Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations

1st Jul 2014
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 1/16 by Arushi Dutt
The drizzly Coonor, as we drove in
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 2/16 by Arushi Dutt
Ooty Botanical Gardens
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 3/16 by Arushi Dutt
A pop of red!
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 4/16 by Arushi Dutt
A family portrait...with elephants in the bg!
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 5/16 by Arushi Dutt
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 6/16 by Arushi Dutt
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 7/16 by Arushi Dutt
Mist fills the air...
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 8/16 by Arushi Dutt
The Deer Park has some friendly guests
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 9/16 by Arushi Dutt
The Ooty lakeside early morning
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 10/16 by Arushi Dutt
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 11/16 by Arushi Dutt
The lakes provide a spectacular view
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 12/16 by Arushi Dutt
Say hello to our friend at Mudumalai!
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 13/16 by Arushi Dutt
Strolling through the hills of Ooty
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 14/16 by Arushi Dutt
At Charring Cross
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 15/16 by Arushi Dutt
Amused by the exclusive items!
Photo of Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations 16/16 by Arushi Dutt
TanTea Estate

Driving through the endless twists and turns of the hills made me a bit woozy. As the rain lightly began to patter down, we arrived in the petite town of Coonoor. We maneuvered through colorful houses, and scattered shops in our mini van, as we finally arrived at our destination. We drove up to the driveway of our friends’ grand house, our vacation spot for the next week!

Ooty lies a little bit outside of Coonoor and is a perfect holiday spot to cool down and relax at. We went in the middle of June, where chilly winds, and light drizzles welcomed us. Dressed in light jackets and jeans, we first made our way into Charring Cross, the commercial hub of youngsters. Lined with shops, boutiques, and cafes, this is the perfect hangout spot for many teenagers within and outside of Ooty. We entered a posh boutique, browsing endlessly through the diverse collections, and ended up selecting a few unique pieces. Winding down from the day’s shopping, we stopped over at a local bakery to grab some sweets, baked goods, and ice-cream of course!

We also checked out the Ooty Botanical Gardens, a must for the nature-lovers out there. The sight of so many beautiful flowers is mesmerizing, as you walk through the lush green gardens. Filled with exotic species of trees, ferns, plants, shrubs, the garden absorbs you into a tranquil environment. Only stopping for pictures every now and then, we traversed through the maze of greenery in the cool, misty air. Morning strolls are the best there, as there aren’t too many people. A few benches are placed around every corner to rest at. Or you can sit atop the hills, and ponder about life and its many wonders surrounding you.

A corner to grab some snacks, sip a hot cup of tea, and look out at the calming water, this is the perfect place to derail from a long day. The Ooty lakes provide a major tourist attraction for many all across the country. Surrounded by trees, the lakes provide a serene atmosphere. There are kids playing in the nearby amusement park, aside from the mini train and gardens. Though, boating is what the lakes are mainly known for. We decided to try something different altogether, and check out a speedboat ride. The speedboat ride takes about 20 minutes, depending on how far you want to go. Nevertheless, some picturesque moments are captured. The three of us snapped on our lifejackets, and whizzed through, leaving only a ripple behind.

There are some picture perfect spots all throughout as well on the way to Ooty. One of these is Nelliyalam tea estate in the Nilgiri district, essentially a row of mountains spread across three states. The first place my parents stayed after marriage, due to my dad’s posting, this was a trip down memory lane. We drove past green fields, scattered with women in colorful clothing, bent low picking tea leaves. We finally arrived at my parents’ first house several years back. Shaded by the once tiny plants transformed into gigantic jackfruit trees, the house overlooked the hills.

Nostalgia filled the air. It may be a bit on the lonely side to live at, but the tea gardens are something to see. The hill stations of Ooty, Coonor, and Nelliyalam can get a bit chilly, especially during the winter months. It rains frequently too. It’s best to dress accordingly and carry the right things. Oh, and if you’re like me who can’t travel through hills for too long, it’s best to carry some mints to make you feel a bit better. Rolling down the windows, and stepping out for some fresh air every now and then, also might do the trick.

If you love elephants, this is the place for you! This elephant sanctuary lies just a bit outside of Ooty. We went on an epic elephant ride traversing deep into the jungles, spotting a herd of wild elephants. But the best part was feeding some of the other elephants of the park sugar canes! You can also see them getting bathed and taken care of by the caretakers. Wild monkeys also bring in the element of fun and surprise throughout the park.

Photo of Mudumalai National Park, Devarshola, Tamil Nadu, India by Arushi Dutt

The Tantea estate is one of the prime attractions of the Nilgiri district, which is mostly greenery. You can spend just about a day here, traveling up and down through the Coonor hills. The greenery just soaks you into another atmosphere altogether.

Photo of TANTEA, Coonoor, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India by Arushi Dutt

Cute boutiques, bakeries, deli shops are all wonders of the Charring Cross. This is like the main hub of Ooty, where youngsters, families, and tourists flock together during the evenings. We had some amazing donuts and other sweetened goods from one of the bakeries. Oh and you get some of the best chocolate ice cream too!

Photo of Charring Cross, Upper Bazzar, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Arushi Dutt

The Rose Garden exudes nature's beauty. There are so many kinds of flowers, plants, and rose art. A mural of elephants made entirely of flowers lies at one of the corners of the garden. Just a pleasant stroll through the park, or resting on the grass patches, the Rose Garden is a beautiful and serene environment to soak in nature's wonders.

Photo of Rose Garden, Bombay Kist, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Arushi Dutt

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