Friday, January 8, 2010

Queen of Hill Stations

Yes, that’s Ooty ! We visited this serene hillstation in the last week of September and the climate was very pleasant, though it was chilly at night. I had been to this place, fourteen years back, during my college trip, reminding me of those carefree days and evoking nostalgic memories. We proceeded to this place from Mysore and it took us around 5 hours, as our bus stopped for half an hour, as the local deities were taken in a procession along the way. We were informed it takes much less time to reach Ooty. Anyway upon navigating along the serpentine narrow roads and experiencing the wonderful sights of the beautiful tea gardens, we reached Hotel Mayur Sudarshan, located at Fern Hill, our abode for the night ,which seemed like a fairytale castle.
Earlier this hill station had a more complicated name, Udhagamandalam, and the Toda name for this place in the Nilgiri mountains was Othakal-mund or ‘house in the mountains’, which was later given a lucid name ’Ooty’ which could be easily pronounced.

After a quick tasty lunch at the restaurant, located in the hotel, we proceeded towards the serene Ooty lake.
This lake was artificially created in 1824, by by John Sullivan, Collector of Coimbatore, and is 2.5 kilometre long. We took a boatride across the lake and enjoyed the beautiful sights.
From here we went to visit the famous Botanical gardens of Ooty.
Spread over 65 acres, it is a delight to explore these gardens which were laid out in 1847, the main attraction being the fossilised tree trunk which is 20 million years old.
We did some shopping outside these gardens and bought some tasty homemade chocolates of various shapes and sizes for which Ooty is famous for. The streets outside these gardens had many shops selling woolen garments and soft toys at very economical prices.
At the end of the day all of us were weary and we returned to our cosy rooms at the hotel, after a speedy, warm delicious dinner.

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