Tag Archives: Udhagamandalam

Udhagamandalam (Ooty) — Yet another holiday there

My capri cousin planned a holiday to Ooty with his family and asked us to join him. If it was left to us, we would Spotted Deernot have taken a holiday at Ooty, that was for sure. We have been there dozens of times and had the Arien suggested Ooty one more time, a fight would have definitely ensued! We were not keen, considering it was Ooty and also because bookings are always messy when you plan at the last possible minute. But, we got ourselves a nice deal very close to the day of travel and so the plan was on. The Capri cousin was sure that I was calling to say that we were not coming when we shocked him with the good news (Yes, we were going!).

The drive as always was good though we took longer than usual to reach. The weather was great. Though we cribbed that any other place would have been better, we needed that break.

IMG_2441The drive as always is via the forest area and the Arien managed some nice shots of spotted deers and elephants. He got a particularly nice shot of the amazing horns that one of the deers had, which I am sharing here. The elephants looked kinda skinny – skinny for an elephant, i.e :)I am sharing a pic of the baby elephant whose ribs are sticking out.

This time we were staying at Lovedale (a small distance away from Ooty) and Capri cousin had planned a day at Conoor and was staying at Ooty for the rest of the holiday.

I recall that during our train ride, one of the stations that Resortwe passed was Lovedale. Well, here we were, going to actually stay at Lovedale. It is a nice place.

It was evening when we reached our resort, and after a number of wrong turns, we finally found the resort. We were not sure if we should visit my cousin at Coonor. My aunt said that she did not want to spend the evening worrying and wondering if we reached our resort safely after the visit. We agreed.

Our resort was picturesque and the Arien had some nice photo-ops. Our room was not all that great. The outside looked a lot better than the inside.The Arien took nice pictures and we had a nice lazy day at Lovedale.

RestaurantAfter a nice snack of Pakodas which we had not indulged in in a while, we felt even better. The restaurant at the resort was nice – bright and warm. Especially, considering the slight fog outside – it seemed absolutely cozy. It even had a fake fireplace 🙂 Dinner at the resort was yummy, served hot, and we spent a relaxed evening at the restaurant.

There were not too many people when we went and so the service was efficient. The group which came after us gave the restaurant folks a tough time.

Return to Bengaluru

The drive from Ooty to Bengaluru is a very enjoyable drive. We usually take the shortcut via the 22 hair-pin bends and cross Masinagudi. The drive is a scary one but as usual the Arien did a fantastic job of driving. After Masinagudi, we reach Bandipur. We usually manage a few sightings – a langur, a peacock, a few elephants, etc.  whenever we drive past Bandipur. This time however, I did not have any great hopes. Usually, we spot the animals when its early morn or dusk. And we had left Ooty around 1:30 or so after our Ooty-Coonoor travel. The Arien, ever the optimist, insisted on taking out the camera and handing it to me jes in case.

It was around 5:40 when we saw some Langurs. We already had quite a few pics and I was hesitant to take yet another picture but then we spotted this Langur sitting by the side of the road and it was irresistable. The Arien slowed down so we could take a shot before the langur scampered away.

And just as we rounded the corner, we saw elephants. The Arien stopped the car so we could shoot a few good pics before they moved away. There was a calf present and the Arien informed me that the elephants would be very protective and walk away quickly and so we have to be quick. Before I cud say “uhh..”, the Arien took the camera from my hands and took three pictures of the elephant family. And before I cud complain, the elephants moved away.

The rest of the journey was uneventful. The Arien had totally enjoyed the holiday and so did not complain ’bout the loong drive home.

Resort Activities @ Udhagamandalam

The next day, the Arien insisted that we check out the various activities that the resort had available. I was not too sure if I really wanted to participate but I knew that the Arien did. So, off we went. After a decent breakfast, we found we were still the only ones interested in the activities. The Arien did not mind. All the activities resembled Khatron Ke Khiladi kinda stunts. The Arien had to climb this rope ladder all the way to the top. Considering that the Arien was ready to go – he was dressed in tracks and tee, I decided to check the safety regulations. It looked totally safe and the resort also provided an assistant who who helped the Arien get started alongwith an activity co-ordinator.

The Arien completed the first task quickly and took up the second task, which seemed quite tough from below. This was another step ladder and he finished it quickly too. He was quite exhausted though. The event co-ordinator wanted to know if I would also like to participate and I smilingly replied “No”. Then, he asked the Arien if he would like to participate in a few more such tasks. The Arien was nodding as if his life depended on it. By this time, another couple with a young child had also come. The lady was soon climbing the rope ladder while the man stayed down, holding the son. I was quite surprised that the guy was not at all interested in the whole activity stuff.

The Arien asked me to participate in at least one task and frankly I was tempted. I chose one of the simpler tasks than the ones shown here.  It was a rope bridge created from the rope and it was between two trees. The co-ordinator mentioned that this task was to help you get rid of the fear of heights. He also mentioned that if I am ever caught in a place tht is flooded, I could easily use the technique I used here, to cross the river. I think I did a good job. The Arien also did this task.  I enjoyed having participated in at least one single task.

