How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky?

31st Aug 2018

Fernhills Palace, Ooty

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? by Sushmitha Rao

It was our last day at Ooty. We woke up, got ready and proceeded for sight-seeing. Our plan was to visit Pykara Lake. We were running out of petrol and hence had to take a deviation towards a bunk to refill. We proceeded a little forward to take a turn, when we reached a place where two roads diverged into the woods. In between them was a boarding which had top 6/top 10(I don’t remember exactly) places to visit in Ooty. To our right was a muddy road, where there was a broken and a rusted gate which led to a small hill which had silver oak trees perfectly lined up. I couldn’t resist but get down the car to take a picture of that beautiful place. My friend got down along with me to look at the board which listed places to visit in Ooty. To our left was a road which led to one of the tourist spot. While I was clicking a picture, a man with a very weird appearance interrupted me.

The conversation was as follows :

Man : Why are you all standing here?

Me : (making some weird faces with ‘I don’t know what you’re telling’ expression)

By then, a friend who was driving our car got down to take to the man(He is the only one who is a polygot in our group)

Friend : What happened?

Man : With a weird voice, what are you doing here?

Friend : Sorry, she shouldn’t have had clicked picture. We didn’t know it was a private estate.

Man : (Suddenly appearing very friendly) No no, it’s ok. You can go inside, it’s a very beautiful restaurant.

Friend : How to go to Pyakara Lake?

Man : No, you should go here. Many films have been shot here. It’s a beautiful place. She can click many pictures

Me : Let’s go no. We can have breakfast here.

Friend : Ok. (To him) Can we just have a meal here without staying?

Man : Yes sure

We drove inside the huge gate which led us to the place. It was indeed very beautiful. A building painted red and white stood straight in front of a beautiful green garden and amazing backdrop. There was no proper parking space, so we parked the car beside the building.

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? 1/7 by Sushmitha Rao

Me : Hello, we are here for breakfast. Can you direct us to the restaurant?

Manager : Sure ma’am. How many people?

Me : 6 of us

Manager : Sure ma’am. And madam, no photography allowed inside this place. Kindly co-operate

Me : (to my group) What is he talking about? It’s so beautiful and I can’t click a picture of it?

Group : Chill, we will have breakfast and leave.

We entered the restaurant area. The interiors were so beautiful.

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? 2/7 by Sushmitha Rao

There were chairs arranged, but I saw nobody inside the place. There was no body in sight. We made ourselves comfortable in the chair. I tried clicking some pictures as there was nobody in sight. It was either blur or not clicked properly. I am nervous, I thought to myself and sat back.

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? 3/7 by Sushmitha Rao

After a while, a guy came and asked for our order. We placed our order and asked him to call the manager.

Manager : Yes sir.

Us : Can we please take pictures? The place is really beautiful.

Manager : Yes

Us : Thank you

I got up in excitement and clicked few pictures of our group and the place; while our group talked about how weird is the Manager and his reactions. Two of us even had a doubt that we had seen this place somewhere. After an over-priced breakfast, we thought we will do some photo session inside the place. As we started exploring, we understood that the place has Wodeyar touch to it.

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? 4/7 by Sushmitha Rao

We started off by climbing up the stairs to get the complete view of dining area. I asked my friend to click a picture of me from the other end. One out of the many pictures that I clicked came out well. Totally disappointed, I asked my friend to come down so that we could click a group picture. After some photo session and weird experiences, we decided to go to the washroom area.

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? 5/7 by Sushmitha Rao

The washroom feels and looks very haunted. There are some stairs leading to a place beside the washroom which looks very creepy. I got my friend along with me so that I could use the washroom in peace. Two of us walked in and used the two rooms in the washroom. After a minute, the tap in the sink was left open. Assuming that to be my friend, I came out; assuming it to be me, she came out. Both of us walked out of the room only to find out that it’s neither of us. We didn’t want to stay any longer inside the washroom and hence walked out to the garden area. We roamed around the palace for a bit, it got creepier with every place we visited in and around the place.

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? 6/7 by Sushmitha Rao

Having spent enough time, we returned to the city. I uploaded few pictures on Instagram and my followers started responding to the pictures immediately. ‘It is one of the most haunted places in India, why did you go there?’, ‘Haunted place’, ‘As if the ghosts already present weren’t sufficient, why did you go?’ etc. I immediately started researching about the palace and read few stories & reviews about paranormal activities experienced by people who had been there. According to few sources like this is what they have to say about the hotel :

"Since the palace has a very eerie and old times look, it attracted some cinema producers as well.

Photo of How did my memorable Ooty trip turn spooky? 7/7 by Sushmitha Rao

There were already rumors about the palace being haunted, but there were no popular real experience stories about it. While shooting for a film in Ooty, the famous Bollywood dance choreographer Saroj Khan and her troupe had stayed in the hotel. At night they were woken up by screeching noises of furniture moving on the upper floor. It disturbed Saroj Khan and her dancers’ sleep and they complained about it to the manager the next morning. This is when the receptionist pointed out that there is no upper floor in the hotel! Saroj Khan was quite spooked and she has shared this story with many others in Bollywood. Bipasha Basu, who shot some part of the film Raaz at the Fernhills Royal Palace had heard Saroj’s story and had been quite spooked working there. In fact, the hotel was shut down for some time and it is claimed that it was because of the haunting"