Bangalore to Ooty : Well, let us state the obvious first for the sake of the ones who are new to this part of India. Bangalore is in Karnataka state while your destination Ooty ( Odagamandalam in Tamil) is the Tamilnadu state. The region where Ooty is located is referred as the Nilgiris ( Blue Mountain ). So essentially Bangalore to Ooty route is an interstate route. Bangalore to Ooty distance is about 300 km. On the road map you can find Ooty on the southwest direction of Bangalore at a point near the borders of Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala meet.
We’ll see the road,rail and air options to reach Ooty from Bangalore.
First the road option from Bangalore to Ooty. Again it depends on if you are going by your private vehicle, or opt for the regular bus services. There are many daily bus services from Bangalore to Ooty. Most of it is operated by KSRTC (the state run buses). Also there are some private bus operators and buses operated by Tamilnadu state transport too. Check out with the local travel agency to book seats in the private bus.
Bangalore to Ooty distance is approximately 300km by road. Bus services take about 8 hours. Typically the buses take the Bangalore – Mysore – Ooty route. Now if a direct bus is not available from Bangalore, you can even consider a break journey from Mysore. From Mysore to Ooty there are few more services to Ooty. If nothing is forthcoming , there are always the back breaking maxicab (mini van) operators chasing one another between Ooty and Mysore. They operate from near the Mysore Bus Stand. So that’s about the public transport options by road.
Bangalore to Ooty by road: Let’s see if you are taking your car ( or bike!) all the way to Ooty.
There are basically two routes to reach Ooty from Bangalore. The first one is via Mysore ( Route A / SH17 ), and the other via Chamarajanagar ( Route B ). Both the routes finally join at a border town in Karnataka called Gundlupet, before entering Tamilnadu.
We’ll see the details of these routes a bit later. For your convenience a few maps of the Bangalore to Ooty routes are added here. The distances mentioned are approximate and not all the places en route to Ooty from Bangalore are shown.
Like mentioned earlier both the routes from Bangalore to Ooty converge at Gundlupet. From this point onwards the road has to go through a forest before arriving at Ooty. The forest saddles both Karnataka and Tamilnadu states across their border.
On the Karnataka side the forest is called Bandipur National Park while the forest on the Tamilnadu side is called Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Both are tiger reserves and National Parks of importance. The forest is part of the larger Nilgiri Biosphere which is proposed be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact the whole forest falls in Western Ghats.
Why it is mentioned here is you need to know a bit of etiquettes and cautions while driving inside a reserve forest. Those who are familiar with this may skip this part.
Animals has the right of way ( if you still have doubts the sign boards say so!). Do not honk or tease them , if you spot wildlife on your way. It could be proved dangerous, remember you are in the middle of a forest and no help could come in time. Just drive slowly, keep the noise levels as low as possible (switch off that car stereo!). If you happened to spot some wildlife , never stop , not get out of your vehicle, just drive slowly and enjoy the spotting.
If it happened to be a herd of elephants crossing the road, stop your vehicle well ahead. No honking to chase them away. They many not respond to the horn the way you would expect. Be alert and wait patiently till they fade away from the path. They would any way. A lone ( bull) elephant is especially ferocious if provoked.
Other points of etiquettes inside the forest include a No Parking – No Picnic – No Honking policy. In other words it is not a place to stop and have food, however tempting it is. So thatâ€™s it for those of you who are new to this forest driving thing.
Now let’s see the route that is going through the forest. By whichever way you’ve selected (via Mysore or ), it finally arrives at Gundlpet.
After about 20 km from Gundlupet you’ll reach Bandipur National Park . The road passes through a wide gate. Many kilometers later, in about 20 minutes, you’ll arrive at the tourist zone of the Bandipur National Park . The forest safaris are operated from here. So its is highly likely that you are greeted with a noisy holiday crowd than say wild animals in this area. However as you drive past it is very much possible to encounter some wildlife across your path. The most likely candidates are Spotted Deer, Nilgiri Langurs, Bisons, Mountain Squirrels, Elephants and so on , in that order. If you are still luck you would spot a herd of elephants crossing the road. Consider it as a jackpot if you happen to see a Tiger or even a Leopard, as they are very shy of human presence.
Immediately after Bandipur , you enter Tamilnadu state. A huge gateway with ‘Thank You . Visit Again’ board by Karnataka state bids you goodbye. Across the river is Tamilnadu . At both side of the border are check posts manned by guards. They stop the vehicle and check for collecting details (like travel itinerary, vehicle credentials etc ) . It is more likely the Tamilnadu side checks for the baggage as you enter the state. You are not supposed to carry any banned objects (a gun!) into the forest; more importantly they are concerned about tourists carrying liquor. So another word of prudence here!
