Metrolife: A drive through charming Ooty

Weekend getaway

A view of The Fernhills Palace.Image courtesy: Sujata Borkotoky

Being mountain lovers, my husband and I decided to explore Ooty, also known as Udhagamandalam. 

We started at 7 am on a Friday from Koramangala via Mysore highway. It took us six hours to reach the destination, which is at a distance of 265 km from Bengaluru. We took time off to appreciate the beauty of St Philomena’s Church and the very famous Mysore Palace on our way. 

The drive through the jungles of Bandipur and Mudumalai National Park was quite enthralling. We had quite a few sightings of deer enroute. The animals love their privacy, and hence photography/ videography is strictly prohibited out there. 

But what lay ahead of us was even more exciting — the U-turns ready to greet us. Ooty is so much about Eucalyptus trees and homemade chocolates. We reached the destination around 2 pm. We decided to take an evening stroll through the market called Charring Cross, which located near Adam’s Fountain. We took a sip of coffee at Cafe Sidewalk, a cosy cafe for vegetarians especially. The cost was around Rs 500 for two. 

Day 2 started off with sightseeing at Doddabetta peak, the highest mountain in the Nilgiri Hills at 2,637 metres. It is advisable to go there early morning before the crowd comes in. On the way down, we halted at a tea estate. 

Our third stop was the Government Botanical Gardens which takes a couple hours to cover. The garden is open from 9.30 am to 6 pm. Entry fee is Rs 30 per head. 

The best place we explored was The Fernhills Palace, the erstwhile summer residence of the Maharaja of Mysore. The palace restaurant has got a nice menu, with an average cost of Rs 1,400 for two. 

Due to time constraints, we couldn’t explore the famous Nilgiri railway which takes one all the way to Coonoor but it is definitely on our bucket list. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway runs from Mettupalayam to Ooty, via Coonoor, in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. It’s the only metre-gauge rack railway in India.

While returning, we checked out 6th Mile. A popular shooting spot where many Bollywood movies have been shot. It falls on the way to Pykara. 

On the way back we stopped for lunch at a resort called The Village near Mysuru which serves authentic Punjabi dishes. This place is a must for all the food lovers’. The cost comes up to Rs 1200 for two. The ‘Methi Chicken’ is a must try here.

(Author can be contacted on sujbork@gmail.com

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