Been wanderlusting lately?
Probably the Nilagiri are the answer to your calling. What could a reckless traveller ask for other than a long weekend after all?
Ooty to Bangalore is what Mecca is to Islam. It is where I fell for the Nilgiris too. And it all happened on the toy train, the Nilgiri Mountain Railways. Now a UNESCO world heritage Nilgiri Mountain Railways first had their 19th-century vintage engines running in 1908. Over a century old, these trains still run on steam engines and issue the old card type tickets. Thanks to UNESCO this will remain unchanged for ages to come.
People use it to get to their work early in the morning, children use these to reach their schools. What is a once in a lifetime experience for many of us is a daily chore for the local commuters out there? The sights at the stations are subtly chaotic all round the year. This experience for a traveller is very exotic in itself as the engines and the track used in this railway are the few last ones remaining in the world.
In an hour-long trip of 26 KMs from Ooty to Coonoor, these horary X class locomotives which are is more than 50 years and the oldest more than 80 take you through the spectacular mountains of the Nilgiris through the Mettupalayam Station, Lovedale, Adderley, Hill Grove, Runnymede, Kateri Road, and finally Coonoor Station through 16 tunnels and across 250 bridges. When when you have the luxury of choosing your seats do make sure you pick one on the right side because the view is breathtakingly beautiful and if you are a shutterbug like me, you don’t want to miss out on that gorgeousness. On your way, you will be witnessing the Western Ghats at their most beautiful self, starting from the grazing lands to the most exotic flora and fauna from the wilderness absolutely untouched by the wrath of tourism. If you are really looking forward to truly experiencing Ooty which itself holds a beautiful history, the toy train rides are strictly a ‘do not miss’.
Prior to 1820s anyone barely knew of Ooty. However, the fabulous tales of the “blue mountains” were in the air. Mr John Sullivan the Founder of British settlement in Udgamandalam was ordered y the authorities of the East India Company to verify the authenticity of the Nilgiris and thus was born the “Queen of the hill stations Ooty” and its whimsical mountain railways.
A single ride from Ooty to Coonoor pretty much sums up the paradise for you. And trust me I can vouch for the best connection, only if you know what I mean. No wonder this got SRK dancing to the tunes of Chaiyaan Chaiyaan and we still haven’t got over it 🙂