|Source: Google Images|
I was reading my own blog some
days back for a change, and realized I used to write on so many things 2 years
back when I had started the blog. I had started it with the idea that I should
be able to write whatever I want, to hell with a niche subject/topic. Now I can
see I have made it a book oriented blog more than a personal blog. Don’t quite
know why I stopped writing in my Travel Section. Funny eh.. When you just delay
things and forget all about it. We went on so many trips after my last Travel
blog post and I have not written anything on them.
I want this blog to remain the
same – my place to write about anything that I want to. So now I am revisiting
all the sections of the blogs and let’s see what all I can update. Oh yes, some
more book reviews are coming up by the way.
I stay in Bangalore which is like
a central point to Southern India. It’s very easy to visit any place from here.
Road system is very impressive. (Though the road conditions in the city is far
from being impressive). We took a Road trip to Coonoor-Wellington-Ooty in
December. December is the month when you can afford to take leaves. People is
the west are in Holiday mood and shuts down for a week and their counterparts
(my husband) takes that opportunity to plan his leaves at this time. And for
me, I take leaves when I am in a mood for leaves!!
We thought of driving down there our self but
then thought it’s better to take a driver who knows the local language. Now it’s
very important to know or have someone along who knows the language. Coonoor,
Ooty & Wellington are all based in the Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu at
about 1850m above sea level. So it’s cool and pleasant all round the year and
was delightful in December. Otacamund or Ooty as is popularly known is a very commercialized
hill station with hundreds of hotels and thousands of visitors all around the
year I guess. So we ditched the possibility of putting up in Ooty and instead
chose to checking in, in a relatively quieter Coonoor.
Distance between Bangalore & Coonoor
Coonoor is about 285 Kms from
Bangalore and you can reach via road or train. And in case you are flying in
the nearest airport is in Coimbatore which is about 100 kms away. But if you
want to Enjoy this travel and you are in Bangalore I recommend you should drive
down. The drive is scenic as you pass through Madur, Mandya and Bandipur
National Park. In fact from Bandipur National Park it’s very close. There are
other routes as well through Hosur-Salem and others but this one is the
Like all other times we stopped
for our breakfast at Adigas at Maddur on the Bangalore-Mysore Road. You should
definitely try their Masala Dosa and Maaddur Vada. Whenever I’m on this highway
I make it a point to have our breakfast here than in a McDonald or Kamat or
As you close Bandipur National
forest keep your eyes open and watch the sides in the forest. If you are lucky
you can spot an occasional wild elephant apart from the shy deer and over smart
The drive is about 6 to 6 and a
half hours and if you don’t take too many breaks then you should be able to
reach by afternoon if you start early in the morning.
Coonoor is a relatively quiter
hill station and not as commercialized as Ooty. We planned our short trip in
such a way that we stayed in Coonoor and drove to Wellington and Ooty from
there. Now it’s in the Nilgiri District and known for its tea, so what better
than living within a tea garden. I had researched for some time for a good
homestay near a tea garden or within a tea garden, and zeroed in on this place
called SunValley Homestay , It
is I guess the most popular homestay there, and you have to visit it to see this
picturesque place. The moment I stood in our room’s balcony I was in love with
the place. It’s situated on top of a hillock and you can see the tea gardens
flowing down like rich velvet carpets. I can definitely recommend this place. [Note
I have not been asked to do a review or something, I am recomending it because
it is beautiful.] The picture below says it all, it's taken from the balcony of our room. It was even better when its all covered in fog in the morning. Looks like heaven.
|View from the room we stayed in. Lush green carpet of Tea Garden flowing down for|
miles all together.
One evening we asked the manager
we wanted to go for a walk, where could we go. We were expecting he will direct
us to a park or something, instead he opened the gates of the tea garden and
asked us to take a walk down the hill through the tea shrubs! That was quite
something. Only problem was he told us the previous evening a leopard had come
on that very path and hurt their dog!! Indro is quite enterprising and kept
telling me Leopard will come in the night not at dusk but you can guess I think
what I was feeling then. I in fact carried a thick wooden branch, my little
attempt to scare a leopard if it thought I could be his dinner!
