A memorable escape to the mist-covered mountains smelling carrots
Some places make you feel like our own homeland. Ooty is one such place for me. Although the language or culture is not even remotely similar to my hometown, Ooty has its own charisma that compels to visit the place now and then. A place with lush greenery, colourful flowers, dark-painted houses and the smell of horse dung.
Starting from Nilambur, the green road stretches across the state border. Even the freezing cold as you cross Gudalur and the countryside is no stranger. The women selling fresh vegetables sitting on chairs or on the floor in 'eye-catching colour’ saris are a regular sight at this tourist attraction. The scent of eucalyptus infiltrates your nostrils even before reaching the spot.
I have been to Ooty only once or twice before marriage. But after that, the fascinating land keeps me calling and I have visited it 3 or 4 times every year. My Husband and I, have gone to the place on our own and along with family and relatives. Rather than sightseeing, I like to wander through the frozen streets with other tourists. The vendors in the shops selling woollen cloths, grass oil, attar, coffee and tea will scream their lungs out to trade their goods. From wine-beer outlets and stalls of multinational companies selling edibles like pizza, the shops are lined along the streets.
We chose a hotel called Adyar Anand Bhavan for the stay. Every now and then, to relive the memories of living in Tamil Nadu for a few years, my husband would buy nutmeg powder, watermelon and avocado from there.
Another place of interest is Kodanad View Point in Kotagiri. Like the remnants of any of the ancient civilizations we have studied and imagined in the history books, the mist made mountains rise and fall. Clearwater sources were also seen in between. It was an amazing experience. You can buy a ticket for a small amount and enjoy the view from there, without traffic snarls and horns blowing. The views of Coonoor are beautiful but the roadblocks are tiring.
Each room has its own view
The last time I went to Ooty was in February. Covid-19 was not reported in Tamil Nadu at that time. The Covid patients in Kerala had recovered. We stayed in the homestay supervised by my college buddy Vipin.
If you look from there, you can see a house like the one where Thilakan lived in the movie Kilukkam. There was smoke rising from the chimney and also a farm nearby. The homestay had a blooming garden.
The earlier accommodation we rented was with lush greenery and flowers and even had a black and white picture of the landlord and his wife. The flooring was done with wood. And before that, the room rented was on the opposite side of the railway station. You can see train halting at the station and people getting off and getting on. Then, we boarded the train and took a short trip to Coonoor.
Carrot processing was going on near the room taken another time. The sight of mechanically washed and cleaned carrots was appealing. Next to it is 'Nair's Chaikkada'. Delicious Kerala food was available there for a small price.
The scent of Ooty
Ooty sometimes smells of carrots ... or grass oil ... or tea ... I don't know! I feel like going there just thinking about it. I don't know if I can go there anytime soon.
Another reason to look forward to a better, pandemic free tomorrow, like the fluffy mornings seen there.