On a November night, when we felt an urge for a long drive, my friends and I planned on an impromptu trip to Mandalpatti, a scenic viewpoint to the Western Ghats situated about 20 km from Madikeri in Coorg. The distance from Bangalore to Mandalpatti is 260 km and the drive takes 6 hours approximately. Make sure to wear a jacket because it gets extremely cold as well as foggy in winter.
We were not aware of the condition of the roads that led to Mandalpatti. As it turns out, it was a rough terrain, making it quite dangerous to travel during the night. Although it is much easier to travel during the day.
Things To Know Before Driving To The Top
About 15 km before the actual rough terrain, there are jeeps lined up that can be hired for a price of Rs 1500-2000. An alternative option could be driving an SUV or a car structured to be driven on bad roads.
Off-road biking can also be done to reach the place. However, on the final 4 km distance from the foothills to the viewpoint, the road worsens a notch higher as well as narrows, making it nearly impossible to drive on.
Once again, there are jeeps that can be hired for about Rs 700-800. This distance can also be covered through trekking if you're up for an adventure.
Travelling a little ahead of Madikeri is relatively an easy drive, but the diversion to Mandalpatti is a tricky business. There was hardly anybody for us to ask for directions, so we had to be extremely careful while looking out for signboards.
The route was pitch dark with nothing but the car's headlights. We had a ball trying to scare one of our friends in the darkness. We departed at about 10 in the night and finally reached the top by 4 in the morning.
The final 4 km of narrow broken road had to be travelled by a jeep, and they start taking tourists or visitors only post 6 AM, so we had to stay in the car for some time. Instead, it is best to come equipped for a trek.
What To Carry/Wear For The Trek
PC: Leelavathy B.M
Water bottle, torchlight, trekking shoes, comfortable clothes, etc., are some of the must-carry essentials.
At 6 AM, we were driven through the last 4 km of our journey, a thrilling experience to say the least. The roads were only wide enough to let a single jeep to go on. There were strong winds blowing, making the already cold weather even more colder.
On one hand, we could see a luscious green bed of land stretching as far as the fog let our visibility work and, on the other hand, we could see the Western Ghats in all its glory.
Everyone was freezing and covered in mist. Finally, once we reached the destination, it was a scene worth everything. There was acres and acres of green land all around us to the point that it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, and a sun rising slowly covered with mist truly made our journey worthwhile.
One moment we could see the view and the next it was covered with fog. We spent some time just enjoying the wind, fog and green; everything we wish Bangalore had.
On the way back, we stopped at a local hotel to have the Coorg specialties. Some had neer dosa with pandhi curry (pork curry) and the others had Kadambuttu (steamed rice dumpling) with bamboo shoot curry. With that we had our perfect getaway we ached for.
Mandalpatti is a perfect go-to place to break the routine, and I would definitely go back to the place next time with better planning.