October 08, 2006

Ooty in Rain

It was too cold on an A/C bus i was travelling.., I was not able to sleep properly.. I was trying to put the shawl all over my face and just woke up. Raining outside heavliy. It was just before the morning, a very fantastic light and starting of a new day. I cleaned the glass window of the bus to see outerworld. Our bus was going through a forest area unknown to me... A hill area too... We were passing accross some small locality , otherwise all green forest and lot of "U" turn roads. All other passengers in the bus were merely sleeping and the whole world was slowly waking up.

I always love hills better than sea. A considerable amount of my childhood, I spent in Darjeeling, so a Hill station or a range of mountain is a kind of memory for me. I always love to be in this kind of place.After taking a sudden "U" turn I just saw a hoarding"Welcome to Nilgiri's plastic free area". We just entered in Nilgiris. A very known atmosphere for me, though i have never visited Nilgiris in my life. When i was in school I read a lot about Mount Doddabetta, the highest peak in South India in geography books, though never thought of coming and seeing here.
I did a lot of homework before I came. I surfed a lot in internet and collected all information about the hotels, sight seeing and about the travel in this area, but those all came unuseful just after getting down at Ooty bus stand. A very smaller one in size, surrounded by some autowallas, when I got down , it was raining heavily. My autodriver told me till the day before it was a bright sunny day... Who knows what happened then, started raining so much...
My inner me was quite happy actually... Amrita too loves rain and loves drenching. I knew this is the place. Well , why I told that all my homework became unuseful because , I found a lot more homework had been done by autodriver already, ( thats their job ! ) ... So I followed him, went to a Hotel named DARSHAN, just above the Ooty lake Boat House . Early in the morning, still I found there is no room available at that moment, but could get a room at 8:00 AM at the earliest ! And after that it was the autowalla who took us for a ride almost an hour and every corner of Ooty hotels and rounded back again at DARSHAN.
I was offered a cottage ( just like a 2 bed room flat with kitchen attached) for 1100 bucks which was below of my expectations, and again my homework got failed , hehehe...
My autodriver , Ramesh with his conventional tamil had helped a lot. Though it was very hard for me to understand his language ( 25 percentage I understood and rest 75 percent imagination ) what I liked is his sincerity. He found a suitable cab driver for me who become my travel guide at the end. And after that Ramesh disappeared.
Ramesh out, Ashoka in.
Ashoka knows a little bit of hindi and a nativer of Ooty. He learnt hindi because of his job. He takes lot of North Indian tourists in his cab and learnt a bit hindi to communicates. I must say his Hindi is better than my tamil !
Did u know the famous film Roja was shooted here ! Ashoka showed me the place. It was not kasmir what we saw in the film but Ooty where it was shooted. He must have told hundreds of times while showing to his tourists.
A different tour arround Ooty is called Filmi Chakkar ( mostly all the places related to cinema shooting). 9th Point is one of them. A really huge bare-head hills with just green grasses is perfect for any kind of bollywood song sequence. And so it did. Raja Hindusthani is one of them, my driver added.
It was drizzling almost all the times, not a heavy rain , but a drizzle, people were enjoying the weather, a little bit drenched but the weather was good. Suddenly at 9th point it started heavily wind, may be because it was a bare hill and no trees on the top... Joining with the wind , rain took a terrible shape . I and Amrita in a single umbrella were trying to save our head, but because of such a wind, everything was wet for Amrita, we were not able to climb up because of the wind and the umbrella. We can not leave the umbrella as it was raining , neither we can climb up to the top. My father bought an umbrella just few days back and was broken then and there.
My canon was becoming totally wet before i can aim it for anything shooting. With a small towel I was trying to save my canon from being wet. I was not able to focus on anything. As soon as I aimed my camera, My UV filter before the lens started filled up by rain drops. A very very bizzare situation !! So everytime I shot a picture , I started cleaning rain drops from the UV filter. Autofocus started betraying me. Immediately I rushed to my taxi and took a seat. Amrita and my mother was totally wet by the time. Our next destination was Pykara Falls and Pykara Dam. I was totally upset because I was not able to shoot anything good then. Did not whats there in Pykara Falls.
