The Madras regiment camp is located on this road and a perfect setting for these newly inducted soldiers to get trained in the arms of Mother Nature. The tough training probably gets smoothened a bit due to the beauty around. As I went closer to Coonoor the lush green tea plantations on the slopes, on both the side of the winding road, held my attention and I was trying to capture the beauty of those acres and acres of tea gardens in my Sony H50.
Unlike Coffee plantations, which have a lot of other spice trees and silver oaks intermingled along with the coffee trees itself, the tea plantations were mostly solo and that created great landscapes along the slopes. The workers with those typical Tea Baskets on their backs were picking up leaves and I could spot few wild bison, here along the tea plantations.
The Cinkara tea factory was visible at the top of one of the mountains and is one of the prominent factories here. On the way to Coonoor we have few factories as well, like the Needle factory and the L&T switchgears training centre. Well an ideal setup for a training center I would say :-).
Few point like Lamb’s Rock, Dolphin’s Nose and Sleeping Lady gives you spectacular view of the Nilgiri Mountains from the top. The mountain in front of this point, takes a shape of a sleeping lady and hence the name. The monsoon had casted a magic spell along these mountains and the soft and white clouds floating along these mountains, were sometimes hiding the landscapes of Methupallayam and Coimbatoor, seen as tiny specks from here. The tall peak of Dolphin’s nose gives a real wide view of the cities and villages down and the view extends to miles and miles of land and where finally the sky meets the land at the horizon.
With the Mysore on the other side, which is hardly visible and Methupallayam and Coimbatoor on the other, this place gives you some of the most amazing views of the humangous Nilgiri mountain ranges and the aroma of tea and Nilgiri trees, don’t let you leave this place quite easily.
The ride in Nilgiri mountain railways is something that we really missed. This train track from the colonial age is quite similar to the Dargiling railway line in Himalayas and takes you through the Nilgiri Mountains, closely encountering Nilgiri Jungles. The tall and thick woods of pine trees are replaced with Cyprus greenery near Coonoor and Methupallayam. The bio diversity is mesmerizing. What adds to all this is the abundant natural beauty, the freshness is air, chilled monsoon weather, the dripping sky, winding roads and cute hillside cottages.
The botanical garden is again one more place, where you get to see a diverse set of trees and plants. Even if you are not a botany student this place will keep you busy for few hours with the colors and kinds of diverse varieties of plants and trees.
As we were wandering the streets of Ooty in the evening, Maitri raised this issue that “why she has to keep wearing a raincoat while we were wearing jackets” J We had to pay heed to it, as she wasn’t really happy about it. Finally we got a nice jacket for her and her cribbing, got to an end.
Ooty must have been really beautiful at some point of time, but now the view around can show the inorganic growth of clusters of hotels and residences at hill tops as well as on the slopes. It has become much more commercialized. The pictures displayed in the Derby Green’s rooms and dining halls show the real beauty of Ooty during older days and the current Ooty is no way near to it.
Coonoor on the other hand still retains most of its old world beauty, with less crowded valley, bottle green tea estates spread across, valleys and mountains and the thickness of Nilgiri trees, as you move around the sharp, winding roads of Nilgiri here.