Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The quest for Mandalpatti

Trip to Mandalpatti and Mallalli Falls Coorg:

Western Ghats of Madikeri(coorg):The Shola grasslands and forest with mesmerizing water streams and falls, Far stretching green mountains and the cool breeze will definitely make one feel like heaven.

After my 1st visit to Madikeri in 2010, we just planned for some least explored places in Coorg, so we decided to go to a peak and a waterfalls, and decided Mallalli falls on the 1st day and Mandalpatti on the 2nd day.

Mallalli Falls:

Lower Mallalli Falls
We started our day from Bangalore early morning having breakfast in Maddur and reached Suntikoppa and started our journey towards
towards Mallalli falls(40km from Madikeri), the nearest town being somwarpet. 
The route is via madapur, we reached  a checkpoint for the falls and had some snacks over there form a local shop n hired a local guide(as the place is completely remote) and travelled for some 2km, then we had to park our SUV and started to trek there are atleast a thousand steps to get down and further have to trek a km, totally it should be around 4km we have to walk on foot. 
View from Mallalli Falls
U get some beautiful views of the falls on the way. There is a natural view point at the top surrounded by dark stones. 
Once u reach the falls u can go into the water depending upon the water level, there are 2 major steps for the falls, the lower falls is not much accessible so we settled to relax on the rocks around the falls. 
The water was ice cooled so couldn't actually spend much of the time playing in the water. We had gone during the christmas time so there was not much of water so it was pretty safe. 
View of the lower falls on the trek route
This place is meant only to visit in the winter between Dec-Feb is the best time to visit, although u may not find water during hot summers and in monsoons it is impossible and dangerous to visit. Mallalli Falls lies in the foot of Pushpagiri Hill Ranges, where Kumaradhara river takes a plunge over 200 feet.
One would not disagree if someone says Malalli Falls better than Abbey Falls.

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View of Pushpagiri Hills
on the way to kumara parvatha
After spending hours in the falls we started to climb up the hill back to the car parking, we paid 150Rs to the guide. 
We started towards kumara parvata of pushpagiri hills. 
Although we didn't planned for kumara parvatha and it was already getting dark we settled visiting a shiva temple(Heggademane Temple) down the hill.
Shiva Temple

U get nice decent views of the valley from this temple.
We started our journey back to suntikoppa and halted for the night.


The route via Abbey
On the 2nd day we started early morning 6am towards Mandalpatti, we hired a local Jeep since the roads are very rough and routes were not properly known. 
From Madikeri, there are 2 routes to Mandalpatti - one which shares its route with Abbey Falls(around 20kms from Madikeri), the other which goes via Makkandur(around 35kms from Madikeri). 

Roads on top of the hills
The route via Makkandur is a bit longer but I would easily advise it over the other. We took the route from abbey falls while going and while coming back we came from Makkandur route.  Both the routes take u through the coffee estates and forest so u never get bored of the 2 hr journey. As u drive up the hills u can witness the mountains covered with grasslands on the top. Every view from then are all panaromic views of the mountains. The road ends at Pushpagiri reserve forest office, Mandalapatti. 
Shola Grasslands at Mandalpatti
 If I would describe the place in one sentence it would be "No stress, No phones, No pollution, No humans full relax at the untouched".
There is a small hill behind the forest office and a pond, one can climb the hill to get the breathtaking views of the valley. There is a view point also build recently. On top of the hill the wind blows away ur mind. I was a little bit disappointed as there was no mist and clear sky on that day, else one can stand on top of the hill where all the clouds are below them.  
View from top of Mandalpatti
There are also tents provided from the forest office at a cost and u need a prior permission from them to go further trekking the hills.
Don't expect food in the hills. We then left the place in the afternoon and on the way back u can find a number of small water streams and falls through the Makkandur route. Finally ended our journey back to Bangalore.

Google Maps:The map shown here is the route with abbey falls, since the road through Makkandur is newly built it is not shown in google maps

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Abbey Falls:

one can also check out Abbey falls, refer the map below for the route. Starting from madikeri it is around 8km from madikeri town. The buses can ply up to 5km, further one has to walk or can take a private bus or jeep(around 50Rs for pickup and drop) which takes u till 1km from the falls and then u've to trek inside the coffee estates for about a km to reach the falls, there is parking facility which charge around 40Rs. you are not allowed to get into the water and there is a small hanging bridge infront of the falls to get a good view of the falls. There are no shops in and around the falls.

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Photo Gallery:

Mallalli Falls:

Hoardings at the entrance of the falls
View of Upper and Lower falls from the trek route
View of the falls from top of the hill

Roads to Mandalpatti:

Road near Mandalpatti
Road near Mandalpatti
Road gets still worst when u get near to Mandalpatti
Some side ways for different hill tops
Road via Makkandur Route
Makkandur route road under Construction 
Road through the coffee estates


Flowers at Pushpagiri hills, Mandalpatti
view of Forest office from Mandalpatti Hill
View point at Mandalpatti Hill
One of the trek route at Mandalpatti
View of the levels of hills from mandalpatti
Beyond the view point at Mandalpatti
Roadside falls on the Makkandur route
View of the shola grasslands from Mandalpatti

Hoardings at The Range Office:

For More Pics CLICK HERE

Check out the Videos here
Mandalpatti video -

Pushpagiri hills video -

Mallallifalls video -

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Visit to the Ooty Gardens

A Visit to the Ooty Gardens:

Started my day from Mettupalyam at 7.30am and missed the mountain train which was at 7.15am, i just caught a bus to Ooty, the views are breathtaking even in bus drive too.
As the bus started to ride over the Nilgiri hills i could sense the temperature dropping quickly. There are a number of hairpin bends on the way, so better don't have food before starting the drive.
In the early drive you could see lots of trees on the mountains, and once u spot tea estates it means u r nearing to Coonoor, further 11km up the hills is Ooty.
Got down at Charring cross(Ooty town) at 9.30am and couldn't find many good veg hotels around so had to settle for Durga veg. Food is average but no better choice. 

