Far away from the crowd of Central Ooty, Avalanche Reserve Forest is a perfect gateway to experience fresh breath and get lost in the heavenly beauty of Nilgiri Mountain range. Two hours of jungle safari along the Avalanche Forest offers you ever-remembering moments, magnificent landscapes, calm and serene atmosphere, ever-blue Upper Bhavani Lake at the edge, and the picturesque confluence of Avalanche Lake to a hilly stream. In addition, you have the chance to explore the typical Nilgiri-specific wild lives, including Nilgiri Tahr, fox, cows, monkeys, and plenty of unknown birds.
Unfortunately, most tourists skip this magical place due to limited knowledge and wrong guidance. In fact, many of them are pretty confused about the exact route map to reach Upper Bhavani Lake, letting it unseen ultimately.
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Let me clear the confusion about Upper Bhavani Lake
In general, Indian tour operators cover the commercial tourist spots in specific destinations and the majority of Indian tourists follow the tour plan offered by their local tour operators. Eventually, they remain deprived of the taste of off-beat excellence across incredible India; due to the same reason most Ooty tourists miss the mystic beauty of Avalanche forest and Upper Bhavani Lake, rather they get back covering only the over-crowded commercial tourist spots around Ooty. Unfortunately, I can’t help that category of tourist because they never make a tour plan by following high-quality blogs.
But I have seen many tourists plan to visit Upper Bhavani Lake and Avalanche forest, but they are confused.
I’m eager to clear the confusion because I personally became confused about Upper Bhavani Lake on my Ooty trip; to be frank, local tour operators tried to divert! But, I had a deep study before planning the trip, that’s why they couldn’t bluff me.
For your information, local tour operators generally don’t take you to Upper Bhavani Lake via Avalanche reserve forest, rather they cover some spots around this place, such as Emerald Dam, Avalanche Dam, and corresponding backwaters, and finally, drop you at your hotel.
Unless you have a clear knowledge about the exact route map to reach Upper Bhavani Lake, local operators will definitely bluff you.
How to reach Upper Bhavani Lake?
The best view of Upper Bhavani Lake can be obtained from Avalanche Reserve Forest which is not accessible without permission. So, for enjoying the jungle safari, you need to get permission from the forest officer prior to your visit. Local tour operators can arrange this permit (as they did in my case), but they skip this probably to avoid hassles and save time.
The entrance of Avalanche forest is approximately 25 km away from Ooty.
Outside cars are not allowed to enter the forest; after you reach the entrance point, a government authorized safari jeep takes you deep into the forest; it’s a two-hour of safari, covering exceptionally beautiful landscapes of Avalanche forest.
So, if you are planning to attend this unforgettable trip, you should clearly mention to your tour operator about your interest in Upper Bhavani Lake, Otherwise, they will take you to some top spots around Avalanche, avoiding the jungle safari.
Explore the Beauty of Avalanche Forest on your way to Upper Bhavani Lake
In a true sense, Avalanche forest is a hidden gem near Ooty! On your way to Upper Bhavani Lake, the safari driver halts multiple times on the special spots. If your driver is friendly enough, he will also stop where you want.
From the beginning to end, the changing landscapes of Avalanche forest are something very special that you’ll experience on the way, and it happens due to geographical reasons.
Stoppage 1: Evergreen forest of Nilgiri (Cauliflower Shola)
After passing through a deep forest, you’ll get the first stoppage at a top point having a wide-angle view of the evergreen Nilgiri forest at the front and black stoned steep hills at the backdrop.
Due to the significant growth of the plants, this place looks like a cauliflower field from the top; that’s why this place is known as Cauliflower Shola. Also, the evergreen tropical forest hosts plenty of unknown birds and freely living wild animals; it’s a real heaven for the bird & wildlife photographers.
The black-stoned hills at the backdrop are also very significant; rows of narrow streams fall down along the hilly walls and cross the pitch road, offering a perfect background for selfie lovers.
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Stoppage 2: Thalai Bhavani
After crossing the last point (evergreen forest) the landscape changes rapidly on every turn with increasing altitude; the evergreen forest of tall trees converts into grasslands and shorter plants!
Thalai Bhavani situates on one such turn; at this point, an underground stream exposes to the daylight, which is known as the origin of the river Bhavani.
Bhavani Amman Temple situates beside the riverbank, offering a picturesque valley view at the front.
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Stoppage 3: Beautiful Valley
As you move towards Upper Bhavani Lake, the altitude of the driving road increases and grasslands appear on one side of the road, replacing the big trees and shorter plants. Either side of the road steeply meets a beautiful valley far below, presenting a picture-perfect panoramic view.
Our driver said it’s a great place to catch the sunrise! Unfortunately, you can’t attend Avalanche forest so early because the first trip for the jungle safari starts at 10:00 AM. However, you can try to arrange prior permission from the forest department for attending here before dawn.
Nilgiri tahr, wild fox are commonly shown wilds at this point, but relatively rare. We were lucky to watch a typical Nilgiri fox and Nilgiri monkeys on the way, but missed Nilgiri tahr.
For your information, Munnar is the best place to watch Nilgiri Tahr because there is a specific reserve forest in Munnar that is dedicated to Nilgiri Tahrs. On our Munnar trip, when we visited Eravikulam National Park, we could watch several Nilgiri Tahrs.
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Stoppage 4: Upper Bhavani Lake (Lakkadi)
The Jungle safari ends at the edge of Upper Bhavani Lake; the place is known as Lakkadi. This is basically the backwater of the Upper Bhavani reservoir that is connected to Kundah Hydro Electric Plant; the backwater is very widespread and looks like an endless lake, situating at nature’s lap.
