YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON!

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Photo of YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON! by akanksha siwach
Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Nestled in the lap of nature, amidst the blue mountains lies a quaint little town flaunting some age old British charm called Wellington! It boasts of it’s salubrious climes with sprawling tea gardens and endangered wildlife which ain’t so wild anymore, for you’d spot Bisons on the roads and if lucky even leopards or bears galavanting on streets at night! Cafes where one could chill for hours, sipping over coffee..reading your favorite book..or just brunching with your girl friends, could be the best thing to happen to one! So here’s a list of my favorite ones (in the order of my liking)

Photo of Wellington, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

So let’s begin with making an itinerary …here’s the list of places things and people that complete the picture of W in my head at least! I have listed these as the main categories for your itineraries. Details follow up below…

1.Quaint and quirky cafes and resorts with breathtaking views in and around Coonoor

2.Picnic and barbecue spots

3.Hikes/rides/drives

4. Nearby Getaways

5.Shopping/ things to pick up

6.The 8 market Haul

CAFES And Eateries..

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

1.Non Such Retreat ( 9626226157)

Photo of Nonsuch Tea Factory, Huligal, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

I personally like this place a lotttt while some of you might find it overrated…but if you’re a sucker for solace and calm and quiet surroundings with stunning views this one’s your place to be..Cut off from the city and surrounded by the prettiest tea gardens lies the non such retreat..they serve delicious south Indian meal, just that you’d have to inform them a day in advance! There are couple of hikes around the retreat too! Details in the hiking paragraph!

2.La Belle Café and Resort (04232233222)

Photo of La Belle Vie @ 180Mciver, 180Mciver, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Now this one surely doesn’t need an intro( a famous shooting spot for many movies ( Student of the Year was shot here too!)..us girls would crash this place almost every second day…I love their cute kettles and chicken cheese sandwiches with cold coffee of course! The restaurant inside offers a huge variety in menu along with the best sunset view!

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

3) Café Diem (09845001111)

Photo of Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Gorgeous ambiance…quirkiest décor and decent food (only for vegetarians though) ..this café has all my heart…their flavored teas n desserts sure are scrumptious!

4) Open Kitchen

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

This quaint cosy café is known for its pizzas and recently burgers too! The café has a cool vibe with yellow dim lights and pictures on our favorite shows and cycling love! My personal favorite here was their chilli cheese toast and ginger squash! The Café has one branch in Ooty as well.

5) The Culinarium

True to its name this place boasts of its wide variety in different cusines..perfect for a weekend brunch. This place also offers you a venue to host high tea for your friends or guests with a fancy spread that’s absolutely prettiness personified! Oh and their Pot Pies would never disappoint you!

6) ABABA(9952994964)

I’d keep it simple…this place was My dose of Coffee/Hot Chocolate…a recently opened café, it’s yet to catch up but their potato stuffed buns and hot coffee are a delight on one of those misty rainy days in The Nilgiris!

7) Café Coffee Bean

With an open sit out, this place has simple warm hosts and a basic menu! Takes you back to one of those Tapri kind of cafes during college times…a good place to hang out in the evenings!

8) Eats Café

Situated next to Sims Park,a simple café with good food…my personal favorite here was Oreo Shake n Chicken Burgers!

Ps: the sims park gate has some stalls that sell yummiest boiled bhuttas or sweet corn! If youre a corn lover do try these!

9)Khaana Khazana

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Very easy on your pockets and good food! Its ideal for the end of the month binging ???? oh and if you’re looking for the authentic southern flavored filter coffee…here’s your brewery!

10) Jharoka(04232237444)

My all time favorite, this restaurant offers you the best north Indian food in town…my life saver for all the times I wanted to sham it out in the kitchen for they are open to home delivery on all days…their garlic naan and kolhapuri chicken is to die for!

11) The Little Coonoor Bakery(9566290465)

Love Momos? Who doesn’t! The bakery is yet to come up with a place of its own but does offer a take away….Their cheese and chicken momos are outa the world!

