For Ganesh Chaturthi weekend, we went off to Ooty. I already told you that the road trips are growing on me.
We started at around 5.20am on Saturday and reached our hotel just in time for lunch, around 2pm. This includes 1 hour break at Kamat Upachar, Mysore for breakfast. The Mysore road was good, but the bumps at every nook and corner took away the icing, and also the cake! We could only touch 100kmph and that too at very few stretches. The route we covered included the two forest areas, Bandipur and Mudumalai. The silent and serene ride through both the forests scored the top points in our whole trip. We spotted lots of deer, few peacocks with tails down, lots of monkeys and a lone elephant.
Ooty was crowded, especially the city center, the botanical garden and the boat house! The climate was too misty and chilling cold (and September 1st week is off-season!) but what I liked about the place is the flowers. Even in such harsh climate, there were flowers here and there. We stayed near Doddabetta Junction at the Highland Hotel. The food and stay was good.
The tea estates looked good and green. We visited the Doddabetta tea factory and museum. This was the first time, I entered tea estate and factory. The process is shown clearly, and as expected everyone came out with tea packets. Obviously, the complimentary cardamom tea was awesome.
The Doddabetta peak was supposed to be good, but we reached there at wrong time, when it was fully covered with mist, and we could not see anything other than white.
Some things I missed were the “Shanti Sagar” or “Saravana Bhavan” kind-of restaurants where in we expect to get decent food at an average price. We did do our research before embarking to Ooty, but could not get any results.
On our way back, we entered the NICE road from nearby Kengeri to Hosur exit, and climbed onto Hosur expressway and then to Outer ring road. There was less traffic apart from the lorries, and we could speed upto 80-90kmph, thereby reducing the travel time. One-way trip took us around 7 hours excluding restaurant breaks.
So will we go again? Of course yes, but next time we would try to cover less visited places nearby, say Coonoor, or the waterfalls we saw on the Masinagudi curves, or the forest safari etc.
Note:- At the Tamilnadu border, a policeman enquired about our whereabouts and demanded Rs.50 as entrance enroute Ooty. This was unexpected as it was not mentioned in internet during my research.