Friday, January 18, 2013

Bangalore to Ooty via Bandipur/Mudhumalai in my Pulsar (Cheetah)

Firstly Happy New Year to all of you !!

As an avid bike lover who cherishes travelling long distances across districts and sometimes even States, it gives me an immense joy to share my latest unique experience of my ride on my Cheetah (Pulsar 180) from Bangalore to Ooty via Bandipur/Mudhumalai. It was a funfilled round trip of about 700kms in three days.

We were a group of 4 friends (Aravind, Alok, Prakhar and myself) with three bikes, one Fazer, one FZ-16 and of course my Cheetah. We started at 6:30am on Saturday (12/01/2013) from Whitefield, Bangalore. It was an unexpectedly cold morning. Once we crossed the city limits we were freezing even within those thick jackets and tight leather shoes. So we kept having our rides a bit slow until we struck the Nycee ring road which was mind blowing. Even the coldest winter breeze could not prevent me from touching speeds of 3 digits. In a few minutes I came to a cross road, one going Mysore way, eventually which I took. In no time I hit the Mysore road which was a bit of disappointment for me as it was small and congested than I expected it to be. So it was an extra cautious drive on Mysore-Bangalore highway.

After a few kms of drive on this highway it was time for breakfast. After a tasty breakfast of idlis (rice cakes) and Puris (wheat pancake), journey resumed in the same extra cautious way. It was another ~100kms drive to Mysore. We could covered it in less than 2hrs times. So by 11.30am to 12 noon we reached Mysore. A quick look around the ancient city and a few snaps of the famous Mysore Palace is all that was required in the heritage city as the time was a strangling factor.


Fellow Riders at Mysore doorway

From there it was another about ~80kms drive for Bandipur/Mudhumalai Tiger Reserve Forest. Though a single lane without a divider as seen in some sophisticated highways in the country, the road was as flat as a cricket pitch and helped me touch the highest speeds of the trip more consistently. By 1:30 pm we were clicking snaps at the entrance of Bandipur Tiger Reserve Forest. A few minutes of rest was sufficient as there was quite a good amount of distance to be covered to reach our coveted destination, the Ooty.

Just before entering the Reserve Forest
The drive into the Jungles of the Nilgiris in constrained speeds (40kph) was a thrilling and a very strong experience. As it was scorching heat at the noon time, as expected we could not spot any animals on our way throughout our ride inside the Reserve Forests. After about an hour, we reached the border of Karnataka, driving out of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve Forest, but immediately within a few feet, starts the border of TamilNadu, the Mudhumalai Tiger Reserve Forest (no idea to whom the  land in between belongs to). At first glance anybody could tell that Bandipur Forest is a bit more thicker jungle than Mudhumalai Forest. Not sure about the reason but this was my subtle observation.

After travelling through the Mudhumalai Tiger Reserve, a small beautiful village greeted us with chill shades and few smilling faces. We stopped there for a quick refreshment before our final leap to our hilly destination, Ooty. Time was close to 2:45pm and signboards were showing another about 36kms to be covered. So without wasting much time, we got on to our bikes and started our journey towards the Nilgiris hill top.
Foothills of Ooty
After a few minutes of drive, we reached the foothills, where an awesome scenic beauty was awaiting for us. I had to stop without choice to capture it in my cam before heading to the hilltop. The road after this was the highlight of the whole drive. We had to go through 36 hairpin bends. Even with little apprehension initially I started crossing each one of them extra cautiously. But once after first few were crossed successfully, ease prevailed within me and I actually started enjoying the later ones as they came.
It was already 3:30pm as we reached our most awaited destination, the Ooty. We decided to stay just outside the main city to save a few extra bugs that may have to be shelled out for the same quality of the rooms within the city. So we decided to stay at Fingerpost (3-5 kms from the main city). The resort was an excellent one named as Vel's Dingle Dale (strongly recommended by me). We were given a big room at nominal rate (~ Rs.2000/- per day). It was spacious enough to accommodate all 4 of us comfortably. The food served there needs a special mention. It was the tastiest food one can get if you keep the memories of the home made food aside. Cook and all the staff of the resort were cordial and helpful and made our stay a cherishable one.

During the night, there was an obvious party as we recollected the whole drive we went through the day. As we were all very tired, each one of us slept like a pig after the party and could get up at ~9 am only the next morning.

At Dodabetta Peak
This day was dedicated for sightseeing in Ooty. So we started our journey to Dodabetta, the highest peak (~2600m above MSL) of Southern India, at the junction of Eastern and the Western Ghats. It was a dream come true as we clicked snaps from the highest tip of Southern India. From there we headed to Pykara Falls. On the way there were few places which were called as Shooting spots locally, which were very beautiful and did not fail to bring out the hidden photographers in us.

Pykara Falls was also awesome, even though volume of water was very little. The enormity of the falls could be understood by just looking at the huge boulders on its beds that could have been rolled only by high pressure and high volume waters. Snaps again at different angles here. After playing in the water for about an hour, we decided to return back to the town for shopping as we were heading back to Bangalore the next day.

Wild Pigs at the Reserve Forest
The most unfortunate incident happened then, when my cheetah's clutch wire got worn out and I was stranded on the midway towards the town. As we were 4 people, it helped when Aravind carried me on his bike to the town market around 10 kms from breakdown spot. Another shock which was awaiting us was that it was a Sunday and no bike spare part shop was open. After much perseverance we could locate a bike mechanic shop open, who helped us to bring my bike down from the hill top (one of his aide actually drove down my bike about 10 kms without clutch). Then the mechanic actually pulled out a scooter wire to put on a temporary arrangement for the clutch so that I could reach Bangalore without any hiccups in between. It was his day and he charged exorbitantly, like Rs.400/- (original clutch wire costs around Rs.120/-). We had no other option but to oblige for his demand. My kind advice to all those long drive bikers is to carry an additional clutch wire with you to overcome any such hassle in your otherwise passionate beautiful journey.
Baby Elephant after its bath

Now then its time to say good bye to Ooty, next day we left pretty early (~6:30am) with a desire to locate animals in the Reserve Forest. Actually our strategy of leaving early partially worked that we could spot few wild pigs, two elephants apart from deers and peacocks. Few snaps of them were taken on the way. Our return journey was relatively quicker. We had our brunch at Mysore and then headed straight to Bangalore without much stoppage in between. By 3:30pm all were at our homes warming our feet in hot water and fiddling with our TV remotes with a satisfaction of accomplishing such a fascinating and unique task of completing a round trip of about 7ookms in about 3 days.

Thanks to all my friends who made this journey an enjoyable and a memorable one. Special thanks to the resort staff and the bike mechanic and his aide.

Will hit you all soon with another fascinating accomplishment sooner :)

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4 comments:

  1. Well after a long time u have finally updated an article:)!!
    Nice description of the entire journey!
    Hope Bangalore gives u an opportunity for many such trips in future:)

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  2. Thank you very much Rohini.....stay tuned.....many more trips and subsequently articles r to follow

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  3. Hi Dear,I and my husband loved the stay at bandipur resorts for the 7 days and we would love to go there again. Hence I would recommend the resort to everyone. If you have a ny specific about The best one you can check this like B R Hills

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  4. Thank you Pawankalyan for your suggestion...unfortunately we could not stay at Bandipur last time....but we had a blast in Ooty though. This time planning to stay at the resort suggested by you :) Cheers :)

    ReplyDelete