Trip To Mysore, Ooty, Coonoor & Bandipur


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Friends, finally completed the trip (Pune to Banglore to Mysore to Ooty to Coonoor to Ooty to Bandipur to Banglore to Pune) It was full of fun, love, emotions, drama & off course Idalee, Dosa, Podi, karappa...

Day 1 : We, total six people, me, wifey, 2 kids & my parents reached Banglore airport at 8 am by spicejet plane. I had booked Zoomcar's self drive XUV 500. Unfortunately, airport pickup service of Zoomcar was not available for XUV on that day. So I had to pickup the car from their Banashankari Stage 1, PES College ,pick up point.
I had to rent a Akbar travels chauffer driven Innova @ 1750 INR from air port to PES College. We stopped at A2B food joint on the way, food was good. (I quickly learnt some kannada on Google and remarked "utaama ahara . It took 2 hrs to reach the PES College from air port. According to pin dropped by Zoomcar people on Google maps we reached PES university but Zoomcar office was missing, I called up them, they asked me to come to PES college located near Srinagar. Neighther Google nor the Innova driver or locals were knowing it exactly, we had to waste one hour finding it .

Finally, at 12MD, we got the XUV w6 keys .The car had few scratches and some dents. I pointed out them to the Zoomcar fellow ,he asked me to take pics so that quarrel doesn't occur at the time of dropping the car (pic 1).
I checked tires, engine bay, clutch, any unusal noise, pollution on hard acceleration, oil leakage in the engine bay. All seemed well. Car was equipped with basic music system, Aux wire and a charger. Car was averagely clean. On the way to Mysore I learnt that the IRVM is loose and the mirror is sagging down on its own and hence useless. Also the left rear power window button was not functioning, hence had to control it from driver door.

I set Google map on my phone for Brindawan garden. After about 100 km we had lunch at Kabab restaurant.

We reached Mysore Brindavan garden at 4pm. We had some coconut water first. It was delicious and quenching as compared to what we get in MH. The coconut water had its effect immediately, two of us had to answer nature's call. It is one of the disadvantage of getting up in the wee hours of the morning to board the flight, your bowel habits get disturbed. Conditions of the toilets at Brindawan garden is pathetic despite charges.

Kids & my parents enjoyed the fountains & the garden. (pic 2, 3)

In the evening, we attended the musical and light fountain show(pic 4). Sheer disappointing it was to hear the SQ of speakers, appeared to be borrowed from a transistor. Also the coloured lights are dim. Fountain show at Amnora Park town mall at Pune is 100 times better & one at Lawasa city is 1000 times better than this.

Parking facilities at the garden are good.

In the night, we checked in at Hotel Heritage Shelter, 5 km from the Brindawan garden @2350 /AC room. Dinner food at that hotel was good.


Day 2:
We checked out and headed towards Mysore palace at 10 am. We had breakfast at Aditya restaurant on the way. Place, ambience was not so good but everybody on the road recommended that only. Food quality was excellent (uttama ahara).
Mysore palace(pic 5, inside photography is not allowed, though every corner, wall, doors are picturesque ).
We spent 3 hours in side the palace for watching it & shopping(soaps, agarbattis & saree) in a government shop located inside it. Parking facility is excellent near the palace. We were interested in watching the night time enlightened palace, but read that the lights are switched on only on some particular days. Hence dropped the plan.

Then we went finding the famous Mahalaxmi sweets shop to purchase Mysore pak (my mom's favourite), Stupid Google maps wasted our one hour as the shop was located at walking distance from the palace but maps located it wrongly.

After having sea food lunch at a restaurant in the same area. we went to government silk factory showroom. Again Google wasted our half an hour. Finally I paid Rs 30 to a Auto driver to show us the way. It was again located at walking distance from the palace.[evil] Parking facility there was again good.

