Continuing after day 1 and 2…
At around 6 PM we reached Oddanchathiram, where we stopped for tea, of course what’s a road trip without stopping for tea.
At around 8PM we reached Tiruppur and at Avinashi, we had dinner. It’s a big town, lot of good hotels, petrol bunks and ATM’s. Had a good, filling dinner, withdrew cash and hopped back in the car to drive to Ooty.
Off we went to Ooty through Metupalayam and Kotagiri. It was a good drive. I love driving at night as there are no pedestrians or two-wheelers on the road. We did spot a Bison grazing on the edge of the road, but it didn’t seem to bother. We reached Ooty by 11:30 PM and stopped by a hotel to checkout the rooms and prices. It was too costly for one night stay and we drove by and saw another hotel, where we finally ended up staying. Hotel Venus, coonoor road, Ooty. I’d certainly recommend this place. It was clean, had a TV, big window (no great view, just a road), polite staff and superb restaurant attached to it that served the best tea (according to Andy and Deep) :). The one small problem is hot water is available only for a couple of hours in the morning, between 7AM and 9AM. But that was not a problem for us, as we were gonna crash and in the morning take a bath and check out by 10AM. It cost us Rs.1400 for a double-bed room. And we asked for two extra beds. We slept, got up, freshened up and went for the tea!
We had breakfast and tea at the attached restaurant. And moved out to our car to go to Masinagudi. We drove. Since I was in Ooty same time, last year, we didn’t do any “sightseeing”. On the way out of Ooty we did stop by a few place, it was beautiful.
Reached Masinagudi by 2PM and then to Moyar, which is 9kms from Masinagudi. Went to the TNEB guest house there by 3PM. Put all our stuff there, came back to Masinagudi for a quick lunch – not the best! 🙂 had lunch, had tea, ofcourse.
What makes a road trip?! THIS:
We had called up a local guide for his service, which included a jeep. Parked the Figo in Masinagudi, hopped in the jeep and went around the forest area. First stop at a stream. Elephants at the banks! not! 😛 but we did see elephant dung(I guess), does that count?! 🙂
Then the guide (name is Vinod) took us on a long drive, for close to three hours. We spotted tuskers, Elephant herd, Bisons, wild Boar (is there another kind?!), Wild Hen (the guide it was!) and then a peacock crossing the road. The question of course is, why did the peacock cross the road!!
It was well past sunset, around 7PM. Totally dark, of course, it’s a forest. Vinod drove us back to Masinagudi, where our car was parked. He had told us about his encounters with Elephants and there is a very high possibility that we will run into an Elephant(s) on the way to Moyar, which is 9 kms away from Masinagudi. Those 9kms, is a story in itself and I will post about that later.
So we came to Masinagudi, took the Figo and [longest 9 kms] drove to Moyar. We spent the night there in a TNEB guest house. The next day, 18th Sept, got up, etc. etc. and then started from Moyar to Chennai through Ooty, Anthiyur, Metur, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Chennai!
- State Highways in Tamil Nadu are brilliant, except for the pedestrian and two-wheeler traffic, which makes it a little risky experience.
- So try driving at night, watch the speed, watch the road, drink tea!
- GPS is really handy while driving at night. My mobile [android with gmaps] was very useful. If you have iPhone with ios6, I’m sorry, you will need to buy a map (hard copy). 🙂
- Please do not litter. Carry a big trash bag, fill that up and throw that in a trash bin when you reach a hotel.
4 days. 4 of us. Ford Figo. 2000 kms.
- None of the animals/fishes were harmed by us, except the ones that we ate.
- Most of the photos you see in this blog are taken through a mobile cam, for better pics head to potofshots.com
- For all the posts related to this road trip, click here
- All the tweets during the trip are here
The plan WAS Chennai – Rameswaram – Kanyakumari – Varkala – Chennai. But, there is one thing that is never constant during a road trip, that is the destination.
So finally our road trip route was Chennai – Rameswaram – Ooty – Masinagudi – Moyar – Ooty – Chennai.
The route is shown below, we used google maps!
View Larger Map
We started out from Chennai on 15th Sept, Saturday at around 6:30 PM. As soon as I sat in the car Deepak asked me if we should go to Goa, but since we’ve been there before, we finally decided not to go to Goa this time.
We took the NH32 out of Chennai and stopped at Acharapakkam, Kanchipuram, for dinner at Sri Ganesh Bhavan (8:30 PM). That place is a bit costly for that place. 🙂 The value for money thing. Like, how no one will want to buy a Nokia for 40k but then queue up to buy an iPhone for that money – that sort of thing. Not the best place to eat. 30 mins away is villupuram and there is a Ponnusamy hotel on the highway. Should have had food from there.
|There is a college named “university college of engineering”. Omg. #RTrip7 #travel #tamilnadu||9/15/2012||10:08:41 PM|
Wanted to take the shortest good routes possible, so I had told the guys to take Trichy – pudukottai – Sivaganga. But it wasn’t to be! I had slept off and I had the GPS. So Andy, who was driving, continued going on NH38 towards Madurai. I woke up somewhere before Melur and looked at the GPS, realized we were on the wrong route. We figured, at least now we could go to Sivaganga from Melur instead of going all the way to Madurai and get lost in the “city”. We took the state highway SH38, very short bad patches, but overall a good road. Since we were on this road around 3AM, there was no one on the road, except for dogs but they had blinkers – eyes, which saved its life.
Tea Shop at 3AM
We reached Manamadurai at 3 AM and stopped at a tea shop. Respect!
