? Went to 3rd gear eh? 1st or 2nd is the only one to take on that route

And yeah,pictures pls.
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Old 3rd May 2010, 14:03   #7
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I second Ampere. Pictures would make this post complete.
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Old 3rd May 2010, 14:54   #8
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The other thing, that I would like to try is the Dimbham route between BLR to CBE. As per reviews, seems to be very scenic.
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Old 4th May 2010, 21:05   #9
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Hi,

Apologies, I will be sure to use the notepad and proof the script before posting.

I dropped off wife and kid at B'lore and left my camera as well. Will upload photos as soon as I lay my hand on my camera.

Was driving a Swift Diesel (Dzire), which is a year old and has done 30K already. Frequent MAA-BLR, at least once a month. I did follow the cops instructions for the most part, but shifted to 3rd at a point and realized that the Swift does not have the kind of breaks.

Ooty-Masinagudi route is great, good surfacing and width, but the driver certainly needs a bit of experience and a bit of luck with the cops in the hills. There was heavy traffic going up that way, I'm assuming the road is mostly one-way on weekends and during peak holiday season. As a courtesy to wildlife, I did not go over 40-50 km once on the plains. Did spot some Elephants and Deer between Masinagudi and Bandipur.

Now about the places I stayed:

Coonoor:

At Glendale's Adderley Guest House.

www.glendalestays.in/adderleyguesthouse.html


3500 a night not including food. A butler at your service, to whom you need to order your food. You need to decide what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner at least 24 hours in advance to help them get the stuff needed to cook them. Food was GREAT, especially cocktail snacks. The place is super clean and well kept. The garden, I understand, wins the top prize each year in the Niligiri flower show. You could ask for a bonfire and BBQ as well, they are more than glad to serve.

The guesthouse itself is 135 years old, recently re-done. The guesthouse is situated in the middle of a 1500 acre estate, so trekkers paradise. Breathtaking views. On most days we had clouds barging into the guesthouse. You have cable TV in the drawing room with a fireplace, I could watch the IPL semi-finals there. The owners are a little choosy with the guests, they do a lot of background checks before offering you the rooms. Very discreetly, the caretaker told me that they make sure it is a small family if you are taking one room and a large family, usually the whole guesthouse is rented. There are 3 rooms in all, from what I saw. I suggest you book at least a month in advance if you want to stay on the weekends. We never stepped out of the estate for 3 days, Coonoor is just too tourist'ee. Ah, you only have BSNL signals, so I had fun with zero calls from my office.

Next,

Cicada Resorts - Bandipur

This is a Coffee Day group resort. Cost 14K for 2 days and 2 nights with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and some snacks.

Cicada – Wildlife Resorts in India: Kabini River, Bandipur, BR Hills

Rooms and food comparable with 3-star. The chef took care of the needs of my 4-year old daughter and she enjoyed the swimming and evening snacks. They even packed some food for my daughter when we left. They really take care of children. Service was great, but maybe was even better when we were there as Diyanidhi Maran (Central Minister) and gang were there, the buffet was really good with a lot of extra food. Took a toll on my weight though. Don't go to this place on weekdays, you could be the only one there. Choose the weekend, specifically Friday, Saturday and get out on Sunday after Breakfast and head home. I liked the jungle safari, it was 3-4 hours of great excitement. Again, this place has a good bar, and not to mention, SAT TV, so was able to watch the finals on a large screen. I would recommend this place only on weekends, I REPEAT, DO NOT GO ON WEEKDAYS.
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Old 4th May 2010, 22:29   #10
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7K for a 3-Star seems very costly. Even the Conoor Taj charges 8K per day. Is it because in the name of wild life, they charge anything?

But yes the place I am told is amazing.
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