12) Frugal Gourmet Lovedale

A pop up dining destination at the hosts home itself, the place not only offers great food but also a beautiful homely ambience with artistic touch to it! Its open for lunch, afternoon tea or early dinner…

Following places don’t need an intro for these are pretty famous

13) Hopscotch

14) Wellington Gymkhana Club

Photo of Wellington, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

15) Tandoori Hut Kotagiri (for rolls)

16) Taj Gateway Coonoor

17) Orchid Square

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

Weekend is the time to unwind! After all, the boys too need a break from the study rut..With Kotagiri and Ooty on either sides, just a stone’s throw away, one has ample of choices to spend the weekend blissfully cut off from the elusive owl…Here are some of them…

1) La Maison

2) Fuschia

3) Tea Nest

4) Fernhill

5) Redhills resort

6) Destiny farmstay

7) Pykara guest house

8) Kurumba village resort

9) Glyngarth Resorts

10) Kings Cliff

11) Gems Park Ooty

12) Lymond

So, I haven’t been to all these places but some are done by friends while few by acquaintances…I shall only write about the ones I’ve visited..

1) Fuschia Kotagiri

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Located in the interiors of Kotagiri, amidst the tea gardens Fuschia is a haven for nature craving nuts! Serene environs, breathtaking views, a hustling brook flowing nearby and a drive through the Jacaranda kissed streets surely makes this place a perfect getaway…Apart from having 7 rooms, they offer meals just for visitors as well provided you inform them a day in advance…Their authentic south Indian spread is a treat to one’s palette!

2) La Maison

Photo of Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

A super gorgeous boutique and heritage homestay that teleports you to the French Riviera…Perched on a hilltop, this pet friendly resort gives shelter to some exotic flora n fauna…A relaxed luncheon with friends or a rejuvenating dip in the valley facing bath tub, this one sure knows how to let you DISCONNECT!!

3) Fernhill Palace Ooty

Photo of Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

An erstwhile palace of Maharaja of Mysore, the resort is studded with sprawling green lawns, beautiful gardens and stunning views overlooking lush green valleys…Famous for being a hotspot for all horror movie shoots, you’d find certain eeriness in the place, though I find it too pretty to be eerie!

4) RedHill Resorts Ooty

Photo of Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Best known for its splendid view, overlooking the Emerald Lake, this place offers a wide range of activities like trekking, fishing, riding, bird watching etc. as well as arrangement of barbecue and bonfires.. A rather long and bumpy ride from Wellington but a must visit!

5) Glyngarth Resorts Ooty

Photo of Glyngarth Resort Ooty, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Overlooking the Masinagudi Valley, this one is a perfect soul retreat…Apart from being located in a pristine location, one thing that makes this place stand apart is their infinity pool facing the Blue Mountains….Good Food…Great Ambience and a perfect location away from the touristy locales of Ooty makes it one of the best weekend getaways out there…

LEISURE ACTIVITIES/HIKES/RIDES/PICNICS

I Climb Therefore I Am!

There’s no better way to explore the contours of a place in and out than on foot!

While I absolutely love exploring the hidden trails and offbeat locations, due to certain unavoidable reasons, I couldn’t explore this gem as much as I did in Bhutan. There are two hikes that are close to my heart for the places are cut off from the mainstream town and civilization…The Gundada and Aravukadu Villages and The Kurumba Tribe Village. The other two hikes that I’d recommend would be the waterfalls close to Fuschia and further ahead the trail to Bibin Village…another one would be the Toda Village next to Ralia Dam a hike which Dssc also organizes….A walk along the Nilgiris railway track can be equally rewarding!

Kurumba Village

Photo of YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON! by akanksha siwach

Some nagging and couple of emotional blackmails later, the hubster was finally convinced to tag along for the hike that I’d otherwise planned to do solo…Just a cautionary advice….Try not doing this hike alone for the track though isn’t an arduous one but has a whole lot of humongous Bisons enroute…The Non Such Retreat also provides a guide for this hike but charges a bomb for it…So you might as well do it by yourself…The route is simple..start walking towards the factory n after about a km take the first prominent right turn…you’d see a lot of workers at the tea garden and could ask anyone for the village…it’s just a 3 kms walk one way but the route is absolutely spellbinding! The village boasts of being a home to one of the most primitive tribes of Nilgiris called Kurumbas. Its nestled in the forest away from the city chaos and has a total of 21 houses…Here are some pictures from my hike…

Gundada Village and further up to Aruvankadu

Photo of YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON! by akanksha siwach

Here’s a detailed story of my hike to Gundada…its my favorite getaway in Wellington..Easily doable and close to the Dssc complex, this place can and should not be missed! You could either start hiking from Jagathala or drive up from Circle Quarters to Jagathala, vordanity village and then park your vehicles at this village and climb up to Gundada and further up to Aruvankadu…My very own Neverland in the Nilgiris!

