Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Ooty Revisiting

Botanical Gardens - Ootacamund (Ooty) - India 03.JPG
Botanical Garden
Courtesy Wikipedia
                                         

       The Nilgiri hills in the south of India boasts of many hill stations, Ooty being the queen of them. It is but natural that tourists hound this place as an escape from the nearby cities. During our one year stay in Wellington ( not the one in New Zealand), we sneaked out to explore Ooty and other interesting places nearby. Like any other tourist's first visit we paddled round the Ooty lake, savoured some homemade chocolates and pattiseries, inhaled the the fragrance of pine and eucalyptus trees ( snuffed by the urban development), climbed up to Dodabetta peak and the rest and sat around the Pykara Lake. 

      There are two interesting things we found in Ooty apart frm many others, not including the chocolates. The first was the Toda village in the upper part of the famed Botaniacal Garden and the Thread Garden opposite the Ooty lake. The Todas are the original people of Udhagamandalam ( anglicised into Ootacamund  by the British and later shortened to Ooty). The Todas are a pastoral community and strictly vegetarian thriving on dairy products. Their homes are barrel shaped huts with low entrance to keep away wild animals. Their embroidery is a unique combination of red and black threads on white or off white cottons. 

                                                   
Toda Embroidery

      The Botanical Garden lived up to it's fame and we were not disappointed with the   Italian section, the collection of numerous trees and plants and the collection of orchids. But the other garden, the Thread Garden proved to be a surprise. It took Antony Jacob and his team 12 years to complete this project of creating flowers, plants and lawns out of thread without the use of any needle or machinery. The major materials used were different shades of embroidery thread, canvas and wire. Don't go expecting a real garden for the specimens are placed in pots and vases. It is interesting to note the effort made to come as close as possible to the Nature's beauty. 

    If you have the time try exploring the nearby places of Ooty. The first one that comes to mind is the Beulah Farm between Coonoor and Kotagiri. It used to be a delight for us to visit Eapen Jacob's cottage full of his bottled 'nectars' which he so passionately made. Beulah Farm is synonymous with wine made without yeast from all possible fruits and peels, around 80 varieties which he lets you taste. Not the eighty of them. Maybe 15 of them that leaves you feeling quite 'happy' when you walk out clutching the bottles. So relaxed were we that unknown to us our two year old daughter was also sipping from our glasses letting all my efforts of toilet training go down the drain. I could go on and on about Beulah Farm, the wines, the exotic herbs and  the preserves but I need to remind myself that this is a blog post. If you are there and if the farm is still around do get yourself the rose wine.

                                             
    If you are travelling from Bangalore brace yourself for the 36 hairpin bends on the short route that takes you to Ooty. We took this road on a trip to the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in our good old Maruti 800 and lived to tell the tale. By the time we were 30/36 lesser, I lost all my speaking abilities and the throat went dry applying the brakes and the clutch in my seat while my husband was driving. It is a journey we both are proud of including our good old Maruti 800. 

   There are many nearby places that are famous for fine embroidery on home linen and fabrics like Ketty and Coonoor. Since this was a trip we made long ago The snaps are stashed away in an album hard to find. I have taken the liberty of borrowing some from the internet but that shouldn't take the charm away from this place.


This post was written for A to Z Challenge.  

   

9 comments:

  1. Brought back memories of my numerous visits to Ooty during my childhood. Though its become crowded and touristy it still holds a very special place in my travel memories. Nice post!

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  2. Lovely and informative! I doubt I'll ever get to India, but if I do I hope I can add this to the itinerary.
    Mary at Variety, the Spice of Life

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  3. Tempts me to visit again!
    This time I will pick the Toda emb. stuff.

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  4. Niranjan the city is crowded but the nooks and corners are still better. Thank you for your kind words.

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  5. Mary, there are many interesting places here. You must try to visit India.

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  6. Indrani, I still have a Toda stole with me. They are beautiful.

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  7. Love the picture - looks like a great place to visit! New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge, and I look forward to visiting again.

    Sylvia
    http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

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  8. Ooty is the ideal hill station for tourists to visit on any Tour to Tamil Nadu. One of the most popular tourist places in entire India, Ooty is a treasure trove of breathtaking natural beauty. The numerous tourist attractions in Ooty include the verdant hills, cascading waterfalls and sparkling brooks, dense forests, sprawling grasslands and extensive tea gardens. Tourist across the seas comes here to visit the amazing locations and for many travelers who prefer to stay at hill view resorts Ooty.

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Your words keep me going :)