I've said this before and I'll say it again - in India, there is no dearth of weekend-friendly destinations. A short drive out of almost every major city, we find ourselves in a refreshing countryside hamlet or a quaint village. Likewise, a drive from cities in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will lead us to the unhindered hill station of Masinagudi.
Resting snugly at the foothills of the Nilgiris, Masinagudi is an idyllic haven for nature-lovers, adventure-philes, and peace-seeking travellers alike. Lucky for us, it's still an offbeat destination, making it the perfect alternative to the crowded hill station of Ooty (since it's just a stone's throw-away; actually, it is 30 kilometres away. Isn't that the same thing?).
Getting acquainted with Masinagudi's history
This little collection of villages has a fascinating history - some facts, some fantasy, all captivating.
The very name Masinagudi is rooted in the handle of the goddess Masani Amman, to whom the communities fleeing from the armies of Tipu Sultan prayed, begging her to spare their lives. It is said that once these devotees crossed the Moyar river, the banks flooded, preventing the army from crossing over. In honour of the goddess who saved them, the overjoyed communities erected a temple for Masani Amman, and the area earned the sobriquet Masinagudi.
That's fascinating! So, how do we get to Masinagudi?
Since it's 240 kilometres from Bangalore, 580 kilometres from Chennai, and 113 kilometres from Coimbatore, travel to and from Masinagudi isn't devoid of options.
Truth be told, the best way to get to Masinagudi is by driving. The drive is breathtaking - you will pass either the Bandipur Forest (KA) or the Mudumalai National Park (TN), depending on which side you come from.
If you choose to travel by bus, KSRTC operates Airavat buses between Bangalore and Ooty; to get to Masinagudi, one needs to get off at the Theppakadu junction. You can have your accommodation pick you up from the junction.
What's the weather like at Masinagudi?
In one word, pleasant.
Moderately hot summers run from March to June, while the cool winter months begin in November and go on till February. Expect moderate rainfall between July and September. But don't fret - the rains only add to the lushness of the area. The best part, is there is always a cool breeze blowing in the evenings - it does not disappoint.
The best time to visit? I had heard and read that October to May is the ideal time to visit Masinagudi. I chose mid-July and was treated to light showers, ample sunshine, a deliciously fresh breeze, and crystal-clear night skies. So I'm ready to debate in favour of the monsoon months!
Spending time in Masinagudi
On my second day at Masinagudi, I overheard a pair of guests at our resort say "there's nothing to do here", and that you "need only a day" to explore.
In my mind, I instantly went "no way!"
Actually, I think they just didn't know better or hadn't asked around. There is SO MUCH to see and do in this small town, it blew me away! Before you say "hey, I thought you said a mellow weekend at Masinagudi", let me tell you - yes, a mellow weekend indeed, but with enough exploration and adventures to keep you sufficiently engaged whilst granting you that much-needed R&R.