Category Archives: Holidays

Where we Stayed

View from the Door
View of the Entrance

Because this trip was sudden and not planned, it was a tough job finding a place to stay. We also had to do it during the time that the Capri cousin was planning his holiday in Ooty. As always we depended on TripAdvisor for our decision. After we sadly rejected the ones we chose that were fully booked, we hit jackpot with Hill Country Holiday Resorts, Lovedale. As you may already be aware, we went around Lovedale in circles but did not find the resort and had to be guided by someone from the resort.

View of the Door
View from the Door

The place is Ok. We have stayed in better places but the deal we had here was really good – 2 meals + stay option which was totally worth the while. The room in this lighting appears amazing but it is a far cry from various other resorts we have stayed in. The bathroom left a lot to be desired. I was surprised that some reviewers were referring to this place as a piece of Heaven on Earth – which was  completely untrue. Well, everyone has a different idea of Heaven so lets leave it at that 🙂

Entrance to the room
Entrance to the room

We had the room on the first floor and the picture on the left displays the entrance to our room. As mentioned earlier, the pics look great but somehow it missed the mark.

The place is huge, almost sprawling and has multiple layers. We enter the resort at the lowest layer, accommodation is split into two layers, and parking is at the top-most layer.There is a lot of walking to be done within the premises. You cannot go from restaurant to your room in a couple of steps and older members may find it difficult especially since its not a straight line but a lot of climbing up and climbing down. There was also a chuntu play area for kids. I did not see a single kid during the entire stay. The weather of course must have played spoilsport.

Well and bucket
Well and bucket

The rooms were spacious and clean and so complaints in that regard. At the entrance to the resort, there is this rather quaint looking Well and a bucket which looks quite cute and is a perfect photo-op. The outside was a lot better than the inside.

An odd thing happened at the reception at the time of check-out. The assistant manager charged us less – we were not sure if it was a mistake or not and so we decided to leave. Half-way out of Lovedale, we received a call from the assistant manager and found out that it was his mistake and can we come back and pay the difference. So, we came back to pay the difference. After we paid the amount, the assistant manager thanked us for returning and said that since it was his mistake, that amount would have been cut from his salary if we had not come back.

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Pykara Lake – First Visit

Steps to the Passenger Boarding Area
Steps to the Passenger Boarding Area

We have visited Ooty so many times but we have not visited Pykara lake. It was on the other side and so we always keep it to the last day and then we change our minds and drive home in our usual route and so Pykara always got missed. This time, we were going to visit Pykara and drive home in that route instead of our usual route. We duly checked out of our resort and visited some of the places that we had not been to earlier. None of them were that good. We finally reached Pykara Lake. It was a sunny day, the place was not too crowded (or so we thought), and it was a fine day to go boating. The first shocker was the gazillion steps that lead to the boat. My aunt saw the steps and said she was not coming. We tried to convince her but honestly, even we would find the climbing up a killer. So, the rest of us went boating.

The Boat
The Boat

It was then that we saw the crowd – not too many but enough so we had to wait for the boat. The picture on the right is the boat we finally took. There was no one else accompanying us. If you are in the minority with respect to the number of people, it makes sense to join a bigger group of people and pay the difference fare instead of trying to book the entire boat for yourself and paying a higher fare. The breeze was cold even though the day was very sunny and the ride was calming.

Sunny Day
Sunny Day

The Arien was shooting pics, as always. This time, there were some pics of us as well but more of the candid variety and I am not a big fan of his candid snaps. I always have the most frightful expressions in them so I refuse to publish them anywhere.

The ride was fun and we enjoyed spotting birds which the Arien correctly named. Of course, the names stayed in our heads for exactly 1 minute 🙂 He is the birder in the group. We tried speaking over the sound of the boat and then stopped for it seemed like we were shouting. The Capri cousin was busy answering his daughter’s queries which all started with “Appa..”.

Pykara Lake View
Pykara Lake View

Apart from the absolute calm that came from sitting in a moving boat staring at the water, I thought I would fall asleep.. it was kinda soporific as well. I hoped the Arien wouldn’t feel the same way as he was driving us home 🙂

Pykara Boathouse
Pykara Boathouse

We also snapped a picture of the Pykara boathouse from our boat. In the top right hand corner, you can almost make out a saree-clad person who is, of course, my aunt. From this snap it looks as if we climbed a million steps. Well,  climbing down was easy – it was the climbing up that was really rough on the joints 😀 And then all too soon the ride was over. My aunt welcomed us back joyfully -it would have been quite boring sitting there all alone- and asked us to have Chai – which we did.

It was now goodbye time. The Capri cousin was here for another day but we preferred going home today so we could rest tomorrow and then get back to work the next day. We waved our byes at the Pykara lake.

