Thursday, 16 June 2011

Masinagudi - a lovely road trip

Nestled by the Nilgiri range on all sides, Masinagudi in the foothills of Ooty is a picture perfect little town. Thick woods and very foresty, the place boasts of having one of the best forest areas in the neighboring region. Masinagudi is one part of the much bigger Mudumalai Forest range and houses many animals like the endangered Indian Tiger, Indian Elephant, Guar, Chital, Antlers, Bison. The range also houses lots of exotic Indian birds and critters. 

Happened to be there a few weeks back and got to stay in a place in Bokkapuram and had a lovely time there. 

Bonus: Saw elephants while travelling from Bangalore to Masinagudi enroute. One female elephant near the Bandipur range and one little tusker while on the way to Masinagudi. The best sighting was during the night in the homestay we stayed in. A bold tusker walked almost into the house premises  - just less than 50 ft away in search of a light after dinner snack. Guess he felt a bit hungry seeing us all eat piping hot home food. 

The next day morning, the home stay owner - a Mr Horace Cunnigham, was very nice to take us along in a walk skirting the edge of the deep forest area. We saw a lot of does, fawns and antlers in a frivolous mood posing for us and being curious about what we were upto in their land. Horace was also nice enough to give us cacti flowers to suck on. We gorged on them greedily. We also saw a dilapidated Tipu fort. While coming back, we passed through a watering hole which the animals visit to quench their thirst. Sadly, we couldnt sight any animals near the watering hole except a small tiny green snake slithering away from us (possibly in fright?). 

We left to Ooty sometime mid afternoon on my bird and did the 36 hairpin bends quite comfortably. The road is quite steep and not much of traffic is found in it as its a lot more steeper than the route from Gudalur. So, buses and heavy vehicles prefer that less slopy route instead of travelling through these steep, winding roads. It started raining sometime after we reached Ooty and we got real drenched and came down via the Gudalur route, dripping in the rain. There are quite a few nice places to watch along the way to Gudalur - 2 shooting points and one dam. Worth the time spent walking up each of the knolls to get a panaromic view of the neighborhood. 

A must visit for nature lovers and people who want to take a nice vacation. If you need the contact of the homestay we stayed in, feel free to ask for the same.

My Pics: Flickr set of Masinagudi
Friends link: Masinagudi

Update: Friend feels I should add the directions too. 
From Blr: Blr->Mysore->Gundlupet->Bandipur->Masinagudi

Do remember that the section from Gundlupet to Bandipur is insanely beautiful as its a road inside the wildlife region. Its open only between 6AM-9PM and the actual timings sometimes change. One usually shouldnt drive at a fast clip at these places - limit speed to 30kmph. Well worth driving through these roads. One can feel bliss and also sight a tiger or a rare wild animal, if lucky!

Update: Happened to go to the place again in end of Dec 2012... and my thoughts havent changed even a bit. More pics uploaded. If only the Supreme Court decides one way or the other about the core area of the forests.