Monday, 23 July 2012

Coonoor, the beauty of mist and greens

  The Nilgiri Mountain train that we boarded from Ooty, finally reached its destination. Going through the pristine valleys, eucalyptus plantations, bridge, tunnels and the beautiful scenery all around, we finally reached Coonoor, a quaint misty town in the Nilgiris.


Coonoor Station

 The station though small bursts with tourists whenever a train stops to embark or disembark passengers.The air was fresh though the sun was still hidden behind the fog and mist.As soon we got out of the station we were surrounded by some sight seeing operators.We finally choose the one that promised us a half day sight seeing in a brand new Indica vista for 800 bucks.
This was our itinerary for the day:

  • Tea Garden
  • Singara View
  • Sleeping Lady View
  • Lamb's Rock
  • Shola Forest
  • Lady Canning Seat
  • Dolphine's Nose
  • Catharine Falls
  • Sim's Park
  • Tea Factory



Since we had not booked any hotels beforehand,the driver told us that he will show us some nearby hotels at no additional cost.
We finalised hotel "Venkateshwar Lodge" which is just a stone's throw from the station.We wanted to stay close to the station as we had decided to take the same Nilgiri Mountain train back to Ooty.
We went to Coonoor during the off season time so I presume the  rates were relatively low than we expected.


The Hotel

  After a quick refreshment at the hotel, we boarded the car, which was waiting for us in front of the hotel reception. Although, it is not much surprising to see the driver with a companion in the passenger seat, we found ourselves a new driver altogether. And the person, who talked us into this deal was in the passenger seat now. The new driver was an older fellow. 


  While on the train, we captured a few hundred pictures of the mesmerizing beauty on either side of the track. So, the battery of our camera was almost drained. We thought of buying a couple of cells on the way. 


Our first stop was the tea garden. 
  Coonoor is filled with tea gardens. We were taken to one such garden, a part of which was very easily accessible to tourists. The dark pitch road, wet by the the heavy cloud, stretched till the horizon, cutting the green carpet into two inclined halves. There was a shop on one side of the road that was selling condiments, oils and tea leaves. There was a lone photographer with his paraphernalia consisting of a camera, a printer and most importantly, his collection of props. Anyone can have his or her photo, dressed as a tea-picker, clicked and delivered within minutes for a meagre 40 bucks. And in case you are wondering if we spent those 40 bucks, yes we did.


Tea Garden
The photographer

Anything and everything that was a view or a seat.
  Our trip had a number of "views" and "seats", places that are supposed to be seen from a distance view point. However, there is always a precondition to this. The weather should be clear. And it was not. So we didn't see anything at all. Catharine Falls is also one such place that can be seen from a view point,  Dolphine's Nose. So the weather took two more places out of trip.


Tea Factory.
  This was the penultimate tourist spot for the day. We explored the fully functional tea factory for more than an hour. We saw the whole process of tea processing through the various stages. Then we headed out for our last attraction for the day.


Inside the tea factory


Leaf-pickers

Factory Worker




Sim's Park.
  Sim's park is mainly a botanical park with several different types of flora. By the time we reached the park, we were exhausted and to add to that, the park was really huge to be explored on foot. Although there was a couple of boats in a pool inside the park, no one was around to take us in. There was nothing much to see there except the different types of trees. We soon found ourselves heading for the car, ready to get back to the hotel.


Sign board at Sim's park

Water body in Sim's park

  It was really cold in Coonoor that night. A sight worth cherishing is how the clouds gulp the mountains with the night fall. We had our dinner in the hotel restaurant, a decent place to eat. And that was the end of our trip to Coonoor. Next day... Ooty.

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