Avalabetta Peak – Half day trip from Bangalore

Avalabetta hills or Avalabetta peak is another weekend getaway around 100 kms from Bangalore. All said and done, probably it isn’t wise to go there on a weekend? Just like Nandi hills, maybe it’s crowded. I would always visit this place on a weekday.

What is different from Nandi hills which is around 30-40 kms closer going from Bangalore?

For one, the trek to the top is challenging while you don’t trek at all in Nandi hills. You just park your car, take pictures and leave in Nandi hills. No, that’s not true. Nandi hills have a few other things to offer as well. But let’s concentrate on Avalabetta for now. At Avalabetta, they have the entrance gates closed. So you park your car/motorbike and walk up. Say 3-4 kms? Feels quite long if you are unprepared (which I was). Compared to Nandi hills, it’s more dangerous. No safety rails and the rocks are easily accessible. You just need to be careful. I too climbed the rocks and I’m still alive, so just be careful. If your gut feeling says that you are stretching your luck, you stop right there. Also make sure there is someone to help you if you are going to climb these rocks. Friends, other tourists. It’s a tricky place to easily get stuck.

There are good views and you can easily manage to get a couple of good photographs early in the morning. Nandi hills security check-post opens only at 6 am which is kind of disappointing because the sun is already out by the time you reach the top. I’m not sure if Avalabetta hills have any such security measures. I hope it doesn’t.

So go there on a weekday. You can trek, you can take pictures and you can see lot of monkeys. There is a temple at the top and fantastic views on both right and left side of the temple leading to the rocks.

Last but not the least, the drive to the place is nice. Around 80 percent of the drive is on NH with good roads and the rest not so good village roads. Motorbikes can be fun, but I did it in a car. Starting early can help you beat the summer heat, also get you some good pictures. Some members of tripadvisor reports that the security guard asked for money. I didn’t see any security guard, though there were people selling water bottles, fruits and butter milk. Also there were reports of restrictions due to safety issues, again I’m unaware if that exists now.

A view from Avalabetta hills

 

Leaving ‘The Nilgiris’

Picking up from here


As we all know, ‘Hartal/Bandh/Strike’ is the national festival of Kerala. Onam comes second. The day we were supposed to return back, there was a national strike announced by all the major trade unions in the country. There are people in Kerala who wait to hear about this so that they can go on the streets and vandalize public and private property, create havoc.

Now because of them we were unsure if we had to start on the same day and risk our lives for going back home. The night before leaving the place, saw us having intense discussions and debates over these. Heated arguments over pros and cons. Nonetheless, I wanted to leave because I had other engagements, same was the case with my friend. But we didn’t want to risk it.

It was decided that we go to Emerald lake/dam and Avalanche lake in the morning and while doing that we would call our contacts and see the situations in Kerala and decide, whether to go or whether not to.

So we leave for Emerald lake in the morning. The route is fairly simple, but since we chucked UB (Upper Bhavani from the list), the other two looked doable.

From my research 

  1. Glenmorgan needed Tamil Nadu Electricity Board permits to cross the check post. We were stopped at the check post and obviously told to leave. So if you are going there, be sure you get a permission to cross that check post. I don’t know what is beyond that check post.
  2. Mukurti Lake which is 40 kms away from Ooty, has a national park. If you need to trek, you need permission for it, from the TN forest department.
  3. Finally, the Emerald lake , Avalanche and Upper Bhavani are in the same route. 25 kms to Emerald lake, 35 kms to Avalanche and 60 kms to Upper Bhavani. The first two namely Emerald and Avalanche needs no permission, but to after that towards Upper Bhavani there is a check post from where you are allowed to go in their jeep. I have heard that it depends on how you convince the officers at the check post, they let you drive till the dam. But going beyond the dam needs permission.

So we started off with Emerald… Let’s pics do all the talking

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That’s a village, with a few houses to prove my point.

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Again someone has enjoyed cooking? If it were a dry season, then probably one small spark can bring down the whole forest. There is forest guards roaming around this area all the time. Though their real intention should be to see if someone is going against the rules set by forest dept, but the moment someone crosses they come for you to collect bribe. If you even think of giving them anything, keep it as low as Rs. 20 or 30 (max Rs. 50). A bottle of alcohol costs Rs 14 only there I believe.

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The Ripple effect 😉

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This budding photographer happens to be my buddy, not chaddi buddy though 😛

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After the Emerald journey, we were supposed to visit Avalanche but we look at each other and say to each other, ‘ Screw this… let’s go home.’ We call up people and check out the situations, no bad reports and we (he) decided to take a big leap of driving back to Kerala.

Some pics on the way

The St. Stephen’s church, Ooty. One of my favorite places in Ooty. Once the mist starts dropping, then the place looks even more amazing.

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The name of places in order as we descend from Ooty towards Coonoor, not all are there cos the idea occurred a bit later and not all the places are there… sadly.

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Before Coonoor.

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Will it be a hit or will it be a miss?

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Just miss. They better not miss it next time.

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Wild flowers for wild people who wants to go all wild. I know a few of them 😉

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Indians and Engineering, lol. No more comments.

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Driving back on that day meant empty roads. All the 36 million people apart from 3 or 4, were at home and none of them were seen out. The roads were empty and we touched 150 kmph, which is a great speed in Kerala.

On the whole we had some good time and a lot of memories. Would I like to go back? Yes, why not. It’s an amazing drive and the weather is too good. Maybe on a motorbike next time? not sure, but a visit again would be amazing.

Before I put a full stop to this series, I will share 3 pics that I loved out of the lot… saved them for last.

The fountain at Charring Cross (Pic credit to my friend)

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A bit more darker and …

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On that bombshell, Good night!


Any suggestions and comments would be welcome.