Ooty - Coonoor Travelogue: My trip experience

Looking for a place to chill during the hot summers? Or a fan of hill stations? Then Ooty - Coonoor is the perfect place for friends, family or even a romantic getaway with your partner. Fully geared up in a high tour-mode, just unstoppable. The brilliant idea that flashed was a hill station and a chill station rolled into one,Ooty-Coonoor for you.

Sweatshirts, Scarfs, Monkey caps, sunglasses, lip balm, moisturizers and jackets – Packed! It was almost a year since we got married and we decided to celebrate our anniversary at the same place where my parents had been for their honeymoon. My husband and I hail from coastal region and we preferred a change of scenery. So, Hill Station it was, Ooty-Connoor.
It was early December, call us crazy or "adventurous" to visit Ooty during winter, but believe me, it was worth a try.

Day 1:

Our Car, Toyota Etios Liva (petrol) was all washed up and ready for vacay. As a morning person, it was quite a usual time at 5.20AM for the couple celebrating anniversary to start the trip on a Friday. We went through the maps on the previous night to save them offline and chose the better route. One with scary curves took lesser time and the one easier to drive took more time, we decided to take the longer route via Gudalur.
Playlist for the trip was set. We crossed Nanjangudu and reached Gundlupet by 9AM.We stopped at the Nijaguna Resorts and Spa for breakfast. After breakfast at 9.30AM, we passed through the Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve.

Amidst the exhilarating thrill of enjoying the opulence of flora and fauna, we could spot animals like spotted deer, wild buffalos, etc which stop for a while to glance at the passing vehicles in awe before giving a bolt. It was pin-drop silence, though broken by rare appearance of taxis and other tourist vehicles passing by. The pictures of wild animal zones and no-Horn zones literally gave me chills and I prayed to get past the forests as soon as possible. We now crossed the Karnataka-TamilNadu border and luckily, we had change to pay the environment taxes at the check post.

Temperature dropped and the sun was now hidden behind the tall thick yellow trees.
yellow trees
Roads were narrow and we could not stop to enjoy the view of these beautiful long trees on both sides of the damp roads. We were awestruck with the beauty of the place as we steered through tea gardens, and we did stop the car now.
Tea Gardens
I climbed up the Tea garden, and jumped with excitement but I had to run back to the car to get my jacket. After stretching the limbs, we drove again but unaware that we would have to stop the car again. Needle rock Point as its rightly named was just a few turns away and there were a few vehicles already parked on the sides of the road. It was 11.30AM.The tall trees stretched along the roads on one side and on the other it was the whole town view from the hilltop, we clicked a few nice pictures of the trees and the needle rock point view of the whole town and left to the next destination.
Needle ROck The trees were gone and it was getting hotter and by 12.20pm we reached the Pykara Waterfalls and River. Parked the car on the side of the road and walked towards the waterfalls. It was quite a long walk and few elders got a ride on the electric shuttle car. Walking down the steps, we could not stop looking at beauty of this serene River and finally the waterfalls at the end of the steps.
Lake 1
Lake 2

The milky white froth on the water as its swirls its way through the rocks on the river, would make you thank God for his wonderful creation.
Lake 3
The churning in the stomach sent hunger signals to the brain and we headed fast to the hotel. After driving through up through the hills and curvy roads we reached our hotel at 2PM.Willow Hill Hotel at Havelock Road, is a brick red coloured building with a beautiful garden surrounding it.
Willow Hill
It also welcomes you with a view of the whole town from the hilltop. The room was clean but the floor felt like ice and the room dint have an AC or Fan, that's not a necessity here. Food was delivered to the room and it was tasty. One hour and a quick change of clothes later, we were back in our car driving towards the Ooty railway station, Kathadimattam. We missed the toy Train ride at Udhagamandalam Station (Ooty).
The tickets has to be pre-booked and train is available only from 7.10am-12pm everyday. We entered the station and there were hardly anyone in the station. A model of the train engine was kept on display and the railway museum was open to all for visiting.
After a quick time travel through the history of the Udhagamandalam railways, we drove towards the Government Botanical gardens to which the tickets are to be taken at the entrance. By 4PM we were inside the Gardens. This Garden has a terraced layout and it extends up to 55 acres and lie on lower slopes of the Dodabetta peak. It ascends the slopes of this hill at a height of 2250-2500 meters above sea level. It is home for thousands of species both exotic and indigenous, of plants, shrubs, ferns and bonsai plants. The primary attraction at this Garden is the Fossil Tree Trunk which is estimated to be 20 million years old. It has wide lawns and colourful flowers and plants laid out in Italian styles.Garden 1
Another "Instagramable" or photo spot here is the Botanical view of the Indian map with states. There are tree house structures and other photography points, with photographers ready to help you get you the perfect vacation shot. The ferns carved in various shapes and the flowers arranged so intricate, would make anyone applaud the gardeners.
Garden 2
This place is in-short an "applicable to audience of all age-group" spot. Kids on school excursion swarmed the place, taking selfies and the newly weds holding hands and walking around the trees, reminded me of the 80s Bollywood songs.
Garden 3
We sat down on the lawn and waited for the tiredness from all that walking to wear off. Walking briskly now through the lawn, we reached the place where we parked the car and found an ice-cream van parked next to our car and I had my eyes on the orange candy. Seconds later , I had an orange tongue and we reached the Government Rose Garden. Collected the tickets at the counter near the gate and went in.
Rose Garden was built to commemorate the Flower show at the Government Botanical Garden.