Avalanche (Avalanchi) — Part 2

Temple in BW - Different Angle
Temple in BW – Different Angle

The temple took up some time but suddenly we were eager to see what was beyond. I wondered if we would just drive in a circle and be back where we started. They call it a reserve but we hardly saw any animals. Maybe there was really nothing much to see. Well, We didn’t have to wait long to find out.

A Beautiful Waterfall
A Beautiful Waterfall

The final sight-seeing spot which seemed so lonely that I feared for our lives – but it was a cute little waterfall seen from a distance – it was beautiful. As usual, we all took snaps but we really wondered if we were any nearer to the end of the drive or if this was there was to the drive. I doubt we asked the driver and the guide this question which would have been easy enough but I guess we did not want to spoil the surprise or get disappointed. My Capri cousin was deep in conversation with the guide and finally replied that we were not far from “THE” spot.

View shot taken from an angle
View shot taken from an angle

When we reached the spot, the Sumo drove off – making us all feel a bit vulnerable but I guess he just wanted to park away from the crowd. We turned away from the Sumo to take in “THE” spot and it literally took our breath away. It was so beautiful that for a few minutes none of us spoke. And then we saw a photographer. We immediately decided to have at least 1 snap with all of us in the frame. After he showed us the snap, we ordered for another. Both were quite good and we all looked windswept and awed 🙂

The View
The View

And then, back to the most amazing view. The Arien was busy shooting the view and so was the capri cousin. The rest of us were walking, talking, and shivering because though it was sunny, it continued to be windy. It was totally worth the crazy wait and the irritation caused by the chaos.

We all took a number of snaps from different directions. From the snap on the right, you cannot really the depth of the waterfall. Well, just for that, I asked the Arien to take another snap that might give me a better idea of the view from the snap.

The View
The View

The snap on the left, shows a number of folks who are walking on a narrow ledge to actually be as close to the waterfall as possible. So, its actually quite far off and the water fall is actually quite huge. Its not a trickle of water as one may have imagined.

Some of the guides and drivers were yelling at the folks, who were walking towards the waterfall, that that was not allowed and were trying to signal to them but the ‘rahuls’ were having none of that. We commented on the foolishness of ‘rahuls’ in general and discussed specific ‘rahuls’ and then proceeded to take several snaps from various flattering angles and some unflattering angles.

1 number Tourist Board
1 number Tourist Board

We really didn’t want to leave but it was cold and it was a nature spot with no amenities and we had had no lunch. We should have packed a picnic lunch and had it here. It was so beautiful.  Anyway, since we hadn’t done that and everyone very badly wanted to use the amenities, the return journey was a blur. On the right, is the single tourist friendly board that I mentioned in my last post. And, a whole bunch of happy tourists smiling away at our camera. Hmmmm..

My Ooty Dream House
My Ooty Dream House

After we reached the hatchery, we decided to go to our hotel as it was nearer. So, we drove ahead and that is when I saw this amazing house which I decided was my Ooty dream house. Of course, its not really my dream house but I liked the look of it so much, I took various shots of the place. The snap I have included is the one I like best. The Arien said it was OK but I needn’t go bonkers over it. So mean!

The trip ended with all of us eating well after 4 pm but having enjoyed the day very well. The next day we were leaving and I wanted to visit the Pykara lake as we have never been there. So, the plan was to visit the lake and proceed towards Bangalore on a slightly different route. The Arien was bound to get antsy on the day of travel so I hope all ends well.

A Day of sightseeing at Yercaud

Peacock@zooWe planned to spend the day at Yercaud. Because we had visited Yercaud before, we had an idea of the sigh-seeing spots to visit that day. You can read about my earlier Yercaud visit, here and here.

We visited the Yercaud Zoo, which is nowhere similar to or even close to the Mysore zoo. You can almost see why they say “Proud as a peacock” – the peacock is preening away for the shutterbugs. The zoo was quite crowded and after a few pictures, we were ready to leave.

The next stop was the Yercaud boating place. None of YercaudBoatingus wanted to go boating in the sweltering heat and so we had Chai (again).The Arien want off to shoot more pics. None of the others look all that great and so I am posting only this pic.

The last time also we did not go boating. In fact, we hired cycles to visit the Ladies Seat, Gents seat etc. This time, we took the car and visited the same sight-seeing spots.

The plan was to have lunch at GRT Sky Rocca. This is a picture of the hotel from one of the seats. I am not sure if it is the Ladies Seat or the Kids seat.

ViewfromLadiesSeat

The climb was not steep but we were out of breath! It was windy and quite cold and we posed for some pics. Of course, we were giving our best smiles but the wind wreaked havoc on our hair. I am either turning away from the Camera or I am trying to hand comb my hair. Blah!!

