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Old 6th April 2011, 10:44   #1
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Default Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

What a mad trip we had! Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad in four days.

We started on the 1st of April and got back on 4th. Here goes a quick teaser before the main travelogue comes along.

The pics below are in order:

The Highlight: Elephants in the Jungles of Bandipur

The Sidelight: The Nilgiri Mountain Railway

The Lowlight: The Super Crash 35 km Before Mysore
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Last edited by lucifer1881 : 6th April 2011 at 11:12. Reason: Pictures not being displayed.
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Old 6th April 2011, 11:06   #2
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Hi Lucifer1881,

The teaser pics are not displayed.Please re-post them.
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Old 7th April 2011, 09:35   #3
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Day 1: Hyderabad – Bangalore – Mysore – Ooty

Ho hum. Another long weekend, another road trip. This time it was to Ooty, the Queen of Hills. It did not start out that way. The original intent was to go to Agumbe, King Cobra country. But MileCruncher offered me Club Mahindra vouchers for a resort in Ooty. Free accommodation is not to be scoffed at. Ever.

Like all my long drives (by definition long drive to my wife and I means a minimum of 12 hours), the journey began early in the morning. We were off at 4:25 am, about an hour earlier than usual. This was to ensure that we crossed the Bandipur checkpost before it closed at 6 pm.

What can I say about NH-7 that has not been said before? It is the most amazingly built highway. Period. If a speed run is what you are looking at, then this is the highway for you. I have no doubt that one can cover 1000km in under 14 hours on this piece of tarmac. But it is also the most monotonous highway. It offers absolutely no driving pleasure. The twists and turns of our state highways have their own romance.


NH-7: The runway of highways

Anyway, Hyderabad Airport to Bangalore Airport was covered in exactly 5 hours and 50 minutes (including a fuel stop and a stop to answer nature’s call). The average speed was 90 kmph over a distance of 550 km. This probably is a sort of a record for the DI Bolero. Not bad for an engine that pumps out a measly 63 horses when brand new. The mileage, however, is another story – 10.6 kmpl compared to the 12.5 I get in city driving conditions.

Much has been made of Bangalore’s traffic. Suffice to say that despite using the Outer Ring Road it took us almost 2 hours to get on SH-17 to Mysore. We stopped here for lunch at an eatery that had opened only a day before. It served very delicious prawns.

It took us 2 hours to reach Mysore, a distance of about 130 km from where we had lunch. SH-17 is also four laned. But it has numerous spead-breakers (or, as they say in Karnataka, humps (I distinctly remember that during my college days a ‘hump’ meant quite something else)) and barricades. One has to be quite vigilant.

Instead of taking the bypass, we drove through Mysore. On the return we did take the bypass. And I do not think we saved any time doing that. Driving through the city is much shorter, and much more scenic. I would recommend it over the bypass.

Nothing of much interest happened after Mysore until we touched Bandipur. NH-67 runs through the jungles of Bandipur. Heavy vehicles are not allowed through the forest. This was the most lovely drive done at the most leisurely pace while stopping umpteen times for the great photo ops that presented themselves.


A Wild Boar goes about its business


Spotted Deer, always a delight to watch


The Common Langur strikes a not-so-common pose


Peacock, our National Bird

The highlight definitely was watching elephants in the wild. I had never seen a herd before. This was simply unreal. We also saw hundreds of spotted deer and langurs. But the elephants took the cake, and the ale too.


Elephants in the wild

Post Bandipur, the climb to Ooty begins through a set of 36 hairpin turns. The altitude rises very fast – we could feel that funny thing in the ear due to atmospheric pressure changes. Nothing too uncomfortable, just enough to tell you that you are climbing. We took the ghats nice and slow. The scenery was simply too good to speed. No pictures were taken on the way up.

We reached our hotel by 6 pm and checked into our cottage by 6:15 pm. What a cottage it was! I would never have stayed there had the vouchers not been passed on. At Rs. 2650 per night, it is much more than what I would wish to spend. But if you have the money, it is a great place to stay. The name is Sabol Holidays. For the well-heeled among us, it is a good place to check out.

