Ooty and Coonoor - A Weekend in the Nilgiris

Tripoto
19th Apr 2019
Photo of Ooty and Coonoor - A Weekend in the Nilgiris by Kritika

As a child, I have covered a fair bit of South India - the hills, the beaches and the temple towns. But frankly, it has been so long - I don't remember much! And when this extended weekend presented us an opportunity, we decided to head to the Nilgiris - Ooty and Coonoor!

Bangalore is a convenient starting point for a trip to Ooty. You may choose to take an overnight bus ride. You can take a train to Mettupalayam Railway Station and from there either a taxi or the toy train to Ooty. Or you can do what we did - drive to Ooty! It's about 315 kms from the Bangalore Airport and should be a 7 -8 hour drive. This route takes you via Mysore, through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Mudumalai National Park and then onto the hills to Ooty and Coonoor. You may also start from Coimbatore.

We reached Bangalore on Thursday and picked up our Self Drive from the airport. We stayed overnight at Bangalore, to start our trip the next morning! If you plan to do the same, you can choose to stay somewhere in and around Yeshwantpur. There are many good transit hotels.

Day 1

The drive from Bangalore to Ooty is a beautiful one, especially once you cross Mysore and enter the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Mudumalai National Park. I have never seen so many Deer together in my life! And some wild boars, an elephant and numerous peacocks and monkeys! The drive is a slow one, with speed breakers every 1.5 - 2 Kms. Nevertheless - enjoy your time in the wild, through winding roads! Then the hills begin - with the famous drive with 36 hair pin bends. This is mostly closed for down hill traffic and hence the climb is not that difficult. The roads were slippery though. Be mindful if you are travelling in the monsoons.

Driving through Bandipur Tiger Reserve

Photo of Bandipur National Park, Bandipur, Karnataka, India by Kritika
Photo of Bandipur National Park, Bandipur, Karnataka, India by Kritika

We spotted many deer on the way!

Photo of Bandipur National Park, Bandipur, Karnataka, India by Kritika

Just before Ooty, take a diversion from Thalaikundha and you can visit the Pykara Falls. These are one of the most famous falls in the region and are popular with the tourists as well. So expect rush. We skipped, for the very same reason. We drove directly to Ooty and checked in at the Kluney Manor. A beautiful heritage property, situated away from the centre of the city.

The last one was ours!

Photo of Kluney Manor, Fern Hill, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

Beautiful Gardens! Greens in full Glory!

Photo of Kluney Manor, Fern Hill, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

Being a long weekend, it seemed like everyone had decided to land here! SO MUCH TRAFFIC! We spent our evening lazing around at the resort and then headed out to the Upper Bazaar for dinner at Nahar's Sidewalk Cafe. The place has a positive vibe to it and serves amazing food! We headed back as it rained :)

Day 2

Ooty has many tourist-y places to visit. The Rose Gardens, The Botanical Gardens, Doddabetta Peak etc. We chose to give them a skip and head to the lesser explored ones. Our first choice was the Emerald and Avalanche Lakes. About 45 minute drive away from the city - people hardly visit these two adjacent lakes.

The drive from Ooty to the lakes was a mesmerizing one, roads winding through many tea gardens, offering breathtaking views of the Nilgiris and the Lakes. Those who come here, mostly go to the couple of lake view points. I would highly recommend that you take the unpaved road just before the bridge near the Emerald Dam and drive till the end of that road. From there, you can take the path down to the shore of the lake. We were there for about an hour and had the entire place to ourselves. It was so peaceful and serene!

Driving through the tea gardens around Ooty

Photo of Emerald Lake, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

To reach these Lakes!

Photo of Emerald Lake, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

The Emerald Lake - Beauty!

Photo of Emerald Lake, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

We spent over an hour here, with no one to disturb us! Having the entire lake to ourselves!

Photo of Emerald Lake, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

Shades of Blue!

Photo of Emerald Lake, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

We then headed to the Avalanche Lake. This shore was accessible by car and hence more popular. It began to rain and so we headed back to Ooty.

