Saturday, May 24, 2008


Actually we "had" some plans atleast. We decided that we should be starting on 10th May 2008 and it should be around one week vacation plan. And we decided this by 1st week of May itself. So we had enough time to look out for destinations etc. Ooty was always in our mind. But Suparna got some feedback that this is the "season" time in Ooty and it might be difficult to get acco there at this time. So we had our plan B as well - may be visting Shillong etc.
After a frantic search, we got atleast one hotel which was still having rooms at that point of time. So we booked Preethi Classic Towers for 3 days at Ooty. Later we found that this was one of the best of the lot - we just luckily made it.
So we need flight tickets to Bangalore. And its 7th May already. Air Deccan obliged and we now had a "plan" in place to spend the summer (i mean one week of this summer) in Ooty. Somewhere in between, while surfing through the net (or while having those coffee breaks), Suparna learnt Kodaikanal is even a better place to visit. So we added it to our itinerary. Oh, it was Anindita who actually suggested this - thanks to her. Mysore comes on the way to Ooty. So we included it as well. And being one of the laziest couple on earth, we thought it would be too much of travel on a single day - so lets stay a night at Mysore before starting off for Ooty.

So our plan looks like this as of now:
Day 1: Reach Blore - take rest - meet old buddies - visit MG Road - night stay at Blore
Day2: Start off in the late night (I mean 630AM) for Mysore - visit Mysore Palace - night stay at Mysore
Day3: Push off for Ooty - take rest at Ooty (I cant go for outing on the same day man..I am on a vacation).
Day 4: Roam around Ooty - night stay at Ooty
Day 5: Go to Coonoor - have tea - night stay at Ooty
Day 6: Start for Kodaikanal - take rest - night stay at Kodai
Day 7: Roam around Kodaikanal
Day 8: Return to Blore - get the flight back to Kolkata - ahh, am home mom.

Abhishek knew Babu beforehand and suggested he would be one of the better cabbies. So we went for his Konkan Travels wala Indica. He was charging Rs. 5.25/= per km (a minimum of 250 km per day). Having no idea of the prevailing rate, we never even thought about it and stratightaway agreed.

So guys, we are in Bangalore today (yeah its already 10th May) and we need to get really early tomorrow to start off.

Ohh btw, while in the long flight from Kolkata to Bangalore, we were going through an old copy of "Bhraman Shongi" and there we found out Shrabanabelgola might be a good place to visit on the way to Mysore. So Shrabanabelgola is on our itinerary as well.

Shrabanbelgola and ...

Babu was really surprised to learn that we are planning to visit Sharabanbelgola - that too in this summer. And we didnt appear like to be on a pilgrimage. Actually sometimes ignorance is really a bliss. We decided to go for Sharabanbelgola after a quick look at Bhraman Songi. We didnt have idea that we need to climb ~700 steps. And that too without any footwear!!! When we got down from the cab (it took around 2 hours from Bangalore), it was already past 930.

We learnt that only socks are allowed. So suparna decided to buy a pair of socks (vendors are roaming around near the main gate with bunches of socks).

And we started our ascent..

Man, 700 steps is really pretty much. That too with Sun on full swing on a hot summer day. At a point of time, we were spending more time in sitting on the steps than on climbing the steps. After a lot of hardship (and burning lots of fats), when we reached the top, it was really worth it.

We were stuck with awe to find the 57 Feet tall stone statue of Jain saint Gomateshwara..

and the Little God - I thought its a Golden one, however didnt get a chance to verify it ;-). We spend some time there - its a lovely view from the top. The greenery is surely going to mesmerize you.

Descent is always easy in life - it took hardly half an hour to climb down the hill. Babu was there ready to pick up the tired souls to the next destination.

Srirangapatana is all about Tipu Sultan surrounded by River Cauvery. We visited Lord Sriranganatha temple and got the Prasadams. You may visit this page - to get more details about this historic place. This is the place where the body of Tipu Sultan was found - a small relic is there. Also we visited Colonel Bailey's Dungeon situated next to River Cauvery. Our next stop was Tipu's summer palace.