Drove through NH87 and reached Ramanathapuram, town was still sleeping, by 4AM and then to Mandapam
|Mandapam #rtrip7. I can smell the sea on both sides of the road #travel||9/15/2012||4:29:23 AM|
This was AN EXPERIENCE! The sun had not yet risen. Andy driving, I was in the backseat looking at my GPS. I could smell the sea on both sides of the road, I could hear it, I could even see it on the gps but it was dark outside. It was like being in the middle of a sea but not able to see!
We reached Rameswaram and drove to Hotel Tamil Nadu (5AM) and they didn’t have rooms till 6AM, So we took a walk on the sidewalk adjacent to the waters where people take a dip (the religious one!)
And then there was a little more light… Good Morning Rameswaram
It was 6 AM and we went back to Hotel TamilNadu and got in our room. It was only for four hours and they charged us Rs.1500 for double-bed room. The room was clean and wash area well kept. Took a 4 hour nap, freshened up and got back in the car. Went into the town to get some breakfast, which btw was YUM!
Went towards Dhanushkodi and we took a small diversion (500 meters) and came to this beautiful beach. I didn’t know India had such a beautiful, clean, pristine beach!
One side of the road was this beach (hardly any waves)
We also spotted a Jellyfish and Starfish (we did not harm them! 🙂 )
And on the other side of the road was this rough sea:
It was getting really really hot(one of the reasons why we decided to go to mudumalai forest instead of continuing to Kanyakumari) and we decided to move on.
On our way out, we asked the localites where we can get the best fried fish for dinner, they suggested, we went and was good! 🙂
Once lunch was done, we went to Pamban bridge on the way out (2 PM)
and then we were done with Rameswaram and headed to Mudumalai forest through Ooty.
|Ooty, Tamil Nadu|
The route that we took from Chennai to Ooty:
View Larger Map
We guys started on a beautiful Friday morning, 4 AM. At that time it wasn’t as beautiful, none of us had slept well on the Zeroth Night. Zeroth night is the night before a road trip, hence the name “Zero” and also that is the night you have Zero sleep due to the trip anticipation. And I was a little worried about having to drive all the 1300 kms, other two guys don’t drive!
So 4AM, Friday it was! Lama (one of the guys for the trip) came to my place, dropped his bike. We started by 4:15. Since my car had only run 1000kms, I didn’t want to cross 100kmph for a couple of hundred kms. We stopped after Krishnagiri for breakfast in a small shop at 8:30 AM. We reached NICE road and picked up another friend of ours, Navs. We got off the NICE Mysore road and went to Barista for brunch at 10:30 AM. Had lunch at some deserted resto, after Mysore, but the food was good 🙂 We reached Bandipur gate by 4:30. We were really slow at this stretch, taking photos. We reached Masinagudi by 6:30 PM, it was starting to get cold. We stopped for some yummy bujji’s and headed towards Ooty.
Oh! those beautiful curves… sigh! 36, yes THIRTY SIX hair-pin bends. Imagine that with wet roads and its dusk. WOAH! perfect. This is that part of the trip that makes you feel “The long boring highway drive was totally worth it!”
Reached Ooty, hunted for hotels in the maze they call a road, settled down in a hotel by 8:30 PM. Ordered dinner and crashed by 10 PM.
Day 2 – Ooty – Smoking Cold
Woke up to the COLD, drizzling, beautiful morning in Ooty, after a 10 hour sleep. And did I mention it was cold! Got off the bed, brushed.. blah blah.. and left the hotel by 10. All I had was the wiki travel list of places to visit in Ooty. But we didn’t have any map. We finished breakfast at a small shack. Smoking hot idlis in smoking cold Ooty. We drove around and ended up in a place near Botanical Garden. Of course we didn’t go in! Another traveler friend of mine had suggested some places – Ooty Tea Factory, Doddabetta, Pykra falls and some other places which I don’t remember now and didn’t go then!
We took a snap of the only map available there:
Then headed towards Doddabetta. On the way we saw a signage for Ooty Tea Factory. Went there and it was crowded with tourists (including us!). The best about the factory is the tea they offer you after a tour of the factory. Yum it was! And we purchased tea dust there and went to chocolate shop in the same campus. Who goes to Ooty and not get chocolates! We got some rum and raisin chocolates and they were delicious!
After that, we went to Doddabetta, the highest peak in South India. It was Cold!
We had lunch at Dominoes and then we went about roaming Ooty. The roads were awesome, so I did not mind driving around, we chanced upon Pykra dam and falls and one other beautiful valley, the name of which I do not know. We came back to the hotel by 5 PM. Went out, had hot bajjis and chai! We needed to kill time till dinner and switched on the idiot box. Shawshank Redemption to the rescue! Had dinner at 9 30 and and came to the room by 10:30. They guys were seeing True Lies when I slept off, had to drive back!
Woke up at 6 and left the place at 7 AM. The drive down the mountain was amazing. Just one stop near connoor for breakfast. See the map for the route we took. Fortunately I had a detailed Tamil Nadu map with me and that helped us find a really good route back to Krishnagiri. The TN State Highways are two lane roads but really well maintained. It is scenic too! Trying taking those from Gobichettypalayam to Dharmapuri via Mettur. We crossed Cauvery river at Mettur. It’s huge and had water too, that was a surprise to me!
We reached Krishnagiri by 2:30 PM and had lunch there. Navs got a bus to Blore from there and we guys headed back to Chennai and reached by 6 30 PM. It took us only 11 hours on our way back but 16 hours on our way to Ooty. Could be because we came downhill or less stops or shorter distance.
More awesome trip photos will be updated here – http://potofshots.com/tag/rt6