Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Independence Day Weekend Trip to Coonoor (Ooty)!

Visiting Coonoor (Ooty) - Aug 13th to 15th, 2011

Taking advantage of the long weekend on the 15th Aug 2011 (Monday), Rajesh and I planned for a trip to Yercaud! But with no availability of hotels during the holidays, we researched other places and settled for Coonoor (Ooty). Thankfully, we were able to make quick reservations at Hotel Blue Hills, Coonoor and also booked the 10 seater MaxiCAB.

13th Aug, 2011, Saturday:
Rajesh and team along with Dodamma, picked us (Souji, Pooja, Anna, Amma and myself) at 7 AM on the Saturday morning (13th Aug). Breakfast was at Kadambam's at Maddur. Realizing the huge weekend rush, the hotel authorities has put up tents and arranged for buffet breakfasts in adjoining open spaces, and the touristers were more than happy for the quick services offered. We drove through Mysore, Gundlupet, Bandipur, Gudlur and reached Ooty by 2 PM. We decided break for lunch and also complete one of the sight-seeing places in Ooty before the evening sets in and then get back to our Hotel.

First stop was the famed Ooty Lake. The weekend rush could be seen everywhere and business was at an all time high. Street vendors, Lakeside hotels, shops and local businesses were full of people crowding everywhere. But the setting was still serene and the weather was very inviting for a good boat ride! So we picked up a 10 Seater Motor boat and did a good 2 rounds of the lake. Very enjoyable and kids, as well as Kids at heart, had a great time.

We saw the Toy-train chugging along the banks and the mere sight of a it was just enough for Pooja to push and pull us to get on for a ride. From Pooja to Dodamma, all of us got into the 'Children only' train and realized how much fun it is to be a kid and enjoy along with them! Realized how much fun it is to SCREAM when the train gets into a tunnel!

By the time we were done with all the activities in and around Ooty Lake, the sun had dropped and the cold weather was setting in and everybody said that it was time to get to the hotel which was in Coonoor. So we reached Coonoor by 7 PM and after a bit of searching, we finally managed to get to our rooms by 8 PM. We had booked 3 Suites and all of them were pretty spacious and comfortable. These were the only 3 rooms on the top floor and this was good as we were the only occupants of the entire top floor!. Also, the floor had an extended balcony which  opened out to the valley of Coonoor town, making it a good view point.

We dined in the hotel itself and the food was quite tasty. Much better than the food was was this attendant/ server/crew, who was quite a character. This guy was definitely blessed with short term-memory. We named him Ghajini! This guy used to make atleast 10 trips to get even one order out!. This 'robot-in-clothes' was definitely inspired from Rajanikanth, but we wished he really had that 1 Terrabyte RAM. Despite very short and precise instructions, he made sure that he screwed up and got us what we did not want. For once we felt that we were greatly challenged with our collective abilities to get what we wanted out of him. He certainly made our stay very entertaining!

14th Aug, 2011 - Sunday:
Early morning Pushpa, Rajesh, Souji and I, went out for a walk through the beautiful roadsides of the winding hillock. The pure oxygen in the early morning was a quite a thing to feel. The road side Tea stall which served the masala tea was quite welcome and enjoyed every sip. We got back to the hotel and were ready for the day ahead at 9 AM. Breakfast was good and Ghajini's entertainment was even better as he outsmarted himself every passing day by 'raising the bar'.

Our first stop was Ooty's Botanical Gardens. This place has changed a lot (for the good) from the last visit I had made back in 90s. The grassy natural lawns which looked far and wide into the hills were such a treat to the eye. We spent quite a while going through the regular tracks, clicking photographs at every possible chance. Kids loved the place and spent almost till noon time. On the way, we stopped by for shopping the famous Ooty Home-made chocolates, Eucalyptus Oil and some Yellow Wild flowers that lives upto a month without wilting.