Darya Daulat Bagh is a beautiful sight. But once you enter the palace, then only you would find out the great artworks. We spent a good one hour or so inside this Garden and palace.

It was well past 230. We need something to gulp now. Babu took us to a restaurant before entering Mysore to pacify us. Now we are heading towards Mysore - its hardly 20kms from Srirangapatana.

Mysore is a very crowded city - that was the first impression we had. And that too in the season time. The first stop was Saint Philomena's Church.

"Built in 1933 and designed by Reverand Rene Feuge, St. Philomena's church is one among the grandest churches in India. Located about 3 kms from the city on Cathedral road, it is the tallest Church in India built in the neo-Gothic style. A statue of 3rd century saint, Philomena is placed in an underground chamber. The twin spires are 175 feet in height and are visible from miles around. Some fine attractive glass paintings depicting scenes from the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ can also be seen here. Presently it is known as St. Joseph's Church. Open from 8 am to 6 pm." [Source:]

Shoes are not allowed inside - neither is camera. We spent around 10-15 minutes appreciating the enormicity and beauty of the structure before proceeding to Mysore Palace.


We were stunned to see the crowd waiting outside the palace to get the entry tickets. It was around 430 when we could enter the palace arena. Its one of the grandest palaces in India. You must spend sometime roaming around the palace.

Visitors are not allowed to move close to the palace - barricade is erect to keep the visitors away at a distance of around 150m from the palace. However I guess due to the mad rush on that day, the Security got busy elsewhere and we got a chance to sneak close to the palace.
And we got lucky enough to go this close to the palace. We even requested a security guy to take a snap of us together infront of the palace before the other Police/CRPF guys started shouting and pushing us off outside the barricade :-(
Oh btw, dont miss the ferocious looking tigers around the garden. I had a tough time in finding them alone as they are the hotspots for the kids to get photographed with.

If you are looking for "information" about the palace, you may found this page to be quite useful:

It was already 5PM and the palace museum closes at 530PM. We initially thought of skipping the museum and put up in some hotel around - Shrabanbelgola was too tiring. But that could have been really a big blunder.

Its magnificient! I wish Karnataka Govt lifts the ban on camera inside the palace.

Unfortunately we didnt get any acco inside the palace - so stupid of them. So Babu took us to a hotel nearby - Hotel Gallery View. We have plan to stay at Mysore tonight.

While in the queue for the palace ticket, we learnt that the palace is illuminated on every Sunday from 7PM to 8PM - and can you believe we were in Mysore on a Sunday!!!

Babu was interested in taking us to Brindavan Garden - but we had to choose between the Garden and the Palace - the choice was pretty obvious. We decided to go for the palace in the evening and then do some shopping.
If you are "planning" to visit Mysore - please make a plan to visit it on a Sunday. It looks gorgeous. There was almost a Mela around with almost everyone in Mysore in the arena.

The band (Police band?) added a new dimension to the evening.
We went to a nearby emporium to try out my Credit Card - it worked and I got poorer by a couple of bucks and we got happy to get Mysore Silks and Sandalwoods.
In the afternoon we had bargained a Rose wood Jewellery box from 350/= to 160/= infront of the Palace. However later we found out its even cheaper in Kodai. It was time to hit the bed now - we were too tired.

Mysore to Ooty

We are on Day 3:
Unfortunately Suparna was not feeling well in the morning. We had to start late at around 1030. We decided to skip Chamunda hills and rather head straigtaway to Ooty. This is one of the most beautiful journeys - it takes around 5/5.5 hours from Mysore to Ooty.
We went throught he Bandipur/Mudumalai forest - the den of infamous Virappan. We had a stopover at some inbetween points (cant remember the names) and took some rest before again pushing off.

