Udhagamandalam/Ooty is a destination that brings in nostalgic memories to anyone and everyone who has visited it. There was a time when the word Ooty was synonymous to honeymoon destination in South India.
Even though today, India has myriad holiday destinations, the list is incomplete without Ooty. Situated deep within the Nilgiri range in Tamil Nadu, this is one of the most easily accessible and economic touring and honeymoon destination. Be it any kind of vacation, with friends, family or spouse Ooty always has a pleasant surprise in store for everyone.
Three days in the months of December was enough for me and my husband to phrase our Ooty trip as ‘The one like never before’. We started from Chennai and reached ‘Mettupalayam’ station the next day early morning, which is at the foot of the Nilgiri hills. The moment we got down our experience began. Mettupalayam definitely inherited its weather conditions from Ooty. It was cool and breezy with dew drop freshness in the air. From Mettupalayam railway station, Ooty is roughly 50kms and can be reached either by cab or toy train though cab is the quickest one. The toy train that takes us from Metupalayam to Ooty is a very old one that runs on steam engines (uses water as fuel). No wonder it takes around 5 hours to reach Ooty. We chose to go by train for two reasons, one, steam engines have become almost extinct and the other we can view the hills closely and enjoy the weather and tunnels on the way.
It was 2 hours past noon by the time we reached Ooty and checked into the hotel. Since the continuous train journey makes us a little tired, that afternoon and evening is more or less left for leisure and shopping. Home made chocolates, herbs, aromatic oils and spices are authentic and famous in Ooty. We had a nice lunch at a nearby restaurant and after resting for a while, set out for boating at the famous Ooty Lake. We had a nice walk around the park adjoining the lake. Evenings are quite chilly in the winter seasons and we need to get back to our rooms by 8 o clock. Hence we headed straight to a restaurant, finished our dinner and retired to our rooms by 7:30 PM.
The next two days we booked the local sightseeing packages by bus. On the first day early in the morning we visited Coonoor. During the train journey from Metupalayam to Ooty, we do come across Coonoor station, but the train does not wait for long there. For the people who may have missed the train journey from Metupalayam, special trains are provided from Ooty to Coonoor and back. Coonoor is famous for its tea estates. Different varieties of tea will be found there. To name a few we have the chocolate tea, almond tea, vanilla tea etc apart from the usual ones like masala, ginger/cardamom tea. We enjoyed a couple of sample Tea’s on the way and trust me till today I could not find that heavenly taste anywhere. After lunch we visited a few view-points like Dolphin’s nose, Lambs rock etc and once again enjoyed our boating in the Ooty Lake.
The next day we visited the Pykara waterfalls and took a motor boat ride in the Pykara lake. Next we visited the Dodabetta peak. This is the highest peak in Ooty and a beautiful place for photography lovers. Ooty is prominent as a shooting spot and we get to see many such places where famous movies have been shot, not forgetting the Pine gardens and Ninth mile being the most prominent of them. After lunch we visited the rose and botanical gardens. During winter season the rose garden is not at its best nevertheless we get an idea of how much it has taken to develop and maintain it. The botanical garden on the contrary is a vast and a lush green one round the clock. We can spend a couple of hours exploring it and I am sure yet some spots would remain undisclosed to us.
After spending three days in Ooty, we came to an end of our short but sweet vacation. We returned back home relaxed, rejuvenated and with happy memories. Ooty does by all means stand by its caption ‘Queen of Hill Stations’.