|Some one's giving a cute smile in the tea garden, and I am praying a leopard doesn't jump in. And you can see the homestay at the back|
Okay, coming back to the trip
part, if you are a trek enthusiast, you can go for various treks down the
hills, I am not quite a trekking person, but I did go down the tea garden and
enjoyed watching and cliking the ladies plucking the correct lea leaves, and
also joined them for my bit of tea plucking. It’s quite a task being these
pluckers, they literally walk up and down the hills through the narrow paths
for plucking and then climb up all the way in some other hillock to deposit the
leaves in the warehouse from where the leaves are take to the factory. I
Some sightseeing places that I
can remember were visiting Lamb’s Rock, Dolphin Nose and Lady Canning’s Seat. From
Lamb’s Rock you can actually see stunning tea plantations. People go trekking
in these places as well. But the best place that you can enjoy in Coonoor apart
from the tea gardens is Sim’s Park which is their botanical garden. It’s a
massive park with thousands of well maintained trees and flowers. Chilling out
on the park lawns with a book and spotting lovely birds is a great experience.
|Some little fellows were caught in the lens taking a nap near Lamb's Rock|
We stayed in Coonoor for 3 Days
so had a lot of time to visit different places. Indro’s grandfather was in the
army and was posted in Wellington for some time. His mom was in Wellington in
her childhood, and we have heard her stories. So we definitely wanted to check
this place. This little town of Wellington houses the DSSC or the The Defence
Services Staff College, and also is a cantonment town under Madras Regiment. It’s
a quiet place and you have to actually drive down the place without wandering
much because most of the places are restricted areas and only for army personnel.
But like all other cantonment towns, it’s clean, methodical, and peaceful.
I had been to Ooty as a child and
really didn’t remember anything about it. So this time though I was revisiting
it was all new to me. Ooty is really picturesque and has a long histry dated
from the Hoysala times. You can Google more about it. I don’t want this post to
be on history of the place. Ooty is like a day trip from Coonoor, its about 1
hour drive depending on the fog density of the day.
Though it has become commercialized
thanks to all the Bollywood films it still has some beauty about it. People
travel to far off distances to enjoy nature’s beauty but then we only destroy
half of it. Now Ooty is extremely crowded, with people thronging any place of
interest and guides trying to get the better of you.
When you are in Ooty you
definitely have to visit the rose garden, botanical garden, the lake, tea
factories and Doddabetta Peak.
The Government Rose garden is a massive garden where they have
several species of roses. We were lucky to be there in a time when there was
some flower festival going on. So we got to see lovely roses. If you love
photography then you can spend an entire day there.
|I don't know the species but this bird looks cute, we spotted this one at the Rose Garden|
|And of course some beautiful roses|
Ooty’s Botanical Garden is probably the most famous botanical garden in
India. It’s a 22 acre botanical garden and I was surprised to see its
maintained pretty well. It’s maintained by the Gov’t of Tamil Nadu (that’s why
surprising). Walking through the well laid out flower arrangements was serene.
I just wish it never allowed people to do picnics there. But somehow people end
up enjoying there and litter the places, which I dislike like anything.
|The Botanical Garden, Ooty|
|some of my favourite clicks from the Botanical Garden, Ooty|
|Again I don't remember the species but looks very interesting, Ooty Botanical Garden|
Ooty Lake is too crowded and you can go for a boating. We went
there because that’s what everyone does that. It’s just about ok and the water
is dirty and littered. You can give it a miss if you want to.
We had a great time at the Doddabetta Peak. It’s the highest peak
there and you can see the entire town from there, which makes quite a beautiful
scene. But the most amazing part was visiting the Tea Factory and going through the entire process of making tea – as
in processing tea leaves. It’s quite a huge process. They serve you some
special tea during this tour which is amazing. You can buy various kinds of tea
from their store, some kind of tea is available which reduces blood pressure if
you have high blood pressure. I don’t know about the authenticity but saw
people thronging to get their hands on that. I obviously went for some cardamom
tea, that special tea they were serving, and of course some green tea for
|So here you have, Twinkling Tina twinkling atop Doddabeta Peak watch tower and that's the valley behind |
|The Tea Factory tour is good|
|Can you see the processed green tea leaves on the conveyor belt? |
On our way back it was another
experience all together for me. I hate driving through hills and hate the bends
with equal gusto. And if you also have this hill sickness syndrome like me,
please ask the driver to avoid the road with hair pin bends. The road we took
brought us to Bangalore earlier but I had to survive 36 hair pin bends. And
they were horrible. Every second I felt like throwing up but somehow managed to
avoid the embarrassment. Having a lemon with you in these conditions always helps.
So that was one road trip to
remember, actually I remember more because it was my anniversary trip!
Okay that was a long post, hope you guys will enjoy.
Disclaimer, all photos used here are my own clicks unless stated otherwise, and I have exclusive copyrights on them. I would appreciate if they are not copied, and if you want to use please give the credit.