Dont miss the Eucalyptus plantation that comes on the way just before the Mudumalai view point. And the ferns strewn around..

If you are interested in getting a pan view of the Mudumalai range, get down from your car and walk to the Mudumalai view point. You are surely going to appreciate it.

The image on the Blog Title Background was taken from Mudumalai view point.


We reached Ooty at around 5PM. We had booked a room in Preethi Classic Towers beforehand ( Once in we were to get a pleasant surprise - PCT was running out of its Deluxe rooms and offered us a Suite at the same price of Delux as we had already sent the money over Net. Overall we were pretty impressed with this hotel and would suggest people to try this one out if budget permits. We decided to call it a day and went for an early dinner to enjoy the comfort.

Guys, its Day 4!!!

Before Babu could start off his cab, we thought of roaming around the hotel to find the morning life at Ooty. The hotel is located pretty much at the heart of Ooty - i.e. Charring Cross. You will find people lazily spending time or just loitering around. Its surely far from the maddening crowd..

3 Musketeers at Ooty...

And 3 more...

The leftist Don...
And the flower vendors.
Its time for sight seeing. Our first stop was Pykara falls.

Walk a bit from where your car drops you. Its a nice view. You can go close to the waters, but be a bit cautious. Enjoy the water droplets floating in the air..and the sound of water raring to go might suddenly start loving this beautiful earth!!!

However I was personally not very happy to find little children managing shops in and around Ooty. They should have been in school or playground. And they were not much interested in business either - but as the ad says - Life eej hard!! :-(

We had gone to the Pykara lake also - but it was not that impressive.
We stoppped at multiple places. Interestingly in Ooty, you will find a dozens of "Shooting spot" - where some movie has been pictured at some point of time. Ask your partner to take a picture of yours - it might help in orkut.
We liked most the Pine Forest (dont remember the name anyway)...

We decided to give it a miss to Ooty lake also as it didnt sound much intertesting to us. Our next destination was the Botanical Garden. Its on lower slopes of the Doddabetta peak. This is a lovely place - the greenery and the undulations give it a new dimension. "This botanical garden was created by John Sullivan, Collector of the district of Coimbatore in 1819. The Marquis of Tweedale prepared the initial layout during late 1840s. The Gardens have around 1000 species, both exotic and indigenous, of plants, shrubs, ferns, trees, and herbal plants. In the centre of the Gardens lie a fossilized tree trunk estimated to be 20 million years old." [Source:].
Get a good camera and a macro lens - you are in for some good snaps.
After our lunch, we started off for Dodabetta Peak. The road was a bit rough - but watch out through your car windows. Its a treat for your eyes. No camera is good enough to capture the colors of the lush greenery and the bluish mountains. When we reached Dodabetta (btw this is the highest peak in South India - its 8,640 ft above sea level) it was drizzling. On a bright sunny day, localites claim that even Mysore can be seen from this peak (obviously via telescope). But it was not such a day - clouds were slowly creeping in. The visibility was getting low - the clouds were flying across our face touching our cheeks.

For those shutterbugs, please keep aside your camera for sometime. There are some moments in life, which you can hardly capture on any earthly medium. Just accept those moments - you might repent your whole life not experiencing those moments to the fullest extent. I wish the crowd was not there and I could spend the whole day there spreading my wings in the clouds..
Our next stop was Ooty Rose Garden.
You would get tired to see sooooo many types of Roses in a single garden - we enquired in the office and they informed that they actually have > 3000 types of Roses in this garden.

The bouquet and the India map (made out of Roses!) are treat for the eye. There are multiple layers in the garden. Please bring your digital camera - otherwise you would run out of film pretty fast.

We decided to call it a day (not before we got some home made chocolates though :-) - you would get it cheaper at Kodai, but you need to taste the Ooty chocolates also yaar)...


Day 5 was for Coonoor and lots of drama!

