A holiday is not always about the destination you plan to visit. It begins from the very moment you pack your bags and set on the tour. Many a time you enjoy the travel to the destination more than the days spent at the stay, especially if it is a road trip. Talking of road trips, Bangalore has a lot of nearby destinations like Ooty, Coonoor, Munnar, Wayanad, Chennai, Goa etc. well-connected by road. One of the most exciting road trips for those residing in the garden city is a drive to the hill station Ooty. This route is much preferred due to the richness of nature one gets to witness on the way including wildlife, hills, spice plantations, placid lakes and lot of fresh air.

The distance from Bangalore to Ooty is approximately 300km by road. With moderate traffic, it takes almost 7 hours to reach Ooty from Bangalore. But in case you want to relax, stretch a bit and travel slow, then we can suggest few stopovers on the way.

Route

There are three routes to reach Ooty from Bangalore- one via Mysore, another via Kanakpura and Chamrajnagar and the third via Salem. The first two routes join Gundalpet before entering Tamil Nadu. Here we will discuss the route from Bangalore to Ooty via Mysore in detail.

To avoid city traffic choose the outer ring road that connects to Bangalore-Mysore highway. Try hitting the road early in the morning to avoid getting trapped in the Bangalore city traffic. Below are few important pit stops on the way from Bangalore to Ooty via Mysore.

Pit stops on the way

Bangalore to Mysore

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Within an hour of leaving Bangalore city, you enter the pit lane at Wonderla, which is South India’s largest amusement park. This isn’t a pit stop since you need almost an entire day to cover it.

Next is the town of Bidadi where you have the Innovative Film City. This is an entertainment destination featuring several TV set tours and many other family-oriented attractions. After that comes the city of Ramanagaram famous for its silk. If you are an adventure junkie, then stop on way for some adventure rock climbing. Ramanagaram also has some historically significant places like Janapada Loka, the hill Ramadevara Betta, Revanasideshwara hill and so on.

Moving further ahead you have the city of Channapatna famous for wooden sculptures made of ivory, rose and sandalwood. Next, comes the city of Mandya and Maddur famous for its jaggery production and don’t forget to taste the famous Maddur vada.

Other landmark destinations on the way are Shivanasamudra, India’s second largest waterfall, adjacent to it is the temple of Talakadu.

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The city of Srirangapatna has many significant temple architecture and monument related to Tipu Sultan’s reign in the city. The Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, the only one of its kind in the state is a home to a several different species of migratory birds is a bird watcher’s haven. The Nanjangud temple, famous for its architectural marvel  is frequently visited by those taking the route

Eateries of the highway: Rasta Cafe (open 24 hours), Ramnagaram, Kamat Lokruchi, Maddur Tiffany’s, Cafe Coffee day (Maddur)

Mysore

If you plan to drive Bangalore-Mysore at a single stretch without any stop-overs in between, then it takes almost 3 hours to reach Mysore. If you like to spend some time at Mysore,  we can suggest few highlights of the city.

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Mysore Palace is the most famous and most visited attraction of the city. Mysore zoo, Chamundeshwari Temple, St. Philomena’s Church, Brindavan Gardens are few other important tourist attractions of Mysore.

You can do it all only if you stay in the city for a day or two.

 Gundalpet

Mysore to Ooty via Gundalpet is about 183 km. From Mysore City take the Nilgiri road that joins NH212. After Gundalpet, take NH67 that leads to Bandipur and then Ooty. From Mysore, it takes 1.5 hours to reach this point. After half an hour drive you reach the Hungala village. Deviate right for the popular temple of Gopalaswamy. Another few kilometers and you reach the Bandipur National Park.

Gundlupet

Make sure you halt at a food joint before you enter the guarded section if you need to eat and recharge yourself.

Bandipur

Here you begin to drive through the forest section. You can sometimes spot wild elephants crossing the road. While you are inside the guarded stretch do not honk or over speed. Also, do not stop or get out of your car. If you see wild animals ahead of you, stop at a distance.

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There is a forest outpost and gate nearby where there can be checking by guard officers. People heading to Bandipur camp for a day or two at the jungle lodges and take forest safari here. The resort is right on the Mysore-Ooty highway which makes it easily accessible.

Mudumalai wild reserve

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About 8 km from Safari point is the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. There is a small bridge near the border with a signage that says welcome to Tamil Nadu. This marks the starting point of Mudumalai wild reserve though it is actually an extension of the Bandipur, with a different name.

Masinagudi

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About 5 km from the border, you reach Theppakaadu. At Theppakkadu there is an elephant camp that houses twenty-five elephants. From here the road bifurcates. One goes via Gudalur to Ooty. Public transport usually goes through this route. This route might take an additional hour to reach Ooty. The other is via Masinagudi which is comparatively more picturesque and adventurous. Why adventurous because the route has 36 hairpin bends over a stretch of 12 km. But since buses don’t take this route, there is comparatively less traffic on the road. Beware, if you are a newbie driver, then the steep curves might be difficult for you. So choose the route based on your experience and confidence. Make sure you drive in a low gear and keep your eyes glued to the road for oncoming traffic. Having said that, if you enjoy the winding roads, then don’t think of an alternate route. Also, the road is closed during the night for safety purpose. So make sure you hit the place before 5:00 pm in the evening. The only possible disadvantage of this route is that there are not many restaurant options on the way.

So plan and stock accordingly.

Finally, Ooty

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From Masinagudi, take the MDR700 route to Ooty. It takes around 30 km to reach Ooty.

Masinagudi is a sought after destination for its cool weather, landscape and a good number of resorts and homestays. Both Masinagudi and Gudalur routes join 6 km before Ooty town.

Fuel stations on the way

Since Bangalore to Ooty by road is a whopping 300 km, you wouldn’t want to miss making note of the available gas stations on the way. Make sure you fill the fuel tank before leaving Bangalore city. But in case you want to re-fuel, Bangalore-Mysore highway is dotted with gas stations every few kilometers as it is a popular route. McDonalds and Kamat on Bangalore- Mysore highway are located inside a fuel station on your left. Mysore city also has a few service stations. There is an Essar fuel station in Masinagudi town and a few more in Gundalpet. The HP fuel station in Gundalpet is adjoining the Cafe Coffee Day. The only place you cannot find gas stations is the ghat section.

Alternate routes

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If you choose to drive from Bangalore via Chamrajnagar, head via Kanakpura road to Malavalli, Kollegal and then Chamrajnagar. From Chamrajnagar divert to Gundalpet and then move towards Bandipur finally reaching Ooty. The route from Gundalpet is as same as the one discussed above.

The third route is via Salem and Avinashi to Coonoor and finally Ooty. The route is almost 140 km longer than Masinagudi route. Though the route was not much preferred earlier, with the new 4-lane and 6-lane roads till Avinashi, the drive time has been considerably cut down and those looking for a relaxed, less-adventurous drive choose this route.

Though we have given you three route options to Ooty, we would recommend the Masinagudi route as driving through the forests and the winding roads is an experience in itself. An extended weekend, long drives and a holiday in the blue mountains -isn’t that good enough to refresh you from the daily grind. Think about it.