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Bangalore to Ooty by Road

Bangalore to Ooty by Road

The road from Bangalore to Ooty is extremely scenic. Even if you are not a big fan of road trips, this is that one, you must add in your to do list. For sure, this one will add memories that one would remember for a lifetime.

Bangalore to Ooty by Road
Bangalore to Ooty by Road

Ooty is about 300 Kms from Bangalore and multiple route options are available. Each route offers different feel and vibe to the journey. However, its better to know, which one you should take and avoid.

For a better readability, I will keep the structure of the blog simple with structured Table of Content (TOC). If you are someone, who is looking for a specific info, can use TOC to jump to the required section instantly. But, if you are someone like me, who prefers to have that first-hand experience, before you actually hit the road, this is that blog you must not miss. I will be covering the below topics, but not limited to:

  1. Available route options and which one you should choose and why.
  2. Things to do and more importantly avoid.
  3. Places to cover enroute and once in Ooty.
  4. And of course, choosing your stay in Ooty.

The Planning

I have always felt that the Journey begins during the planning phase itself. It starts with the homework about Route to Take to our final destination. Then finding that perfect Resort / Hotel / Homestay to feel spoiled during our vacation. And not to forget, another important part, the places to see and experience. These always fills me with excitement, living the journey beforehand. But the problem is, if not done in a planned manner, can become a daunting task in the end and can easily turn the whole vacation experience chaotic.

In today’s world, there is already an overflow of content out there. So, when it comes to one of the most visited touristic places, it is not difficult to lose sight of that one content which made real sense when you first came across it. But then when you are in your vacation and you need that one reference which you liked, you just cannot find it. Wouldn’t you agree? Happens with me always when I don’t bookmark that content or save that one video that I liked.

Route Options

To make it simpler to remember, the journey can be divided into two parts:

  1. Bangalore to Mysore
  2. Mysore to Ooty

Bangalore to Mysore has further two options:

  1. Via New Mysore Express Highway – Needs no explanation, offers more than one would need for a hassle-free drive experience. In short, the only recommended route one should take.
  2. Via Kanakapura Road – Roads are patchy and drive experience is not good for a majority of the route.

Now coming to the second part of the journey, which is Mysore to Ooty, again two options are available:

  1. Via Kalahatti Ghat
  2. Via Gudalur

Kalahatti Ghat Route

This is one route usually preferred by many experienced travelers. Let’s look at few plus and minus points of the route:

Plus Points – Kalahatti Ghat Route

  1. The route is very scenic.
  2. The route due to its level of expertise required, one would feel the thrill in driving in this route. But caution is expected while driving, frequent reporting of fatal accidents is reported.
  3. Beautiful viewpoints enroute.

Minus points – Kalahatti Ghat Route

  1. Drive Experience required: Experts – So not suitable for New Drivers
  2. Can be dangerous, requires extreme caution.
  3. 36 Hairpin bends
  4. Roads are slippery and diagonal, and frequent accidents are reported on Hairpin bends.
  5. 20 KMPH is the speed limit in the ghats, which is a must for safety of travelers.

Things to keep in mind while driving in Kalahatti Ghat Route

  1. Vehicle should be in good condition, as you would mostly be driving in 2nd gear at 20Kmph.
  2. Not to overspeed in the ghats, roads are slippery and dangerous.
  3. Special caution to be taken due to the nature of the route. And if it’s raining, one must drive dead slow.
  4. Prior experience of driving in hills is a must.

Note: In this route, you will come across the famous Theppakadu Elephant Camp. Please note, it is only for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.

Morning: 08:30 AM to 09:00 AM

Evening: 05:30 PM to 06:00 PM

So, if you have this planned in your stop, please keep the timings in mind before planning your travel.

Gudalur Route

This route is best for those who wants an easy but yet scenic drive experience, offering multiple viewpoints enroute. Though, a little longer and adds about 45 minutes extra drive, but the experience it offers, makes it all worth it.

Important: To take this route, take Right immediately after Madumalai Tiger Reserve check post. The route towards left leads to the Kalahatti ghats.

Route Map to Kalahatti Ghat
Route Map to Kalahatti Ghat

Plus points of Gudalur Route

  1. Scenic Route
  2. Multiple Viewpoints enroute like Pykara Dam, Pine Forest, Wenlock Downs, etc.
  3. Road conditions are good.
  4. Level of Driving expertise required: Beginner.
On the way to Ooty
On the way to Ooty

Minus points of Gudalur Route

  1. Extra 40 Km gets added to the final destination.
  2. Takes 30 to 45 mins more compared to another route.

Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Madumalai Tiger Reserve Crossing

This will definitely be the best part of the journey. A feeling of driving on the safari tracks in your own vehicle is something which is unbeatable. Though technically you are driving on the tar road which passes through two tiger reserves back-to-back. The surrounding greeneries, with Spotted Deers from time to time saying hello is out of the world experience. Peacocks, Bison, Sambar Deer, Sloth Bear and if you are extremely lucky you may even spot a Tiger or a Leopard.

