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  • Writer's pictureMahesh V

Mesmerizing Nilgiris

Landscape near Destiny Farm Stay

Nilgiris is the picturesque range of mountains bordering three states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The Nilgiris mountains are part of the Western Ghats mountain range and was a tribal land for centuries. Today this is a thriving travel destination that people reach out to get away from the scorching heat in the plains. The primary town in Nilgiris is Ootacamund or Udhagamandalam or the more popular term - Ooty. Ooty is well connected by road and rail with the nearby towns. The closest rail-head is in Mettupalayam and the closest airport is in Coimbatore which is also the next nearest rail-head and is well connected to the rest of the country.

Ooty has a variety of options to stay catering to different travel aspirations. Most of the boarding and lodging options are available in the main Ooty town, but there is one such place which is away from the town and that makes it a perfect holiday destination if you'd want to enjoy the beauty of the locale. Destiny Farm Stay is a widespread farm which is a perfect destination for families and individual travelers who want to space out and be away from chaos. The farm is approximately 30kms from Ooty town (around 110 kms from Coimbatore). More information about the Farm can be found here.

Some Pictures from Destiny Farm Stay

Places to see in Ooty

Nilgiris is a destination that can be enjoyed by driving around. By hiring a jeep or a bike, one can cruise over the winding roads and pass through tea farms and terrace gardens and dense forests covers. These are sheer sight to watch. A blue haze surrounds the mountains which is one of the reasons the place is also referred to as the blue mountains. However, there are certain places which can be visited to take a break from the drive. Some of them are listed here:

Tea and Chocolate Factory

This place is a must visit place for tea and chocolate lovers. The entire process from leaf to tea is demonstrated here. A self guided tour takes you down the entire process of sorting, cutting, churning and processing.

At the end of the tour one can take sip of cardamom and green tea. Do make sure you ask them how they make it. Its tough to replicate the taste of the tea at home! Just at the exit, they have a wholesale shop where one can buy all the tea flavors they'd like to. Outside the factory, they also have outlets that sells a variety of oils that one can buy for various needs.

Doddabetta View Point

Dodabetta is the highest point in Nilgiris. It is the fourth highest point in South India. On a clear day one can see upto Coimbatore from the point. The view point is at a peak of 8,500 feet. One can drive upto the peak and then a small walk to the view point follows. There are a lot of shops on the way to the point and it makes the walk fun. It is easy to rent a bike or a car to drive upto the view point. The roads are well laid and only towards the end it becomes a bit uneven. Enjoy your ride into the Dodabetta forest en route!

View from Dodabetta Peak View Point

Coonoor Sims Park

A tree in SIMS park, Coonoor

Sims Park in Coonoor is a beautiful botanical park that is a must see place. The park was set up by Mr. J.D. Sims and Major Murray in the year of 1874. The park is surrounded with lush green trees which are actually planted centuries ago. Some of the trees range from the 18th century to the early 19th century. These trees have grown up to become huge giant trees spreading their arms over a wide area. Within the park is a small lake where one can choose to hire a paddle boat and spend few minutes. It also has a children's play area to keep them occupied. Nothing can be compared to a nice cozy walk in the park. The park is very clean and well maintained.

Nilgiri Mountain Train

Journey to the Nilgiris is not completed if one doesn't take a ride in the Nilgiri Mountain Train that plies between Mettupalayam, Coonoor and Udagamandalam. The ride from Mettupalayam to Ooty takes around 4hrs as it is a steep uphill climb. The train stops in multiple places on the way. The ride from Coonoor to Ooty takes around 1hr as the incline is very gradual. The train goes into the lush green forest cover of Nilgiris and the ride is very scenic. The tickets are difficult to get so make sure you book it well in advance. Sometimes, there are few seats available from Coonoor to Ooty and if you are lucky, you'll be able to grab those. Make sure you take the window seat as always!! The ticket for this train can be booked via IRCTC. The train station codes are MTP and UAM.

Pine Forest

Pine Forest, Ooty

Pine Forest near Ooty is a very well known shooting spot. As the name says, it is a forest with pine trees growing on a slope and the slope ends near a huge lake that holds water from the Kamaraja dam.

Small horse rides can be undertaken around the place. Being a shooting spot, a lot of photographers will be roaming around the place and one can get their pictures clicked through them. They give an instant print out of the pictures as well.

9th Mile Shooting Spot

I guess before our Bollywood producers could afford going abroad for shooting movies, Ooty was the preferred choice. This is another spot for shooting. This reminded me of the UK countryside with green grasslands and blue sky.

From the main road, its around half a kilometer walk to reach the spot. One can actually plan a nice picnic in this place on a nice warm sunny day. Make sure to hold on to your hats as the place is very windy.

Getting to Ooty

Ooty is well connected by road to Coimbatore and Mysore. The nearest airport is in Coimbatore which is around 100kms from Ooty main town. Mysore is around 150kms from the main town if one takes this route. There's plethora of options to stay in Ooty. But the same cannot be said about food. The food choices outside are very limited and if you'd want to try different cuisines then one has to visit some of the upmarket restaurants in the various 3-5 star hotels. The locals speak Hindi, English and Tamil and are very helpful. As said, the best way to enjoy Ooty is to drive around on an open jeep or bike. Ooty is pleasant throughout the year. The best time to visit is from October to February. In December, please make sure to carry woolen clothing as the evening temperatures dip to less than 10 degrees. With all this, I believe you might start planning your trip. Go ahead! The place is a treat to your eyes. Hope you have a safe trip!! Good Bye!

Nilgiris Terrace Tea Gardens

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