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My Chronicles of Ooty - Queen of Hills

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

I headed to my first ever trip to the evergreen wonderous place Ooty. I've never been to Ooty in all my life until now but have seen and read many things about the place and really wanted to visit this place for a long time.

We packed our bags and started our journey from Tirunelveli. We have been travelling with our son since he was 3 months old. We learnt a lot during these trips that made us confident to embark on travelling with our baby/toddler. I promise you that we haven't figured it all, we are still in the process of learning something new. When I weaned my son, the first trip that we embarked was a disaster at start, as I had not planned to feed my exclusively solid eating child's planner, though I quickly figured out the way to keep him well-fed.

We always, always travel light, downright to taking only 2 bags with us, you can read more about it here.

Day 1 - 13.12.2021

We started from Tirunelveli took a bus to Coonoor on 12.12.2021. The bus journey was fine. We reached Coonoor somewhere around 7.30 am on 13.12.2021. We reached the Nilgiris Mountain train station to embark on our journey to Ooty only to find out that the next available train was at 12.15 pm. But we were surprisingly upbeat and explored the station and the steam engine garage. We had our breakfast at the station food vendor which was pretty decent for the cost at which he was selling. We explored, took pictures and videos to capture the moments.

Coonoor Railway Station

My baby R was very enthused to sit in the toy train and was awe-struck the whole train journey from Coonoor to Ooty.

We reached Ooty around 2pm and I had the most delicious chicken biryani in a small outlet. I can still remember the joy it brought me. Well, after the food we reached our stay Beverly Villa. The place is filled with almost all amenities that I need on a vacation. We took the day off resting our feet and planning the next day.

Day 2 - 14.12.2021

We had breakfast at hotel and prepared to hike to Marlimund lake which is nestled right on the edge of the forest which was like 4km away from our hotel. The hike was uphill and the road was too narrow to walk on, so we were taking small breaks in between. A few kilometers later a man on a bike warned us about an approaching bison. The moment he left, there emerged the horned giant strutting its way down. We were quick enough to take shelter behind a parked car.

It was real horror for me as we were hiking with our baby and decided to short cut our hiking plans to the lake and hired an auto rickshaw instead. We reached the lake which was silent as it was in the middle of a jungle not a person to be seen around, when inquired the auto anna told no tourists visit this part. The lake was serene and eerily quiet. We took some pictures and headed to our next destination - Govt. Botanical Gardens.

The garden was laid out in 1848 and covers a whopping area of 55 hectares. We hiked the whole place from start to the end. Baby R was so excited to see green house and see various plants and butterflies. He was more excited in popping bubbles and when spot monkeys. Some of the pictures below:

Day 3 - 15.12.2021

We had a long day planned ahead. We will be visiting Rose garden, Pine Forest, 9th mile spot, Pykara Dam, Pykara Boat Bouse and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Forest. I was looking forward to the jungle safari in the forest.

We checked out of our room in Beverly Villa and checked in a B&B The Brown Tree Resorts and headed to the pick up location of our trip. The first stop was Govt. Rose Garden nothing pretty happened there as it was off season all the plants were withered and dry. We headed next to the Pine Forest, collected few pine cones mentally preparing an art activity for baby R but was shocked to found out that he was afraid of pine cones and refused to touch it and kept saying, Amma, Pine cone - Baby scared!! We took some pictures and headed next to 9th mile spot. The scenic place is very famous and quite handful of movies were filmed here. The spot is 9 miles from Ooty and hence the name. The driver gave away some facts about the place. Did you know! the actual name of Ooty is Otha-kal-Mund, which is loosely translated in Tamil as Village where people pray to single stone. People here are the Toda Tribes. Mund in Tamil means village, Otha means one and kal is stone, during British colonization the name was translated as Ootacamund later Ooty. The uphill hike was worth the view it offered. Vast land of fields covered in green grass and little yellow flowers covering the land. The view was so astounding. Few pictures below:

We stopped at Pykara Boat house next. The water was pristine with hues of emerald green it was so out of this world. Coniferous trees outlined the lake. I was not very keen on getting on the boat but baby R made quite clear to his point to go for it. We had to head into his wish. It was worth the ride as he was quite happy for the whole ride chipping in few Amma, boat and Amma, Ship!

We boarded our van for the final destination of the day - Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Forest. we descended the hill had lunch around 3.30 pm in a hotel in highway and headed straight to the forest. Our jungle safari was arranged after a few minutes of waiting time. The moment we entered the "Circle Road" on the highway - the noise from the human world faded nothing but silence except for the sound of the vehicle.

