Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nilgiris Trip

DAY 0:
During the christmas holidays, I had planned for a trip to Nilgiris(Ooty) with my school friends, and stuck to the note.On the eve of christmas, myself, Bharathi & siva boarded the coimbatore train.After the rendezvous with Priyan, Mani, Hari, Dhinesh, Prakash, Pradeep @ the coimbatore railway station, we boarded the so called last bus to mettupalayam according to dhinesh to end our dinner in a hurry :) We reached mettupalayam in an hour (12:15) and booked ourselves at kaveri international for the night(300 per room). Next Morning by 5:30 my good ol' pals came up with the crashing news that the Nilgiri mountain rail is fully booked.

DAY 1:
We boarded the bus to coonoor(breath taking valleys and fog filled mountains could be sighted in this route) and in another hour we were in coonoor freezing from head to toe.From coonoor, we got tickets(Rs 4/per person [dead cheap])in one of the 5 Nilgiri mountain rail operating between coonoor to ooty. By 7 the train started chugging through the Ghats revealing the Tea estates then and there.On reaching Ooty we checked in @ a so called cottage(infact it was a apartment) in the Davis Dale street(2 bedroom flat for 1400 per day accomadating 9 ppl).Snazing the breakfast @ Thendral restaurant near A.P.C junction, we (myself, bharathi, Priyan) started off (through Ettines Road) to District Forest Officer(south region) in wenlocks road(munching fresh carrots) to obtain permission for sight seeing Avalanche - a restricted forest area. We should have met the Wild Life Warden first to get a good Idea of trekking spots and later the Nilgiri WildLife Association for trekking permission and jungle rest house booking. But we obtained the permission from DFO(south) by evening without knowing exactly what is there in that place.BTW, the tourist officer in wenlocks road was very helpful and gave us a map of the Places to visit in and around ooty.(I would try to scan and put it here)The bitingly cold climate in the evening made us to hop into Cafe Coffee Day opposite to wenlocks road.Finishing off our dinner @ saravanaas Restaurant we headed to our cottage.That night the temperature touched 2 degree Celsius.

DAY 2:
Next day, We hired a Jeep(Driver : Ramakrishnan, cell: 9487073352) to avalanche @ Rs800.Once there at avalanche, we came to know that due to scanty rainfall, the catchment area was kind of dry. Crossing the checkpost, we went to the Power Station up there. We couldn't go up further to the most talked about upper bhavani catchment area as we hadn't obtained permission for that.We spent some time trekking to the fresh water tunnel coming from the Upper Bhavani and then to the banks of the avalanche catchment.It was a breath taking view of the water body and the dense shola on the sides.Returning back we got down in the ooty lake and walked along the road bordering it.Then myself and Bharathi reached Botanical Garden by evening and explored that too before darkness crept over.Retreating back through Charring cross we reached commercial road to make a rendezvous with others for dinner.We ended that day by playing cards till midnight.

DAY 3:
Being a sitting duck for the cold the last 2 days in the cottage, we moved to Hotel TamilNadu-II (Youth Hostel).It comprised a large room with 8 separate beds + other amenities. Truely we raised our eyebrows on seeing the neat and tidy room which we had not expected in a government run hotel, that too all this for Rs 1125.In fact, Hotel TamilNadu-I(in wenlocks road) offers a scenic stay for 2-4 ppl.since we are a group of 9 ppl, we were accomadated at Extn-II. Leaving behind our bags we started to Pykara on the same Jeep. Enroute we stopped at the Pine Forest to take some snaps and proceeded on to 9th Mile, a shooting spot that no director leaves in his film.We spent most of the time here trying to take on the air pics :) Then we proceeded to the Pykara Lake. Since the 10 seater boat was scheduled to make 2 trips ahead of our turn, we backed off and went to pykara waterfalls.Since the water had dwindled to a trikkle, we walked through the stony riverbed for some time.We tried to make it to the doddabetta view point before 5:30, only to know that the view point closes by 5:00 :( We went to the Tea Factory while driving down to see the Tea making process. Nice management technique indeed, not one stepped outside without buying tea powder packets, and we were no exceptions.That being our last day in ooty, we walked through the commercial road, charring cross till our legs ached, had dinner and came back.That night we played cards till 2 and after that the priyan trio saw to it that no one slept that night.From 5:30 next morning, I took up the job of driving people mad by trashing them with pillows.

DAY4:
Packing our stuffs quickly, we had our breakfast and did some shopping in charring cross(Note: best place to buy home-made chocolates,Eucalyptus oil,Tea powder,ooty varkee & rusk is either charring cross or commercial road) Enroute to the bus-stand Myself and Bharathi got some really fresh Nilgiri Carrots & ooty fresh vegetables home.

Points to Ponder:
* The early morning walk to the elk hill planned by me and Bharathi to see the mist never happened due to fear of venturing out in the damn COLD weather.

* Though the trip to Nilgiris was exciting, especially with good old school friends I couldn't put a tick mark above nilgiris in the Map as we didn't visit Parsons Valley, Porthimund, Mukurthi peak & national park, Western Catchment & Upper Bhavani (all under reserved forest area). Sometime down the lane, I am determined to obtain permission and stay in some jungle resthouse within these area and visit them. Only then Nilgiris would come under visited places list.

* One Important outcome of this trip is, I won the FEL Vacation Photography contest 2009 with this snap :)
Visit the Photo Gallery @ http://picasaweb.google.com/kpraveen85/Nilgiris






3 comments:

Sai krishna said...

Thats great news! Hope you know whats our next demand ?!! ;)

out of curiosity, how many entries were there? Coz, they say, these are bad times and people don't go out much :P

Praveen Krishnamoorthy said...

Hmmm, out of a lab of 180 ppl there was some 12 -14 entries.All the photos are still pasted in the noticeboard in my floor, wanna peep in during your free time??

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