Avalanche Lake - Just before it began pouring

Photo of Avalanche Lake, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

We were to go to Coonoor and had to cross the city - took about an hour to cross about 5 kms! We stopped at the Turntable Restaurant for a quick lunch and then off to Doddabetta Peak. The peak is know for stunning views of Ooty and was recommended by many of our friends. Unfortunately for us - by the time we reached up there, it was raining hard and the visibility was very poor. From the check point for Doddabetta Peak (also the ticket window) the road upto the view point is very poor. A mere km and a half took us good 15 minutes to drive.

Crazy crowd at Doddabetta Peak

Photo of Doddabetta Peak, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

Enroute Coonoor

Photo of Doddabetta Peak, Tamil Nadu by Kritika

Anyways! Disappointed, we headed to Coonoor and in no time at all, the moods uplifted! The drive was beautiful and so were the many tea estates on our way. The town is a quiet one, unlike Ooty which is swarming with tourists. We stayed at The Gateway Hotel - a splendid property! The town sleeps early! We found difficult finding dinner at 9 PM. We ate at the Quality Restaurant - good food and quick service! What more do two hungry and tired people want!

The Gateway Hotel - Coonoor

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

View of the All Saints Church from the hotel lawns

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

The biggest Bougainville I have seen!

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika
Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika
Day 3

We spent the next day just aimlessly roaming around Coonoor. He has a relaxed lunch at Open Kitchen - one of the best Pizzas I have had in a long time. Its a small, cozy place. Tastefully done interiors with Super Heroes and Happy Potter adorning the walls! The owner used to be a journalist and has now chosen to settle down at Coonoor - great food and great conversations!

Open Kitchen - Coonoor! The pizza I have had in a long time!

Photo of Open KITCHEN, Club Road, Bedford, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

And some great decor too!

Photo of Open KITCHEN, Club Road, Bedford, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

And then the highlight of the day for me! The Toy Train! The train goes from Coonoor to Ooty and back four times a day. You can either reserve the tickets or get them from the ticket window 30 minutes before departure. Would recommend that you reach at least 45 minutes before, because the queue is loooooong and only 70 odd tickets!

The train rides through hills, forests, tea gardens and villages! The track is winding and its a feeling of child like joy every time you see the track curve, and the train along with it!

Photo of Toy Train Railway Station Ooty, Toy Train Railway Station, Kathadimattam, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

As the track turns...

Photo of Toy Train Railway Station Ooty, Toy Train Railway Station, Kathadimattam, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

Through many tea plantations

Photo of Toy Train Railway Station Ooty, Toy Train Railway Station, Kathadimattam, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

As green as it can be!

Photo of Toy Train Railway Station Ooty, Toy Train Railway Station, Kathadimattam, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

Toy Train! Joy Train!

Photo of Toy Train Railway Station Ooty, Toy Train Railway Station, Kathadimattam, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

We took the last train out of Ooty and were back in Coonoor by 6:45 PM. Head out to lunch or dinner to La Belle Vie @180 Mciver. Enjoy a sumptuous meal and a panoramic view of Coonoor in the day or the twinkling city lights at night! Trivia - This is where a major part of the movie Kapoor & Sons was shot.

Alternatively, you may visit Catherine Falls, an hour's drive from Coonoor. Or the Dolphin's Nose or Lamb's Rock.

An evening walk!

Photo of Ooty and Coonoor - A Weekend in the Nilgiris by Kritika

On a beautiful moonlit night!

Photo of Ooty and Coonoor - A Weekend in the Nilgiris by Kritika
Day 4

The next day, we were back on the road to head back to Bangalore. Budget an extra hour for the drive back as the route with those 36 hair pin bends is closed for a downhill drive and you will have to take the route via Gudalur. Though a bit longer, this route too is very scenic driving through a pine forest. Visit the Needle Rock View Point just before you cross Gudalur. Its a 15 minute walk to the view - point that offers a 360 degree views of the Nilgiris.

Driving through tall trees...

Photo of Gudalur, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

Saying our goodbyes to the hills!

Photo of Gudalur, Tamil Nadu, India by Kritika

We reached the airport in around 8.5 hours, halting here and there a bit.

Leaving the mountains always leaves me with a heart ache! Until the next trip to the hills...

1 Comment(s)
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please suggest cheap hotels to stay in avalanche
Mon 06 10 19, 16:57 · Reply · Report