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Old 26th February 2011, 18:11   #1
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Default 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

Its been long on my list to drive to Ooty. Primarily 2 reasons, I wanted a long drive and I love the ghat sections, and two my wife wanted to see Ooty. So I decided to make a trip. These days smaller hill stations have become places not to be visited during summers. Having been to many places in the Himalayas, I thought feb would be a good time to be there and experience a cold but not so chilly weather.

It was Thursday when I decided to drive the next morning. So we took leaves from our offices, and packed our bags in a hurry to grab some things for the trip. I rushed to the nearby Heritage store to get some eatables for the upcoming trip. I very fond of eating while on Long drives. Funny but that's the way I am .

The Plan was to wake up by 2 AM and start by 3 AM. Like all planned trips that have a deviation, this one too had one. We were late to sleep so could wake up by 3 AM. I have my own regime for road trips. I make it a point to have a hot water bath and shave before I start. No special reason, just that it helps me stay fresh, especially during early morning drives. Finally @ 4:05 AM we were out on the roads.

Below is the route I took for the trip.
Chennai - Krishnagiri-Thoppur-Avinashi-Metupalayam-kotagiri-Ooty-Mudumalai-Bandipur-Chamaraja Nagar - back to Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai

Let the pictures do rest of the talk, while I sit back and add my notes to them.

The first Toll Gate outside chennai.
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We were close to Elagiri hills, when we stopped at day break for some tea. This is the same tea shop where I stop everytime I drive to Bangalore. I had to clean the windshield as well. It was full of insects that crashed and got crushed.

Good Morning Elagiri
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Thats my Waggy
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My wife had a cup of tea and I had some water and when we were about to start. The tea shop owner said that breakfast is ready and if we would like to have. I was hungry and was thinking of having cakes, but hot idlis, I sure cannot miss them. After all the fun of road trips is having road side food. We stopped by for a while washing our hands and faces, and watching trains passing by.

I wanted to capture a colorful passenger train but it passed before I could take out my camera, so I had to settle for a goods train that followed immediately.
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While I was doing time pass around taking pictures of the highway and goods train our breakfast was being readied.
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Finally after a filling breakfast, we hit the road again. A breakfast for two and a cup of tea for Rs.36.
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Our next stop was the Gol Ghar Dhaba at Thoppur. Well I call them Gol ghar dhabas because I have come across two types of ghar shabas. 1) Sophisticated and expensive Gol Ghar dhabas. These dhabas have the same architecture no matter where you find them. 2) The ordinary ghar dhabas which serve good quality food, but are not as sophisticated as the Gol Ghar dhabas. They are ordinarily piced as well.

Wifey at Gol Ghar Dhaba Thoppur, Now you know why I call them Gol Ghar Dhaba

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Two elephant's escorting my Waggy
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Thanks to BP for maintaining the Ghar Dhabas. Life becomes so easy, when u get clean food and Toilets on the Highway.
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Shortly after Thoppur, I decided to take the Thoppur-Mettur road. My motivations included seeing the stanley reservoir and driving alonside river bhavani. After driving I must say I made a wrong choice. The roads are good and new, but narrow. Lot of traffic on the roads compared to NH7 where cruising at high speeds was no big deal. The Mettur Dam did not have enough water nor was it very scenic. Driving by river bhavani was not what I expected. The river could hardly be seen because of the fields in between. The strech of 80 kms took more than 3 hrs. All in all a bad choice.

16 gates of the Mettur Dam
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Yours truly
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After Mettur Dam we headed Avinashi. The road was excellent. A strech of 20 kms before Avinashi is under construction, so its a bit of pain. Never mind small glitches. The road from avinashi to metupalayam is under construction as well. Sharp road edges with deep trenches dug, dont make you happy for sure. After crossing metuplayam we take right towards kotagiri. Thanks to my manager who suggested me the kotagiri route. This road made me forget the trenches I crossed to reach there. I stpped at some place mid way to click a few pictures and strech my legs. This was the first time I ever saw a tea estate, so you can imagine how thrilled I was. Let the pics do the talking again, while I grab some rest.