People who went to Sivanasamudram on August-september wont be happy seeing this falls at all. I was no exception and so was Amrita. Ashoka dropped us 1 KM before the falls as it was a walkable road. Drenched fully , we were egarly waiting for a cup of strong tea.
And then started for Pykara falls in rain. One umbrella was almost broken, and was thinking about the other one, I decided not to take any umbrella at all. I must admit that Pykara falls was a total disappointment for me.
After lunch our next destination was Dodabetta, a long-time-read-place in our geography book . At a height of 2,623 metres, Dodabetta Peak is the highest point in South India. It is one of the most prominent view points around Ooty and situated at about 10 km from the Ooty town, .I was little excited for this. The scenic beauty of the place was truly amazing. A foggy , mistic land with Eucaliptus and Pine and Oak forest and a small road going nowhere. No destination was visible for clouds. It was someting so heavenly. I really started feeling that it was the highest place, because the temperature was so less, such winds and could and rain... It should have been called as a foul day, but as it was a true expedition we enjoyed it thoroughly. a True amazing place is Doddabetta, I must say. My day was successful. A different beauty of Ooty in rain. A different Doddabetta altogether.
Day 2
I kept for Nilgiri Railways and Coonoor.Waking up early and get ready for the morning train. Whole night it was raining still. so cold and raining in the morning again. Took a cup of tea in Udagamandalam Railway station and started the day. Don't worry, Ooty is also called as
Udagamandalam. Train from Ooty to Coonoor starts at 9:15 AM in the morning. If you are a true nature lover , you must take a seat at the right side window of the train. All turns, tunnels, valley,tea gardens are best viewed from the right window.
UNESCO has announced Nilgiri Railways a World Heritage . A small meter-gauge rail track going from Mettupalayam to Coonoor. Lofty mountains, dense Eucaliptus forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens a green valley will welcome the passengers on most routes. It is one of the most fascinating journey I have ever had. Anyone travelling to Ooty should not miss it in any chance.
Coonoor is comparatively a smaller city. A different kind, little different weather than Ooty ( It was a very good weather for us, when we reached Coonoor, no rain at all ) . A clean and green city . I liked Coonoor more than Ooty because of its tea gardens, and bunglows and the hill and atmosphere. It was really a Joy to be there at Coonoor. As soon as You get down from train you get several tourist taxis available outside of the station. If you are a first time traveller then I think it is wise to take one of them. Price is reasonable and what you get for it is uncountable memory. I spend 350 Rupees altogether. Tourist spots at Coonoor are well known so no need of getting cheated.
It was a real fun having there inside the tea garden and working with the other women tea workers. They were so kind and friendly. My taxi driver was saying me that Bollywood actrees Mumtaz has more than 2000 acres of tea gardens here. So green and green that it just can not get better.
It was a badluck for me that could not see the sleeping lady mountain or the Coimbatore view. It was just surrounded by clouds. But whatever it was really thrilling to go through all those deep forest roads, go through the tea gardens and going through the clouds. It was just like a dream. Added to it was rain. It was just very different than any other. Rain in Hills, has got a different significant for me too... I was happy I found the same atmosphere there.. So if You love Rain and if you love Hills, then Ooty is the place for You , and the perfect timing is June - July. They call it as off-season, but it is as good as going to Darjeeling in January - february .

Important Information:

If you are going from Bangalore in a weekend you can try getting KSRTC buses. I specially liked Maurya A/C buses starting from Majestic at 22:30 PM. Its fare is arround rupees 287 , if you are trying to get from Madiwala it cost arround 90 rupees more.

Best time to go to Ooty from Bangalore is on friday night. Reach there on Saturday morning, depending to the time you get a hotel, you can try going to Coonoor on saturday itself, If not possible then roam arround Ooty on Saturday and leave for Coonoor on sunday morning. Get a return ticket at Sunday night to Bangalore. You should reach here back at 6:30 AM early morning.

3 Comments:

Kshitij said...

Thanks sandip for such a beautiful explanation, I could actually imagine me at ooty when I was reading that...
I think after reading this any more research is not required for ooty.

I will make a move this weekend with vaishu... will miss U... !!!!!!!!!!! & I have taken a print out of this blog..

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nishant said...

Sandip hw abt visiting Ooty now...during rains