Rose Garden
The unique climate of Ooty , is the ideal condition to grow roses .Even with its mild temperature variations, the roses are grown here throughout the year. The garden extends up to 10 acres and houses thousands of rose species including the hybrid ones, miniature roses, black and green roses, hybrid Tea roses and many other varieties. This is also a terraces structure which is a true delight not just for the eyes but for all the senses. The roses are well maintained and the scientific names of each one of them are written on the boards next to the plants. This was indeed the best place to end the day.

Day 2:

9 degree, it was when I woke up to check the time at 7am.Getting ready is a quick process when we are eager to go to the next destination. Willow Hill had variety of items for breakfast, Dosa,Idlis, bread omelet ,tea and coffee. Checked out at 7.30 and I set the map to Sim's Park at Conoor. We reached the Ooty town and it was a short drive on the top of the hill to Conoor.As we passed through the Army zone, the weather began to change. The thick mist covered the roads and we had to turn on the headlights of the car just like all other vehicles passing.
Connoor Fog
Roads were rather curvy and uphill. Visibility was limited to only a few meters ahead of us and we took to the google map for help with the turns as we could not see it. It was quite a dangerous road to take with such thick Fog at 10AM.We reached the parking area of the Sim's Park and had the special piping hot red Tea. I had my monkey cap on and tried to hold my jaw stiff to stop the stuttering. The tea vendor told us that the climate is bad due to the cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and it is not usually the same. We went inside the Sim's Park, it's a vast stretch of varieties of plants and trees, though we could not see the park clearly with the fog, we could just walk deeper and deeper into the smoke, this was an amazing experience.
Sims park 1
Sims park 2
We walked for a while and came back to the Tea shop for another cup of special Tea. Highfields Tea Estate was the next in our list, it was just 2km from the park, on the road next to it.We stopped at the top of the tea gardens and walked down towards the Tea factory.
Highfield Tea Estate
This place is not crowded at all, there were hardly 10 tourists including us. Luckily there was someone, happy to show us the inside of the Tea factory. His happiness, we guessed would be for the piece of paper with Gandhiji on it. He took us on a tour of the factory, through the stairs, the storage and the drier and he even asked us a few questions on Tea making and the history of Tea. We were so overwhelmed with all the process of Tea making and Tea growing. After the Tea factory, he decided to show us the Eucalyptus tank which produces Eucalyptus oil(Nilgiri) on the condensation of the boiled leaves. Few samples of different flavours of Tea were the last thing our Tea guide had to give, it did feel soothing. A photographer sat outside the Tea gardens with a basket and a costume of Tea pickers, he let me take a picture on my phone with the costume on, not free though. I was so full of smiles when we left from there. It was indeed a fantastic experience at the Tea factory. We did miss a few places like the Dolphin's Nose and the Lamb's rock at Coonoor due to the bad weather.

Almost at 1 PM, we drove back downhill, the fog still clearing. Hotel Darshan, a large beautifully built hotel opposite to the Ooty Lake was our home for the day. The sun shone bright and our energy was at a low ebb now. We checked in at 2.20PM and had a good lunch at the Hotel and went back to the room to freshen up and rest for a while. As we walked through the corridor, I noticed that we had the perfect Lake view from the large balcony at each floor of the Hotel.
We stepped out fresh and back with energy and walked across the road and the busy shops towards the Ooty lake. The lake is surrounded by groves of Eucalyptus trees. The lake area was crowded with people waiting for their turn on the boats. All the families took the rowboat and the newlyweds preferred a slow self pedal boat.
ooty lake
We enjoyed the lake view as we sat down at a bench munching spicy potato twister snack. The row of shops selling Ooty homemade chocolates, Eucalyptus oil, tea, shawls, handicrafts and also other snack shops overlooked the lake. College students waited patiently and nervously in line to enter the Scary house next to the Canteen which served varieties of Tea, Maggi and other snacks. There are Kids play area and joy rides at the lake entrance, I call it a mini-amusement park with a lake view. It was dark by now and we went back to the hotel and had dinner and docked for the night.

Day 3:

Sunday dawned and it was our final pack up day there. Reminiscing the sweet past couple of eventful days we checked out but not before treating ourselves to the delicious breakfast offered there. On the way back to Bangalore, we had lunch at Poojarys fish land, I would mince no words to declare that it is the final destination for all the seafood lovers. The conspicuous display of antique cars and bikes are a special attraction here. We are back in our loving nest, by 6.45 pm with a parcel of fish delicacies from the poojarys for the dinner.

We enjoyed the tour and the added 'mazaa' was, the odd season and the guts to face 'as is- where is- situation'

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Author: Umesh Chandra Bhatt28 Apr 2020 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

Ooty is a great place to visit during holidays. I had been there for a week and found it so entertaining and enthralling. What I liked most was the travel by toy train which runs between Mettupalayem and Ooty. The toy train moves slowly climbing upwards and reaches Ooty after a journey of about 6 hours. The changing landscapes and panaromic views are excellent and memorable.

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