First View of Tea Estates...more to follow
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Mountain Deer running uphill
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Waggy Catching a breath,while we enjoy the Breathtaking views
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Pepper
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We start again and reach Kotagiri. I parked my car infront of a closed shop. It appeared that no one opened the shop for ages. There was a police inspector standing infront of me, being a skeptic city guy, I was nervous whether I parked my car in a No Parking. I struck a conversation with the officer and said I am new to the place and if he could help me with a good place to eat. The office was a nice guy he asked my preference for ver / Non Veg and suggested a good place to eat ( just opposite to where I parked my car). At the end of the conversation I asked him if it was ok for me to park the car where I parked it, and i got a nod for it. When in a new place it always better to take advise than make mistakes.

We went to the hotel, where we opted for meals. We took Non Veg Meals, which included to side dishes, papad, rice and a choice of fish or chicken gravy. We ordered chilly chicken, fried chicken and fish as well. You can imagine how hungry I was. I never understood the connection, whenever I go on a drive I feel like eating all the time. Well I ate whatever I could eat to the max of my capacity and topped it with some curd rice. You would be surprised if I told you the bill, It was just Rs.173. Aah forgot to mention, it was country chicken that was served, not the regular steroid fed poultry chicken we are used to in cities. When we got back to the car we saw boards for rose garden, so we decided to do some site seeing before we reach ooty. I called up the resort and told them I will be late since I would be doing some site seeing before I land up in Ooty.

The rose garden when we reached there was in such a bad state, that we decided to skip without even bothering to enter. We stopped enroute to capture some more pics. Pics Do the talking again, am too full to talk.

Hum Dono
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Old 6th March 2011, 01:30   #2
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Default Re: 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

Day 2:
A lazy morning welcomes us. We wake up late and lazy around till we get a call from the resort for having breakfast before they close. We hurry for a breakfast and then while away some time around the resort clicking a few pics here and there. I try my skills at some macro shots and use auto timers to click a few pic of ours. Finally we take up two bicycles from the resort and do some cycling to explore some areas around the stay. I must say cycling after year and that too on hilly terrain was no easy job.

Pics do the talking, while I pant.

Goood Morningggggg Ooty - Bright flowers make your day bright
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A view of sterling holiday resort from Danish Villa
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The Suite where I was put up for the stay at Ooty
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Basking in the Sun
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And I go on a shooting spree.A Few Macros among others
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This Variety caught my attention. I took numerous pic of this - solo and in groups
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Beautiful Flowers
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The Dragon tree - if I remember the name correctly
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Say Paneer
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A white flower along with my Yellow Cacti Bloom
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The resort had some adventure gaming facility, nut most of the stuff was removed. I guess due to winters.

While we go in and around, my wife climbs this really tall watch tower or whatever it was, along an eucalyptus tree.
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Yours Truly Funda lying down and Streching. Lazy bones.
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And then we go cycling, It was fun but no easy task after so many years.
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And we are back
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My suite at night, the campfire and the Moon.
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Old 6th March 2011, 02:01   #3
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Day 2 continued...
After some cycling around the resort, we get ready for some sight seeing and head towards the Pykra lake. We inquired at the travel desk and took some suggestions on places to visit. he advised us not to visit Ooty lake but rather visit Pykra lake. We got a list of places and then started for the day. Before leaving Ooty we stopped by a place called "Kebab Korner" for some food. I will advise you not to visit this place. Any hotel would serve better and tastier food than this place.

We went to the kalhatti falls after maneuvering the hair pin bends, only to realize that there was no water in the falls. We stopped by and inquired to the forest gate keeper about the Bison valley, he said there are no Bisons there. Dejected to find a waterfall without water and a bison valley without Bisons we decide to return, but after taking a few snaps

The Pics start talking, while I munch some fresh baby carrots.


