A trip to Ooty means so many wonderful memories. This quaint hill station is a romantic getaway for some while for others it is a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Best Time to Visit
The winters in Ooty are colder than the rest of south India. The best time to visit this magnificent hill station is between June and October. During these months, the temperature remains at a comfortable 25°C offering a more relaxed holiday.
Places to Eat
Places to eat on Route 1 (check map) other than Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizzas serving some of the most delightful menus surrounding local cuisines are:
- Navaruchi: This is a restaurant with a friendly owner, great food and a safe place for the kids. It is ideal for family lunches. The restaurant serves pure vegetarian food.
- Empire Restaurant Mysore: If you are a budget traveller looking for a quick meal, this is the right place to eat at. The food is simple, and the restaurant is clean.
- Le Olive Garden Mysore: This is a quaint Italian eatery that serves both Chinese and Italian cuisines. The food is highly recommended by foodies, and people love relaxing here between their long road trips.
- Tandooriwala Restaurant Mysore, Kuvempunagar: Tandoori in the cold weather is ideal. So, try this place out but be prepared to stand in a queue to get a table here.,
Places to eat on Route 2 (check map) are dotted with excellent eateries and restaurants are:
- Sri Ganesha Hotel For Lunch And Dinner: The restaurant serves simple home-cooked meals. If you are one of those who loves hot pakodas (fritters) and aaloo (potato) chops, this is the best restaurant for a pit stop and a snack or even a full lunch or dinner for the family.
- VB Bakery: This is one of the oldest eateries that has freshly baked delights on the menu. A quick luncheon is ideal here.
- Thippaiah Hotel: A hotel which is quintessentially traditional and serves tasty dosas which are crispy and mouthwatering.
- Taj Chicken Biryani Centre: Indians are accustomed to the diverse types of Biryanis in the country, and this restaurant outdoes the places in the hills. It is a must try.
- Hotel Hamza: If you like wraps and meaty cuisine, check out the shawarmas and tandoori delicacies here.
Places to eat on Route 3 (check map) -have an abundance of small owner driven restaurants that offer fabulous international cuisine and delicacies. The list includes:
- Ced’s Café: If you want a long and relaxed lunch, stop by at this place and experience delicious pasta, pizza, sandwich & burgers. Their service is quick, and you need to order the pasta of choice an hour before. This is an affordable eatery, and the serving portions are generous.
- Jharokha Restaurant: This is a culinary delight that converts local places into genuinely memorable experiences. The restaurant offers great Thai and Chinese cuisines. They are known for their service, and the staff are polite, and the menu is reasonably priced.
- Dragon: Chinese cuisine both in the winters or summer season is ideal for travellers. It is light on the stomach but very wholesome.
- Khana Khazana Pure Veg Indian Food: For those who love their vegetarian food, this is the best place to eat at on a road trip with the family.
- Green Fields: This is a typically English stylized hotel and serves delicious food for the hungry traveller. Take some time off the road to relax and enjoy the scenic view and cuisines here.
- Open Kitchen: This restaurant is owned by a friendly person who used work as a journalist has now put his heart into this small quaint and cosy space. The thin crust pizzas and chilly cheese toasts are the perfect meals for road trippers. Most foodies boast about the caramel salted ice cream too.
There are 3 route options travelling from Bangalore to Ooty.
The Mysore-Masinagudi Route via NH275
Bangalore – Ramanagara – Channapatna – Mandya – Srirangapatna – Mysore – Nanjangud – Gundlupet – Masinagudi – Ooty
The route is approximately 280 kms and takes around 7 hours.
The Kanakapura-Kollegal Route via NH948
Bangalore – Kanakapura – Shivanasamudra – Kollegal – Chamarajanagar – Masinagudi – Ooty
This route takes around 7 hours across 290 kms.
The Salem-Coonoor Route via NH44.
Bangalore – Hosur – Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri – Salem – Avinashi – Coonoor – Ooty
This is a longer route that spans across 422kms and takes anywhere between 8 to 9 hours.
What To Eat And Stopovers
Quick lunches are great for a journey that lasts between 6 to 8 hours. The highway along the way to Mysore has many eateries serving tasty delights. -If you are around Mysore, spend some time exploring Mysore. Visit the Mysore Palace.- Another popular attraction is - climbing up to Chamundi hills for a panoramic view of the city.
On the way, check out these iconic eateries:
- Kamath Lokaruchi: The restaurant is located on the highway near Janapada Loka. Lunch is offered with a variety of traditional jowar rotti flavour. It is served to satisfy a wholesome taste buds.