We spotted many deers, bisons, bison calves, elephants, elephant calves and I kept my eyes glued to the window as the visitors had spotted tiger on 14.12.2021. I was confident that I would see the big cat in its natural habitat as we entered the jungle around 5.00 pm and it was getting dark. As we entered deep inside the forest, I felt disappointment as we were returning back. Bu then the guard took a detour to another road and the signs read "waterfall". I was like, Huh! another waterfall! But boy! I was wrong, the moment I saw the waterfall, I was dumbfounded. The water cascaded from quite the height and the flow was big and rustic, the force with which it touched the ground was heard from the place where we stood. The whole place was breath-taking, the rustic rolling mountains, the rawness of the jungle, it was overwhelming. For a moment, I forgot who I was. I was one with the nature and I had lost my identity. It was pure bliss, of course only next to giving birth to my son!

We headed back to our van and had around 80 kms to cover uphill with 36 hairpin bends. The bends on the mountain makes me sick and dizzy if the turns are fast and sudden. So I planned to doze off the journey only to be woken up by Mr. R. There in the middle of the road was very large elephant with full grown tusks confused where to go as from both sides vehicles stood without making any noise. We waited for the elephant to move on its own. Finally the driver moved slowly past the giant animal and we were out of danger. We headed to our B&B Brown Tree Resorts which was nothing like as it was pictured. The room was dirty, the bath was dingy, unsatisfied we booked another hotel the same night and checked out of the horrible place.

Day 4 - 16.12.2021

We went to our next place of stay - Drizzle Drop Inn which was decent compared to the last place we stayed. The room was cozy if not as comfortable as the one in Beverly Villa. The balcony provided good view of the rolling mountains and had children's play area right in their garden which both the places we stayed earlier did not offer. I had some medical issue to be attended to urgently and hence booked an appointment in nearby hospital, ran some tests and consulted doctor after which he prescribed medicine. Day 4 was very normal as I was tired the whole time and was in bed watching movies (3 in a row) slept, ate and made recovery my first priority.

Day 5 - 17.12.2021

The next morning, we packed our bags as we were moving to our next destination - Ketti, Ooty. We had breakfast and strolled in the garden, thankfully I was recovered if not fully. We checked out at 10.30 am and hiked for 2 kms and got an auto rickshaw and headed to Udhagamandalam railway station and waited as our train was at 12.15 pm. Baby R was very impatient as the toy train was right before him but he couldn't board it. We visited the rail museum in the station and boarded the train for our next destination.

We alighted in this quaint little village - Ketti. It was so peaceful and beautiful with no tourists around. We hiked downhill to our B&B Skylarc Inn refreshed and headed to this eatery everyone I knew were raving about - The Culinarium. One thing about Ketti is you don't have auto rickshaws and cabs the only way to commute was owning a vehicle or by Govt. bus. We took bus from our B&B and alighted at Yellanalli and hiked down to restaurant. The ambience was good and welcoming. They offered varied variety we tried three dishes off their menu and found to be okay. We hiked back to the bus stop and took ticket to the end of the road. Wow!! Ketti was a surprise. It was so beautiful and weather pleasant, right between the village was reserved forest. We headed back to our B&B and had dinner and slowly wound up for the day.

Day 6 - 18.12.2021

We awoke early and were lounging in the balcony around 6.00 am where we spotted few uncommon birds to us. We continued bird watching for few minutes and headed to pack our bags as we were leaving Ketti and heading to Coonoor for sight seeing. The B&B had arranged a cab. We had breakfast in B&B and checked out and headed to Coonoor.

We visited Dolphin's nose, Lamb's Rock, Tea Estates, Sims park. First we visited Dolphin's nose but was unlucky as the fog covered the whole valley and nothing was visible from the vantage point. We headed to Lamb's rock next. It was one of the prettiest place to be on. The trees were packed closely with trapping sunlight entering the canopy of trees (sholas) Even though the climb was uphill, I felt no discomfort climbing it as the place was chilly and breezy giving the place an eerie feel. We reached top again to find nothing, thanks to the fog again, descended down and headed for Sims park after stopping for lunch.

Sims park was fun for Baby R, he had fun in the children's park, on the bridge where he saw many fishies. Sims park was the last destination for this travel. After which we headed to bus stop and waited for our bus. Journey home was very long and tired. But I was content with the trip.

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