Last edited by lucifer1881 : 7th April 2011 at 09:36.
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Old 7th April 2011, 12:28   #4
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Hey Rohit, Nice start to the travelogue.
That crash looks bad, where did that happen and how ?
I have been to Ooty twice last year in Aug and Dec, and the drive through Bandipur was awesome. Awesome greenery and low lying clouds in that season is just too good to miss.
You surely had fun, it looks like, barring that crash. The roof has been severely affected.
Great photos!!

Last edited by Fordmanchau : 7th April 2011 at 12:29.
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Old 7th April 2011, 12:53   #5
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Thanks, Formanchau!

The crash looks worse than it was. I am still shaken since I was sitting on the passenger side when it happened. The repair estimate has come to a whopping Rs. 2.75 lac. Will share more about this later. But the incident leading up to the crash was not scary at all. In hindsight, it has scared the hell out of me.
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Old 7th April 2011, 13:29   #6
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Nice pictures there lucifer.

About the crash, typical damage when a car gets under a truck. But this is a Bolero, sits significantly higher than a car! Waiting for further updates. And, glad that you are safe and sound!
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Old 7th April 2011, 16:12   #7
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Great sightings there in Bandipur, lucifer. The last time I drove through Bandipur and Mudumalai, I hardly spotted anything other than monkeys.
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Old 7th April 2011, 17:30   #8
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Wonderful start to the travelogue Rohit. I beileve this is your first one on the forum. Was this trip last week? I didnt hear you mention this one during the drive meet?

Great pictures to boot too. Do continue and post complete details including where you stayed and pricing etc.
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Old 7th April 2011, 22:08   #9
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
...About the crash, typical damage when a car gets under a truck. But this is a Bolero, sits significantly higher than a car! Waiting for further updates...
The insurance claim is being processed. Will share the exact details once the processing is done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
Great sightings there in Bandipur, lucifer. The last time I drove through Bandipur and Mudumalai, I hardly spotted anything other than monkeys.
Yep, we got lucky.

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Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Wonderful start to the travelogue Rohit. I beileve this is your first one on the forum. Was this trip last week? I didnt hear you mention this one during the drive meet?

Great pictures to boot too. Do continue and post complete details including where you stayed and pricing etc.
Yes, the trip happened on the 1-4 weekend. The Bolero is still in the shop, and I suppose it will take a month or so for the repairs to be completed.
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Old 7th April 2011, 22:31   #10
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Day 2: Ooty Sightseeing (122 km; 8:30 am)

Let’s start this log with a few pictures of the resort, and the view from our room. We stayed at Sabol Holidays.


Wife poses outside the cottage


Tea gardens across our cottage - Ooty is literally covered in tea



At breakfast in the restaurant made of glass

MileCruncher had Club Mahindra vouchers and had booked the resort for the same weekend. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for us), he was not able to travel during the time and he passed on the booking to us. Initially, Club Mahindra refused to change the booking to my name. But it is a well known fact among TBHPians of Hyderabad that MileCruncher has Anand Mahindra on speed dial . The bookings were amended.

The rate for the single bedroom cottage is Rs. 2650 per night during the season and about Rs. 500 less off season. This includes breakfast. We had to pay nothing, not even taxes. Only the food was charged. So three cheers for Ani!

We started the day with a visit to the Botanical Gardens. I am not a Garden person. In my nearly 30 years of existence, I have never even taken a girl to a garden. But this time I was hell bent upon being the typical annoying tourist who noses about everywhere. The Botanical Gardens are lovely, if you like that sort of thing. It did provide the photographer in me some half-decent photo ops. I am probably that much closer to perfecting the art of fill flash.


Yours truly under a tree at the Botanical Gardens


Wife under the same tree


A view of the Botanical Gardens


On the park bench now


Ah, the joys of fill flash when it falls into place


Cannon, shot on Canon... He he he

We walked the 1.5 km or so to the Rose Garden. The walk was nice. A little tiring. But it reminded me of one of my earlier walks through the bylanes of Mussoorie during my college days. The Rose Garden, however, was bereft of any flowers. So the miser in me decided that there was no point in buying entry tickets, and we moved on.