Surrounded by green nature and unique landscapes, Upper Bhavani Lake offers a magnificent photogenic view; however, the majestic sight of the Lake exposes upon reflection of blue sky on the lake water, creating a mystic blue across the lake water. The silence and serenity of this place force your soul to spend a long time at the bay of Upper Bhavani Lake, but your time is limited, the safari is allowed for 2 hours only.
So, it’s time to get back.
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There are More things to do at Avalanche Reserve Forest…
The safari is over, but never mind; you still have more things to do!
Just beside the entrance of Avalanche Reserve Forest, there is a narrow path leading to the Bay of Avalanche Lake. Don’t miss the beauty of this place. Just take permission from the on-field forest officer and move on.
Enjoy the beauty of streamy river
After a short walk through the deep forest, you’ll reach a magnificent spot! A stream passes across the forest that meets Avalanche Lake a few steps ahead. You can play on crystal clear stream water and have some unforgettable photo snaps.
See the Confluence of Avalanche Lake & hilly stream
It’s the confluence of the river stream and Avalanche Lake! Indeed, it’s picture-perfect.
The perfect blend of crystal clear lake water with mystic blue sky produces a heavenly beauty around Avalanche Lake. No one will stop you from spending hours sitting on lakeside grassland; it’s an ever-refreshing feeling that provides the ultimate peace of mind.
Watching Nilgiri Cows and Monkeys
This is the land of typical Nilgiri cows. When we arrived at this place, 9 Nilgiri Cows were playing around. It’s really fun to watch their natural activities. I felt, they were pretty happy to get the companion of human beings, and believe it or not, they really posed in front of my camera! Just take a look below!
Also, golden-haired Nilgiri monkeys are frequently observed here at the big trees around Avalanche. Unlike Nilgiri cows, they are typically shy to show their faces, especially in front of camera!
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As I mentioned above, the evergreen forest of Nilgiri hills hosts plenty of bird species that you’ll not find elsewhere. Naturally, it’s heaven for the bird photographers. If you are one of them, get the permit for a whole-day stay inside the forest prior to your visit, and enjoy your bird photography with full freedom.
Where to stay for your trip to Upper Bhavani Lake?
Ooty is the most common option to book your stay and have a day trip towards Avalanche followed by Upper Bhavani Lake. There are plenty of resorts in Ooty town and surroundings, also hotels of all budgets are available in Ooty. You may proceed through the following link to check out the best stay options in Ooty.
Alternatively, you can book a wooden resort or Eco-resort at Avalanche to spend peaceful holidays in pure nature.
You may not find delicious foods around Upper Bhavani or Avalanche area, though roadside bakeries or open restaurants are available around this place.
So, my suggestion for a full day trip to Avalanche or Upper Bhavani Lake, take a heavy breakfast before you start in the morning and keep dry foods and fruits in your backpack. Upon returning to Ooty (possibly in the afternoon session), take your lunch at a good restaurant.
Ooty is a commercial tourist spot where you’ll find all kinds of dishes, both veg and non-veg. High-quality Indian and continental varieties are available in several premium restaurants.
For you note, two things are special in Ooty:
- Homemade chocolates
- Bakery products (cake, pastry, etc.)
I expect your Avalanche trip is related to your Ooty tour, so don’t miss the above items on your visit to Ooty.
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Trip to Upper Bhavani lake: A Summary helping you to plan properly
|Place to reach||Avalanche Reserve Forest followed by Upper Bhavani Lake|
|Nearby Commercial Places||Ooty (25 km), Coonoor (45 km)|
|Nearest Airport||Coimbatore (110 Km)|
|Nearest Railway Station||Mettupalayam (Broad gauge) – 71 Kms; Ooty – 25 km|
|Attractions & Activities||Forests safari;|
Picturesque hilly landscapes;
Wildlife & Birds watching;
Bhavani Amman Temple;
Lakkidi view point/ Upper Bhavani Lake;
Avalanche Lake/ Confluence.
|Visiting hours||10 A.M to 5.45 P.M|
|Eco-Tourism Package||From Avalanche and ends in Upper Bhavani Lake (Lakkadi). |
On the way, you’ll see Cauliflower Shola, Bhavani Amman, etc.
> ETMC Operated mini bus – Rs. 150/- per head.
> For Jeep operated by SHG – Rs.1200/- per trip.
> Timings: 3 trips per day at 10.00 a.m, 12.00 p.m, & 2.00 p.m
|Travel time||2 hours from avalanche to Upper Bhavani Lake and back.|
|Contact for permit||The Forest Range Officer, Udagai South Range, Ooty|
|Contact for special permission||The District Forest Officer, Nilgiris South Division.|
|Contact info (DFO)||Phone : 0423 – 2444083; |
E-mail : email@example.com
(maybe altered with time)
That’s all about my personal experience with the Avalanche forest safari that ends at the bank of Upper Bhavani Lake. Hope this article helps you to plan a perfect trip ahead, removing all the barriers and confusion about Upper Bhavani lake.
If you have any further queries, feel free to post your question in the comment box below. I’ll be very happy to help you out.
If you find this article useful, social sharing will be highly appreciated.
Wish you all the very best for your upcoming journey!
Dr. Suvankar Das is a scientific advisor by profession, associated with a CRO organization. He pursued his doctoral degree in Chemistry in 2015. Later, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher & scientist in a couple of institutes/companies.
Besides his scientific journey, Dr. Das is also a passionate traveler and travel blogger. He loves to share all his travel experiences with other travelers so that everyone can enjoy hassle-free holidays with their own tour plans.
He believes, the most beautiful thing in this world is the WORLD itself. so there is no way to live like a clock; rather live it like a compass!