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Masinagudi, is a quaint little town on the Northern mountain edges of the Nilgiri hills. Bordering the fringes of the famous Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary and straddling the Moyar river, Masinagudi forms a center point between Ooty and Theppakadu.
The approach to Masinagudi from Ooty is through the famous Kalhatti ghat section, which is possibly one of the steepest motorable slopes in the area. A short 18 Kms route comprising of 36 hairpin bends, this sector is still a nightmare for Drivers who are not experienced behind the wheel. The road begins at the Thalaikundha junction (on the Ooty side) and snakes its way towards Kalhatty. A check post along the way forces vehicles like Tempo travelers, Tata Sumo, Qualis etc to stop and check for their brake pads. If they are warm they are waved to the side for them to cool down, for the next few Km’s are the steepest and the most treacherous ones along the way. It is advisable to do these stretches in low gears and use the brakes to a minimum lest they warm up and do not grip the wheel when you need them most. The steep roads descends into the foot hills and a further 10 Km ride takes you to the town of Masinagudi.
Masinagudi town is a strategic location straddling quite a few protected areas of the Nilgiri Biosphere. Theppakadu, the forest department office of the Mudumalai sanctuary, is about 10 Kms from Masinagudi. The road blends into the Gudalur-Bandipur road, where the left goes to Gudalur and further down to Wayanad, while the right winds its way to Bandipur.
On the northern borders of Masinagudi town, begin the thick jungle section of the famous Mudumalai forest reserve. Until late 18th century, the forests of the sanctuary were under the control of the Nilambar Tirumalapad religious sect (Tirumalapad Kovilagam). In 1927 the area was declared a reserved forest. The park was created in 1940 to become the first wildlife sanctuary in South India.
Masinagudi town is today peppered with a large number of resorts. The town is right on the Kalhatty – Theppakadu road and towns like Bokkapuram, Singara and Vazaithottam are today home to a large number of resorts – thanks to the development of wildlife tourism.
The Moyar River running through the edges of the town is a good place to see animals when they come to drink water from the river. Moyar River Gorge, also called the Moyar Canyon, is a dramatic 20 km (12 mi) long gorge dug out by Moyar River, which plunges into the gorge below Theppakadu in a roaring water-fall popularly known as Moyar falls.
The medical facilities at Masinagudi are very basic and tourists are advised to carry their medicines. People with serious ailments or those pronged to frequent bouts of illness need to take the advice of their doctors before travelling here for the nearest hospital with decent facilities are either at Ooty or at Gundalpet, both at least an hour away and add to it the forest roads are closed for traffic at night.
There is a departmental store in town and quite a few shops that stock provisions and essentials. A couple of medical shops, a few liquor stores complete the shopping scene while some awesome home cooked food is available at some of the small eateries in town. Recently, a gas station is being built here and a couple of puncture shops and garages are often busy, what with vehicles negotiating the steep ghats requiring some attention. A Police station is also available here along with a government hospital.