We had got up early as we were determined to catch the train from Ooty to Coonoor. But Babu was a bit late. So we started off from hotel at around 830. When we reached Ooty station (its ~10 mins aways from Charring Cross), there was a pretty long queue for the train tickets. And there was little chance that we would make it.

Suparna was in the queue and I started "looking out" for some other means. We got lucky as Babu found one "Anna" in the queue and signalled him to get 2 tickets for us. First class ticket was already over - and to our utter surprise, that same Anna got the last few tickets for second class. Rarely you get this lucky to get the last ticket.

However these were "Standing tickets". That was not something very amusing. So I had to pull out my camera and the long 70-300mm lens. With that bulky lens, I approached the TT and pretended to be a journo coming from faaaaaaaaar. He was quick to get the hint - he informed us that we can safely board the Seating Second class bogey and have a better journey. Only the difference in fare needs to be paid off.

It was worth the effort. The valleys and the mountains, the blues and the greens (you have to sit on the right hand side btw) was breathtaking. The train stops at 4/5 small stations - Lovedale, Ketti, Welington etc. The lazy motion of the train through the forests, mountains and greens was awesome.

The famous Dil Se song Chaiyya Chaiyya was shoot on this track only making it even more famous.

The train took around 1 hour to reach Coonoor from Ooty. However the car took 45 minutes. :-) Babu was waiting outside the station. Our next destination was Dolphin's Nose view point. I always find the journey to be more interesting than the destination - and this journey was really breathtaking. The road is too bad, too narrow, too risky. However the beauty of that dangerous path was something you will remember for the life. Sometimes the road was taking us through tea gardens. Sometimes the car was creeping through forest. However once we reached Dolphin's nose view point, it was not that interesting.

Next on agenda was Tea Garden:

He explained the tea processing techniques...

Sprinklers were almost chasing us..

Its the spot for the camera lovers..juz click it..

However one friendly advice: Please think twice before buying tea from these gardens.

We went to the SIM park also, but it was not that impressive. Also we were feeling hungry. So we decided to go back to hotel room..

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Day 6 was hectic. We started from Ooty for Kodai and it took almost 7 hours for us!! I am not sure whether we were on the shortest possible path or not. We were damn tired at the end of the day. And on top of that, we didnt like the hotel we had booked. We went out in the evening and managed to get a room in Hotel Goldan Inn (no pun intended). We decided to move into this hotel tomorrow.

Babu thought it would take hardly 3 hours to cover entire Kodai. We thought otherwise.

There is one single road in Kodai which will take you through all the tourist spots.

Since it was season time, a huge rush was there in every other spot. So we decided to take a diversion.

We actually started following one car and then discovered a nice temple. From there we could view the Lake quite far off.

Two pillar rock was good, but cloud was creeping in and out of the frame.

Kodai Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. Surrounded by green, its a treat for your eyes.

And the other spot which you must visit is the Croaker's Walk. We had been there in the morning, but decided to give it another try in the evening. And it was worth the walk.


There is always something left in you even after you close the story.

Our flight from Bangalore was on Day8 at 8PM. And we were planning to start from Kodai on the same day. We realised that it would take approx 9 hours to reach Bangalore from Kodai and on Day7 it came to our mind that it might be a bit risky.

But somehow we thought that we can make it if we start a bit early. And we started at 430AM!!! This is one of the most amazing journeys I ever had. Coming downhill at that dark night was a bit chilly to say the least. We saw the sun rise on the go. Had our breakfast. Took some snaps to break the monotony sometimes. And kept moving otherwise. Babu lost his way twice, but quickly managed to come back to the right track. Then there was some highway drama - a truck driver and a bus driver having a brawl stalling all other vehicles on the highway. We reached Bangalore airport by 2PM. The security was not too happy to see us this early and requested not to enter. We made a second attempt at around 330PM and made our way into the airport.

Sitting there, we thought that it might be a good idea to have a personal blog just to freeze these 7 wonderful days. What we never realised was writting the last paragraph would become so difficult!