Monday, November 07, 2011

1662 : 36 is a sexy number (Travelogue–Bangalore Mysore Ooty Coonoor)

Raavan has been cribbing that its over an year in India and all we have accompanied him is a measly trip to Mysore. Knowing him…and being egged by RA.One’s threat (it was still a factor a few weeks ago), he pushed us to doing Coonoor this time. Trip details

Date : 4th Nov 2011, evening 4pm to 6th Nov 2011, evening 630pm.
Drive : 630 km across this time.
Itinerary : 4th Drive from Bangalore to Mysore. Stay at Ginger.
5th and 6th – stay at Taj Coonoor
6th – Drive from Coonoor to Bangalore.
Route : Bangalore – Mysore (Via Nice) 150km – Coonoor (via Ooty) 149km – Mysore-Bangalore
Time : Bangalore – Mysore 4th – 4pm to 730pm. Mysore Coonoor 5th – 1015am to 215pm, Coonoor Bangalore 6th – 930am to 630pm
Ratings : Ginger 8/10 – Clean homely place, has cheap food and Café Coffee Day, and small clean rooms. For 2100 a night for 3, I felt it was a good economy motel.
Taj Coonoor 8/10– its an exotic place, really beautiful, an erstwhile building connected to the church which is now converted to a hotel. Its exactly like Munnar in terms of mountains, clouds, mist, fog and beauty. Taj is at their hospitable best. For 4750 a night you get a suite. Food is very expensive by that standards, almost 450 a dish, but I would swear by the local cuisine they cook. Its unbelievably yummy. They were kind enough to take special requests for Lankan cuisines for Raavan Smile. Only catch – it gets dark, overbearing and depressing in the evening – if you and the hotel staff are the only ones around. Happened to us on Friday. Has a ghost town kind of feel for us Urban Junkies.



Key highlights (in no order):
1. The drive from Bangalore to Mysore on 4th – was one of the most difficult driving experiences ever (for me). It was torrential downpour for around 100km on the national highway with literally zero visibility, my wipers were at their fastest and yet for me the taillight ahead if any was just a blur. There were hardly any vehicles on the road. I was nervous through the journey, because I wanted Raavan to return to Lanka safe….I did not want an international homicide on my hands Smile.

2. The McDonalds 65km from Bangalore towards Mysore, was 45 minutes well spent. It eased off all our nerves and I got the strength to nurse the car to Ginger, on a highway as deserted and dangerous as the Great Plague. Finally I understood what “I am loving it” meant.

3. The drive from Mysore to Coonoor via Ooty was another riot. It was torrential – expect that this time I was driving during the day.

4. The drive via Bandipur and Mudumalai (it’s the same – in Karnataka its called Bandipur and in TN its called Mudumalai) about 40km is lovely. You actually drive through a national forest, seeing tons of squirrels, elephants, deer and the ilk. No one ever sees a Tiger, though this is a Tiger reserve. On our way in, we drove through a deserted road, us being the only car on the road.

5. After Mudumalai, the road is treacherous in its incline, and has 36 taxing hair pin bends. Google tells me that this is one of the toughest real life terrain to drive in India. We did this in pouring rain, slippery roads and zero visibility – which made it very adventurous Smile

6. On the point above, only later we realized that there is a broader and less treacherous route via Gudalur, a 22km extra drive to reach to Ooty. (We did not try that while coming back as well – the hotel folks told us – the “dangerous” route is better since it saves at least an 1 hr in commute)

7. Tea and Chocolates are good and easily available from the local market – either near the bus stop or from Bedford Circle. We bought tea from Vishal Marketing (run by a father son duo Parekh’s) near our hotel. Chocolates we bought from Tulsi Mall, which is near the Ooty Highway.

8. On our way back after KFC (70km from Bangalore), near Channa Patna (the wooden toy paradise), there was an agitation on the road by Silk Farmers (protesting against falling coocoon prices…can you believe it, you block a national highway for that!!….I mean what can I do to help their cause…but they did screw me and my car). It gave us our flat (later) and also added 2 hrs to our journey. We had to drive through an inner road for about 20 kms which was jammed all along and an complete offroader. Today in the newspaper I read the jam was 10 hrs long Smile, so the option we took was better.

9. As we parked our car back into our garage at Bangalore, we realized that we had a terrible flat….and today, on analysis realized it’s a side flat – so cant we repaired. So now one of my tyres is a Tubed tyre Smile

Would I do this again? Of course. In same conditions? Yes, why not. Should you do it? You should. Its like a drive not comparable to any I have done so far. Where else do you drive through a forest. What should I be worried about? Tyres and fuel and breakdown. You can’t have any of this on such a trip. Do a thorough check of the car on your way out and in.

Enjoy Maadi !!

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Roshan said...

lesson: If you are messy, photograph your hotel room before you stay in it :-)

Amitabh said...

Was waiting for someone to say it. Ha ha. Good one ;-)