Toda Village next to Ralliah Dam

Photo of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

A small walk through a copse would lead you to the tranquil waters of Ralia…Keep walking along the ban and you would reach the Toda tribe settlement…..Most of the times there’s a guard around who could help you out with the route….The jungle trail is absolutely calm and peaceful,revitalizing your mind and soul! One could even spot exotic Malabar Squirrel…oh and once you reach the village, you could even place an order for toda shawls, bags or even customize things with their embroidery and work…

Kodanadu View Point And The Drive Through Kotagiri

Photo of Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

A Cycle Ride To Dolphins Nose

Photo of YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON! by akanksha siwach

Fuschia Waterfall, Catherine Falls, Pykara Falls and Elk Falls are best to hike around this time in monsoons…

Photo of YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON! by akanksha siwach

Upper Bhavani Lake and Avalanche

Photo of YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON! by akanksha siwach

To reach the Upper Bhavani lake you will have to reach the forest department which is near the famous four road crossing of Ooty..This place is around 24 kms downhill from ooty and will take you an hour to reach…From the checkpost there are guided tours..Vehicles of different sizes will be available..The trips operate from 9am to 5pm on first come first serve basis…Mostly, the vehicle tours have three spots…The Sholas….The Bhavani Temple and The Upper Bhavani Lake…a one hour drive on rough road but totally worth it!

Photo of YOUR GUIDE TO MAKING MOST OF NILGIRIS...COONOOR, OOTY, KOTAGIRI and WELLINGTON! by akanksha siwach

Nearby Getaways

Tirupur and Karur

Photo of Karur, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

If you’re a sucker for pretty home linen and clothes as well, these two aren’t to be missed…Tirupur is a hub for garments..some even branded ones..i got my levis denims all for 500 bucks…one needs to have patience and time to hunt for things in the godowns where clothes are strewn all over the place…These are all brand new and ready to be shipped to their brand outlets.

Photo of Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

While Karur is the home linen haven..All your 8 market stuff comes from this town…Curtains..Sheers..Blinds..Table Covers..quirky cushion covers..dining mats and runners..bedspreads..you name it and you shall find it here…

Shopping Retreats!

1) Leather Stuff

Marigold and Skins are two such shops in Ooty that provide a range of products in leather…From smart leather boots to jackets n bags…I hoarded many boots for i never get my size for the huge manly feet I have..Don’t be surprised to find brands like Hush Puppies, Buggatti and likes for very reasonable prices!

2) Toda Jewellery

Tulsi Mall in Coonoor and Big Shop in Ooty have some beautiful silver antiques and jewelry. One could even pick up just the pendants…I personally have a hugeeee thing for silver jewelry and therefore picked up a a toda tribe necklace and a pair of jhumkas! Whoever said money can’t buy happiness was truly lying eh!

3) Ketty Embroidery

Sister Keerthan in Ketti Village deals with the embroidery work…I didn’t get one for myself but here is the contact if required….9486801352

4) Tea Leaves and Chocolates

Being in the Nilgiris how can one not collect tea….one will find a huge variety of flavors..right from chocolate to peppermint…Nilgiris Store in Coonoor has it all…oh and do try their Brinjal Pickle! Its absolute heaven!

5) Silk Saree Shopping From Coimbatore and Mysore

THE 8 MARKET HAUL

Photo of Wellington, Tamil Nadu, India by akanksha siwach

Coming to my favorite part….This market never disappoints! Never everrr! Falling on every second Sunday of the month ( I know it’s such a longgg wait for passionate shopaholics like me:” this market starts at 5am and goes on till the sunset….Floor Cushions…cushion covers..home linen…spices…just anything and everything sold here makes a good buy…Sarees for like 100 bucks are not only great for gifting the maids but also can be used as a fabric for suits n dresses…and if they turn out to be flawless then why not even drape them!

I think i’m done jotting down the basics! Feel free to ping me on Instagram or Facebook if you have any queries…

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