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ROAD LOSS TRAVELLED

A gorge with a view

Where the sunset is stunning, says SUBHA J RAO



BREATHTAKING Moyar gorge PHOTO: K.ANANTHAN

In the dark, even twigs look scary. A shrivelled creeper clinging to a lamppost appears like a snake ready to strike. It's an RLT that throws up such thrills.

Driving down from Masinagudi village towards Moyar, our guide tells us to keep our eyes open to track animal movement on the grassy patches that line either side of the road. That is all we need to get started. Every time the dry grass rustles in the sharp breeze, we watch intently, hoping to see a tiger or an elephant. But all that meets the eye are herds of sambar, spotted deer and scampering mongoose.

Caught up in this `wild animal' chase, we almost forget the real purpose of being there — to have a dekko at the 260-metre deep Moyar gorge. The view of the chasm cut by the Moyar as it hurtles down to empty itself into the Bhavani, is breathtaking.

You need permission to go near the gorge. Drive down till Surgeshaft, 11 km from Masinagudi and take a winch till the Moyar power station (a journey of 20-25 minutes).

As we haven't sought permission, we decide to settle for a view of the gorge from the plateau near the Chikkamman (small goddess) temple, 11 km from Masinagudi. The puja season, when tribals in the belt throng the temple, has just concluded and calm has descended.

An orange-yellow sky dotted with abstract-art clouds lights up the jagged, rocky edges. The sun is about to set over the gorge and the sight is indeed, gorgeous. Those who have been there say sunrise is equally spectacular.

The gorge is also called Mysore Ditch. The Moyar river that flows below acts as a boundary between the Mudumalai Sanctuary and the Bandipur Park (Karnataka). You only have bird call and the buzzing of insects for company.

You can also go on a winch ride from the Singara power station to the Glenmorgan viewpoint.

The winch is run by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to transport staff to maintain the pipeline that supplies water to the station. The winch runs in four stages and you need prior permission to board it.

The most exciting part of the trip is German Point, where the winch takes an almost 60-degree drop. The winch route passes through shola forest and, if you are lucky, you can sight wild animals.

Two winches leave simultaneously, one each from Singara and Glenmorgan at 8.30 a.m. They meet midway. The journey takes about an hour and 90 minutes.

How to go

Masinagudi is 28 km from Ooty. Singara is six km from Masinagudi.

For permission to visit the gorge and for the winch ride, write to the Chairman, TNEB, Chennai.

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