Bored of your monotonous daily routine? Looking for a place to unwind, relax and chill far away from the hustle bustle of daily life of Bangalore? Coonoor is the right place. Far from the madding crowd, nestled in the Niligiris lies the small hill station of Coonoor. It is a 6-8 hours drive from Bangalore and every minute of it will be worth it, especially after you enter the Mudumalai National park via Bandipur. The greenery, fresh air and the occasional sightings of animals like deer, monkeys, and elephants along with the silence of the jungles will relax your senses. The road farther towards Coonoor via Ooty is hilly and full of hairpin bends. You can enjoy the journey with the mesmerizing views & music to add melody to the happiness.
We reached Coonoor around 3pm and checked in to Sunvalley Homestay. A point to note here is that the lady from Google maps will take you to some other route which is supposed to be the shortcut to the resort. But it is suggested to take the main road itself.
The resort looked beautiful with lots of colorful flowers around. The view from the room was mind-blowing and we were awestruck by the sight of the tea gardens swept by the clouds. All the tiredness of the journey was gone and we were excited beyond measure. The people from the resort were very courteous and welcomed us with all smiles. We retired to our rooms and started the sightseeing planning. We hoped the coming days would be as awesome as this one.
Day1:The morning was a bit cold and foggy. We had breakfast at the resort and started our first day tour at 8:45am. It is worth mentioning here that the breakfast at the resort was delicious and the staff served us fondly. As we had a few days at hand, we decided to have a half day tour. We went to Lambs rock viewpoint first. It is a nice viewpoint with gushing winds, clouds sweeping by and the view of the winding roads from the top. We stayed there for some time, taking pictures and enjoying the view.
The next point was Dolphins nose which is another few minutes away. It is also a very beautiful spot. We left Dolphins Nose and started for our resort. We had lunch in Coonoor town at Hyderabadi Biryani House which is right in the heart of the town. It serves delicious Biryani and other mouthwatering dishes as well. We reached our resort at around 2pm and walked around the tea estate and the flower gardens around. We spent the evening playing cards when the whole family fights it out for glory. Dinner was served at 8:30pm. We had another session of cards after dinner and fell to our beds at around 10:30 pm. It was a day well spent.
Day2: We planned to take the famous Niligiri Heritage Train ride today. We had an early breakfast and went to the station. There was a long queue and we joined it. After around one hour we came out unsuccessful as we could not get the tickets as they issue only 30 tickets at a time. It is recommended to book the train tickets well in advance. They say the train journey from Coonoor to Ooty is very scenic and shouldn’t be missed. After some discussion we decided to see the other places around and give the train tickets a try again the day after.
We went to Tiger Hill cemetery. We had to park our car at some point after which the only way ahead was by foot. The path looked mysterious with the tea estates on one side covered in fog and the winding roads leading to the cemetery. After walking for around 2 kms we reached the cemetery gates which were closed and the place was in ruins. It looked like a haunted old place. We went inside the cemetery and spent some time there taking pictures. The place gave us the creeps but it was fun. While on our way back two policemen confronted us. They said that the place was restricted and we weren’t supposed to be there as there were chances of Bisons, leopards meeting us there. Suddenly we found ourselves increasing our pace as the idea of meeting wild animals was not part of our sightseeing plan. Anyways, we returned safely without any incident. The next point of interest was Sims Park. It is a small public park where you can sit and relax. We had lunch again at Hyderabadi Biryani house.
Day3: We started the day with a visit to Sims Park. It is a small public park where you can sit and relax. Next, we decided to go to Kodanad View Point in Kotagiri which is a 1.5 hours’ drive from the resort. The view again was very lovely and we had a good time listening to music and enjoying the view as we drove down the winding roads towards Kotagiri. We reached Kodanad View point around 12:00 pm. The view from this point is really awesome and is a must visit place if you go to Coonoor. Our next destination was Catherine Water falls which was not much far.
We had lunch near Catherine waterfalls at a place called Odea which is a lakeside restaurant with colorful fishes playing in the waters. After a light lunch, we went back to our resort. The evening was spent in playful banter and along with cards, soon followed by a delicious dinner. I would like to mention here that the Sunvalley resort is one of the best resorts that I have stayed with an amazing location, excellent service & wonderful food.
The next day we started our journey back towards the routine life of Bangalore, carrying with us treasured memories of Coonoor. It is a place worth visiting again and again.
Other places to visit: Avalanche Lake, Pykara Lake, Dodabetta Peak, Ooty Lake, Ooty Wax Museum, Niligiri Heritage Train, Ooty Botanical Garden, Droog fort ruins.