Three and a half hours south of Mysore is Mavanalla and The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, located in the state of Tamil Nadu. If you are into safaris and wildlife, exploring the lush environs of tea country in Ooty and the surrounding areas, and driving adventurously on 36 hairpin turns, go here, you won’t be disappointed!
I visited in September and was told there had been rain issues, so the landscape I saw was arid and desert-like, with peasant temperatures in the mid to high 80’s during the day which dropped to the low 70’s in the evenings. We had a few showers as well in the late afternoons that cooled things off.
This current travel stint of mine was spontaneous and necessary, but not something I had planned at all, so in the interest of saving as much money as I can, I’ve been cutting corners wherever possible. Instead of compromising my safety by trimming transportation, I have been tapping into Couchsurfing to a.) save on lodging, and b.) make friends along the way. It’s a site that allows registered members all over the world to stay with one another. This was my first Couchsurfing experience, and my host John, who lives within the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, couldn’t have been a better choice.
After picking me up in Mysore, John and I left for Mavanalla. We learned the next day that they had shut the borders between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, so we were lucky. Ongoing water disputes make this an annual situation and the violent bandh that ensues is a days-long pain in the ass for tourists and residents alike hoping to leave or enter either state.This year it has been particularly volatile. If you’re planning to visit during this time of year, I’d give a look into the local situation first.
I stayed in Mavanalla for a week, and I think that this was a perfect amount of time given the variety of things to do in the area. If you need some recommendations, here’s what I’ve got after my time there: