Ooty is a british legacy to discover the lost scotland. It was laid out in 1847 by Marquis of Tweedale laid over 55 acres of land. The lawn is well maintained and landscaped with alluring beauty to nature lovers. There are innumerable nos of rare species such as cork trees, 20 million year old Italian fossilled tree and variety of flowers.
The route to Ooty from Bangalore is through the outskirts of Mysore, which is 135 kms on the old mysore road. One has to take a left deviation before entering Mysore city and travel upto the edge and take a right turn towards Najangud. The road upto Mysore is well laid out, on the national highway, one has to watch for sand trucks who may be driving rashly though. There are of number of traffic barriers laid out throughout the route which can be fatal, the police is to blame for it, but nevertheless 60 km is safe speed and prescribed limit. One does tend to overspeed, one needs to watch for checking enroute by cops for overspeeding. The road after Nanjangud upto to Gundlupet can be a difficult stretch with lot of potholes.
Bandipur is a wild life sanctuary which falls enroute to Ooty. One needs to reach this spot early because the trips close by 9 am, we were lucky to reach just in time. A safari ride costs Rs 95/- per head otherwise a jeep cost Rs 1600/- for a group. One makes a choice according to budget. The total trip is 6 kms inside the forest, one gets to spot wildlife, like elephant, deer, bison, sambhar, and if one is lucky but rare sightings of tiger, which is in adjacent Madumalai forest. The greenery is alluring, the photo shoots and videography can be great.
After crossing the Bandipur forests, one enters TN territory with Madumali range. There are 2 routes one is via Gudlur another through Kalhatti, if the vehicle is not in condition, it is not advisable to use this route, because of steep hair pin bends. It can really test the driving skills and vehicle condition to the hilt. Maruthi 800 users should be careful, with tyres skidding and braking becoming extremely difficult, better to use 1st and 2nd gear only to control momentum. Please remember right of way is for vehicles ascending not descending. No time for blame game. It is better to avoid traveling by scooter or two wheeler it can be dangerous, particularly with kids around. One passes through dense forest, one can spot plenty of deers, rare bisons, peacocks and elephants. It is better to stop safe distance away from the elephants, lest it charges. One has to be aware that the elephants generally travels in herds for its own survival.
The clouds start hitting the road, as one touches the peak, the weather turns air conditioned even during summer. The people are definitely warm and friendly. The most important tourists attractions are botanical garden, rose garden, boating lake and doddabeta. There are other spots such as Pykara boating, Film shooting spots, welligton etc.
Accomodation @ Ooty can be expensive during summer vacations. However one can find reasonably priced dormitories at Youth Hostels and Mutts. There are no of browsing centres for burning CDs and downloading photos. Plenty of food restaurants are available in and around the Gandhi square.
One can buy plenty of herbal and medicinal oils for various common ailments, such as cold, asthma, joint pains etc. The purchases can be made at horticultural shops and government vending points at Botanical gardens. Parking fees can be expensive for vehicles but one has to bear with a brunt and pay up.
There are plenty of spices also being sold in shops such as cinnamon, pepper, cardamom. The eucalyptus oil is good for cold, camphor oil is good for massaging, guather oil for joint pains, cinchona oil for driving out mosquitos etc.
We stayed @ Dasprakash hotel in Mysore and undertook one day trip to Ooty since we had to cover other spots around Mysore. Ooty and Mysore can be a great weekend getaway if one starts early from Bangalore and be prepared to reach late in the night. One can definitely relish the AC trip to Ooty, the queen of hillstation in India. It is an absolute backpacker’s delight.