This time, I am going to share a road trip idea in the Nilgiri mountains. If you have a long weekend or some holidays, just take your ride and come to the most beautiful hill station of South India, Ooty. This part of Western Ghats is called the Nilgiris (Blue mountains). There are many places to explore in these mountains. This Nilgiri road trip will definitely be a wonderful experience for you.
Why is this Nilgiri road trip?
I will tell you. Of course, Ooty is the biggest attraction of the Nilgiri mountain ranges. You might have already visited Ooty many times. So whenever someone suggests about Ooty, you may feel why again. The point is, the Nilgiris is not only Ooty. If you are a nature lover, who never get bored seeing beautiful misty mountains all around and wishes to stay in a peaceful location for few days, then there are many places here which are perfect for you. In my case, these mountains has not stopped to excite me even though I am a frequent visitor.
So for this road trip, you are heading to Ooty but not the usual route. You are taking some diversions on the way, drive through some less travelled routes and explore some offbeat places.
Check out the below roadmap, it tells you almost everything.
I picked up the road from Nilambur side, Kerala. The usual route to Ooty is from via Gudalur (50 km). But this time, I drove up to Theppekad, took the forest road to Masinagudi.
Nilambur(Kerala)-Gudalur-Theppakadu-Masinagudi- Ooty-Coonoor-Ooty- Gudalur- Nilambur
Gudalur is a major town in the Nilgiris, it is located near to Kerala- TamilNadu border. Since I came from the Kerala side, this was my first destination. Life in this region is mainly based on tea plantations. Vast stretches of tea plantations welcome you from both sides. The climate is cool here.
Theppakadu is famous as the entry point to Mudumalai National park. The elephant camp in Theppakadu is a good place to visit on the way. Mudumalai National park is the other side of Bandipur National park in Karnataka.
If you are coming from Bangalore or Mysore, Theppakadu will be the first place to reach. From here, the road up to Masinagudi goes through the forest. It is very important to follow the rules inside the forest. You should not speed up or don’t stop anywhere on the way. There will be forest officers watching you, they may charge fine if you do something against the rules.
The drive through the forest will take you to Masinagudi. It is a small village in the foothills of Nilgiris. An offbeat destination famous for jungle safaris and cottages. Many offroading events take place here usually.
From Masinagudi, Ooty is about 30 km. The most interesting part of our road trip is this stretch. From here, the road is called Kalhatty ghat road. The road is a 12 km steady steep climb with 36 hairpin bends and very curvy. This road is a challenge to the driver in you. Accidents are often, you have to be very careful. The views on both sides of the roads are stunning. Big vehicles usually avoid this road.
I don’t think you don’t need to know much about Ooty from my side. During, festival season and weekends, it will be very crowded. You may find a bit difficult to even move your car on the roads. So don’t worry, we have alternate options, head to Coonoor.
Coonoor is about 21 km from Ooty, it is a small version of Ooty itself but much peaceful and serene.The world famous Nilgiri mountain heritage trains go parallel to the road. There are many old Victorian style bungalows which are now converted to hotels. You can find one and spend a night in one of those. There are many homestays and guest houses located at stunning locations. On the way, there are some amazing places like Ketti and Wellington which you should definitely visit.
I will suggest one beautiful place to visit here. Take the Dolphin nose road from Coonoor bus station and drive about 10 km. You will reach the Dolphin nose viewpoint. The road up to there is very scenic, you will find may other viewpoints and walkways on the way. From the Dolphin nose, you can see Catherine waterfall, which cascades down from a height of 250 m.
Coonoor is the best place to end your day. Pick up a nice place to sleep and enjoy the evening.
Few things to know before the Nilgiri road trip;
- As shown in the map above, the route for the trip depends on from which side you are coming. You can plan according to that.
- On the way back, you can take the other route and complete the circuit. Check the map shown above. For example, if you are coming from Coimbatore side; Coimbatore-Coonoor-Ooty-Gudalur-Theppakadu-Masinagudi-Ooty-Coimbatore
- The Masinagudi to Ooty is a bit difficult stretch, you have to be careful while driving. If it is difficult to drive up, just come down from Ooty to Masinagudi, plan accordingly.
- Masinagudi will be a different experience for you. There are many jungle resorts there, sometimes you can see some wildlife also. this region is dry throughout the year, but nights will be cold.
- When you enter Masinagudi, people approach you to take a jungle jeep safari. I haven’t done that yet, but from what I knew, it is a waste of money. You are already driving through the national park from Theppakadu to Masinagudi.
- Littering is strictly prohibited inside the forest.
- Follow the rules while driving through Mudumalai national park.
- Take a look at your fuel often, always better to fill enough fuel from Gudalur, Ooty or Coonoor. The availability of fuel station in Masinagudi is doubtful.
- Accommodations are available in Gudalur, Masinagudi, Ooty and Coonoor
I highly suggest everyone to drive once through these scenic roads. Hope you got enough information to plan your Nilgiri road trip. If you need any further details, please let me know.
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