Ooty main town
When I say Ooty, the first tourist attraction that may come to your mind is the age-old Botanical Garden. I was a fourth-grader when, in 1999, I got the opportunity to visit the enchanting hill station situated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Although I have a vague memory of the tour, I remember visiting the garden. Fast-forward to now … like most of you travel bugs, I get an urge to explore the town again. So, I set foot in Ooty with minimal baggage and a long to-do list. By the way, I chose to travel during off-season and to off-beat places, so it is only obvious that Botanical garden was nowhere on the list. However, with very little time in hand, I could drive through quite a few enchanting places that I have fond memories of now, which you may find handy should you visit the place.
1) Camping in Tiger Hills — While in Ooty, I wanted to spend maximum time outside, letting the aura of serenity seep in. And what better than camping in the hills, gazing up at the night sky while you dream away! I mean who wouldn’t want that! I was definitely up and excited for my first camping, and I don’t regret it; thanks to Aventura for making my stay worthwhile. Apart from camping, I indulged myself in a lot of other activities, which I will be sharing in my next blog post, while at the campside.
Ketti valley
2) Ketti Valley – I couldn’t wait to spot all the goodies Ooty had to offer. So, the moment I freshened up, I hired a three-wheeler – lucky I got one without delay – and headed towards Ketti Valley. The mesmerizing Ketti Valley view is something you should not miss whilst you’re in town. Located some 4 kms from Ooty, the view point lies along NH 67 (Ooty-Coonoor road). The valley is said to be the 2nd largest in the world and often compared to the scenic beauty of Switzerland. The lush greenery surrounding the valley is just the icing on the cake.
Pykara falls
3) Pykara Falls – I know I was hopping places only so I wouldn’t miss out on anything. I picked out the famous, yet less visited, Pykara Falls next. Approximately 23 kms from Ooty bus stand is the picturesque Pykara Falls. Some South Indian and Bollywood movies have portrayed on screen rosy pictures of the falls. So, I had to see this with my naked eyes to believe the on-screen portrayal. And what I found was an even more enchanting outlying area. The gush of water that squeezed through brick-red boulders looked just like the beads of a pearl neckpiece that have cut loose from the thread and scattered all over the floor. The water is used for hydro-power generation and also considered sacred by the locals.
Shooting point view
4) Shooting Point – Now this place was on our way back to the town and was quite crowded by townsfolk and tourists. A five-minute walk uphill through the open trails, which looked like one long snake, and you could get a glimpse of the most pleasing view. As the name suggests, most Indian films of the 90’s were shot here. What allured me more was the sight of horses independently grazing in the open fields. A few of them were on display for the tourists to choose their rides. Just so you know, horses have always been very dear to me.
5) Kamaraja Sagar Dam – I’m glad I spotted the dam while heading back. It was secluded and looked like people only came occasionally for picnics. Here, you can actually see varied fish species right on the water surface, making it an ideal place for fishing. Although the place was not on my list, I ended up sitting there idle and lost in thoughts for almost an hour. If only I had bait with me!
6) Chocolate Factory Outlet – Are you truly, madly, deeply in love with chocolates as much as I am? This is the town where you would want to gift yourself a home for life after retirement. And the answer to all those raised brows is CHOCOLATES!!! Chocolates are easily accessible in this pint hill station due to the establishment of homemade chocolate factories. The chocolate factory in Avalanche being more notable, was marked in bold on my wishlist. Unfortunately, due to labor’s day off, I couldn’t witness the art of chocolate-making – until next time. Nevertheless, I bought myself boxes of chocolates from the factory outlet that could last for months and returned to my nest to retire for the day.
7) Doddabetta Trek – I woke up early and excited! The much awaited Doddabetta trek was to start in a while! Five minutes, and I was ready for the move! Now if you’re thrilled like me to climb hills or peaks and walk through the jungle, you know how fidgety I must have got. My guide and I started off the approx. 3-hour trek, including uphill and downhill, with a bottle of water. The difficulty level was moderate. The forest comprised three species of extremely lofty Eucalyptus trees, the sweet, woody aroma of which was spread across the area (avoid taking this route during the hours when wildlife is active).
8) Doddabetta View Point – Another kilometer from the main road and we were at the hilltop. I looked down and lo! What I saw was breathtakingly beautiful! The entire town, along with the forest, was framed with backdrops of equally mesmerizing mountains. My heart paused to what I saw. I stayed awhile appreciating the beauty before we headed back.
PSX_20180303_160804 (1)
9) Boat House – It was time for me to say goodbye, and I was already missing this perky town. But before I bid adieu, I had one last thing to do – walk through the colorful streets of Ooty while picking up some traditional stuffs along the way. And what better place than Boat House! The house has several activities under its roof you could choose from – boating, toy-train ride, outdoor fun rides, 7-D cinemas, food court, and scary house to name a few — along with some charming handlooms and crafts on display.
Shooting point
Sadly, all good things come to an end and so did my solo tour. While the town may have its flaws, I would rather focus on the good stuff it has to offer. One such message in particular the townsfolk keenly follow, which I’m carrying back with me, is “Search the Bin, Put It In.”
Ooty milestone
I’m extremely grateful to all the ones who have helped make this trip a success. Cheers!                                                                               Until Next Time,  XOXO,                                                                    Swechha

All photographs © Fiddle F00t
















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