Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bangalore to Kodai - Memorable Drive

You would probably call me insane! Instead of zipping past on NH7 from Bangalore to Kodai, rather I opted for more round about route to reach Kodai via Bandipur and Ooty. But believe me, the drive was worth! Zipping past the highways is always an option but I prefer going round country side and enjoy the nature around. With booming highways now a days, I feel there is no real life that you can see when you are on highways, and I would rather prefer to see some life around and opted for singlelane country side routes.
The first pit stop was at Chik-Yelchetti, on outskirts of Bandipur. Truly wonderful and serene place and Subbanna and family were true hosts. Read about the experience here.

Bandipur Forest - This myna gave us a good timeshare
Having spent quality time at Chick Yelcheeti, we headed out to Coonoor. Drive from Bandipur to Coonoor was excellent, as most of our journey was through the national park and we were lucky to sight some wild life on our way. Coonoor was just a brief stop over on the way and plan was to head towards to Kodai the next day. We took Coonoor-Coimbatore-Pollachi-Udumalaipettai-Palani-Kodai route and drive was excellent. Starting early from Coonoor helped as the summer was at its best throughout the plains below.
Rich Canopy - Kodai Hills
We found Kodai, more non commercial than ooty, still has a bit of old rusty town look. The place of stay was at Hill Country resorts, which has quite a huge property and is bit away from town. After doing a quick round up for regular sight seeing places, overflowing with people, we decided not to venture any more to those spots and to stick to Berijam Lake.
Misty Mountains
Berijam Lake is an artificial lake created during British Era and wiki tells that this lake is quite significant from palynological point of view as well. This lake is supposed to have hidden 20,000 years of history in its sediments. This lake is covered by forest area and access is controled by State forest department. You will have to stand in a queue infront of Kodai Forest department and post 10 AM department folks will start issuing the permits.

Mother and Kid - Bonnet faced Macaque

Nilgiri Langur- An endemic to the region

Pill millipede
A Beetle- ID needed

I must tell you, the way the permits are given is quite messy! Typical of any government office.  Make sure you are there early in the queue to get your permits. After forest check post, it's a 14 kms of drive up to Berijam lake and as usual we did car-birding. Initially we expected good birding, but may be due to the timing, we managed only to catch up with a few birds. We saw, fly catchers, thrushes, crested serpent eagle  call, probably its nest also (near the lake), a glimpse of Besra and pipits as well.

Nilgiri Pipit - Female???

Nilgiri Fly catchers- Couple

Thick billed/Jungle Crow

Nilgiri Laughing Thrush

Jungle Myna
Nevertheless, with a decent outing in the forests during the first day, we decided to head there second day as well. This time around we spent quite a bit of time in walking around the trail near the Berijam Guest house/Lake. The only suggetion I have, to TN Forest departments is, they should allow the naturalists/birders a bit early in the Forest.
Mango Slices - Bazaar Street Kodai
With a good memory few days spent at Kondai, we took the usual route back home via Dindigul. Descent from kodai was pretty scenic and we reached Dindigul pretty quickly. After a break there, it was all through NH7 till Bangalore. 


  1. I suppose you had a great time. You could have also tried the Kodai- Munnar trek.


  2. Thank you Niranjan! Yep that's still a dream :) will have to try out once!

  3. Hello!
    Just came across your article today... Planning a Kodai birding trip myself :)
    I was going through the pictures and found something really interesting... Looking at the picture of the Nilgiri Flycatcher couple, I strongly feel that the bird on the bottom is a White-bellied Shortwing (Slaty-blue upperparts, White spot above the beak, and red eyes all point toward Shortwing). The surprising thing is that the female on the right appears to be a Nilgiri flycatcher after all! We seem to have a mixed-race couple here :p

    I think you could post this on some forum(bngbirds, maybe?) and get expert opinion on this interesting issue :)

  4. Thank you Sharang!! Mixed-race couple :P. Let me double check it for sure.


  5. Berijam lake is one of the most attractive tourist spot in kodaikanal. The Berijam Lake in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu is perhaps the most beautiful lake in the whole of South India. Tourist across the seas comes here to visit the amazing location and for many travelers who prefer to stay at Resort in Kodaikanal.


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