Its a distant shot and I doubt you can even make out the hotel in that pic. But, I am sure you can appreciate the height that we were at.

All the climbing made us ravenous. We were ready to eat at Sky Rocca. The place was exactly as we remembered it. The food was somewhere in between good and ok. The Taurean enjoyed the respite from the crazy sight-seeing folks we tend to be when we travel.ViewfrmSkyRocca

The senior Arien was tired and would have ideally liked to sleep after lunch but we were not finished yet. We spent some time at Sky Rocca, enjoying the view and both the Arien and self shared stories of what we did last time we stayed here. The Arien went off to shoot pics — his favorite hobby during our holidays.

And then, we were off again. This time we were visiting a cave temple. I opted out of it because there were a gazillion folks already inside and very few were heading out.

Fair

Both myself and the senior Arien stayed outside while the Arien and the Taurean went inside. There was a “santhe” or “jaathre” happening outside with a lot of balloons, giant wheels, ice-cream vendors, etc. which was quite colorful to watch.

After the Arien and Taurean came out, I asked them to check if their wallets were with them. I sound paranoid, I know, but it happens so often. Crowded places and men losing their wallets go hand-in-hand. Luckily, their wallets and the money in it was safe.

The Arien caught sight of a lil boy blowing bubbles and wanted to shoot some pics. We were all ready to leaveBubbleboy but I knew that he would not leave until he got a few shots and so we gave him company. Of course, the model, our boy with the bubbles happily complied. He even refused to look our way though he knew we were shooting his pic.

The last stop for the day was the Montfort school. This time we did not go in but I wanted a snap of the school for my blog so the Arien took one snap of the symbol alone. I told him that I will not be able to figure out anything from this snap and then he took another one.

FruitStack

I finally did not even use it for my post at all :O I opted to use the fruit stack instead. Happens all the time with me. No wonder the Arien refuses to humor me. Maybe I will include it just for that.

It was tea-time and everyone was a lil crabby, including me. A holiday usually involves a siesta, and we had not had ours today and so it was but natural. We stopped at a local sight-seeing spot and had Chai. We were ready to head back to our rooms and retire for the night.

MontfortYercaud

All of us were unanimous in our decision that we would not eat dinner at the hotel and so we drove like crazy until the Taurean spied A2B (Adyar Ananada Bhavan) and then we had a yummy dinner of tasty snacks.

Considering we had had an amazing lunch, we were totally ok to finish dinner with a couple of snacks. We also decided to have our other meals at this place. The Arien looked poised to disagree and I jumped in with a “Can we decide on that later?” and so after a real touristy day, it was time to call it a day!

Oh.. let me not forget the Montfort pic. There you go!

Mettur Dam at Sunset — A nice evening

SunsetonwaytoMetturDamWe opted to visit Mettur Dam after our siesta. The Arien had a nice plan for the first evening but he forgot that he was with me and the Taurean, both of whom are not the most punctual, and so the evening did not go as per plan. The first shocker was that we had to pay the toll fees to visit Mettur Dam. We were sure that most of the locals travel to and fro from Mettur to Salem without paying the toll fees and so we were not sure why we were paying. Before the Arien blew his top, he was already angry because we did not get ready on time, I paid the Toll fees and we were on our way.

The second surprise was that the Dam was not at a hop, skip, and jump distance after the toll. In fact, as we drove on the long winding road, we were not sure if we were on the right track at all. There were no sign boards, nobody on the road to ask for directions and since we were yet to hit a fork on the road, we kept going.

And the last shocker, was that it was suddenly almost 6 pm and we could see that the sun wasSunsetMetturDam 1 setting. The Arien had set his mind on taking a picture of the sunset at Mettur Dam and we were nowhere near. Meanwhile, the Taurean wanted a cup of tea. The senior Arien did not want to keep going and wanted to head back to the hotel room and I was ready to scream. The Arien asked the Taurean to stop as he had seen what he wanted to shoot. The Arien shot quite a few pictures of a local on his mobile phone with the most amazing sunset as his background.

Sunset2I cannot believe he was facing us and not the sun. The sunset was so beautiful.

It was quite difficult for us to move away but it was getting quite dark and so we drove on. The senior Arien asked if we were there yet, twice, before we jumped him and he retired hurt. (Both myself and the Taurean can be quite mean, at times.)

When we finally reached Mettur Dam, it was quite dark. We walked across the Dam because vehicles were prohibited and spent some time there. None of the snaps came out well because it was quite dark. The Taurean found a small tea shop nearby and we all had tea there. And then, it was time to go back to the hotel. Tomorrow, we planned to visit Yercaud and have lunch at Sky Rocca.