Drive Way : Coimbatore-Karamadai-Geddai-Manjur
Distance: 180 Kms
How we planned
Coimbatore-Karamadai-Geddai-Manjur : Start – 9:00 am Reached – 11:30 pm
Manjur-Coonoor-Aravenu-Karamadai-Coimbatore : Start – 03:00 pm Reached – 6:30 pm
How it looked
Coimbatore-Karamadai-Geddai-Manjur : Start – 10:00 am Reached – 5:15 pm
Manjur-Geddai-Karamadai-Coimbatore : Start – 07:10 pm Reached – 9:20 pm
After months of discussion 14 of us were all set to do the trip. We planned a 9 AM start from coimbatore and take the karamadi , gettai road and return via Kotagiri as Coonoor to Metupalayam road was one way up due to Flower Show.
May 15th 9 AM struck and as usual no one was on time. Three cars were far apart from each other, hour and half later we managed to assemble together in Peryanakanpalaym. Within minutes few went to have break fast and the rest were in search of Gift.
Moving Towards Manjur
The route to Manjur via karamadi and gettai is a single road going through some dense forest with Wildlife in the beginning and then Ghat road starts. As you climb up the ghat section splendid view opens up. This road is restricted on day time and no access past 6 PM as there is a lot of wildlife movement especially elephants.
As we moved into the lonely road we stoped for few snaps. We crossed both check post after filling in the Forest Log book with details of visit. As we drove past first hairpin bend trouble struck. Sam’s car started to boil, we stopped just to see the coolant spilled out. BTW my car had a different issue it need some 5 to 10 mins to start if it was all ready running, really strange issue which Tata service had no fix.
This breakdown was a welcome relax time for some, by having a seat in the revetment wall. After some photos and discussion we managed to fill up water in bottles. We were literally running a nilgiri mountain rail with every alternative hairpin bend we gushed out water to the car.
Sam’s steam engine video
We were lucky enough to get water from the small streams & barrel which was left behind by the road construction people. Overall with this continuous pumping of water we reached the Manjur around 5:15 PM. We were expected to arrive by 11:30, with all the trouble we were relieved to be there. We tried to fix the issue but couldn’t as there were no spares.
Reached Vinika’s place
She was thrilled to see us after the long wait. Family welcomed all of us in gave us hot tea. These is no festival or function there without the Badaga Dance, people joined in and it was so much fun. Like always Vinika danced off superb. We had a early dinner and said good bye to Vinika and Manjur.
Vinika’s marriage dance Video
Thrilling Down Hill
We had set a return time as 6 PM Coimbatore. It was already 7:10 at manjur, we cannot take the kotagiri route as its going to delay us more. All day long we were talking about how unsafe is to travel downhill after 6PM via gettai, elephants and of course Ghosts who will miss a chance for the Ghost stories. With less options we had a quick drivers meet and agreed to take the risk and to do it in style. We buckled up and just like in Italian Job we zoomed through the hills. It was a thrill ride for sure with pitch dark view, expecting a large tusker on each blind curve and unknowing when one of the cars will Break down. After an hour of intense driving we reached the foot hill, took a break before we took diversion.
I am sure it was a drive worth remembering. Our expert driver Sam even before i started regular driving he was superb this trip was about hill driving and catching up like always he was exceptional. Vignesh even with the less efficient braking system and ordinary steering he was excellent.