Finally at 5 pm, we left for OOTY via Bandipur forest. It was dark by the time we reached Bandipur forest. Within five minutes we were welcomed by dears & Stags on the road.kids were amused. There were numerous speed breakers on the way through forest. But XUV suspension & GC helped us move quickly. We were intercepted by few elephants too. The last time we came across the elephant(pic 6), it was standing on the edge of the road and the swift driver who was in front of our car started reversing car due to fear. I had hard time avoing him. Finally a local car came from opposite direction & told him not to worry and proceed. Overall roads are good, the extra lateral turn headlight beam was a boon on hair pin bends.
We reached ooty by 9 pm, during journey, I had kept AC ON @20 °c during journey, upon reaching the hotel we opened the doors & switched off the AC. Such was the weather in Ooty that all started shivering.
We checked in at khems hotel, it is located in main town near market. This time also neither the Google maps nor the locals were helpful finding it. We quickly got freshen up and headed towards the restaurant of the same hotel. To my horror, the manager of the hotel told us that restaurants got closed at 10 pm & we wouldn't get food outside also as everything gets closed by 10 at Ooty. :rolleyes: we scolded him for not informing us it on arrival at the hotel. Like a government employee he told me that it is mentioned on the white paper handed over to me at the time of arrival.
Finally the cook agreed to serve us. We had veg & non-veg north Indian food there. Food quality was satisfactory but not great.
The rooms at hotel were well maintained. The water provided at wash basin and bathroom was very hard. Throughout the trip we preffered packaged mineral water for drinking.
Day 3:
We had breakfast at Nahar garden restaurant in the market. Food, ambience was excellent.
At 10 :30 am we reached botanical garden,purchased some local fruits. Enjoyed the garden till 3 pm. Most of the trees, and thousands of flowers were seen by us for the first time(pic 7,8,9). Ideally one full day from 9 am to 6 pm should be devoted to watch everything at leasure.

We had south Indian thali & other south Indian recipes at A2B food joint situated in the market. Everything was mouth watering.

From 4 pm till sunset we enjoyed thousand varieties at Rose Garden. Plucking flowers was banned and the watchmen there were alert enough, . but taking advantage of the darkness @sunset, I managed to grab a couple of them and handed over them to my wife which made my better half very happy and later anxious (what if they check her bag at exit gate!! ) however, garden employees were typical government minded, all were in hurry to go home..

We went to khems hotel, and had dinner, this time before 10 pm but food was of so so quality and on the bill they charged separate 10 % service charge.

Day 4:
We decided to enjoy the Nilgiri mountain train from Ooty to Coonoor and then back to Ooty. The hotel manager told us to reach the Ooty station at 8 am so that we can get tickets of 9 am train. We checked out and reached the station at 8 30 am, the ticket window was not yet opened. The people in the que told us that the tickets for 9:30 am train are already sold out in the morning and the existing que was for the 12 :30 pm train and window would open at 9 30 am for the same. . We decided to wait, I sent all others to A2B food joint for breakfast and bring me parcel of the breakfast, till then I stood in the line.
The ticket window got opened at 9:30 and all (25 odd) tickets got sold out within five minutes. The ticket fellow told us that window will open at 12:30 pm for selling tickets for 2 pm train. And only 50 tickets were left. So he told only 15 people to stand in que as one person can get maximum 4 tickets. Mean while my breakfast arrived, my wife replaced me in the que.
At 12 :30 pm we got tickets for us for the train to be departed at 2 pm. Meanwhile we went to the Ooty lake which is situated 1 km from the station. , we have enjoyed boating @Mahabaleshwar lake umpteen times, so we just watched the seenery at the lake. Traffic on the lake road so congested that we feared missing the train but fortunately managed to reach the station 15 minutes before the time. To my surprise, there was a separate que for boarding the train, first come was going to get to sit and the last ones were going to travel standing.

We except the kids travelled standing, it was half an hour journey to Connor. Fortunately there are separate windows at eye level so that standing commuters can see outside without bending. But the window glasses are not that well maintenaned, so for taking pics one has to bend down and click the view from lower windows.

To be continued.....
 

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Re: Suggestions For Trip To Ooty From Bangalore

Few pics from botanical flower garden.
 

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Re: Suggestions For Trip To Ooty From Bangalore

Few pics of Nilgiri mountain train. Though it is labelled as world heritage train, the Indian railways are maintaining there attitude as heritage towards the service of its customers.

I have traveled in similar Matheran heritage train. So for me it was similar experience berring the tunnels. & the tea gardens.

We reached connor and as expected found a que for tickets of last train going to Ooty. Hence decided to go back in a cab after having lunch at Hyderabad Biryani house near the connor station.
Food quality was satisfactory but can't say great.

Third pic is showing the rack & pinion wheel used in olden days for the train, now it's being used as a bell.

In the fourth pic, train halted at a station called Love Dale, but see how the heck IR (Indian Railways, not our mod Iron Rock!) has forgotten to insert a space at appropriate place in Hindi.

A Tawera cab was rented @1400 for ooty. On the way he took us to a tea garden +factory, he showed us the machines required for manufacturing of the dust tea.. Posting some pics(fifth & sixth) also.

