Ooty–The Queen of Hillstations

Its holiday season!!! Bells jingling everywhere to signal joy and happiness, so isn’t it the perfect time to find a scenic beauty-spot to escape from the mundane activities of life and catch a glimpse of paradise? Now, at such a time, imagine your door bell rings and you open it to find your secret Santa gifting your family a trip to Ooty! As for me, when I saw the tickets, my jaws just dropped..


Its heaven on earth – simply magnificent. Ooty, or Udagamandalam, is around a 100 km from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Situated amidst the Nilgiri range, you are at a height of 2300 m. For those of you who want to make their visit to South India worthwhile, especially for the excited honeymooners out there, this is the best bet.
I am sure you aren’t worried about accommodation! Villas and cosy hotels are aplenty, horse rides and boat rides tempting and the scenery breathtakingly beautiful. Take a break from your hectic office schedule to be in the womb of nature, with dense greenery all around to please your senses. Experience what you will cherish for the rest of your lives!

Having applied for leave and told the maid to enjoy her mornings too, we set out. The roads to this hillstation are well-kept, and the ride is very welcoming – through the Mudumulai forest and wildlife sanctuary. Here’s a peek at who escorted us. :)
             

 
 

Upon reaching Ooty, the pleasant weather of the valley and the unpolluted, free air took us quite by surprise. As its a tourist hot-spot, Hindi functions well, though a decent knowledge of Tamil will earn you an extra bonus from the rickshaw drivers.
Actual “tourist season” includes the summer months and October to a certain extent. That is when hotel tariffs are at their highest along with the population density. However, if you are looking for some space for relaxing and tranquillity, the other months are better – just pack enough sweaters and mufflers to befriend the cold temperatures and foggy days.
 
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Lodge yourself comfortably in a nice hotel by the Lakeside, dump your bag and set out to discover. For those young at heart, there’s a hiking cum biking trail that’s been opened recently. And for others, the lake itself is wholesome entertainment.  Boating is irresistible, rowing your way to Neverland! I’m a little hesitant to admit, but the deep waters intimidated me. Nevertheless, they had enough options for people like me too, as I gleefully noted! For shopping lovers, there are several shops dotting the streets – for herbal products, organic gardens and winter wear to keep you warm and cosy. As for children, they forget about time as they enjoy all-time favourite games like Dashing Cars nearby! 
 
 


How can a visit to Ooty be complete without visiting a Tea Garden! Yes, you got me right. The aromatic leaves that give you flavoured tea – Honey, Chocolate, Ginger etc – originate from these hundreds of acres of tea farms. There are organised tours to conduct you all throughout the processes that go into converting a leaf to the delicious tea in your cup at home. Ready yourself to go back in time to see how tea was introduced to India, what role the Britishers and Chinese played, how to select the best of leaves and the high temperatures at which the leaves are dried!
 
 
 
 
Having finished these, we went on the famous Blue Train to Coonoor. These sister towns are very similar yet unique in themselves. The train ride is worth every second..making your way through woods and dense lands while getting sudden glimpses of terraced fields. 
      
In Coonoor, there are several high points and cliffs like the Dolphin Nose; the Flower garden and Botanical Garden are definitely worth a watch too. You can hire an auto to show you around the whole day, but be sure to bargain for a good deal. 
            
           


Catch a train back to Ooty before nightfall or stay overnight and come back the following morning. Three days flew by and one doesn’t even notice!

Before you know it, you are on your way back home  - to the routine of office, college, work and cities.
But well, fret not! On a lazy sunday morning the following week, flip through your photo album to recollect these golden memories. For, it’s a trip you’ll love..just like CCD’s Ms. Macchiato in the cool evening to warm you up.

2 Comments:

Mohi said...

Beautiful photos Soumya! You are such a talented photographer. Looks like paradise indeed. :)

Alok K. said...

I loved the pic with that blue train!!! Somehow it hints at tilt-shift photography.

Have a heard a lot about Ooty. After reading your post, am dying to go there. Interesting read! :)