The quieter side of Ooty

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When I planned a trip to Ooty, all I got from people around me was discouragement. They said its too commercialised, it is too dirty, and stuff like that. But I decided to go on, as I had to attend a friend's engagement party on friday in coimbatore and had a whole weekend to spare. I checked some hotels online and decided on a hotel with pretty decent reviews. I had absolutely zero expectations regarding the trip, as I had been there twice already and seen all that the tourist packages had to offer.

Anyway, 2 of my friends and I, we hopped onto a local bus, literally a can on wheels, to take us from coimbatore to Ooty. The driver blazed at around 10-20 km/hr and we covered 80 km in 4 hrs. Since, it was an off season in Ooty, I was worried about the weather too. Luckily, a cool breeze welcomed us. We got down and took an auto to the hotel which was on the outskirts of the town and hence, as a principle, the auto driver ripped us off royally. On the way, we had listen to his pearls of wisdom about how he would've got us a room in a decent hotel inside the city at half the price, if we hadn't booked it already. We sulked and got down ten minutes later in front of a three storey hotel directly overlooking the Ooty lake.

It was neat, I thought. We got a room on the second floor, it had a beautiful view and a swing to laze around. We were just sitting there enjoying the view and in walks Giri. He looked around 50, with a friendly face, and seemed keen to make conversation. He told us that he is a civil engineer working on another of the hotel's projects nearby. I had once heard that the best way to explore a place is with the help of a local. So I tried my luck with him. I told him that I don't want to see the same old botanical garden and Doddabetta and wanted to do something else. He recommended a place called the "Cairn hill". He told us that it is one of the "last surviving original walks" in Ooty. So we decided to give it a go, as we hadn't planned anything for that day. He called an auto driver Stephen to drop us there. It was around 2 km from the hotel. He also told us to visit the fernhill palace, a summer palace of the Wodeyar kings which has now been converted  to a hotel. He told us to buy a cup of tea, the cheapest item on the menu and look around the beautiful property. So off we went, with our new itinerary in hand.



We reached Cairn hill and started walking. Suddenly we heard some strange noises, we freaked. Clearly amused, Stephan explained to us that it's some tribal wedding happening in the forest. We continued, saw a lot of drunk tribals on our way. As we continued, the path became more desolate and I got more excited. We were on our way to a watch tower following a route that none of us was sure of. Finally, we reached it. It looked creaky and I was skeptical of climbing it, but I thought what the heck, I had walked so far. It was exhilarating. The feeling was just great, even if the view was nothing compared to so many other view points in Ooty, it was an amazing feeling.

Then on the way back we stopped at Fernhill Palace. We ordered Gajar ka Halwa, a tad overpriced but the visit was completely worth it as we roamed the corridors of the hotel for more than an hour looking at around thousand royal photographs. The view from the "Princess Suite" as it was called was awesome. For 18k a night, that's the least they can offer. Coincidentally, I'm watching an old Telugu movie Geetanjali as I write this, and I realise that the movie was shot at the same hotel.





We completed the day by going to Charing cross for a bout of shopping and had dinner at this amazing cafe called "The sidewalk cafe". Completely bowled over by the choice of continental stuff available at the place. We went back there for dinner the next day too.



The next day, we went on the routine Ooty-Coonoor trip as one of my friends had come for the first time and also, we wanted to save some money by taking the hotel bus. It was okay, but we had an amazing time on the first day, all thanks to motormouth Giri.

Next time you are in Ooty, try staying at Darshan hotel,















14 comments:

  1. Lovely Blog - you took me down memory lane when Ooty was a very laid back and pristine place - Did you visit Lovedale?

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  2. Lovely pics and nice info . Will try Darshan hotel ,next time I'm in Ooty

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  3. @Vikram- Thank you..No I didn't go to lovedale..we stayed only 2 days and didn't have time

    @Team G square- Thank you :)

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  4. Woww..nice post..and i was just imagining the place you mentioned(tribes, clocktower..)....I must thank you for this post, as I am planning for ooty in a month or so...

    And its so true that you won't know where to hang around in a city until u consult a local...

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  5. Nice images that give a different impression about Ooty ..

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  6. can on wheels - LOL & so true!

    lovely pictures. i've been to Ooty once, almost 3 years back and liked it a lot. we'd hired a bike & roamed the streets n experienced the place fully

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  7. cant imagine that was ooty! i always thought it was so commercial and crowded!

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  8. @Sujatha- Thank you :)

    @Confusedyuppie- The town itself is pretty dirty, but there are a lot of places around which are beautiful.

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  9. Nice little travelogue!!

    Please check out the travel section here http://aswethinkis.wordpress.com/

    Bike trip to Leh and some interesting pics

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  10. wonderfull..informative and usefull.

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  11. Planning to visit Ooty for vacation? Check over 16+ Ooty hotels in all price ranges.

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  13. Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a brilliant writer. I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job, Keep it up.. :)Ooty Hotels

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