Our next stop was Ooty lake. My wife is slightly hydrophobic. She is a good sport, though. I managed to convince her to come pedal boating. Pedal boating is one of those romantic things that honeymoon couples are supposed to do. Wonder why. It takes a lot of effort, and I am not sure how much stamina one is left with for the night that follows. Anyway. The lake is gorgeous. The water is green. And everyone generally has a good time.



At the Ooty Lake


By the Ooty lake - now that is an interesting sign board

We broke for lunch and then drove up to Dodabetta, South India’s highest peak. We could not spend too much time there because it started to rain and we rushed back to the car just in the nick of time. Either way, I have no regrets. The peak did not do much for me. And because the rain forced us to leave early, it meant we had enough time to simply drive around wherever we felt like.




At Dodabetta

That is just what we did. Somehow we reached an intersection that said Emerald was 17km away. It was only quarter to four in the afternoon. We decided to go. This was the best decision we ever made. It rained all through, which made the drive even lovelier if that were even possible. Rains make everything clean. Pure. The green of the leaves and the trees simply comes alive.


Hailstones on my bonnet


The long and winding road to Emerald



The Emerald Lake


The drive to Emerald

The entry to the dam was closed. That was slightly disappointing. The lake more than made up for it. In a nutshell, this is the most beautiful and serene lake I have ever seen. And, trust me when I say this, I have seen a lot of lakes – some in the remotest reaches of Rajasthan that probably only see people once every year or so. This lake was the highlight of the day. If we had to end the trip here, I would have been happy. It was worth it to drive down 900 km in one day to only see this lake.


Now, now surely a Sugar Daddy means something else in Ooty

We were back in our hotel by around 6 pm. It had been a good day. Tomorrow had more treasures in store. We would be on the train to Coonoor.

Last edited by lucifer1881 : 7th April 2011 at 22:40. Reason: Image Attachment Issues
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Old 8th April 2011, 00:43   #11
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Amazing write up accompanied with fantastic photographs. Looks like you were lucky with the animal sightings and the weather. Makes me want to visit there too.

Looking at the 'lowlight' photo, thank god you guys are safe. Shows the safety of a Bolero.
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Old 8th April 2011, 10:06   #12
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Hi Rohit,

Some really good pictures. Seeing the pictures make me really jealous but as the saying goes "Voucher voucher pe likha hota hai, use karnewale ka naam"

And really sorry to see your Bolero. Waiting to hear how it happened.

Cheers
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Old 8th April 2011, 10:20   #13
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Hey Rohit,

The pics are amazing and thank God you guys are unhurt. Feel sorry for the beast. Do ping me the next time you are in Bangalore, lets catch up.

Cheers,
Rajesh
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Old 8th April 2011, 11:00   #14
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Great start to your TL,Hyd-Ooty in a single day is a nice one,am sure it would spur on others to do the drive in a day as well.

Sorry to see the Bolero,I know how it hurts having been through one hair-raising one myself.All the best with it.
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Old 8th April 2011, 12:02   #15
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Default Re: Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neilguy View Post
...Makes me want to visit there too...
Yes, you must visit. Bandipur is a visual treat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
...Seeing the pictures make me really jealous but as the saying goes "Voucher voucher pe likha hota hai, use karnewale ka naam"...
He he. So true that. Well said!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2500cc View Post
...Do ping me the next time you are in Bangalore, lets catch up...
Will do. It would be nice to catch up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Great start to your TL,Hyd-Ooty in a single day is a nice one...
I was quite amazed at it myself. Google Maps estimated the distance to be about 825 km. I usually do 780 km in a day. Considering NH-7, I thought 825 km would be do-able. This was the first time with me that Google Maps was this off. It came closer to 900 km. But thanks to the gorgeous NH-7 and SH-17, Ooty is quite easily do-able in 14 hours.

Thanks you everyone for the concern shown for the accident. The crash was quite a serious one, though how it happened is almost comical. Will divulge the details a little later. The estimate for the repair has come to almost a whopping Rs. 3 lac. The haggling the with insurance company is on to get it all covered.

I was sitting on the passenger side when it happened. My wife was driving. When I think of the crash in hindsight, my face was literally a couple of inches away from being completely mangled. It has given me a whole new sense of my own mortality.
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