Someone once told me that one should not see everything in a place, so that there is always a reason to come back. Never-the-less, I have some ‘Must do’s’ about every place that I’ve been to. The Travel Tips series are some of my notes-to-self which I thought I’d share with you guys.
Udhagamandalam aka. Ooty
Must Know – Ooty is the “Queen of hill stations” and the capital of the Nilgiris district. It used to be one of the most popular summer and weekend getaways for the Britishers during the colonial days and still retains the old world charm.
Most movies in the 70’s and 80’s had at least one song shot in Ooty, if not entire sequences. It did not matter whether the movie was Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Mallu. It was a place where the hero and heroine would sing in the rolling tea fields or the hills. A large number of potboilers were shot here, as well as well-known hits such as Karz, Moonram Pirai, Gitanjali, Saajan to name a few. Mithun Da’s cult classics like Cheetah, Gunda, Ravan Raj have been shot here.
Must See – Winding roads, cool breeze, tea plantations, beautiful cottages, the lush and verdant greenery, the War memorial at the prestigious Defence Service Staff College at Wellington, the lakes and the botanical garden at Ooty.
Must Do – Take a trip on the ‘Nilgiri toy train’ that connects Coonoor to Ooty. The train itself is a charming blue and cream with wooden coaches and large windows. This train averages at 10.4 km per hour and
is probably the slowest train in India. It leaves Coonoor at 7.45 a.m. crossing Wellington, Aruvakadu, Ketti, and Lovedale, it reaches Ooty by about 9 am. The fare is Rs. 4 for adults in second class and Rs. 76 for adults in first class.
There are many tunnels along the way and the deafening whistle of the train as it goes through the tunnels has a charm of it’s own. If you enjoy taking pictures, keep your camera ready for a few memorable shots of the valley, plains and the picturesque landscape.
Must Buy – Ooty’s famous chocolates. Do pick up some fudge & chocolate from King Star Confectioners. It is a tiny shop at 33 Commercial Rd, Ooty, next to HP Gas. Well known for its home made chocolates of every conceivable description. You just can’t leave Ooty without trying some chocolates from King Star !
Must Try – Shinkows Opp. the Nilgiri Library, Ph: +91-423-2442811, for Chinese. Like they say, In the hills, things never change, Shinkows was recommended by my parents who were in wellington 25 yrs ago, and is still going strong.