Starving for a good lunch, we went looking for a hotel only to find out that the whole town and all the visitors were standing in Queues to get to the entrance of the hotel!. So we chose the hotel based on the time it would take us to get to the entrance from where the Queue started and finally managed to get inside after half an hour. The linen on the table was dirty, but who cares when about those things when all you want is eat food. The food though was quite decent.

Next attempt was to get to 'Doddabetta' peak and we started climbing the hill and with the clouds flowing all over the hillock, the visibility went poor and the caused traffic jams en route. So we had to detour and on the way back found that there was a Tea Factory and View Point, which was good compromise to have taken.

The Tea Factory visit was quite a tour, where we got to see how the tea leaves get Cut, Turned and Curled (remember 'CTC' Tea?) and finally gets dried, powdered, packed and shipped. The sweetest thing was a free cup of hot tea which was quite tasty and badly needed considering that it was quite chilly and really deserved a tea break. A good way to market their product and which surely made us pick up a KG of the famous Elaichi flavoured Ooty Tea. The tea factory also had another building which displayed a Chocolate making unit coupled with a view point. By the time we did our rounds, it was close to 4:30 PM and the next point of visit was the 'Dolphin Nose' point.

'Dolphin's nose' point required us to return back to Coonoor and go past our hotel and 20 KMS further. The scenery was breathtaking with heaps of clouds coming down the hills. The pleasure of walking through the clouds is worth enjoying every second. We briefly stopped for a few minutes at a vantage point where we could see the ghats ending  into an unending plateau. A really awesome sight.

We reached the Dolphin's nose 'Suicide' point and found it to be a very pretty place. The view of the water falls at one side and the green valley all around makes it a must visit. Apparently one of the dance song from the evergreen Telugu movie 'Saagarsangamam' (Telugu) has been choreographed at this very spot.

After sipping few pegs of hot tea under the cold and dark hillside tea shop, we hopped onto our van and reached our hotel by 8 PM. Late dinner at hotel and ghajini's entertainment kept us in good spirits.

15th Aug, 2011, Monday,  Independence Day!:
We checked out of the hotel early and headed to one of the restaurants in Ooty for a good breakfast. The idea was to leave Ooty as early as possible to avoid the return journey rush back to Bangalore. On the way back, we got down at a hillock just outside the town of Ooty. This place had huge grass lawns completely natural and was surrounded by the most beautiful views all around. Sanjana, Vishal, Pooja also did a round of Horse riding while all of us took a while to admire the beauty of this location. The name of this location did not register in my head, but it is definitely not short of a beauty point. No entry fee, no nothing! And everybody will know what I am talking when they reach this point on their way into Ooty or when leaving. We spent about an hour before we got back on the bus for the long return journey home.

We retraced our journey through Gudlur, Bandipur and stopped briefly for lunch at Gundlupet and then reached Mysore by 4 PM. The traffic was heavy right from Ooty and on Mysore road it got even worse. So without a break we reached Bangalore at 8 PM. Thanks to the traffic, the return journey was a bit long and strenuous. 

Rajesh, Pushpa, Dodamma, Vishal and Sanjana continued to their homes after dropping us all at our house. All said, it was a wonderful opportunity for all of us spend some quality time together. Dodamma, Amma and Anna joining the trip made it even more special and the kids loved the trip and the overall company.

The highlight of this trip was Dodamma, Anna, Amma were able to join us despite the potential Monsoon downpour, Cold and other weather related adversaries. If not for them, the kids and all of us wouldn't have enjoyed as much as we did.

Here are some select photos during taken our trip:

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At 12:50 PM, June 05, 2015, Blogger Dimpy Roy said...

Nice one. Thanks for sharing your trip experience. Touches of the Raj remain all over in Coonoor (Kunoor): in honeysuckle-fronted cottages named ‘The Gables’ and ‘Gorse View’ which sit prettily on the side of winding pine-hedged lanes; in areas called Bedford and Elk Hill; and in the graveyards where many a Colonel Hughes and Miss Jones rest in peace. Check out best Coonoor hotels also.


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