18-June-2015 | Updated information
This post was written almost three years ago, so I thought it is high time I update it with fresh information.
Hyd-B’lore | Time taken is about 7 hours, stops for food and tolls included. Food options have improved quite a bit.
B’lore-Mysore | From Hebbal Flyover to the entrance of Mysore takes about 6 hours, during the day. I suggest you plan to do this segment before 6 am or after 10 pm, if you want to do it in like 2-3 hours.
Mysore-Ooty | Road widening is in progress and all the way till about Gundalpet and progress can be very slow. Also expect a lot of bad driving from people in a hurry.
On 24-October-2012 we head out from Hyderabad to Ooty, going via Bangalore. The Hyderabad – Bangalore stretch of the drive is pure pleasure. NH44 is a fantastic road and you can make it to Bangalore in just over 5 hours, if you really push yourself. The only negatives on this road are the toll booths and the lack of any decent eating options. I wish they had done the toll booths like they did it on the Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad where you get a ticket with a bar code at the point of entry and then only stop at the exit to pay the toll charges. Instead, on the NH44, you are constantly slowing down to pay the toll charges at six or seven toll booths along the way. Food is definitely a problem. You must carry your own food on this journey. The only decent option is between Kurnool and Ananthpur where there is a decent joint right next to the Bharat Petroleum petrol bunk.
At Bangalore things have been simplified for people travelling on to Mysore. From the Hebbal flyover, follow the signs to Tumkur initially. Soon you will see signs for Mysore Road, follow these to take a spanking new bypass which will get you on the other side of Kengeri in a jiffy. Crossing Bangalore en route to Mysore used to take the better part of three hours, now it is less than 45 minutes.
The Bangalore – Mysore stretch claims to be a freeway, it is anything but that. Expect to be driving like you are tacking city traffic for this entire stretch. Just outside Mysore you have the choice of taking the ring road to get to the Ooty road, or going through the city.
Once outside Mysore, the roads are bad especially compared to the two earlier stretches. But once you enter the Bandipur forest it ceases to make any difference. The views and sounds make you want to drive slower and slower through the forest. On this trip we saw peacocks, langurs, deer, bison and wild boar. Time your trip in such a way that you are doing this stretch in the early morning or early evening hours. During the middle of the day the animal sightings will be significantly lesser. The forest changes name to become Mudhumalai on the Tamil Nadu side of the border. At Mudhumalai you have to make another choice, you can either take the Masinagudi route, which is shorter but more challenging to the car and the occupants of the car, or the Gudalur route which is easier to traverse. But whichever route you choose, remember that these are hill roads. Drive on second or third gear in both directions.
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