The Nilgiris or Nilgiri Hills are the part of the Western Ghats that run through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The word Nilgiri literally translates to 'blue mountains'. A road trip through these hills is impossibly scenic and goes through wildlife parks, deciduous and evergreen forests and tea plantations. If you are getting on these roads during winter, expect to see a gentle mist floating above the mountains, and the mysterious neelakurinji (the flower the hills are named after) hidden somewhere, blooming in its purple-blue glory.
You can go on this journey with anyone – your family, friends or even solo, for the landscape will keep you company and the stops on the way will keep you interested. So pack your bags and set off on one of the best road trip routes in the country.
The route starts from Bangalore. Traffic is crazy in the city, so leave by 6am to beat the crowds and make it to the city's outskirts. Take the Bengaluru-Mysore Expressway (SH17) and reach Mysore. From there your first stop, Bandipur National Park, is around an hour and a half away. Day two will take you to Gudalur and Ooty, where you can see one of the highest golf courses in the world, explore a beautifully-maintained Botanical Gardens and indulge in home-made chocolate fudge. On the final day, you drive from Ooty to Coonoor, a stunning journey, while making your way to the final destination, Kotagiri.
Here's the quick version of the suggested route for this road trip:
Bangalore – Mysuru – Bandipur – Gudalur – Ooty – Coonoor – Kotagiri – Bangalore