Green Lawns at Botanical Garden
Just a km away is the Government Botanical Garden, in fact it is the best place in Ooty town. It is said that it is the largest Botanical garden in India. It is really worth visiting it and one of the best maintained gardens i ever seen. Spent almost 5 hours taking pictures of landscape, birds, flowers and architecture. In between it rained almost for an hour. After the rain stopped the sun came up almost within few mins and there was lot of mist coming from the woods. I could manage to do some shopping around the garden and just walked from the Tibetan market.

 St.Stephens Church

Left from the garden at 3pm and reached Charring cross again for lunch, just 1km from there is the St.Stephens Church, although i was the lonely dweller, it was a quite peaceful place away from the town. There are decent views of the city from there.

A Birds eye view of the Rose Garden
The Church closed at 4.30pm and i left to Rose Garden which is aound 2km from the church. It is said that it is the largest Rose garden in India. Not a great place for tourism, but a decent place for getting the views of the town on the slopes and definitely a picnic spot and rose lovers will really love it, the garden itself is on the slopes of Elk hill. Spent the rest of my day taking pictures and left at 6.30pm.

Walked down the hill about half a km is the commercial road where u can find lots of hotels and had my dinner and left at 7.30pm to charring cross for some shopping, I could find lots of shops for shopping home made chocolates, but suggest u to go to NCC super market for shopping home made chocolates and Nilgiri tea, one can find lot of varities over there. One can check out Cafe Coffee day at Charring cross.

It was around 8pm when i left the place and caught a local bus from there and reached Main bus stand. Finally had to wait for an hour to get my bus Airavat back to Bangalore. And as usual KSRTC service rocks, had a pleasant travel with all those good memories.

Although this was my 2nd visit to ooty, pretty much covered the ooty town only in the 2nd visit. Had been to most of the places in ooty in my 1st visit in 2009 including Nilgiri Mountain Railway(Toy Train), Pykara falls, Pine forest, 6th mile-9th mile(shooting medu/spot), Ooty Lake/Boating house, Doddabetta peak, Kamaraj Sagar Dam(Sandynalla reservoir).
On my 2nd visit I wanted to explore the town and mainly for the purpose of Photography, covered the Government Botanical Gardens, Government Rose Garden, and St. Stephen's Church.
There are few more on my checklist Avalanche, Mukurthi National Park, Emerald Lake, Dolphin's Nose/Catherine Falls in Coonoor.

Top 5 Places to visit in Ooty town:
1.Government Botanical Garden(3 Km, 7 am to 6.30 pm), just opposite the entrance to the Botanical Gardens u can find Tibetan Market.(opens only after lunch)
2.Government Rose Garden(2km, 8am to 6.30pm)
3.St Stephens Church(0.8km from charring cross, 10 am - 1 pm & 3 pm - 5 pm)
4.Ooty Lake and Boat house(1 Km, 9 am to 5.30 pm), just opposite to the entrance of Ooty Lake u can find Thread Garden(open till 6 pm), also there is a Deer park around 1km from Ooty Lake located on the other side of the lake
5.Government Museum & Art Gallery (1.5km, 10 am to 1 pm and 2 am to 5 pm) only if u interested in museum's and art.
Note :
-Timings are tentative. Distances are from Main bus stand unless specified.
-Shop at Charring cross for some homemade chocolates, Nilgiri Tea and Eucalyptus oil.

Top 10 Places to visit around Ooty (in order):
1.Doddabetta Peak (10km, 7.00 am to 6.00 pm)-there are buses from bus stand every 30mins.
3.Mukurthi National Park
4.Emerald Lake
5.Dolphin's Nose/Catherine Falls in Coonoor
6.Shooting medu/spot 6th mile and 9th mile, it means 6miles/9miles from ooty town
7.Pykara Lake and Pykara Falls, can visit Pine forest on the way to pykara falls
8.Kamraj Sagar Dam
9.Tiger Hill
10.kodanadu view point

Mode of Transport:
1.There are daily sight seeing trips from TN Govt buses running from Main bus stand.
2.Also u find buses to almost all the places from the Main bus stand.
3.There are private day sight seeing trips organised from private travels, u can find them around Charring cross.
4.These is a private taxi stand at Charring cross, and charge somewhere around 800 for day sight seeing, else can hire a cab for some fixed prices.

5.If u want to do sight seeing only inside the town then u can make best use of the town buses(green mini buses) which charge only 5rs inside the town, else u can avail autos which charge anywhere between 40Rs-100Rs for 1km-4km distance.

Other Useful travel information:
Mountain Train from Mettupalyam to Ooty : MTP UAM PASSR dep Mettupalyam 7.10am -> arr ooty 12pm.

Photo Gallery: 

View point, Botanical Gardens
It was raining heavily in the afternoon during summer
You can find 100's of beautiful and well maintained flowers like these
one can find many different kind of trees
Inside one of the mini glass house
Walk way to the Italian Garden, Botanical Garden
Botanical Gardens
Mist coming from the woods
At the Entrance, Botanical Gardens
Plan of the Botanical Garden
Glass House, Botanical Garden 
View from Stephens Church
View from Stephens Church

View from the Rose Garden
There are a variety of birds in this one in the gardens

For More Pics CLICK HERE