Capturing the wild flowers, I think we find them everywhere. But she insisted on making a video, cant refuse.
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The waterfalls which would have looked good if there were any water.
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Around the Falls
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The shooting Medu, I did not understand what it meant. But I was told that this was the place where some movies were shot.

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Crossing Shooting Medu we reah Pykara falls, but since the dam was closed there was no water at this falls either. What I would appreciate is the amazing cleanliness of the pay and use public toilets, a rarity in India.

A View from the Toilet.
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Finally with lots of stops and Detours we reach the serene Pykara lake. Since it was closing time, there hardly any tourists around.

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The Lake near Kamraj Barrage / Dam on the way to Paykara lake
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Old 6th March 2011, 02:20   #4
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Default Re: 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

Some crisp writing there mate!

The Villa's look nice. Can you tell us what the tariff was. I'm also planning to head out to Ooty sometime in April, so would help.

Cheers

P.S: Don't know why but your car looks like Hyderabad registration.

Last edited by MileCruncher : 6th March 2011 at 02:21.
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Old 6th March 2011, 12:28   #5
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Default Re: 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Some crisp writing there mate!

The Villa's look nice. Can you tell us what the tariff was. I'm also planning to head out to Ooty sometime in April, so would help.

Cheers

P.S: Don't know why but your car looks like Hyderabad registration.
The Villa Tarrif I guess is around 3000+ per night. Mahindra members get a 20% discount. Food is good. Staff is polite and cordial.

You have a Sharp pair of eyes. The Car has a Hyderabad registration. I was in Hyderabad for four years before moving back to Chennai last June.
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Old 8th March 2011, 23:24   #6
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Finally we start from Ooty. It was a Lazy sunday. My wife made me promise that we are not leaving Ooty without seeing the Botanical garden. So we wake up early (read 7:30 AM) have a break fast complete the checkout and head for the botanical garden by around 9:00 AM. As I said it was a lazy sunday, so were all the tourists visiting Ooty. The Botanical garden hardly had any crowd compared to the heads we saw the evening before. Well on a side note I forgot to mention, saturday evening we managed to find King Star chocolates on commercial street. My friend had suggested it to me. It is the oldest chocolate store out there in Ooty and indeed a very famous place as my friend told me. Ask anyone in Ooty where Star bakery is and they will guide. The rates are reasonable and the shop owner is polite. You get only chocolates at the store. ITS A MUST VISIT.

Well coming back to where I went off track, we visit to the botanical garden. The grass and all looked fresh because of the water that was sprinkled on them. Most important of all, not much of crowd out there. I hate crowded places that too when I am on a vacation.

Enough of words, here are some pics that I clicked to share them with folks on TBHP.

Ooty Botanical Garden - First Look - I was impressed with the maintenance
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And Some random Clicks

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And we pose for a photo, spoiling the serenity of the photo
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Some Random Shots here and there, I could not stop myself from clicking a few snaps.

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And my attempts to shoot some close ups
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Old 9th March 2011, 00:59   #7
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Default Re: 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

Hey. Thanks for the pics. I have been keen on going to Ooty for quite some time now. Had been there ages ago. Had recently been to yercaud, but was highly disappointed. Kodaikanal seemed similar and from the pics seemed unappealing

But the pics of Ooty really look inviting. So, this is now in my itinerary. I have seen the similar type of Gol Dhaba on the way to Yercaud I believe.
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Old 9th March 2011, 08:48   #8
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Thanks for Appreciating. I am new to TBHP,so my TLs might not be very interesting to read, not a great story teller either, unfortunately. Will post more of my past road trips. There are some more Pics as well, will be uploading them as well. Kodaikanal I heard is a better place than Ooty, with not much crowd. But then I cannot really comment until I have seen that. Thats on my list next, You should be seeing Pics from Kodai soon.

