I wish I could go back in time to the days when schools had mandatory summer vacations. The time has changed and so have we. But my craving for summer vacations is still the same. As summer approaches, the craving for planning next vacation officially begins to kick in! And for this summer, I had planned to visit south of India to beat the scorching heat in Delhi NCR 🙂 Here is the day wise itinerary to uncover the best places in Ooty and Coonoor.
DAY WISE ITINERARY
We booked the hotel and cab well in advance to avoid a long weekend rush. Here are the details-
- Nilgiris Inn hotel(two rooms) in Ooty – Rs 2297
- Brooklyn villa in Coonoor – Rs 7273
- Innova(Gozocabs) for round trip- Rs 16,000
- Travel time: 7 – 9 Hrs
- Road Quality: 7/10
- Distance : ~ 360 km
Meet my travel buddies –
MY LUGGAGE STORY
Ooty and Coonoor, two prominent tourist spots in the south of India were on my mind for quite some time. Besides, I am going to meet my besties after so long!! Bangalore is going to be fun for sure 😉
The day had arrived and this time I was traveling alone till Bangalore. Nothing scared me but my luggage which consisted of a handbag, a stroller, camera bag and a bulky goodie bag. (for Palak by her parents) Uff!! Carrying (read dragging) all these bags all alone seemed impossible for a while, but I managed it well till metro station.
I punched my metro card in the AFC gate and in a hurry to get all of my luggage across the gate, I myself couldn’t make it on time 🙁 The guy behind me saw all this and suggested me to get it crossed behind him. Whew, I was relieved!! But then again, odds unfavored and my metro card denied to work on the airport line and now I have to buy a token while keeping an eye on my luggage. Boarding feeder bus from Aerocity metro station to T1 terminal was the last straw until I boarded my flight.
ON THE WAY TO OOTY
A few miles further we saw South India’s largest amusement park, Wonderla with over fifty dry and water rides. Moving along, Piyush showed us this location where the blockbuster Hindi movie Sholay was shot. The rocky terrain of RAMANAGAR, located at a distance of 50 km from Bangalore seemed perfect hideout for Gabbar Singh and his team.
Nowadays, private tour organizers offer travel packages that include trekking, rappelling and rock climbing and star-gazing in and around the area.
It took us 2.5 hours to reach Mysore from Bangalore. We had lunch in the typical south Indian restaurant and left the place at around 4 PM.
From Mysore, there were two routes to choose from-
- Mysore > Bandipur > masingudi > Ooty (Approx 265 Km)
- Mysore > Bandipur > Gudalur > Ooty (Approx 296 Km)
Former one is often chosen by private vehicles as the stretch from Masinagudi to Ooty involves 36 hairpin bends and is alarmingly steep. It requires extreme caution and good maneuvering skills and driving sense to stride on this stretch. For newbies, I would strongly recommend the later one as it is less steep and easily motor able.
Many kilometers later, finally the weather outside made me stretch my hand to turn off the AC and roll those windows down. Lo and behold! A thick blanket of clouds raising slowly from the lush green valley down below surrounded by expansive mountains. A Perfect location to stop by for a short walk and of course pics 😛
Presenting Onkesh and Preenika with matching tees and an amazing caption- Nirbhau; without fear and Nirvair; without hate.
From here on, it was just nature and wildlife in its entirety…
The excitement started immediately on entering the Bandipur National Park when a guard checked our driver’s paperwork. Checkpoint mainly concerned about tourists carrying liquor. So a word of prudence here!
Innumerable bumps along the road slowed down the pace of our vehicle which in turn gave us a chance to relish the flavor of forest in full swing 🙂
Deer were aplenty all through…
Piyush was desperately looking for the elephants since the time we entered the Bandipur national park and his joy got doubled after seeing this sight – baby and mommy elephant That made us go Aww!!
The more spotted deer…this time we spotted a whole herd of them grazing happily and undisturbed.
All through that stretch, everybody wanted that somehow from somewhere, Tiger would show up on our way, though it didn’t happen, but never mind we saw many other animals which we don’t see nowadays.
After a flat stretch in the forests, it was time to encounter the mighty 36 hairpin bends! These hairpin bends were steep and they were nothing less than 36 in a number. I rolled my eyes on either side of the road, the views were quite scary yet breathtaking. All in all, it was really an exciting ride.
FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT THE PLACE
Bangalore Traffic – Start as early as possible in the morning from Bangalore to avoid unending traffic jams.
Masingudi Route- If you choose the narrow and steeper Masinagudi route, be reasonable and cautious while driving.
Bandipur Timings- Vehicular movement is restricted in the forest stretch between 09:00 PM to 06:00 AM. Plan accordingly.
Respect Wildlife – Do not honk, stop, litter in the forest. Respect the wildlife habitat.
Animal rights- Animals have right of way in a forest. So, drive slowly and let them cross the road first.
Hum jo chalne lage
Chalne lage hai yeh raste
Manzil se behtar lagne lage hai yeh raste
Those roads were better than the destination itself.
I assure you that this stretch of drive through the lush green forest, amidst wildlife, would gonna be a memorable one for you as well!
Pack up and let’s get lost in such a way that we go missing!!
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