I went to visit my friend in Bangalore and told him to plan a good trip nearby. Being a student of space physics, he told he wanna go to Coonoor as it is the home of first Indian space traveler Rakesh Sharma. I was not so much into the ‘space thing’ but I love mountains, so I agreed.
We rent a car from Mysore. The driver himself was from Ooty and he was going back home, so he agreed to take a little less. We started at around 5 and soon reached the Bandipur Forest area which spans between Ooty and Mysore. The road is through the forest and soon we saw deer herds and peacocks. It was becoming dark and the forest end gate was soon going to be closed , that means we were gonna stuck within the forest. I asked the driver to speed up but soon he did the opposite, and told us to look around. We remained speechless, four five wild elephants were eating long elephant grass close to the road. Soon we got to see a group of Bisons and monkeys. The whole way, the driver kept showing us these animals , and said he had even seen leopard as he is a frequent goer in this road.
At last the forest ended and we reached the 36 hair pin bends before reaching Ooty. Ooty is not far from here, but this bends are extremely dangerous and accident prone and it was completely dark then. It started to rain and we could feel the dangerous road lied ahead. Thanks to our driver nothing went wrong, though I started breathing properly after I saw the signboard 1/36.
We did not book a hotel beforehand , so we started calling some numbers seeing internet. Some of them sounded very nice , but really expensive. Then our driver took us to a hotel, it looked decent to us , he took the money and vanished in the dark hills. I was shivering as the cold wind splashing me, my friend went ahead to look the rooms and came back to say it was good and the hotel is also certified by trip advisor. The hotel boy took us to a room. I wondered , it was way cheaper as per the size and the commodities. It was warm and clean, and had lots of space. We ordered some food and soon after my dinner I dozed off.
Next day we had breakfast and went to explore the city. We went to the lake and the garden ,saw beautiful mountain flowers. Ooty is famous for home made chocolates. And believe me, I have been to places in Switzerland , they are no less than swiss chocolates. May be they cannot advertise as they are poor, may be they do not have make overs , they will hand over the chocolates in plain packets. May be they do not have nice decors, but they taste awesome.
The next day we headed for Coonoor .We took the toy train from the Udhagamandalam station. It has small blue coaches and a first class which cost only few cents more than the second class 🙂 . It will remain one of my best railroad journeys over the world. We reached Coonoor in an hour and went to see the green valleys and tea gardens and factory. The air is so fresh here and you can go for tea tasting ,where they will offer you different flavours of Nilgiri “the blue mountain” and buy the world famous Indian spices grew on the mountain valleys. I bought some spices which I finally used to make biriyani in Germany and Sweden later 😛
My friend came to know Rakesh Sharma was out of the town then , and he may not take visitor without appointment. So we had lunch and take the train back to Ooty. Though disappointed that time, he got to visit him later before moving to Europe. Next day we rent an auto and went to the highest peak of Southern India “Dodabetta”. The way was foggy but from up there we could see the whole blue mountain valley downhill. We ate some Kashmiri Mirch fry there with Nilgiri hot coffee.
While coming back we saw the road was closed. Our driver said proudly .’Amma is going for one month vacation while she will be staying in blue mountain”. Amma is the state chief there. We got stuck there for an hour , because Amma wanted to have tea in the mountain road while enjoying the view. After the tea break finally vehicles started moving and we caught a glimpse of her waving hands to the crowd. Finally the driver took us to the Bus station. I bought lots of chocolates and went to ride the bus to go back to Bangalore.
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