A nest in Nilgiris

Weekend getaway

A nest in Nilgiris

May has always been one of my favourite months as it is my birthday month. This time we decided to celebrate in the Nilgiris. We zeroed in on Kotagiri, an offbeat place to spend the weekend and breathe in some pure air. Kotagiri is a small town in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. It is situated at an elevation of 1,793 metre (5,883 feet) above sea level. The place derives its name from the Kota tribe, the earlier inhabitants of the region. If you are looking for a secluded getaway, no other place can beat this one.

How did we go?
We drove out of Bengaluru at 9 am on a Thursday morning. A long drive lay ahead and at 11 am, we stopped for a quick brunch. A dreamy journey traversing through Mysuru, Bandipur, Masinagudi and Ooty was nothing but rejuvenating. After a fulfilling evening meal at Panda Atrium, Ooty, we headed straight to Green Nest Resort with the help of Google Maps. We reached the resort at 6 pm. Our balcony displayed views of lush green tea plantations, the adjoining Nilgiri mountain ranges and a tempting hillock.

What did we do?
The nights were chilly while the days were pleasantly cold. The next day, we steered 25 km to Rangaswamy hills for a small trek. The roads were good, surrounded by tea plantations and shola forests. Luckily, we spotted some bisons grazing in the plantations. We ditched Google Maps (for a while) and took the help of local people as Rangaswamy Hills are in the interiors of Sholurmattam, a hamlet in Kotagiri.
Rangaswamy hills, in short, are deserted, with neatly carved-out steps, a hilltop temple, offering splendid views of Bhavanisagar and the Nilgiris soaked in abundant greenery. It was a 45-minute ascent and a 20-minute climb down. We reached our resort in the afternoon, sipped hot cardamom tea and strolled in the tea estate listening to the songs of chirpy birds.

The next morning, we climbed the hillock, next to Green Nest Resort. It offered us an impressive 360-degree view covering Ooty, the chain of blue mountains (hence the name ‘Nilgiris’) and the surrounding tea plantations. We spent the entire day wandering in the huge tea estate and indulging in some sports.
The other major attractions in Kotagiri are Kodanad View Point, Catherine Falls and Rangaswamy Pillar. A day trip can be planned to Coonoor from Kotagiri, where one can visit Sim’s Park, Wellington Lake, Dolphin’s Nose, Lamb’s Rock and Law’s Falls. However, I suggest planning a separate relaxing two-day trip to Coonoor.

On our way back to Bengaluru on Sunday, we made a quick visit to Doddabetta peak and the tea factory in Ooty. We purchased some handmade chocolates, ‘masala tea’ powder and oils from the tea factory. Another memorable birthday, another remarkable journey to share! As William Shakespeare once said, ‘One touch of nature makes the whole world kin’. True that.

(The author can be contacted at divyhn@gmail.com)

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