Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mysore - Ooty - Coonoor - Day2 - Ooty

After hot day at Mysore it was now time to proceed to much cooler Ooty on second day morning, so we started at 7 AM. The driver was hurrying as he said there will be a lot of traffic on road to Ooty. The drive from Mysore to Ooty was taken through Gundlupet where we stopped for breakfast, Bandipur and Mudumalai Reserve Forest. The road near Bandipur was not at all good with stretches actually not having anything called road but once we got into Tamilnadu through the Mudumalai forest the roads are very nice. There was a hope of spotting some wild animals while driving through the Mudumalai forest but they happen more in early mornings or evenings. Though we were lucky to spot a group of deers and we stopped to get some picture and my mom gave away some flower which she got at Mysore to one of the more brave deers who actually came very near to the vehicle for the flowers. Some more cars also stopped by to catch the deers in action. I had spotted a larger deer earlier in the woods but nobody believed to stop the car. We spotted few monkeys, mongoose here and there but not any other animals. Everybody were excited as it was their first tryst with wild life but I was not much impressed as I had seen more animals in Nagarhole Wild life sanctuary on my earlier visit to Coorg. In one place there were rows of Gold Mohar(Gulmohar) trees in full bloom we asked driver to stop in Hindi but probably he didn't understand by time we chanced upon the right words "STOP Maadi" he had driven long way to turn around so we just let the opportunity of beautiful pictures go by but we had discovered the code to stop the vehicle.

Deers in the Mudumalai forest on the way to Ooty

The drive up the ghat roads was quite pleasant as we were swerving through each 'Hairpin bend" the beauty of Nilgiris was unveiling itself. The heat of the plains started disappearing soon and the cool breeze of the hills were brushing our faces.The sudden dip in temperatures was welcome relief for all of us. The first stop was the Kalahatty falls on the way to Ooty we got down trekked around 500 mtrs. but could not locate the falls which had dried up due to the summer. The surrounding scenery was breath taking with the full view of the blue mountains (Nilgiris) so rightful name. We took pictures of some beautiful wild flowers of the hill.

Flowers (L) and View (R) from Kalahatty falls

Panoramic view from Kalahatty Falls

By now it was time to get into the Hotel in Ooty, Hotel Maneck in main bazar very close to the Ooty railway station and bus stand. The place was crowded and the lanes were very narrow and dirty as well but the Hotel was little better the one in Mysore. After check-in we decided to go for lunch the Hotel has a basement Jain restaurant but some of the members were keen for Non-veg food so they went with the driver, while we the veggies finished our lunch at the jain restaurant itself.
Post lunch we started the sight seeing in Ooty and our first destination was Doddabetta the highest point in Ooty. Its got a telescope tower from where you can see the entire Nilgiri hills and the region.The place was very nice but due to excess crowd we could not get to vantage points for better pictures. Doddabetta has a Entry fee.

Panoramic view from Doddabetta hill, Ooty

Next destination was the Rose Garden which is claimed to be the largest in the world.The Rose garden is in full bloom during November, December month as that's the season for roses.Its a huge Garden with several levels with every kind of rose grown. Here also you have an Entry fee along with a camera fee.

Roses in Rose Garden

From the Rose Garden as we were moving towards the botanical garden our vehicle was flagged down by the Cops as it was a different state vehicle that too not a commercial one. The cops were questioning about the owners etc and then ultimately let go after we paid 200 bucks bribe. It was the fault of the travel agent who had sent a private vehicle instead of a commercial one.This fiasco delayed us by an hour or so we told the to skip Botanical Garden and go to the Railway station for booking the tickets for next day's train to Coonoor on the Ooty Coonoor train. After a half hour wait we came to know that only general tickets were being issued half an hour before the train departs. There are first class tickets as well but they are offered in advance through computerised booking system. There are 4 trains that run to and fro from Ooty station three to Coonoor and one to Mettupalyam near Coimbatore. The train ride is supposed to be very nice worth the viewing but we thought we'll try the next day as the tickets are available from 8.30 AM. This debacle wasted a lot of time and we rushed to the final destination of the day the Ooty lake.

People boating at Ooty Lake

The Ooty lake is a beautiful lake where you can do boating with different types of boats like the motor boat, paddle boat, the row boats etc. There is an Entry fee to the lake and you have to hire boats as per different rates. There were long queues despite which we decided for a five seater row boat or 2 three seater row boat but unfortunately due to huge rush the boats were unavailable till the counters closed for the day. We disappointed took a few pictures of the lake and returned by now Ooty had turned very cold accompanied by cool breeze it was feeling very chilly something which we can't contemplate sitting at the plains. The ladies put on their sweaters/shawls and we were missing our jackets/sweater. As it was only around 7 when we returned to the hotel, the ladies decided to go for shopping as usual in the nearby market. Come on its the Main Bazaar(market) of Ooty how can they miss it. Me and my friend decided to relax in Hotel itself. At around 8.30 we went to the Jain restaurant for dinner and after dinner me and my friend decided for a walk down the streets near by the hotel. The weather was marvellous we put on the shawl and walking around with many young couples and groups of boys also strolling around. It seemed a perfect setting for Honeymooners and couples who want to spend some cosy time away from the heat of the plains.

As the day was ending certain points were pondering in mind like Ooty is not a place for one day trip. Its a place where you need to spend some time maybe a week or so. Also we need to avoid the crowded places and try to stay somewhere in the outskirts of Ooty near Coonoor.

Final word for drivers with vehicles bearing Karnataka registration watch out for those Tamilnadu vehicles as they might want to rub you on the wrong side and please donot loose your patience if they don't allow you to pass through as a number of times our vehicle was in difficult position due to the rogue attitude of the Tamilnadu drivers. After all Ooty is in Tamilnadu state and attitude is that they are the kings of the road. So better be a little careful.

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