Bengaluru, July 21: Ooty is one of the most popular hill stations in Southern India. It is well connected by roads to most Southern cities. There are plenty of options to go to Ooty, but a trip on bikes with friends on a weekend has a charm of its own. The thrill that a long trip on two-wheelers has to offer is beyond compare, however, it is not advisable to go on solo trip on a bike especially when route involves riding through hilly terrain and forest.
Mysosre to Ooty on bike during weekends is popular among engineering students. Mysore has ample engineering colleges that offer quality education, and hence students from all parts of India come to Mysore. After a hectic week in classrooms, engineering students generally begin planning for the weekend from Thursday itself. There are plenty of places in the vicinity of Mysore that would interest the tourists. But, our engineering friends are not freshers and hence have visited most places around Mysore like - KRS Dam, brindavana gardens, edmuri, balmuri, Chamudi Hill, Tannur Kere, Srirangapttna etc etc.
The trip ought to be thrilling, adventurous, scenic, and of course be worth enough to spent precious weekend on, the to be techies agree on this. Mysore to Ooty on bikes is trip that offers all these. Ooty is a great destination to visit all year round., but since this particular trip involves riding two-wheeler for over 3 hours, it is best to avoid monsoon season. Ooty receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon and the rains can make riding very dangerous.
Saturday morning 6:00 am would be the ideal time to start. Exit Mysore on Nanjangud-Gundulpet highway and this distance can be covered fast as quality of the road is good. At Gundulpet, a decision needs to be made. There are two possible routes, the shorter one is around 136 kms (from Mysore), but has steep tortuous roads with over 30 hairpin curves.
Mysore-Theppakkadu-Masinagudi-Kallati-Ooty Road is the shorter one and it passes through Bandipore forest. The longer route of Mysore-Theppakkadu-Gudalur-Pykara-Ooty Road is 183 km. Our adventurous engineering friends decide to take shorter one which offers more thrill. But a word of caution, the shorter route does not have much traffic movement so can be kind of secluded.
Some 20 kms from Gundulpet, Bandipore forest starts. Bandipur is known for its wildlife. It is worth stopping for an hour or so explore the Bandipur National Park. This is a tiger reserve that was set up in 1974. If lucky one can spot peacocks or deers crossing the road. Sometimes herd of elephants can also be seen. You are bound to encounter wildlife on your way. If you are not used to driving in the forest, try to tag on to a large vehicle like a bus or a lorry at a safe gap of around 10 meters and you need not worry about wildlife on the road.
Now, one will have to cross Karnataka Tamil Nadu border where all bike papers would be checked so please ensure Lincse, RC, Insurance and pollution papers are in order. Next is Masinagudi which is very well-known for its bird population. The deciduous forests give a home to many species of birds which makes Masinagudi a favourite destination with bird-watchers.
After Masinagudi , starts the hair-raising 36 hairpin bend road to reach the top of nilagiri hills. Some stretches are so steep that bike would move only in first gear. Road quality is not that good so exercise caution. Negotiating 36 hairpin cures are no joke and would require good riding skills.
This is the route that needs to be taken:
Mysore City ---- 24km -- --> Nanjangud -- 43km --> Gundlupet -- 20km --> Bandipur National Park -- 8km --> Karnataka Tamilnadu border -- 5km --> Theppakkadu (leaves NH67) ---- 7km --> Masinagudi -- 8km --> Ghat section starts ( 36 hairpin bends ahead ) -- 14km --> Joins NH67 (Ghat section ends) -- 7km --> Ooty
Here are some places that can be visited in Ooty:
- Ooty Botanical Garden
- Ooty Lake
- Ooty Rose Garden
- Doddabetta Peak
- The Emerald Lake
- Pykara Falls and Lake
- Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
- St Stephens Church
- Avalanche Lake
- Ketti Valley Viewpoint
- Bison Valley