April 3, 2016 at 9:55 am #411
The Queen of Hills- Ooty, a fascinating place in India that literally pulls everybody towards it for its beauty and of course the chill climate, in order to escape the hot sun of summer. Our visit to Ooty was such experience, that we still hold the memories.
It was 3 day trip from Coimbatore. On day one we landed into Coimbatore Airport, a fast growing city in Tamil Nadu, which is a great commercial hub. Our taxi driver (which we had already booked beforehand for the whole trip) was waiting for us. I liked the way he grinned. We started going. Excitement filled us. He kept introducing the places to us. We reached Mettupalayam, to see the isle of Areca trees. This is the base station from where we could see the Nilgiri ranges, and also the starting point of Nilgiri Heritage Rail.
We drove high up in the hills with an alternative left right hair pin bends. As we travelled high the climate become more chill and the surrounding more scenic. Sometimes seeing our trail would scare you. But, its worth experiencing.
We reached Coonoor. The place was kind of ‘little Ooty’. The main area was crowded though. Our driver found way towards Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint. It took around half an hour to reach the point. The place deserves a visit. Don’t forget to carry your binoculars. At the point we saw the range of hills in between which a white torrent of beautiful Catherine was dropping itself. It was a Shubh Arambh.
The next destination was lamb’s rock, which was in a kilometre away from Dolphin’s nose point. It has its own beauty. a perfect place to view the hill range. The rock formation really was fascinating.
From there we moved to SIMS Park. A botanical garden though. It has range of flora that would surprise you with its beauty. We kept stepping down the stairs to reach each level. It needed at least an hour to give a full stretch look at it. A small pond of lilies and lotuses at the third level was something really pulled me. We walked through the trees, non flowering and flowering plants, ferns, shrubs everything you can name.
We then rushed to an eatery as we all were starving and needed to be fed. Saravana Bhavan was our choice.
After having done with full meals, we headed towards Ooty.
We drove through Wellington Army cantonment, regimental centre, then, Aruvangadu (a place where you can see a deep valley at one side and the high mountains at other side).
Now, it was Ooty. the first place we hit in Ooty was Government Rose Garden. The garden is one of the most attracting places in Ooty. The garden has wide range of colours of roses and of various species. Seeing the beautiful roses will never tire you. We were told that the place had thousands of different kind of roses. It was well maintained and grown. The garden also gave a beautiful look of the cloud clad mountains.
We then moved to Government Botanical garden which was just 2 km away from Rose garden. We parked our vehicle at a very distance from the garden to walk through the entrance. At the very entrance ‘Government Botanical Garden’ welcomed us. we started from left side. The park doesn’t seem to come to an end. As, we gave a glance at every plant, flower, tree., etc.,, we were all into the nature. We kept guessing the species, some of which really were exotic and difficult to guess the kind of it. Even the wild flowers were looking very beautiful, as they showed up in unimaginable colours. Then, there we stepped down to reach the ground level of the garden, where different types of flowers were decorated in different shapes and the topiaries, added beauty. We hoped in the glass house and realized that it was captured in many movies. Many species (exotic ones mostly) were displayed that could be grown in little pots. We bought some of siblings and the seeds from the sales department. Relaxed at the big grass lawn. We though left the place after spending some quality time there, though not willing to leave.
We reached Ooty lake. Parking area was getting full. This shows the popularity of this place. As, we found some place to park, bought the entrance tickets and stepped down to the lake. there was a queue at the boating ticket counter. We got ticket for motor boat after a wait of 10 minutes in the queue. Again a five minute wait then into the boat. the journey by boat was the best part. The boat moved smoothly on that artificial lake. the wind made us shiver. But was great experience. there were many attractions at the bank. Mostly attracting the children. But, all were busy heading at every stall there. we bought some popcorns, sweet corns and potato chips and headed out. There was horse riding too. But, as the climate changed drastically and was getting dark we skipped that and hoped into the car and reached our hotel.
The next day, we started early towards Bandipur. Our plan was to do a jungle safari at Bandipur NP and then to Theppakadu Elephant Camp on the way back.
We drove through the deep forest that starts at Masinagudi. Sometimes the stretch feared us with its strange silence at some time and voices some time. We kept our eyes open to spot any animal on the way.
We parked our vehicle at the entrance, near check post as private vehicles were not allowed into the park. After buying the tickets, we waited for half an hour for our safari van to come. The guide arrived in a jungle safari jeep and gave first hand information and some important guidelines. Then, we all boarded jeep. The open roof of the jeep gave an initially fright. But, the driver was sure about the security. We were taken into the jungle. At first we spotted some spotted deer, langurs, peacocks, some wild boars, owls, wild roosters and fowls. Most of the time, it was bare forest with some strange noises. At around half an hour travel, we spotted elephants. It was great seeing the giant tuskers at this close. It thrilled us. We couldn’t spot any tiger, with that little disappointment the National Park visit ended. We had our lunch there and got moving.
We then, came back to Theppakadu to visit the Elephant camp. We had to show our visit ticket or else had to buy tickets at the check post. We entered the camp. There were few elephants with calves. We were told that the feeding time is 5.30 in the evening, for which we had to wait very long. So, we kept going after seeing the elephants’ getting bathed.
We drove back to Ooty via Mudumalai and Gudalur.
We reached Pykara. At first we drove to waterfalls (we skipped the Pykara lake, boating). To reach the falls we had to walk a while. The place was just great. The white icy water flowed down from high. Beautiful view.
Then we headed straight to our hotel.
The next day, we aimed to Doddabetta.
The way was steep and covered with forests. Our first stopping was Doddabetta Tea factory. We parked our vehicle to step upstairs to the factory. We stepped inside to see a bed of tea leaves (tender ones) spread over to filter. Then, we stepped down a narrow way to hear loud noise of the roasting roller machines. Though the outer climate was so chill to freeze, the temperature here inside was much warmer, was a relief. We walked through each section of tea processing. At some point it ended with a sales section, where there was a display of variety of tea or different flavours. We were also offered tea for tasting. We felt the freezing temp as soon as we stepped out.
We ran to our vehicle and then drove towards the Doddabetta peak. At both side of the roads there were huge eucalyptus trees which were mostly covered with mist or say fog. with a rather steepy road we reached the parking area. from here we had to walk to reach the view point. The place was breathtakingly amazing. the whole place was covered with fog. we walked towards the peak and then the end point. All we could see was valley amidst the highly raised mountains covered with mist. The clouds passed by us. great feel. After which we went into the telescope tower. But, we couldn’t see anything, but, just hills and white covering. We spent some time examining the flowers there and then back to our vehicle.
We rushed to our hotel to check out and drove back to Coimbatore, with all that great memories storing with us.
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