Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ooty : The queen of hill stations

It was almost 12 years ago that I visited Ooty as a student from college staying in rustic run down dormitories for a couple of days and doing the regular sights that had to be seen by every tourists visiting this wonderful hill station.


It was so different this time - we stayed in 3 different resorts in different parts of Ooty. It all started with taking the flight from Hyderabad to Coimbatore and then the lovely drive up the hills that took about 3 hours to do with 34 hair pin bends that brought nausea to the strongest of stomachs. But at the end of the drive we arrived at Kingscliff to the most wonderful view of Ooty from high up in the hill.

We then had lunch in the award winning restaurant at Kings Cliff called Earl's Secret. A beautiful restaurant serving fine dining that makes everyone feel special. After some trekking around the hotel and some shopping at Charring Cross it was time for drinks and dinner which was served in the Bar Room of this resort with a real crackling fire place. Having never seen a real crackling fire it was wonderfully exciting.

The next day started off with a trip across the hills to Destiny that is a farm stay. Its about 45 min by car from Kings Cliff. If the ride through the hills is exciting then the last 500 meters on the jungle road in an army truck is the icing on the cake. Once you reach there - you have so much to do one does not know where to start. We started with the walk around the farm seeing the stables, the cow shed, the horse riding track, the duck pond, the fishing tank and then all the fields with carrots, herbs and strawberries. Then in the night there was a bon-fire with barbecue and then there was disco night.

The next morning after a lovely buffet breakfast with a lot of stuff cooked from the produce of the farm we went on a trek through the jungle to the lake that is adjacent to the farm. It was a beautiful walk through very rustic mud roads that were slushy from all the monsoon rain. The 10 km walk gave us an opportunity to view some of the best views i have seen in my life. In the afternoon we witnessed rain for the first time and the whole valley looked so different. The night ended with some Karaoke, Disco and a crackling fire place in my bed room !!!


The next morning after breakfast we started off to the next resort called Sherlock. Based on the Sherlock Holmes theme the resort is tastefully decorated with wonderful views of Ooty town. One can just sit for hours in the lawns with a laptop (what i did) just watching the view and ignoring the laptop sipping on some nice hot Nilgiri tea. In the evening we trekked on a hill called Tiger Hill. Again the most beautiful views to assault the senses mixed with a fragrance of Eucalyptus was just the right mix to not want to go back home. One more crackling fire place to finish our 3 day stay in Ooty.

Having thought we saw everything we woke up the next morning to a fog filled valley with visibility down to a few meters. Just another facet of this wonderful hill station that makes us want to go back and visit it again and again.

These 3 hotels are run by The little Earth Group. They are small, homely and tastefully done up hotels that bring back the British Raj with a wonderful modern twist to it. The wonderful food, the crackling fire places, the wood paneled walls of Kings Cliff, the views from Kings Cliff and Sherlock, the farm experience at Destiny makes one want to come back again and again and there were so many guests who were repeat customers. Its not surprising that these hotels are among the top hotels in TripAdvisor.