A perfect weekend in Ooty and Coonoor

Just a two-hour drive from Coimbatore lies the Nilgiris, also known as the Blue Mountains. Its heart is the hill station of Ooty – an anglicised abbreviation of Udhagamandalam – which is a bustling small city. In contrast, the nearby district of Coonoor offers beautiful heritage buildings and verdant surrounds. Sample both worlds with this…

Wind beneath my wings

The takeoff itself wasn’t particularly tough; it was the decision to board that took courage. This happened on a recent whistle-stop tour of Kumaon’s “lake district,” with Bhimtal as my base. Stopping on the hill roads one evening to stretch my legs, I was drawn to the bustle of people milling around a large parachute…

Faces from the trek

Some interesting people I met on the trek… Ram Mohan, our guide’s assistant warms his hands while making tea at Kacheru Beeru sips chai at his shop Dipender with his Aamir Khan smile Taking home fodder for the cattle The shepherd… and his sheep Naughty Sahil with his mother Heavy burden on young shoulders

Adventures of an intrepid trekker 2

Continued from here And so Manjhi. Just before the campsite is Beeru’s tea shop – now Manjhi is not an inhabited village, a few people from Agoda, 11 km away come there during “season” (meaning the summer months which sees some pedestrian traffic in the area) to graze their cattle and sell tea and snacks…

Adventures of an intrepid trekker 1

That’s me, folks. Intrepid I was, because I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. A gentle trek, he said, the guy organizing the trek. For beginners, he assured us. A mere walk. And so on. You get the drift. Ten minutes into the trek and I could not hear anything, even…

At the Ootea festival

I had never heard of the Ootea festival before – and from the looks of it, neither had many of the participants. We were walking out of the railway station after inquiring about the timings of the heritage train when we spotted these costumed kids waiting in long lines, restless as only kids can be….

The road to Ooty

Almost as lovely as being in Ooty itself is the drive there from Bangalore. The route goes through the forests of Bandipur and Mudumalai and then briefly past Masinagudi before the climb up the Nilgiris. Plastic is banned through most of this route – you tell me, is there a way to ban those morons…

St. Stephen’s church at Ooty

One of my quick halts at Ooty was at St. Stephen’s Church on the way to Charing Cross. I had been keen to visit the church ever since I had seen photographs of its lovely stained glass windows. The church was almost empty but for a solitary worshiper on the last pew. The late morning…