- Indradhanush: A nice restaurant to drop in for lunch, snacks and coffee. The food is good with reasonable prices. The outlet is well managed and clean.
If your plan to go for a trek then eat a light lunch. You can enjoy the sights and captures some excellent shots of birds and the magnificent beasts in the hills. Depending on the route you take, of course, pop out for pitstop visits - that are scenic and fun. Let mother nature rule the mind and enjoy some fresh air.
Reaching There And Places To Visit
Popular Places to visit on Route 1:
- Kanva Reservoir: Take a small from Ramanagara, it will take you to an artificial lake covered in a green umbrella of thick vegetation. It is one of the world’s most beautiful places to watch the sunrise here.
- Captain Bailey’s Dungeon: A visit which must be made is the POW dungeon constructed in Srirangapatna by Tipu Sultan.
- Bandipur Tiger Reserve: Spot the majestic tiger, the legend of India’s wildlife in the well-known reserve that houses a small population of tigers.
- Kokkare Bellur Bird Sanctuary: Not too far from the winery is the Maddur, a must go to birds’ sanctuary. See if you can spot the varieties of species.
- Ramadevara Betta: A favourite trekkers paradise, this spot is located a few kilometres from Ramanagara.
- Janapada Loka: This is an open air museum famously known for its conventional ambience and offers a great place to discover the arts and crafts.
- Heritage Winery: Learn about wine-making at Heritage Winery. It comes up on the map right after the Channapatna crossing.
- Gumbaz: Another excellent pit stop is at Srirangapatna. Soak in the history and visit the resting places of the great Legend Tipu Sultan and his family’s burial chambers.
Popular Places to visit on Route 2:
- Talakadu: If you want to explore off the beaten track, try a pit stop at Shivanasamudra which is located closed to - this unknown site with 30 buried temples.
- Somnathpur: Somewhere between Talakadu and Bannur, there is the beautiful temple of Somnathpur that is known for its historical wonder with different kinds of Lord Krishna’s stone carved statues.
- B.R. Hills: Take a small detour from Kollegal and drive around the serene hills that will get you some great photographs for your collections.
- Mekedatu: Enjoy the fresh waters near Kanakpura and take a boat ride and enjoy being surrounded by nature.
- Chunchi Falls: Falls on the Kanakpura Road, this breathtaking waterfall will take your breath away. It is also a paradise for photographers.
- Shivanasamudra: Take a small detour to Malavalli and you will reach another gorgeous waterfall.
- Mudumalai National Park: This is the perfect stop to take a jungle safari in the lush green forests.
Popular Places to visit on Route 3:
- Krishnagiri Dam: The perfect stop on your trip and revel in the natural fresh air the dam.
- Dolphin’s Nose View Point: It is a few kilometres from Ooty.-This is one for your bucket list. Visit the Dolphin’s Nose even if you are on the way back to Bangalore and soak in the breathtaking valleys views.
- Lamb’s Rock: Want to see monkeys standing in a line and watching the cars? This is a fabulous place just before Coonoor. Of course, beware of these monkeys.
- Hogenakkal Falls: Nature lovers can go boating and relax by the waterfalls just off Dharmapuri.
- Yercaud: This route has the Yercaud hills in Salem, a quiet place and lots of fresh forest air, narrow winding pathways for a romantic walk for couples in the hills.
- Highfield Tea Factory: Tea Estates offer the best and most delicious fresh tea in the world. Don’t miss out on how to brew tea and learn the whole process of making tea. Ask if you can pick leaves to the final step of prepared tea and learn how to treat them.
- 1008 Lingam Temple: The hidden troves of the 1008 lingam temple that houses Shiva lingas. It a few kilometres in Ariyanoor from Salem.
Places to Visit After Reaching Ooty:
- Botanical Garden: The beautifully landscaped gardens, divided into multiple sections was built way back in 1947 and sprawls across 55 acres.
- Rose Garden: Awarded the ‘Garden of Excellence’, the Rose garden has 3000 varieties of roses is spread across 10 acres.
- Ooty Lake: A sparkling beauty against the backdrop of the picturesque Nilgiris, resting in the middle of green valleys.
- Pykara Lake: A lake nestled amidst the lushes Nilgiris with a roaring waterfall.
- Doddabetta Peak: Offering a mesmerizing view of the city, the Doddabetta peak is the highest peak in the Nilgiris.