After that we were taken to Sims Park on the way to Ooty (kinda mini botanical garden).
We had Masala tea there, then we reached ooty station at 8 pm.
We had our dinner at A2B again, surprisingly all the dinner recipes were not available as the timing for ordering them was over. So we settled with south indian snacs.

In the night, we decided to stay at ooty only as my wife wanted to visit Dodabetta peak & the tea factory there.
We stayed at Sarkar palace. Room were decent, but in the morning, there was boiling hot water at all the taps including wash basin, toilet spray, no cold water at all. It took one hour to fix and on the top of it hotel did not provide us with towels as the laundry man didn't came.
Expenses Rs 2350 per non AC room.

We could check out at 10 am, headed towards dodabetta peak after having breakfast.
 

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Re: Suggestions For Trip To Ooty From Bangalore

Day 5 :
We headed towards Dodabetta peak & my wife wanted to visit the tea factory located there also, 2 km before the peak there was a traffic jam as the parking of the peak was full, we wasted one full hour reaching near the peak, I pulled over & parked the XUV, 200 m before the parking. There was huge crowd, and clutch burning smell from hundreds of vehicles around spoiled the fun further:eek:. I have visited Mahabaleshwar many times and Valley & forest view from the dodabetta peak is nothing to tell home about. (pic 1,2,3,4)
People visiting from MH can skip this peak if they have visited Mahabaleshwar in the past.

It was 1:30 pm, we left Dodabetta peak, hence we decided to skip the visit to tea factory as we had visited one a day prior, however there was one tea factory outlet on the way back to Ooty, we purchased variety of tea powder from there as my wife was particular about it.

My mom wanted to visit Chamunda temple Mysuru, hence we took Bandipur- Mysore - Banglore route. The plane for Pune was to depart at 10 :45 pm on the same day . It was 2 pm we left Ooty. Journey back to Bandipur was pleasant, cool & greenery every where..
At approximately 3 pm to 5 pm we passed through Bandipur forest, we got to see many dears, stags, elephants, wild boars from 10 to 20 ft
Day 5 :
We headed towards dodabetta peak & wanted to visit the tea factory also. 2 km before the peak there was a traffic jam as the parking of the Peak was full, we wasted one full hour reaching near the pic, I pulled over parked the XUV 200 m before the parking. There was huge crowd, and clutch burning smell from hundreds of vehicles around spoiled the fun further:eek:. I have visited Mahabaleshwar many times and Valley & forest view from the dodabetta peak is nothing to tell home about.
People visiting from MH can skip this peak if they have visited Mahabaleshwar in the past.

It was 1:30 pm, we left Dodabetta peak, hence we decided to skip the visit to tea factory as we had visited one a day prior, however there was one tea factory outlet on the way back to ooty, we purchased variety of tea powder from there as my wife was particular about it.

My mom wanted to visit Chamunda temple Mysuru, hence we took Bandipur, Mysore route. The plane for Pune was to depart at 10 :45 pm on the same day . It was 2: pm we left Ooty. Journey back to Bandipur was pleasant, cool & greenery every where..
At approximately 3 pm to 5 pm we passed through Bandipur distance, we got to see many dears, stags, elephants wild boars from 10 to 20 ft distance from the car,We were halting for some time every time we came across the wild animals. (pic 5,6,7)All kids & my parents felt amused to see them and to add further to it, 15 minutes prior to we leave the jungle it started raining coupled with hailstorm. thus, XUV got the much needed body wash by nature's grace.! which saved me from Rs 300 charges as per Zoomcar policy in case if the car is returned in dirty condition. We really enjoyed everything in the Bandipur.

It was 6 pm, we reached Mysore, we had to cancel the visit to Chamunda temple as we realised we might get late for the flight. I called up the Akbar travel cab driver as I had already booked it for our journey from PES COLLEGE Zoomcar office to Banglore airport. Fellow said he would reach there at 7:30 pm. We had tea & snacks at Mysore as already had skipped the lunch. Then we headed towards Banglore via bypass.Traffic was heavy, hardly got chance to cross 100 kmph, and whenever got a chance, the XUV use to make beep sound and steering wheel use to start wobbling as speed limit set by Zoomcar is 120 kmph.On Banglore highway, fuel level was down to lowest level, hence filled in approximately 13 lit fuel worth Rs 700. I got the receipt from the bunk with car number mentioned on it as Zoomcar was supposed to reimburse for the fuel expenses.
As we were speeding towards Banglore, traffic conditions worsened in such a way that I felt the cloak hands were running faster than the car despite we were travelling @80to 100 kmph. I overtook everything coming in the way. Throughout the night journey during this trip, XUV 's projector headlamps played a crucial role in fastness of the travel. Kudos to M&M for providing those turn specific separate headlamp bulbs which illuminate on their own whenever you take a turn.:biggrin: They made me feel the numerous hair pin bends easiest to negotiate when we were travelling to Ooty from Bandipur on second night of our trip.