Red Hills – Avalanchi – SightSeeing

After all tht talk ’bout a lazy, relaxed holiday, it was but expected that we wud run around
like crazy 🙂 The next day dawned bright and sunny and after having a lazy breakfast, we decided to check out a place known as Avalanchi in Red Hills. For some weird reason, I kept pronouncing the name of the place as “Avalanche”. It was a while before ppl corrected me and I was informed tht the place was “Avalanchee” and not “Avalanche”. Todas are known to live in Avalanchi. It was a loong drive and we reached only around 12:30 pm.  Having been to Udhagamandalam a.k.a Ooty so many times, I did not expect to find something new but Avalanchi was all-new.

It was also very beautiful. It was January and everything looked so blue and beautiful. The hydroelectric power station that we saw at Avalanchi was actually built in the 1950s. The water of the Avalanchi lake gets its colour from the Blue Mountains or the Nilgiri hills.

Red Hills is also known as the Lake district because of the following lakes: Emerald, Avalanche, Parson’s valley lake, Porthimund, and others. There are a total of 8 lakes according to the folks here and I am unable to recall the names of the other lakes 🙂 From atop the Red Hills, these lakes reflect the sunlight and look like odd-shaped mirrors. We drove up the Red Hills so we could take a picture of at least some of the lakes of the lake district. There was a mist of some sort, and so the pictures were not as clear but they did look like mirrors in the way they reflected the sunlight. The whole place was serene, peaceful, and we were totally enjoying ourselves. As usual, we had missed lunch and so we decided to leave and snack at some place. The Arien was busy shooting pictures of the mirror-shaped lakes.

As we drove down, we identified the light green shrubs as tea shrubs. At least, it looked a lot like the shrubs that we saw at Chembara peak. Anyway, the tea shrubs looked lovely and the Arien stopped to take some more pictures. It was quite cold despite the sun peeking out. Avalanchi had the hill stationy weather that one looks forward to wen you visit a hill station. Red Hills is actually a great place to trek but we had not planned for a trek and so we decided to head back to Udhagamandalam. Tomorrow we were going to check out the activities that the resort had informed us ’bout. If possible, we would also try to get on the Nilgiri express. We were checking out tomorrow and so today we would relax like we had decided we would 😀 We realized tht we shd have brought our hdd so we could have caught some nice movie. The collection at the resort was soooo out-dated – it was simply not worth it 😦

Sightseeing – Coonoor

Coonoor

We drove along, looking out for Keti and reached Coonoor rather quickly.  This place was supposedly named after the Coon tribe. Coon – oor,  is a very quaint place that has this old world charm. We walked into the empty railway station – the last train to Udhagamandalam had left and so there was no one at the station. We wanted to enquire ’bout the train timings but there was no one we could ask. A cleaning lady, seeing our expressions, told us to come tomorrow in the morning so we could buy tickets. We decided not to worry too much ’bout it – but I had kinda made up my mind tht we would travel on this train before we got back to Bengaluru 🙂

The next step was to check out some places in and arnd Coonoor, first on the list was Sims Park. This was supposed to be a major tourist attraction – it was quite like Ooty’s Botanical garden. We saw many different varieties of trees. It was a looong walk, and the Arien was shooting pictures like crazy. He made our camera perform amazing tricks till I had had enough 🙂 The evening sunlight was beautiful and he wanted to make the best use of the light.

A monkey who was minding his business was soon the focus of the Arien’s camera. As you can see from this picture, the monkey is happily chewing on the leaf and the Arien had to go and disturb it.  Either the sound of the click or the flash, disturbed the monkey and it decided to move away. Naturally, the Arien decided on following it, and soon I was following the Arien.  Grr… this is so not the relaxed holiday that I had planned.

The Arien continued shooting pictures of various flowers in bloom. I think we have a zillion pics of various nameless flowers. It reminded me a lot of the time he took pictures of fishes in an Aquarium. I recall, I had asked him to shoot those pictures :O I am not too sure why I come up with these ideas. It was when the Arien went after a butterfly that I kinda lost my temper. Naturally, tht does not faze the Arien at all 🙂 His aim was to capture a fantastic shot and he would do it against all odds – including an angry partner.

I was kinda fed up and started walking towards the exit, when the Arien suddenly joined me. He said there was another path which he found, but he was not really interested and so lets get going. It was almost 5:45 and I was sure it would quickly get dark and so we got going.

Just when we were going to go out of the park, we noticed that some gardeners had ensured tht the name of the park was visible without making use of a board. Very innovative — at the same time, quite common in most gardens. Well, I had been worried if this park was indeed the Sims Park for a while and tht board relieved me of tht tension – around the time wen we were leaving.. Hmmm.. We probably took the path tht was less frequented (no pun intended). The next place we were visiting was Lamb’s Rock. I had never heard of this. We were both reminded of the Phantom’s Rock episode in Wayanad.

Because it was likely to grow dark swiftly, I urged the Arien to drop Lamb’s Rock from the plan and head back to Ooty. Of course, he insisted tht we check tht place out on tht day. So, we kept driving and driving and driving –  I was not too sure if we we were even travelling in the right direction b’cos we hardly saw any vehicles. At 6:20, I urged the Arien to head back because the route we were on did not seem to go anywhere. It reminded me vaguely of the route to Kanheri Caves. However, there were enough boards to assure every1 tht the caves was a short distance away. There was no such thing here.  And then suddenly, we saw the board just ahead of us. By then, we were both a little worried and decided to head back without really visiting the place. Tht was the weirdest visit of ours tht day. We were dead tired by then and I told the Arien tht we shd actually relax now. He agreed. We headed back to the resort for the much-needed relaxation.