Monday, November 10, 2008

A PLACE CALLED "MASINAGUDI"


(01/11/2008 - 02/11/2008)

ROUTE TAKEN:BANGALORE-MYSORE-GUNDLUPET-BANDIPUR-MADHUMALAI(left via steel bridge)-MASINAGUDI

TRAVELLERS:PHANIKAR,SANTOSH,SOMASHEKAR,ANILRAJ,KIRAN

A week before leaving for Masinagudi we didn’t have the faintest idea as to where this place was. All thanks to this week’s edition of Bangalore Mirror. The photos seemed to be very inviting. When I started enquiring people in my friend’s circle I realized that I was much better than them. When I met one of my good old school friends, Ajay I came to know that he had been there a week before with his colleagues. On enquiry came to know that this was the same route that I had taken long back on my first ride to ooty. He also mentioned that a Jungle home resort was the best place to stay, as the cottages were deep inside the forests. He was all praises for this place. As soon as he was done telling about Masinagudi, my weekend getaway was planned. Somashekar had to take his car out as the other lazy bums were reluctant to go for a nice winter ride. After all of us were back from work we slowly crawled out of Bangalore by around 12.30. Thanks to a dhaba on the highway that served dinner at 2 o clock. Had a few snaps clicked in front of the majestic Mysore Palace. Just about we were about to reach Nanjangud, early morning fog had set in. The visibility was only about 25 feet ahead of us. 









So we decided to take a small break and leave from there as the fog had cleared. This was very usual on this particular stretch. We know this from the fact that we had travelled along this road a number of times. Since we had to pass through Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta(one of my favorite places in South India) I persuaded everyone that we include that as well on our route. We left from Nanjangud by 5.30. We stopped at Udupi Hotel in Gundlupet to get our breakfast packed as we were well aware that we couldn’t get anything up there. Once up there freshened up and head to my favorite spot up the hill, the plain stretch of land just behind the inspection bunglow. Favorite because you are 100% sure of sighting wild animals like spotted deer, elephants, wild hogs and if you are extremely lucky, the striped feline. Reluctantly we left this place in about an hour’s time and reached Theppakadu junction in no time. We were in a state of confusion whether to book a cottage in Jungle Home which was about 15 kms from here or turn left towards Masinagudi where we can have a larger choice of resorts. To test our luck we headed towards Jungle Home which is on the Gudalur route. The roads were so pathetic that we got stuck in one of those huge potholes , that too in a tiger territory. With much difficulty we reached Jungle home only to be told that the last available cottage was given to a family who had come 5 min before us. 













Now we thought enough of trying our luck(rather bad luck) and returned to Theppakadu to take diversion towards Masinagudi. Masinagudi is at the foothills of Nilgiris and Ooty is just around 30 kms if you take this route. Once we were there the first priority on our to do list was have lunch( had no clue where the untimely breakfast had gone). The waiter of the Kerala style hotel was one hell of a character. He would get tensed if we made even the slightest change in the order we had already placed. It became such that if we had made any further changes he would beat us black and blue. It was not that he was rude and manner less, it was just that he was overexcited as we were the first customers for lunch. Ultimately he was the one who gave us suggestions to choose from the many resorts that were there. 















Zeroing in on “Safari Land” which seemed to be a good property from the outset. Just as we entered the gate we had the manager at our service. He briefed us on the different types of cottages that were available. This was a very big plot of forest land converter into a resort. There was a stream at the back of the resort, where the manager told that we could see elephants early morning. We wanted to maintain from elephants after our Wayanad encounter with them. At the center of the resorts was a fireplace, a table tennis table and a lot more things. Finally we booked a cottage that had a separate fire place( which was not as good as the one at the center).We dumped all the luggage and relaxed for some time ,till a boy knocked at the door  to ask us if we wanted to go for an evening trek . I am someone who would prefer another 50kms rather than trek 20min to some useless hilltop to see the view from there. Anil was getting ready as if he was about to scale Mt.Everest. Only not to make him feel bad we agreed for the trek to some temple which was on top a nearby hill. Thankfully it was not as boring as I had thought. Later we went to the same restaurant where we had been in the afternoon. Luckily we had the same waiter as well. Why I saying lucky is because of the fact that we had found a person to irritate and kill some time. When we returned to the resort we were shocked to see that the fireplace at the center was crowded with families and their kids. As there was no chance of occupying the fire place for about an hour and a half or so, we thought of giving night safari. Until you have a person who is a driver and a guide rolled into one its no use going for one. Thankfully our driver was an experienced one with a moustache that would put Veerappan to shame. Once we were inside the forest all that we could see and hear were the huge trees and crickets making that irritating sound. After about 15 min the driver stopped the car at a steep slope which was leading to a pool. This was the best place to watch wild animals. The engine was switched off with only the headlights on. Now we were a bit scared thinking what if any animal chases us out. We had climb up the steep slope if we were attacked by one. And for your information we were not in a Toyota Land Cruiser or a Range Rover but in a Mahindra 4X4 (which was probably as old as our driver). We were lucky to spot some Chitals, Langurs, Wild dogs and herd of elephants at the waterhole. Even after returning from the night safari we had to wait for a long time till we could occupy the fire place. We sat by the fire and start to discuss what would be the course of action for the following day. Had stories coming till 2.
                               







As usual Anil and me were the early risers and went around to have look at a few nearby places. 
By late morning Santosh was leaving to Coimbatore to his sister’s place. So he left from Theppakadu and 
the rest of us continued our journey towards Bangalore. This time since time was not a constraint we 
returned back at snail’s place.