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Originally Posted by thedreamcatcher View Post
I have seen the similar type of Gol Dhaba on the way to Yercaud I believe.
Yep Gol Ghar Dhabas are similar everywhere. But this could be the same Ghar Dhaba you saw as well. The one in photographs is near Thoppu which happens to be on the way to Salem. So we have a connection now, we both visited the same Gol ghar dhaba
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Old 10th March 2011, 15:53   #9
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Default Re: 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

Nice narration and pics! Please continue with more...
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Old 11th March 2011, 00:04   #10
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Nice narration and pics! Please continue with more...

Thanks PearlJam. Sure I have some more pics of the garden and the way back. will be posting them soon.
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Old 11th March 2011, 23:51   #11
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Here I come again, with more photographs from the trip. This reply is a continuation to my earlier one. This has some more pics from the botanical garden. Being an Electronics student am far far from biology. So I dont understand the flowers and their scientific names, but surely do enjoy their vibrant colors.

Trying some up close shots of the flower. Not an easy task in a place with so many people around and am not all that great photographer either.

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Is this a rose? I guess not. Anyways this is a beautiful flower.
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And this? NO Again
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This is one of my favorite shots from the trip
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This is not a plastic flower - I swear !
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Old 12th March 2011, 12:47   #12
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Here I come with the last set of pictures from the botanical garden. As I said earlier I am very impressed with the way the garden is maintained.

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After coming out of the garden I had some carrots. I simply could not resist myself from having those fresh baby carrots.

After so much praise, I bet you want to see those carrots.
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We walked towards our car, which was parked near the CCD. On the way we bought some seeds of various flowers available near the Botanical garden. My wife wanted to visit the Ooty lake and I was least interested. I had my own reasons - its not clean and the other its crowded. Tourists shouting and all. I dont like too much of crowd and noise when I am on vacation. while we were walking towards the car I got on to my mission - dissuading my wife from visiting the lake and by the time we reached the junction for the lake, I was successful and so we skipped the lake.

Well eveything comes for a price and I had to settle down for the bangalore route. I had to promise her to show something beautiful and wildlife.

continued ...
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Old 12th March 2011, 13:15   #13
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Default Re: 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

Awesome travelogue and every scene is wonderfully narrated, thanks for bringing this up.

Rated 5 stars

After reaching Ooty which hotel did you eat your lunch?? I am curios to know, if you remember share some details around it. Did you visit Shinkows?? It’s a wonderful Chinese restaurant in Ooty.

Waiting for more updates.
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Old 12th March 2011, 13:23   #14
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The Villa Tarrif I guess is around 3000+ per night. Mahindra members get a 20% discount. Food is good. Staff is polite and cordial.
We were at Zest Danish villa on our trip to ooty too.

This was an assosciate property for Club Mahindra then. 20% discount was on the food, and the bookings from your timeshare. Now ClubMahindra have their own property at Ooty.

Nice pictures. Reminded us about our ooty trip
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Old 12th March 2011, 13:25   #15
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Default Re: 1400 kms, 3 Days, 2 Wandering Souls and 1 Amazing Weekend

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Originally Posted by camchennai View Post
Awesome travelogue and every scene is wonderfully narrated, thanks for bringing this up.

Rated 5 stars

After reaching Ooty which hotel did you eat your lunch?? I am curios to know, if you remember share some details around it. Did you visit Shinkows?? Itís a wonderful Chinese restaurant in Ooty.

Waiting for more updates.

Thanks for the appreciation and also thanks for the stars. This is the first time I got stars. I mostly had food at Danish Villa where I stayed, but this one time I had food at Kebab Korner, its on the way to pykara lake around the corner, next to Bee Museum and the petrol bunk.

Skinkows ...no buddy did't know about the place. No worries I will make it there on my next visit. I am not a very rushy kind of person when I visit a place. I see whatever I can and leave the rest for next time. Missing a few things always keeps me motivated to visit again. Skinkows is on my list. So oneday you may read a travelogue -" Drive to Ooty for a plate of Noodles @ Skinkows " Thanks for the suggestion
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