This blog is written by my wife Manju Gupta. She is a true travel enthusiast herself and a key force to organizing the trip and key person for all our trips planning. She believes “We should travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”. Keeping this in mind we were again ready for our southern state’s sojourn.
This time during winter break of younger son who studies in IITD, we planned to go to elder son’s place in Bangalore in December 2017. He booked Ola outstation cab to take us to Ooty for 2 Days and 1 Night package tour. We booked Hotel Time Palace beforehand for our stay in Ooty. It is in main bazar Ooty. Check-in and Check-out time of almost all hotels in Ooty is 12 PM to 12 PM.
At 3 AM sharp, our driver came and we started our Ooty-Coonoor sojourn from Bangalore. The journey by car is a scenic journey of 266 KM. We went there via Mysore and it took us around 6 hours. Bangalore to Mysore 144 km and then another 57 km afterwards we reached Gundlupet. About 20 KM from Gopalswami temple, we reached Bandipur National park. The road passes through a wide gate after about 20 minutes the tourist zone of Bandipur National Park came from where forest safaris are operated. We encountered some wild life across our path. We spotted Deer and a herd of elephants crossing the road. After Bandipur we entered Tamilnadu state and Karnataka state bade us good bye. The forest on Tamilnadu side is called Madumalai wildlife Sanctuary.
We reached Theppakadu and took Masinagudi route to Ooty. It is shorter route but riddled with steep climb & hair pin bends 36 of them! The road crosses a river called Moyar and a thrilling but tough drive encounters you. Bangalore – Mysore route is well developed with good quality of traveler facilities, so we took Bangalore-Mandya-Mysore-Gundlupet-Bandipur-Theppakadu (via Masinagudi) – Ooty route.
We reached Ooty by 9 am. We decided to have breakfast and straight forward started sight seen because hotel check in time was 12 PM. We reached Ooty Rose garden in the heart of town of Ooty. We felt that we had entered a different world as we strolled leisurely across the beautifully landscaped garden. Entry fees for the garden was 20 Rs PP. After this we reached the Govt. botanical garden lying on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak. There are rare species of trees and stunning variety of flowers, ferns and orchids present. A monkey puzzle tree on which even monkeys fail to climb is also there. The entry fee is Rs. 30 PP which looks absolutely fine for such mesmerizing beauty of nature.
Then we reached Ooty Lake and Ooty boat house. The lake is surrounded by groves of Eucalyptus trees. Did boating at Boat house and had lunch at TTDS canteen. Mirchi Bhujia (Pakora) were lip smacking. We were so immersed in Ooty sightseeing that we planned to check in the hotel after all sight seen is done.
The highest mountain in the Nilgiri, Doddabetta peak is 9 KM from Ooty. There is an Observatory at top of Doddabetta peak with 2 telescopes for public. It was a memorable trip because of breathtaking landscape and misty clouds. We enjoyed fresh fruits and drinks on the way and corn and peanuts which the vendors were selling on the way to mountains. We had a good view of Chamundi hills. The calm and adventurous environment with pleasant & chilled climate is the specialty of this peak.
We took a closer view of tea manufacturing process at Tea estate view point and strolled in the verdant tea estate. Took a lot of snaps of gorgeous tea bushes.
Our trip for that day came to an end when we witnessed sunset at tiger hill which lie towards the lower end of Doddabetta peak. Mist laden clouds descending over the valley completely typifies a paradise & heaven like canvas picture right before your eyes. This scenic sight one can never find in many Indian hill stations.
Fresh unpolluted air drifting from mountains distresses you and felt really energized. We reached the Ooty market where our hotel was situated and checked into the hotel. After taking some rest and hot shower we were again ready to explore local Ooty market on foot. There were a lot of shops selling chocolates. We purchased many boxes of different varieties of chocolates. Had our dinner and planned the next day trip to Coonoor.
Ooty to Coonoor
On suggestion of our elder son, we decided to purchase the toy train ticket for Ooty to Coonoor from ticket window. The tickets can be booked online on IRCTC website as per IRCTC rules 2 months in advance. All the tickets are vanished as soon as they are available for booking. So, we had to stand in queue to get the tickets from ticket window. Finally, we were successful & our toy train journey began. Our driver reached Coonoor taking the car and we boarded the train at 9:15 AM and reached coonoor at 10:25 AM. At 10 Rs PP, this heritage train is famous for “Dil Se” film song Chal chaiyaan…. It passes through many tunnels & over 100 of bridges. The railway is particularly picturesque because of surroundings rocky terrain, ravines, tea plantation and thickly forested hills.
Coonoor with its world famous tea has endless charm. Our driver was waiting for us at Coonoor railway station. We took our breakfast from a roadside eatery and headed towards Sim’s park. It is a botanical garden with over 85 varieties of roses and fragrant flowers.
Next on the itinerary was lambs rock. Shaped like a dolphin’s nose it offers incredible views of the valley. An easy drive from Dolphin’s road lies a charming waterfall cascading down from a great height. Surrounded by dense rainforests we only went to falls view point because it is difficult even for a small vehicle to reach up to falls. Only trekking is possible. Drive up to fall view point is zig zag road and tea gardens all around. The sound of waterfall was mesmerizing. Our driver was quite experienced and took us to the view point by asking people because the directions are not well marked. The viewpoint is at the edge of a cliff facing the fall and has protective railings but it was unnerving to look at the sheer drop below us.
It was 1.5 hours’ drive from Coonoor. We took some glorious photos and cherish its memory till date. It was 3 PM and we had to reach Bangalore (another train journey scheduled for that night) so we asked our driver to drive us to Bangalore.
Our driver took another route & while driving from Coonoor to Bangalore, we stopped for a while at Pykara Lake and Wenlock downs. We only spent half an hour at Pykara Lake and another half hour at Wenlock downs.
Wenlock downs popularly called the shooting point because of shooting of a lot of films has taken place here and is the scenic delight.
These vast meadows are situated along Ooty Pykara road are perfect for walking and hiking. The view of lake (formed by backwaters of pykara) from wenlock down is very scenic. We wish that we had enough time to spent at this elegant landscape. Pykara lake situated on Ooty-Mysore road is surrounded by thick forest of Mukurthi National park. We took some unforgettable photos of the lake and drove towards mysore hoping to come again some another time. Our thirst for more & more and our heart said that we should have planned a 3 days 2 nights trip for Ooty. Anyway we reached our destination safely and timely. Had a sumptuous dinner on the way in Mysore and reached Mahadevpura by 11 PM.
We picked our luggage from our flat which we had packed beforehand for our next trip to Tirupati-Madurai-Rameshwaram-Munnar. We got refreshed and called taxi after half an hour at 11:30 PM to reach BNC (Bengaluru Cantt) railway station to catch BNC-Hatia express for Tirupati. Mahadevapura to BNC is only 12 kms, but it makes sense to reach sometime before the scheduled time of arrival of train. It took 40 mins to reach there and we boarded the train to Tirupati chanting Govinda! Govinda! in our hearts.