Today’s post is a guest write-up by Hory Mukerjee. Hory is a travel enthusiast and works with Infosys. He has authored a book, loves to read, write and travel. His father being from the Armed forces, he had the opportunity to travel through the length and breadth of the country. Here is Hory’s take on Ooty.
Text by Hory Mikerjee. Pictures from paintedstork.com
Ooty, the queen of hill stations, has been a popular tourist destinations for years. However, it fails in living up to its name. I was majorly disappointed with my visit to Ooty this summer.
Ooty attracts a lot of people in peak summer season. Hotels were in a mess and were very crowded. The commercial junction of ooty (charing cross) looked more like a busy street in Mumbai or Bangalore, the only difference being the hills surrounding the town. There are many hotels, but finding a good one is always a big question mark. A quick search in the town may show up just a handful of good places, and the rates are never a good value for money. However, there is no dearth of rooms and it is not hard to find a place without advance bookings. Tamil Nadu tourism provides a list of homestays, and it would be a good idea to check them out if you are looking for some local flavour.
The places for sightseeing around Ooty disappointed me majorly, all of them being highly commercialized. The beauty of nature can be experienced within oneself if a place is serene or calm. But none of the places I visited kept up to the great praises I had heard earlier. All tourist points were flooded with people, or had become dump yards for garbage. The ooty lake, a place much spoken of, is also commercialized. However, a ride on the small toy train beside the lake wasn’t very disappointing. It was much better than the boat ride.
The rose garden is another beautiful place with a variety of flowers. One gets mesmerized and intoxicated with the fragrance of roses. It is a paradise for photographers too. Another good place to visit is the St. Stephens’s church in the middle of the city, which does not attract many visitors. The wall decors of the church are worth a mention.
Another spot that I enjoyed thoroughly was the tea factory in ooty. The manufacturing unit was running when I visited, and it was a good learning for a curious tea lover that I am. You also get to buy good quality tea and chocolates from here. Another place to look for excellent chocolates and fudges is the Kingston bakery at the charring cross.
A day of trip to Pykara falls, Mukurthi National Park, Avalanche, fifth mile and ninth mile is not very disappointing either. Pykara falls is a treat for photographers.
The journey to ooty would be incomplete without a toy train ride from the ooty station. The ride is amazing, as the train runs through picturesque valleys. There is a long queue in the station for tickets, so it is always better to buy in advance through irctc.
Though Ooty is a big disappointment, it still holds a charm. It is a good, quick gateway from Bangalore. However, if you are looking up to stay in proximity to nature and away from the hustle bustle, Coonoor (16 kms from ooty) is a better option than Ooty.