It was 9 pm, we reached the PES College Banglore, now it was a daunting task to find out the the Zoomcar office again, as the Google map lady went on idle mode as she was clueless about it.I called up the zoom car office, the fellow there was of little help, hence used the age old method of asking the passing by people. At 9 :20 pm we reached the Zoomcar office only to find the office locked. I hurriedly shifted the luggage to the Innova cab sent by Akbar travels & called up the Zoomcar fellow and told him that I was running out of time, and kept the car key & fuel bill in the glove box of the XUV.

We left the Zoomcar office at 9:25 pm. My wife saw a bag shop on the way, and compelled us to stop there as she needed a big bag to store all the shopped items(sweets, clothes, soaps, tea) during the trip as they were lying loose in the car and security was not going to allow it that way at airport. Within 2 minutes she got the bag. (Mefelt like recommending her name for the Limca book of records, but controlled my feelings due to scarcity of the time!)

The distance between PES College Zoomcar office & Banglore airport is 55 km and the checkin gates of the airport for our flight were gonna get closed at 10 :15. So for the 55 km we had 45 minutes at our disposal. The cab driver came to rescue saying that he would take us by the shortcut route . My heart came in to my mouth when I saw him stopping at a place & asking for road to Gandhinagar.!!! After passing through few narrow Lane we came on a wider road. Looking at the watch, my wife said that it would be better if the cab is driven by me rather than the driver, because the cab was traveling at a speed not more than 20 kmph since we left the Zoomcar office. I was continuesly urging him to drive fast but he was not yielding.

I asked: if his vision is good because he was driving so slow and was not even bothering to overtake an auto rickshaw.

Cab driver : "The vision is ok."

Me : "Then blow the horn so that the auto gives way to us"
He blew the horn, auto shifted towards left, gave us side.

Me : "What are you waiting for?, Overtake the auto. "
He overtook @40 kmph, then he came back to 20 kmph. Now there was a bus ahead which we needed to overtake.

Me:" Give him dipper. "
He did so, the bus shifted to left.

Me :" what are you waiting for? Overtake it. "
He overtook and then again back to 20 kmph. My wife and we panicked as almost 35 km were yet to cover and time left to close the checkin gates was just 15 odd minutes. And we were repeatedly urging him to allow me to drive. But he was refusing politely & repeatedly.

Me : Why are you driving so slow,? Are the brakes ok?

He : then, is there any problem with the tires?

He : tyres are ok

Finally, my wife threatened him that if the flight is missed we will recover all the expenses from him & the Akbar car for undue slow service. Finally it was last 33 km distance left when he handed over the steering wheel to me. It was the first time I was going to drive in the Banglore city.

These last 33 km were covered within 13 odd minutes, luckily the innova cab was not speed locked of which I took full advantage and found that the brakes, clutch, acceleration, engine, suspension all were in perfect condition , The cab driver helped me by informing about the speed breakers, bus stops and toll plaza in advance so that I can slow down prior and keep the innova in suitable lane. He also helped us shifting the bags to the gate. He also had already helped to decrease the travelling distance of 55 km by 10 odd kms initially by choosing the short cuts. I pushed a Rs 100 note in his pocket before going in.

During the security check, the security men realised the hurry and looking at the kids & old parents they too did their job quickly, but one cop asked us to open one of our bag as he suspected some chilly or other powder on X-ray. It turned out to be tea powder. We told him that we purchased it at tea factory at Ooty.

He(security person) : "Which brand tea you prefer otherwise?"

Me :"Red label or Taj. "

He :" Well, these brands(Red label, Taj) are far better than what we purchase from the tea factory! "

Me :" How come!? "

He :" It is my own experience. "
Now, my wife's face was worth taking a snap.

