We went there to do nothing. Just to soak in the rain. We came back energised!
Monsoons are there to go out and enjoy the rain. Thankfully, Bangalore is blessed. We can reach the hills within five hours and experience it.
Last time when we were in Kadamane estate in Sakleshpur, Cariappa, the young manager was mentioning about Mango Range Estate belonging to the same group near Gudalur on the way to Ooty. The estate is in a place called Pandalur on Gudalur - Wayanad highway. We had travelled on this road earlier when we went to Wayand last year. Instead of taking the regular route via Sultan Bathery, we took a detour and had come via Gudalur. And what a drive it was! This is one of the most picturesque roads in South India. So, when Carry told us about Mango Range, we were excited to do this trip next time.
On a lazy Friday morning we decided to try out this place. Got the telephone number from Carry and called up to check availability. "Yes, it is available" said Ms Meenu Mandanna Nair who manages it. "But be prepared for rains" she warned. We were well prepared as we knew it will be pouring in that area. The weather forecast was also suggesting the same.
Leaving Bangalore at 7 in the morning, we took our usual route via Kanakapura to reach Gundlupet. The sky was overcast. Rains in the past few days had turned the parched lands green. The farmers were busy in the fields. There was slight chill in the air.
The road through out is in excellent condition. Driving through the forests of Bandipur and Mudhumalai was a pleasant experience. The rains has converted the whole place green and lovely. Few weeks back the same forest was brown and dry.Turning right at Gudalur, we were now in tea country. It is green everywhere. The last few KMs from the Highway to the bungalow was just lovely. Winding roads inside the estate through expanse of green was eye candy. Give it to British to choose the best spot to have their residences. The Sinnadorai Bungalow in Mango range is on top of small hillock with lovely views. (We could not see them due to mist :-( ).
This is a cute little British bungalow under the canopy of a huge pine tree. It is unlike Kadamane estate which is bigger. This makes the place charming and exclusive. It has only three rooms. Each room is large with its own sit out/veranda. There is a fireplace in each room as well. The anteroom is large and elegant. Lot of antique furniture spread out in all the rooms. The dining hall with antique furniture is apt. It did not take too much of time for us to fall in love with this place.
We had plans to drive around after lunch. That was not to be as it started raining and whole place was enveloped with mist. It was lovely to sit in the veranda and hear the sound of the rain drops. The mist ensured that there was no point to driving and better spend time with a book in hand.
The rains stopped for a while and we took a walk in the estate. The whole estate was drowned in clouds. We could see the layers of clouds passing by us as we walked around the estate inhaling the cleanest air!.
It started raining and we rushed back to spend the evening with bubbly in hand listening to the sounds of cicada, frogs et al.....
We woke up to the calls of Malabar whistling trush. The rains continued, mist was everywhere. It was a lovely, lazy morning. Rain and mist meant no walking around. Sipping excellent tea sitting in the veranda listening to "whistling schoolboy" made our day.
We bid good bye after a good breakfast. This time we drove via Sultan Bathery. The return drive was delightful. A lovely road. Excellent weather.......chilll, intermittent drizzle, misty. We switched off the AC, opened the windows and let the "atmosphere come in"!!
We will leave you with few pictures we had taken when we drove on this road. Look, how lovely the vistas are.
|You can see the "needle peak" in this shot|
We are sure we will come back again to explore it further.
Bangalore - 285 KMs
Coimbatore - 200 KMs
Mysore - 134 KMs
Recommended Route from Bangalore (click on the links below)
We would recommend you to go by one and return by other to get the best of both!
By Road - The best option. Either to drive oneself of take a bus to Gudalur from where one can rent a jeep to go to Pandalur.
By Air - Nearest airport is Mysore.
By Train - Not a good option as the nearest station is Nanjangud which is 112 KMs away.
Best time to go - Any time of the year.
a) A great place chill out and relax. Also to explore Nilgiris, Mudhumalai, Bandipur and Wayanad. Ooty is 70 KMs and Kalpetta (Wayanad) is 45 KM.
b) Ooty and Wayanad can be comfortably done as day trips. So is Bandipur/Mudhumalai.
c) The staff in bungalow will take you for a guided walk. Animal sighting is common. Elephants, barking deer are sighted often. If lucky, one can also see leopard.
d) A drive to needle peak is a fascinating experience where you get 360 degree view of Nilgiris.
e) You can also visit the tea factory to watch how tea is processed.
f) The staff can also arrange for a visit to "Gold Mines" - yes, gold mines - in the area. These are not regular mines but mined locally by tribals.