After crossing into Tamilnadu you reach a place called Theppakadu. It is in fact a junction. From this point there are two routes to Ooty. One via Masinagudi , which is shorter but riddled with steep climb and hairpin bends ( 36 of them!) . The other is via Gudalur, the regular bus route to Ooty.
From Theppakadu the route via Masinagudi is on your left. The road cross a river ( Moyar ) and you are on the way to some tough but thrilling drive. Be aware that this road is kept closed during the night for safety reasons. If you are planning to go via Masinagudi route be sure to reach the entry point of the road well before, say 5 in the evening.
Though appears shorter in distance to Ooty do not take the Masinagudi route if you are not an experienced ( in steep narrow ghat roads) driver. In any case Masinagudi is a popular destination among the trekking enthusiasts. Masinagudi also a sought after destinations for its resorts and home stays. So decide dased on the above facts if you would take the Masinagudi route.
Both the routes – the Masinagudi and Gudalur routes – finally merges some 6 kilometers before Ooty town.
Back to the Bangalore to Ooty routes once again. Before leaving Bangalore city you need to select between Route A ( Mysore) and Route B ( via Chamarajanagara). If you prefer to go via Mysore , a great deal of details are explained in a separate section (Bangalore to Mysore ). You will take the Bangalore – Bidadi – Ramanagara – Mandya – Mysore route.
On the other hand if you chose to drive via, Chamarajanagar (ie Route B ) from Bangalore, the route you need to follow is like this. From Bangalore head towards Kanakapura. Then the road takes you to Malavalli , Kollegal and Chamarajanagara. From Bangalore up to Chamarajanagara the road is essentially the NH 209. From Chamarajanagar take the diversion to Gundlupet. From Gundlupet head towards Bandipur and then to Ooty. This stretch of route from Gundlupet is common for both Route A and Route B, as explained earlier.
Before we leave this section a short comparison between the Route A and Route B. The route A , the is the Mysore route is somehow preferred over the Route B , that is via Chamarajanagar. The simple reason is the Bangalore Mysore route (though not a national highway as Route B ) is well developed , wider and with good quality of traveler facilities on the way. The same can not be said about Route B, though it is a reasonably good road to drive.
In short the Bangalore – Ooty route options are like this:
Bangalore – Mandya- Mysore – Gundlupet – Bandipur – Theppakkadu – ( via Masinagudi or Gudallur ) – Ooty
Bangalore – Kanakapura – Chamarajanagar – Gundlupet – Bandipur – Theppakkadu – ( via Masinagudi or Gudallur ) – Ooty
See also Bangalore to Wayanad for additional routes around this area.
That’s about the road options. By any chance if you are not a fan of road travel, consider the train option. It is technically possible to travel all the way from Bangalore to Ooty by train. The nearest major railway station for Ooty is Coimbatore.
From Bangalore to Coimbatore there are three express trains daily. Also a few more weekly long-distance trains pass via Coimbatore. More details on Coimbatore to Ooty travel options see Train to Ooty page.
Bangalore to Coimbatore train route : Bangalore City – Bangalore Cant – Hosur – Dharmapuri – Omalur – Salem Jn – Erode Jn – Tiruppur – Coimbatore Jn.
If you don’t mind catching a connection train in the midnight aim for the Nilgiri Express ( Train Number 2671) that connects Chennai (MAS) to Metupalayam (Metupalaiyam / MTP) . From Bangalore catch a train to Salem Junction (SA). Nilgiri Express arrives at Salem at 1:30 in the midnight. This train goes all the way to Mettupalayam via Coimbatore. From Mettupalayam you can catch the mountain train ( Nilgiri Mountain Railway ) to Ooty. The mountain train is in fact a connection train for the Nilgiri Express that brought you to Mettupalayam. It is also possible reserve up to Ooty ( instead of Mettupalayam) when you do the reservation in the Nilgiri Express. That will ensure you a seat in the other wise limited seat mountain train to Ooty.
Nilgiri Express reaches Coimbatore by 5 am, and Mettupalayam by 6.15 am. If you are opting for the mountain train to Ooty, you will reach Ooty by noon. A faster option is to catch a bus from Metupalayam to Ooty. Mettupalayam to Ooty mountain train takes about 5-1/2 hours, while a bus takes just about 2 hours by road.
In short Coimbatore is the nearest main railway station for Ooty. Further you can reach Ooty via Mettupalayam. There are frequent bus connections from Coimbatore to Mettupalayam. And also from Mettupalayam to Ooty. See the table 97 in the Railway Time Table.
By the way Coimbatore has an airport located in the outskirts , 15km off the city. There are a few direct flights from Bangalore to Coimbatore.
And that is also not an option, try the interstate bus services. Both Tamilnadu and Karnataka state corporations operate many schedules between Coimbatore are Bangalore. There are even a few direct services to Ooty from Bangalore.