On the 20th of April we left Bangalore at 12.00 noon. Destination - Ooty. The distance between Bangalore and Ooty is around 300 kms and had gathered from friends and the internet that it would be a 6 hr drive approximately. I was a little apprehensive because it entailed driving through Bandipur and Mudumalai forest Reserves for a short stretch. Once about 4 yrs ago, we had driven from Waynad to Nagarhole Sanctuary. The roads were nearly non existent.
On the Bangalore - Mysore route lies the town of Chennapatna, where they make wooden toys, with lacquer colors. We bought a few for ourselves.
We did not stop for lunch, but grabbed a few burgers and stuff at a McDonald's Takeway , enroute. From there to Mysore, Nanjanguda and reached Gundlupet at around 4.00 pm. Drove on towards Bandipur. The roads are in good condition and it was a nice comfortable and scenic drive. The tall forest on either side, Bamboo groves, birds in myriad colours, signboards reminding us that we were passing through a forest where the animals had right of way.......Ahem!
We had been forewarned that we could have to wait in our tracks to allow a herd of elephants to pass. The most that we saw was a herd of deer and one lonely wild boar.
Then drove on into Mudumalai and with that into TamilNadu. The roads seemed much better here. It was a good drive with hairpin bends as we neared Ooty and we could see and feel the uphill drive through the Nilgiris. And yes the Nilgiris did appear blue. We reached Ooty comfortably by 6.30 pm.
The drive into Ooty was a fragrant one. The air was heavy with the smell of the eucalyptus. It was cold too. As we wrapped ourselves into our sweaters i ws reminded of my childhood when Nilgiri oil was liberally used to help ease a bout of cold and a stuffy nose. We checked in into the Meadows Residency in the Charing Cross area of Ooty, which was active and buzzing with stores. The Hotel is new and the rooms and the bathrooms were sleek and spick and span. While we were settling in they served us large cups of perfectly brewed, steaming hot coffee. Yes!! Complimentary!
We ventured into the markets. A 'What to shop for while in Ooty' search on the internet had revealed that sampling home-made chocolates and chocolate fudge is mandatory. And Kings Star Confectionery was rated the best. So off we went to King's Star. The chocolate fudge was the best of all the stuff laid out there. The children loved the Mint and the Fruit and Nut variety as well. The internet search had also listed a popular Chinese eatery 'Shinkows'. This place disappointed and we walked out immediatley. It had a lot of pork and beef items and i was not too comfortable
Dinner was at Chandan at Hotel Nahar. Good food, Chinese and Punjabi. A significantly large restaurant. Had several laminated pictures by Raja Ravi Varma, all of them my absolute favourites.
A brisk walk (it was sooo...... cold!) and we were back to the cosy confines of our room.