Coonoor - Gateway to Serenity

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Covering: Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India

Ok guys so let me tell you about a wonderful and off the beaten track; place around 60 kms ahead of Ooty, the quaint and peaceful town with lush green tea estates — Coonoor.

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I was at my friend's place in Bengaluru and from there we were on a road trip to Mysore. We started at 5:30 in the morning. In midway we decided to go to Ooty and cover Mysore in our way back. But as destinations are already decided, we can only choose paths. So on our way, suddenly one of my friend called up and suggested Coonoor, instead of Ooty. Though Ooty is beautiful too but we feel it a bit commercialised and since we were in search of peace and some quiet, Coonoor was definitely our place. We had breakfast at a roadside cafe. The owner has grown many varieties of trees there. Guava, Pomegranate, Amla, Cashew Nut and many more. He has his own mini zoo too in it. We saw there ducks, guinea pig, rabbits, parrots and dogs. The menu was not much elaborate but you can have upma, idli, poori aloo, coffee or tea. Then we started for Coonoor. We reached Coonoor around 1:00 PM.

It was a majestic place with greenery and peace in environment all around. There we stayed in a beautiful guest house. Its rather a big house with four rooms. The surprise was that the owners of the guest house have their own tea estate and our guest house was situated in the middle of it. Now just imagine a morning walk in a tea garden with nobody around except for few workers who were plucking leaves.... sounds interesting and trust me feels heavenly. We took two of the rooms there and rest two were empty, as we went there in weekdays so less rush was there. There were four chefs in the kitchen along with a guard. They cooked sambhar, idli, roti, rice, dal, beans and rasam for us.

The city is around 13 kms from there (I needed my sandals to be repaired and we traveled 13 kms to fix it.) But its distant from all the hustle-bustle, so you can spend some quality time there with your loved ones. The circular ways, green valleys, high mountain peaks all were singing welcome songs for us. On a hill side, we visited Dolphin's Nose Point where we saw clouds coming from the mountains. It was a mesmerizing experience which can only be felt. A guy was charging Rs. 10 to view that beautiful scene from telescope. Monkeys were also roaming around there. We had sweet corns and coffee at a shop outside it. Actually there were many sightseeings but firstly we were short of time and secondly our guest house was so much scenic and tranquil that we just wanted to stay there.

Almost everything gets closed around 6:30PM there. Its a lovely hilly road and we were at such a height that Trivandrum (Thiruvanantpuram) city was looking as a tiny city with all the little lamps lighted around.On the way we also spotted Bison standing in a tea garden. Finally when we reached back to our home-stay, cooks served us hot pakoras and in the dinner cooked paneer for me as I am the only vegetarian in my group. The food was delicious. Then the manager asked us if we want to buy some honey... We tasted it and it was a bit different than our regular ones, a bit sour, and he told us it was because the hive was on a jamun tree. After that we were listening to songs and of-course singing too. Suddenly lights went out and one of my friend chickened out and we had a blast. On one side there was this song... "Sheesha ho ya dil ho..." and on the other she was asking constantly... "Yaar... tujhe hanuman chalisa poori aati hai...." . It was hilarious and too much fun. Finally light came and we went to sleep.

In the morning, we took a walk in the tea estate there and it was more pleasant and wonderful than I expected. Now after that wonderful walk and some photo session, we returned, had our breakfast and asked the manager to arrange a driver as we wanted to take toy train ride. We asked the driver that we will be late as we had confirmed the timings but the driver assured us that we will reach on time. We were on our way to station and suddenly my friend got that " 'Jab We Met' wali feeling.... aisa lag raha hai kuch galat hone wala hai, jaise koi train choot rahi hai..." and voila we missed the train from that station and gave ugly looks to the driver. Thankfully he didnt know Hindi. Then he dropped us to the next station and yeah there we traveled in first class at a fare of Rs.25 only. Surprises come unannounced in life.... We were busy in watching scenic views and all of a sudden, we saw a man lifting a woman, cameras, crowd on a station and then we spotted Tushar Kapoor in red jacket and let me tell you he looks more handsome off-screen. Then we reached the last station, Mettupalayam. And outside that station the driver was waiting with our car.

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From there we went to Ooty lake, where Salman Khan's song 'Dil deewana bin sajna ke...' was shot. We took boat ride and clicked numerous pics. But the drizzling started and we felt that we should have carried a shrug or a shawl. We had finger chips and oranges there. From there we fortunately took some wrong turns and came across a dam and had picturesque views on our way. The way that is NH-181 passes from a forest — Bandipur and surprisingly we spotted more animals as compared to what we saw while we were heading to Coonoor. There we came across an elephant family of six who were trying to cross the highway. The baby elephant was being pushed by mother elephant. They were looking super cute. There were deers in legions ...like in a postcard. Stepping out of the car is not allowed there. So we fed them carrots from the car itself... It was the most memorable experience in that trip. Then there we saw bison, wild boars and monkeys too. We were hoping to see leopard and tiger but couldn't. You can take here safari too but we were little short of time so didn't go for that. It is the only highway which passes through a jungle and it gets closed at night. We reached Mysore late in the evening so couldn't visit the palace from inside but witnessed light and sound show there. Though I feel the translation should be in English or Hindi too as it was in Kannada. But enjoyed it a lot. At the end of the show, around one lakh lights lit up the whole palace and it was indeed worth viewing. With a peaceful smile and nourished soul, we headed back to Bengaluru and guess what... Surprisingly didn't get stuck in its traffic. :) So have a good time. We'll meet you guys again on another delightful and adventurous trip.

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