Finally we boarded the plane, reached Pune. My friend was waiting outside the airport in his Innova to pickup us. Now, we had skipped not only lunch but also the dinner and needed to eat something,but all the restaurants in Pune were closed, so we went to Pune Railway Jn 's 24 hr eatery cum restaurant where we had food and reached home by 3 am. Before sleeping, my father who was quiet since we left the zoom car office told me & my wife that 140 kmph speed shouldn't be repeated in future,to which we agreed sheepishly.

Thus, the trip was full of fun, excitement, love emotion & drama.

Overall the trip was fruitful.Zoom car has returned the deposit money online after debiting the extra km charges . XUV is a good car for such trips, but me feels I should have opted for Scorpio or Safari which would have saved atleast 5 K Rs as the last row of the seats had to be used only for luggage as kids always refused to sit there.

Thanks you all TAI gers who helped me in planning the itinerary & the trip.

The last pic is of the tea tree fruit taken at a tea estate at Connor.
Comments & suggestions are welcome.
 

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Thanks @Tornado, for the well written & photographed travelogue, brought back memories of my childhood, when we used to travel south for our summer vacations, and our trip from pallakad to kotagiri where my uncle stayed, to ooty & connor.

Regards

Vinod
 
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Nice TL. and pictures, we are planning for Connor and hotel is booked already in Connor. did you find it crowded this time ? how was road condition from Bangalore to Connor ? which route you took ?
 
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Connor is not crowded because it is not as cold as Ooty.

Road conditions excellent, I didn't encountered single pothole throughout journey.
Yes, there are speed breakers at many places, so for quicker journey SUV should be preferred over sedan or hatch unless you are using Linea /Punto.

I travelled Banglore - Mysore - Bandipur - Ooty Connor route, same route was taken while going back.
 
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Excellent travelogue! With your nail biting finish to reach bangalore airport. Thoroughly enjoyed!

One recommendation, whoever plans to take toy train from Conoor to Ooty - try booking the first class ticket (First 4-5 seats) of the afternoon train. The engine is at the back which pushes the train and the first seats have a terrific direct view of the railway track winding its way up to Ooty!
 
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Excellent travelogue! With your nail biting finish to reach bangalore airport. Thoroughly enjoyed!

One recommendation, whoever plans to take toy train from Conoor to Ooty - try booking the first class ticket (First 4-5 seats) of the afternoon train. The engine is at the back which pushes the train and the first seats have a terrific direct view of the railway track winding its way up to Ooty!
Are these tickets available at Connor station ? any idea about train timings.
 
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Are these tickets available at Connor station ? any idea about train timings.
Yes, the tickets are available at Connor station, but only for Connor to Ooty journey.I have already posted pic of the train timings chart taken at the station. No return tickets are available at Connor. You have to reach Ooty station and again stand in a que for hours to get tickets for Ooty to Coonoor journey. It is better to go back to Coonoor by a cab.

It is necessary to reserve the tickets online. In my case I had tried to reserve the tickets 15 days prior to my trip, but the IRCTC website was not opening at that time. All the tickets were booked already when we reached OOTY. And on the day of my Ooty to Coonoor journey, only general tickets were available that too only 45 tickets per train(This is the number of tickets which is available on the day of travel and they can't be reserved prior hand). 15 tickets out of these 45 tickets were for standing journey. And on the ticket it is not mentioned if it is a standing journey or seating journey ticket!! :eek:

The window for these ticket sale opens 2 to 3 hrs prior to the train timings One person can get only 4 tickets and once you get the tickets, you have to wait outside the station for 2 to 3 hrs, you get entry inside the station half an hour prior to the train departure. Inside the station you have to form a new que for getting the seats, if you are one of the last 15 passengers standing in this new que, you have to stand in the general bogie and travel.

In my case, we stood in the que for the tickets at approx 8:30 am. Tickets for 9 AM train were already sold (for this 9 am train, people were standing in the que since 6 am), At 12 MD we got the tickets for 2 pm train., and we had to stand in the new que at 1:30 pm in side the station.

Ideally, Indian Railway should sell all the tickets for that day before 9 am, so that people those who don't get the ticket are free to go for sight seeing to other spots. And those who get the ticket also can go for sight seeing and return back half an hour before the train departure. Also they should mention on the ticket if it's a standing or seating journey ticket.

One recommendation : If you are travelling from Ooty to Connor, you should sit on right hand side of the train as on left hand side there are tall hills and most of the sight seeing is on the right hand side. For Connor to ooty journey, you should sit on left hand side of the train. .