- St Stephen’s Church: The oldest church in Ooty is located in the Upper Bazar Road that showcases amazing architectural charm.
- Tea Museum: A little off beat but a must do in Ooty, the Tea Museum is sprawled across 1 acre where you can check out the tea making process.
Points To Note While Planning A Trip (Car/Bike)
Pack for weather changes as Ooty will be a few degrees cooler during summers. Pack your winter wear for the cold weather. If it is December, it can be freezing for most people who are not used to windy weather.
If you are making a quick lunch stop at Mysore, Kanakapura or Salem, plan it out properly. It needs to be an hour’s break. The roads from Bangalore to Mysore offers ideal conditions for driving. However, try to start the journey in the early hours of the morning.
Remember, when you reach the forest reserve area like Masinagudi, be prepared to tackle a series of hairpin bends. Hence drive with care and do not speed. Also, the stretch from Srirangapatna to Mysore is not in great condition; driving slow and carefully is a good idea.
Along the way, there many diversions, speed bumps and winding narrow roads. This is expected once you cross the highways border cross between states. Most importantly, the route has monkeys, so aware of them, even if you stop for a little while. Also, ensure that you keep an eye out for the signboards at the intersections, bypasses and diversions. Try to stay on the GPS routes to avoid confusion.
Jungle safaris are fun, but remember that you drive through the forest reserves. Hence, keep your attire comfortable and easy to move around in and wear shoes that meant for such terrain. Avoid heels and sandals, these are not safe for such conditions. The essential thing to remember lastly is that Ooty weather has sudden surprises, so stay aware of the weather conditions too.
In case the return journey is through Mysore, be prepared for a traffic jam. Instead, try the route through Kanakpura which take you via Salem through the Krishnagiri stretch which is navigable and drive is comfortable.
Diesel / Petrol Pumps
These routes are all very well travelled roads and petrol/diesel pumps are dotted along the highway. Keep your GPS on, and you will find your way around the winding hilly roads with ease.
Overnight Halts If Any
An enjoyable journey can have some exciting overnight stays added. All routes have some excellent places for a night’s rest such as these:
- The Nest Inn: This is a Jungle Lodge nestled on the edge of the Mudumalai National Park and the foothills of the Western Ghats. It is a perfect getaway for couples and its just 7 kilometres away from Theppakadu Elephant Camp. Of course, treks are a must for nature lovers which is on offer at the lodge.
- Safari Land Villa: The name says it all. Stay at this eco-friendly lodge and enjoy the jungle life with incredible views of the ghats, mountains and rolling hills. It is tucked away from the roads in the Nilgiris, a perfect place for a good night’s sleep.
- New Mountainia Resorts: If you like a stylized outdoor space, this is the ideal place to check for a night, you may want to extend it into a few hours of the next to experience the sights and resort activities.
Stay And Eat With Other Eating Places
Staying and eating out at the umpteen places in the hills en route to Ooty can be full of fun. Stick to delicious cuisines served along the way. The hotels on the road are lodges and resorts that have scenic views to take in. Thus, planning an overnight stay is exciting for couples and large families. The journey gets interesting, with something on offer for everyone during the road trip – be it treks, safaris with the tigers and bird watching.
Mobile connectivity is not a problem at all. It is recommended that you follow the GPS map for easy navigation to connectivity spots.
All leading banks have ATMs en route to Ooty. The Tea Estate is an interesting drive along the way.
These routes have mechanics along the way. However, carrying your wrenches, car-jack and spare wheel is something that you should consider.
The medical facilities are available in all the cities and towns along the way. The locals are accommodating, and they can guide, but use the GPS to get to the nearest medical facilities. Since the forest reserves are nearby, each one has the necessary medical facilities.
Electricity can be tricky here, and bad weather can bring on unforeseen issues. However, 99% of the time the power is available here.
The most essential things during road trips is to carry a travel kit with screwdrivers, a swiss knife, a crescent wrench, a first aid kit, pliers – two sets, duct tapes, scissors, air pressure gauge for tyres (these are small and handy). The spare tyre should be ready to use in case of a puncture. Of course, mechanics along the highway are known to have all the equipment needed for repairs but carry the tool kit anyways.
Finally, remember to check whether your Four wheeler insurance or Two-wheeler is still valid. If the renewal date is around the corner, consider an insurer like Bharti AXA GI who can offer a comprehensive car insurance policy.
Read more about: Bangalore to Mysore Road Trip
Article Author: Meenakshi Sircar
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