Our blog train’s tour of India started off on the 1st of February at the Wagah border with immense enthusiasm. We have cut right across India over the last six days and today we find ourselves at the southernmost state of India, Tamil Nadu. I am very happy to receive the baton for this #XploreBharat blog train from Aditi to take us further. This journey across India is getting more and more interesting as the days go by. Today I take pleasure in introducing my fellow travellers to my native state of Tamil Nadu where I have spent nearly twenty-five years of my life.
I visited Ooty a couple of years after marriage, which is nearly eleven years ago. This was my first visit to Ooty, though my wife had spent a considerable part of her life living in Aruvankadu, a town close to Ooty in the Nilgiris. My late father-in-law was employed in the Ordinance factory in Aruvankadu. To clarify, there are several small towns very close to each other, nestling in the Nilgiris. When we talk of Ooty, keep in mind that though it is the star attraction, there are several other towns in the Nilgiri hills like Coonoor, Aruvankadu and Wellington quiet close by.
The drive through the steep mountain roads to Coonoor was simply marvellous and the view was breath-taking. Once we reached Coonoor we made our way to my wife’s friend’s house. We were greeted very warmly. Soon my wife’s cousin’s family which comprised of her cousin, his wife and two sons joined us.
The next morning we caught the train from Coonoor to Ooty. My wife made sure that we got tickets for seats in the first class compartment of the train which was also part of the guard’s cabin. Let me explain a bit about these trains that connect the towns in the Nilgiri hills. They are basically toy trains. The tracks are meter gauge tracks and when the train is moving towards higher altitudes as it does when travelling from Coonoor to Ooty the engine is attached at the back and it pushes the train forward. Trains use a rack and pinion system and the guard cum operator seems to use a kind of steering to engage and disengage at various signal points.
We got into the first class compartment. The view was simply breath-taking. Here is an image we clicked of the view looking ahead as the train moves forward along the tracks.
There is a flower called the Kurinji Malar which blooms once in twelve years in Ooty, but unfortunately, the year we visited was not one of the years when it bloomed. It is also called the Nilakurinji and its botanical name is Strobilanthus Kunthianus. Here is an image I have borrowed from Wikipedia
It occurred to me that there is always some risk in indulging in anything adventurous, but then there is a risk in even crossing roads which we do every day. What is life without a bit of danger in it? We also visited the famous Pykara falls and lake. I don’t seem to have any images of the Pykara falls. Boating is allowed in the Pykara lake too. My wife and I were not too keen on going boating again so soon. But the others in our group were eager to try their hand once more. Here is an image
There were some tea plantations which we visited though I do not seem to have too many images of that. Here is one I found.
Next, we stopped for a cup of special Eucalyptus oil tea. The very first image you saw in this post is that of me with a king-size tummy posing for a photo in the tea stall where we drank tea.
After that, we did some shopping and made quite a few purchases. By then it was nearly evening and we made our way back to Coonoor. The next day found us reluctantly driving back homewards. We can’t keep holidaying, can we? Sooner or later we have to return to the business of everyday life. To my readers, I have only one thing to say: if you get a chance to visit Ooty, don’t let it slip by. It is a marvellous place. It is worth your money and time.
Note: Two of the images used in this post are free images from Wikimedia.org for which I have given appropriate credits. All the other images used are owned by me and captured using my camera.
And finally a bit about FABZANIA and KAIV who are the sponsors of this wonderful #XploreBharat Blog Train.
FabZania is an upcoming Food, Travel, Entertainment and Lifestyle web portal.
KAIV is a personal grooming accessory and appliances brand offering a wide range of world-class products.