We had to spend, 5 hrs for getting these tickets.. And on reaching Connor, we found a long que for Connor to ooty train tickets and process was going to same as followed at Ooty. Finally we chose to go back to Ooty in a cab.
It is not worth spending that much time for booking the tickets. Those who want to experience this train, ticket must be booked online, long before the trip.
 
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Yes, the tickets are available at Connor station, but only for Connor to Ooty journey.I have already posted pic of the train timings chart taken at the station. No return tickets are available at Connor. You have to reach Ooty station and again stand in a que for hours to get tickets for Ooty to Coonoor journey. It is better to go back to Coonoor by a cab.

It is necessary to reserve the tickets online. In my case I had tried to reserve the tickets 15 days prior to my trip, but the IRCTC website was not opening at that time. All the tickets were booked already when we reached OOTY. And on the day of my Ooty to Coonoor journey, only general tickets were available that too only 45 tickets per train(This is the number of tickets which is available on the day of travel and they can't be reserved prior hand). 15 tickets out of these 45 tickets were for standing journey. And on the ticket it is not mentioned if it is a standing journey or seating journey ticket!! :eek:

The window for these ticket sale opens 2 to 3 hrs prior to the train timings One person can get only 4 tickets and once you get the tickets, you have to wait outside the station for 2 to 3 hrs, you get entry inside the station half an hour prior to the train departure. Inside the station you have to form a new que for getting the seats, if you are one of the last 15 passengers standing in this new que, you have to stand in the general bogie and travel.

In my case, we stood in the que for the tickets at approx 8:30 am. Tickets for 9 AM train were already sold (for this 9 am train, people were standing in the que since 6 am), At 12 MD we got the tickets for 2 pm train., and we had to stand in the new que at 1:30 pm in side the station.

Ideally, Indian Railway should sell all the tickets for that day before 9 am, so that people those who don't get the ticket are free to go for sight seeing to other spots. And those who get the ticket also can go for sight seeing and return back half an hour before the train departure. Also they should mention on the ticket if it's a standing or seating journey ticket.

One recommendation : If you are travelling from Ooty to Connor, you should sit on right hand side of the train as on left hand side there are tall hills and most of the sight seeing is on the right hand side. For Connor to ooty journey, you should sit on left hand side of the train. .

We had to spend, 5 hrs for getting these tickets.. And on reaching Connor, we found a long que for Connor to ooty train tickets and process was going to same as followed at Ooty. Finally we chose to go back to Ooty in a cab.
It is not worth spending that much time for booking the tickets. Those who want to experience this train, ticket must be booked online, long before the trip.
Many thanks Tornado for sharing that essential info. Even I tried booking these tkts online but no luck so far.

But is the journey worth after waiting so much for tkts ? I mean I may have to stand in queue nw to get tkts and offcourse I dnt want to spend time there in queue if its not worth. I will rather roam around in my car from Connor to ooty and vice versa.

Did u get time to click pics during train journey ? If so pls post some.
 
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Are these tickets available at Connor station ? any idea about train timings.
In my case I had booked tickets online through irctc website almost 2 months in advance. I agree, its not worth spending hours trying to get the ticket standing in queue when we are so short on time.
Tornado, thanks for the detailed info. If its ok with you I can upload few of the snaps of the front view from the train.
 
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But is the journey worth after waiting so much for tkts ? I mean I may have to stand in queue nw to get tkts and offcourse I dnt want to spend time there in queue if its not worth. I will rather roam around in my car from Connor to ooty and vice versa.
Please note that this long que and time wastage issue is limited to the peak season at Ooty, on other days you get the tickets very easily. Local Ooty people don't use this train much and prefer road journey.

If you have not traveled in similar trains at Matheran (MH), Shimla (HP), you should not miss this journey. But yes, it is not worth spending more than 2 hrs in the que . Better you go and stand first in the que at 6 am for the first train, so that you would be one of the few tourist to get train ticket for the first train. You will reach Ooty thus by 9 am, and you will get a full day for sight seeing at ooty too. If you don't get tickets for the first train, better to forget this train journey and go to ooty by cab or your own car by road. Road journey is also pleasant , you can visit tea garden, factory, movie shooting spot on the way to Ooty.
Did u get time to click pics during train journey ? If so pls post some.
Yes, I did clicked few pics, but these pics are not doing justice with the beauty of the travel,as I clicked them when I was in standing position. Posting few pics here. Also posting the link for a famous Bollywood song which was shot on this train.
https://youtu.be/VKK_JZJywqk

If its ok with you I can upload few of the snaps of the front view from the train.
Yes, you are welcome,
 

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