>> May 28, 2012
"The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see" ~ Chesterton. And we started our five day travel trail on the same note to the majestic blue mountain range Nilgiri as a traveler, avoiding most of the popular tourist spots in Nilgiri district, treading the off beaten path. In the bargain we could connect with the nature and to those innocent people married to tough mountain life.
The biggest advantage was to travel in our own vehicle, we could stop at places where no tourist buses would dare to go and enjoyed trekking and strolling around the small mountains and natural waterfalls for long.
En route I asked the driver to stop the vehicle many times at small farms and spoke to the farmers at length about their produce and difficulties they face to market the same.
When in Ooty I tried booking a few hotels in Coonoor I had listed from net and got a suit in hotel Vivek. The hotel is in Upper Coonoor and quite comfortable. Lower Coonoor is crowded and much polluted than the Upper Coonoor which is posh and surrounded by natural beauty.
Last night in YWCA cottage Ooty, relaxing and enjoying the homely dinner, warm caramel custard and hot milk watching TV in the foyer. The steps in the left goes to the main room.
Food is simple, cooked in a clean kitchen and is delivered in room at any time. Their pot tea in a huge flask is the star attraction, made with fresh milk and flavorful tea leaves, I could not stop ordering for it every one hour.
Loved getting up early and sitting out in the garden in chilly mornings sipping their masala pot tea each day.
Took the mini train ride from Ooty to Coonoor and asked our driver to wait for us in Coonoor for a pick up. Booking in this train is done one hour in advance in the Ooty railway station. Children enjoyed the ride and the tunnels during the journey.
We booked a suit in Hotel Vivek which is in the Upper coonoor, it has a restaurant and a huge garden in front. But we all missed the natural surrounding and fresh air of YWCA cottages here.
After a quick refreshment we went to see Sim's park by walk, which is hardly two kilometers from our hotel. Sim's park is much scenic and greener than the Botanical garden of Ooty. Spent about 4 hours relaxing, boating and inhaling the fresh air in the garden.
Went down to lower Coonoor in the evening to explore the local markets.
Vacated room the next day and headed towards Kotagiri covering a few tourist points on the way. The day was cool and foggy which marred some of the view points in Coonoor.
The famous Dolphin' nose is a huge hanging rock in the shape of Dolphin' nose. Catherine falls could be seen from here.
Look at that monkey..he was following us everywhere...even to the toilet...:)
He..he..I told you this one has a special connection with us..notice his facial expressions after seeing my hubby, trying hard to remember something...... hence the caption :-)
Here is a view point named lady Cannings seat, our driver explained the hubby that you could see the mountain in the shape of a beautiful (naked) lady with all the curves.
See how hard hubby is trying to get a glimpse of the lady Cannings..:-)
The route through Kotagiri is amazing, vast tea gardens, hair pin bends, vegetable farms and lovely villages...you will get connected to the roots again.
Kotagiri is situated around 1793m above sea level and is one of the most popular hill stations of Nilgiri mountain range. It is a tropical evergreen forest and a great place for those seeking for peace and quiet.
I even asked hubby if we could buy a small farm here with a hut..and I am ready to forgo any city comforts for the same.
Stopped at many such small farms and went inside to have a feel of fresh veggies, spoke to the ladies working in the farms. Got fresh farm produce, carrots, beans, cabbages, potatoes plucked right in front of my eyes.
All along the way towards Kodnadu you could see green and yellow as the dominant color of vegetation, but there will be a few patches of shiny white in between.
I asked the driver what these were, he took a downhill route and stopped near the farm...aha,Cabbages! They look so pretty, the outer petals are almost white and reflects sunlight giving a shiny patch of silver in between the green veggies and tea estates.
From the Kodanadu view point you can watch a small village which looks like a mosaic with a serpentine river surrounding the whole village. Rangaswamy peak and a waterfall could be seen through a watch tower in Kodanadu view point. You need to take permission for trekking to the peak and to the fall.
As it was a foggy day, the pictures did not come out clear. But we could see the mosaic village, serpentine river, Rangaswamy fall apart from the breathtaking view from the Kodanadu view point.
On our way back to Kotagiri we stopped at a tea estate and watched the whole process of tea making, children had the first encounter with a real tea garden. The manager of the estate took us for a mini tour of the estate.
Got a few packets of green leaf tea, long black tea and premium Orange Pekoe tea from there. It is only here that I came to know how difficult the process of collecting and making green tea it is. Only the buds from each shrub is taken from an acre of the tea garden which are dried naturally to get a few gram of long green tea.
I would not mind paying the premium for this healthy cuppa from now on :)
Hubby's shoe had taken its toll after long walks and rough trekking trails...finally got to find a cobbler to mend the shoe in a near by village.
And the five day travel trail in the blue mountain range of Nilgiri ends here...back to home in few hours...all energized and rejuvenated to face the real life.
Part I of the trip is here.
Made these healthy granola bars for the trip which came out as a handy breakfast and tea time snack for all.
Healthy Fruit & Nuts Granola Bars