One thing is for sure, you can’t have enough of Ooty; the moment the thought of having spent good number of days in city crossed our minds, we were spellbound by its most alluring attractions.
We come to the famed Nilgiri Mountain Railway, another UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built in 1908. Its compelling charm comes from its petite stature; a metre gauge track with slim bogies and big windows. It is curiously exciting when the rack & pinion loudly clicks into position and clacks up the steep gradients; much like a roller coaster.
The toy-train ride itself is an adorable journey where everything seems in proportion. From the dainty train-lane through the pine and eucalyptus trees to the slender tunnels to the misty little undulating hills; everything except yourself, which feels like you’ve stepped into a Lilliputian world of hobbits and pixies. The birds are resonant, the flowers vibrant, the trees verdant and yourself ascendant.
As the train moves along you round a curve and happen upon the first tiny station called Fernhill. This is, in line with the symmetry mentioned above, an amusing dwarf station. There are gorgeous little towns hidden in the Nilgiris, which are each worth exploring on their own. We would recommend a walking expedition from one little haven to another over a few days or a bike ride just as well. Hillgrove, Runneymede and Wellington are just some of the hamlets that evoke the old British country charm.
Special Mention: Lovedale In the words of our local friend, “Oh, these are Love Farmers!” In reference to a whole hill-side of patterned tea estate punctuated with trees cut into heart shapes. These farms are a must visit.
Amusing Mention: Toda Huts
The Toda people live in small settlements called munds. Their huts have a distinctly barrel-shaped oval structure made of bamboo and thatch. The conspicuously tiny entrance is to protect from wild animals. Interestingly, their principal deity is the Buffalo. Their priests are ordained dairy-men and their chants are poetic songs on the cult of the Buffalo.
We leave you with yet another glimpse of the wonderful city of Ooty.