Bandipur Tiger Reserve Highway
Bandipur Tiger Reserve Highway
Bangalore to Ooty by Road
Bangalore to Ooty by Road

When we entered Bandipur Tiger Reserve, I remembered, the Birder / Wildlife Enthusiast in me had a consolation booking to Bandipur Tiger Reserve after our current destination Ooty. I wished the journey through the forest goes on and on and never ends. The reserve has its own rules and regulations. One must not drive above 30 kmph and honking is not allowed. No stopping on the way. One is not allowed to switch off the engines to take photographs. And I feel that totally makes sense.

Bangalore to Ooty by Road
Bangalore to Ooty by Road

Once we reached the exit Check post of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, we noticed, just about 200 meters away, Madumalai Tiger Reserve check post is waiting to welcome us. One would immediately notice the way the feel of the forest changes, transitioning from Bandipur to Madumali Tiger Reserve. Both leaves you speechless in its own way.

At What time Bandipur Gate Opens and Closes?

Bandipur Gate opens exactly at 06:00 AM and closes at 09:00 PM.

Where to Stay in Ooty?

There are multiple options available in Ooty from Luxury to not so expensive and budget hotels and resorts. I felt, Ooty being such a famous and one of the most visited tourist destinations, it gets very crowded, and cleanliness is not the way one would expect at a place like that. But, I believe, it is not because of people from Ooty, but perhaps due to travelers.

Where we stayed?

During our visit, we stayed at Hotel Lakeview Resort. It’s a beautiful property with 123 cottages which are basically independent Villas. Ooty lake is just about 1.5 km from the hotel. Each villa has a small sit out in front with two chairs. The Villa is quite huge which offers a living hall and a bedroom. Cleanliness is decent enough. One can spend some quite time within the property. Some options to take pictures in and around the villa. The only drawback was the surroundings did not match the vibe of the resort mostly due to littering here and there.

Hotel LakeView Resort
Hotel LakeView Resort
Inside view of Hotel Lakeview Resort
Inside view of Hotel Lakeview Resort
Inside view of Hotel Lakeview Resort
Inside view of Hotel Lakeview Resort

Other Stay Options

Other stay options include Taj, Sterling Ooty Elk Hill, Sterling Fern Hill, SaffronStays Milton Abott Estate etc. However, I would recommend, if you have more than two night of stay, recommended would be to book stay in Coonoor. Coonoor is about 25 kms from Ooty, but the view it offers is absolutely raw in good way. Beautiful hills, close to nature, romantic skies, and what not. Coonoor leaves you with that feeling.

Best Time to Visit

September to June is ideally the best time to visit Ooty. However, April to June, is the peak season. Ooty gets overcrowded during this time. Avoid rainy season by all means.

Places not to miss

On top of the list would be Wenlock Downs, Otty Tea Garden, Pine Tree forest, Pykara boating point, are some of the amazing places to choose from.

Coming up next: Ooty Experience and Places to Visit

By the way, earlier in the blog I mentioned about our extended booking for Bandipur Safari Lodge by JLR, but then we had to cancel that. Instead, we travelled to K. Gudi Wilderness Camp and spent two nights there. Have already shared two blogs from the visit:

K Gudi Wilderness Camp Review

Pic taken at BRT Tiger Reserve
Pic taken at BRT Tiger Reserve

Tales of K Gudi Wilderness Camp – PankajSinghPhotographie

Important to Remember

  1. Kalahatti Ghat is not open to outside vehicles while descending. However, outside vehicles are permitted to take the hill up.
  2. While returning, by default google will suggest descending via Kalahatti Ghat. One needs to exit via Pykara lake route.
  3. While exiting via Pykara Lake route, google will again suggest a muddy road, just stick to the main highway without taking the diversion.

Other Destinations in Tamil Nadu:

Tamil Nadu has plethora of options to offer travelers from Salem to Rameswaram to Madurai and many other beautiful and historic places.

One such experience from our visit to Rameshwaram is in this Documentary that we did:

Connect with us!

Feel free to connect with us at our Facebook, Insta or Twitter or YouTube

Insta: PankajSinghPhotogrpahie / The_Genteel_Mind

Facebook: PankajSingh / TheGenteelMind

Twitter: PankajSinghPHO

Check out our Travel experience to another JLR property, Kali Adventure Camp || Dandeli by my travel partner Nutan Singh.

Gears used in the Trip

Sony A7M3

Sony Fe 200-600Mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS Telephoto Zoom Lens (White)

Canon EOS 80D

Sigma Sports 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras (Black)

Go-Pro Hero Black 7

Iphone 11 Pro and Iphone 13 for wide shots



Belong to the world of Aviation. A Birder by Heart! Passionate about Wildlife, Photography and Travel.

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