There is no doubt that a drive to Ooty is enchanting. And most often, we prefer the highway from Coimbatore, via Mettupalayam, and through enchanting Coonoor. However, today we are going to talk about a shorter and more charming route - through Attappadi.
We start from Mannarkkad. The road to Attapadi branches off from the bridge over the Nellipuzha, beyond is Thenkara, and Anamooli, the start of the climb to Attappady. At Mandampotty, a stream leap-frogs over the road (only when it has been raining very heavily) – renewing the charms of Attappady, irresistible even after innumerable visits! Up nine hair pin bends, we reach Mukkali, Gateway to Silent Valley. If you have the time, you can visit it with a pass from Forest Department. But we proceeded straight to Manjoor.
Mulli, at the boundary between Kerala and Tamil Nadu is where you get your papers checked at the check post. They warn that weapons and alcoholic liquors are prohibited.
Visit Pillur dam
Stop in front of a sign board, announcing “Gaddu Dam”. This had been built with Canadian assistance. The water is collected here, and pushed through penstock pipes to the Pillur dam, a complicated exhibition of engineering skills! Photography is prohibited.
Is the land of flowers. The tea estates give way to farmlands of cabbage, carrots, maize, and other crops. Heaps of produce are collected on the roadside; you can see such sights on the Mettupalayam-Ooty route too, but nowhere else in such profusion.
The view of Ooty is enchanting. Standing on the bend of a hair pin curve, you can capture the whole of Ooty in a photo frame. We truly enjoy our drive along the banks of the Kunda Reservoir. If you cross the waters, you can get on to the banks of the Ooty Reservoir.
On each of our previous visits to Ooty, we had used the Mettupalayam route. Of course, the sights along it are beautiful; but our experience of this new route is indeed unique. Forest and river, hill sides and sharp curves, heavy mists and spreading farmlands – it is inexpressibly enjoyable. This will be our route of choice ever in the future – we shall never be disappointed, nor you. Take our word for it!
[The original article by K M Pradeep, was published first in Manorama Traveller, October 2016 issue. ]