It was a sudden plan, as one of my erstwhile colleagues come friend suggested for an outing for the next weekend. Actually, it was his birth day next Saturday and he was not willing to celebrate it in busy Bangalore. After a lot of discussions, we finally decided to go to Coonoor, which is in Tamilnadu, India.
Then comes the second part, booking the hotel and booking bus or flight. As we planned just before a week, the flight tickets were high. The closest airport to Coonoor is Coimbatore international airport. A ticket from Hyderabad generally costs somewhere INR 2200-2600 bucks. But this time it was around INR 5600. So I decided to book a bus ticket. A bus ticket will cost you around INR1800-2200 depending upon sleeper or semi sleeper bus. From Hyderabad, it will take around 14 hrs to Coimbatore and from Coimbatore, you can take local govt buses from Mettupalayam bus stand. Or else you can take a private cab from Coimbatore. Distance from Coimbatore to Coonoor is 68km.
Once the bus ticket was booked for me from Hyderabad and from Bangalore for my friend, we decided to book the hotel. I heard a lot about one particular hotel sunvalley homestay. The room rent was on the higher side. For three nights and four days, it was showing around INR12.5K. So we tried other hotels within 5-8k, but after a lot of discussions, arguments, we finally decided to book the hotel from booking.com, as this site was giving us the lowest rate.
I started my journey at 7 pm in the evening from Hyderabad. The bus stopped for dinner at around 9 pm, and I had to eat distasteful food at a high price. Actually, roadside hotels always try to sell food at a higher price at night irrespective of taste. The biggest mistake I made that day was, I missed my ear phones at home and I paid a hefty price for that later. It’s not always for listening to music, it’s also for getting you some hours of sleep during late night when almost everyone around you is snoring. I could not sleep the whole night. Anyway, next morning around 9 am in the morning I reached Omni bus stand in Coimbatore. After that, I took an auto rickshaw to reach Mettupalayam bus stand. Few taxi drivers approached me for share taxi till Ooty for INR1500. I had to turn them down as my trip cost has gone up after we decided to book the hotel sunvalley homestay at Coonoor. So decided to take Govt bus, and to my surprise, I only paid 40 rupees for the 68KM journey. The travel time from Bangalore is a lot less though as my friend started his journey at 10 pm and he reached Coonoor around 6.30 am in the morning. Once I was getting closer to Coonoor the landscape was starting to change and I was able to see few tea gardens here and there. At around 12 pm I got down at Coonoor bus stand and again took an auto rickshaw to get to the hotel.
My friend got to the hotel at around 6.30 or 7 am in the morning. He was given a temporary room till 11 am in the morning. After I reached the hotel, I had to finish up the check-in formalities, as I booked the hotel. Once I got into the room I could not stop myself from leaving everything behind and running to the balcony. Before I came to the hotel I had a fair idea of the surroundings of the hotel, but seeing it with your own eyes is hard to describe especially if you are a nature lover. The hotel is situated just beside a tea estate (which belongs to the hotel). It was just amazing. Quickly I took my camera and grabbed few shots.
I was tired after the whole night sleepless bus journey, so after finishing lunch, we decided to rest, but after few minutes I found myself in the tea garden trying to find a nice composition. In the evening we decided to chill. So we decided to sit on the balcony and have a couple of glass scotch with good food and nice soothing music. The temperature was very soothing.
In the evening we decided to hire bike next day, the hotel had one TVS Apache and one Yamaha FZ. My friend is little short height and he is the only one who knows how to ride a bike, and he was not comfortable with these bikes in the hills. So we decided to call a guy who gives bikes on rent in Ooty for Bajaj avenger. After a bit of negotiation, he agreed to rent his bike for 850 rupees per day.
We had two option outside Coonoor, one is Kotagiri and other being the highly commercialized Ooty. As we are more of a nature lover, we decided to see the famous Catherine falls in Kotagiri, which is around 25-30 km away from the hotel. The entire journey was so beautiful that I cannot portray by writing a word. Kotagiri is really a place for landscape photography people. On our way to the Catherine falls we lost ourselves in a private property, thanks to google map. Google map is not always accurate in the hills. But from that private property, I was able to capture my best image of the trip. One side it was the lush green tea garden and on the other side a valley on the foothills of Nilgiri Mountain.
Later having lunch, we went to Dolphin nose point. We could see a lot of tourists here. The view of the Catherine falls is just beautiful from here, also the valley around the point is simply worth visiting.
Next day we decided to go to Avalanche near Ooty. It’s almost 45-50 km away from our hotel. It was an overcast day, when we started in the morning 9 am, but gradually it started drizzling. We did not have any winter jacket or any rain coat. We got soaked during our ride and the chilling wind was making it impossible to ride. However after a lot of effort, we reached the place around 3 am, as we had to stop multiple times for rain and lost ourselves few times, thanks to google map again. Before reaching there we did not have any idea that it is a forest reserve and end of the safari we can see the lake avalanche. Somehow we managed cash and joined with another group to go for a 1-1.5 hour trip. It’s basically 11*2=22 km long trip in the forest. But when we started at 3 pm, it again started raining and cold wind made it extreme adverse situation for the trip. In that entire trip we could not get out of the car, also there was nothing much to see as it was foggy outside. At the end of the one way we were supposed to see the lake but it was completely covered by cloud. The avalanche trip was a complete mess for us. The amount of effort we had to give to reach there, we were totally disappointed. On our way back I took one shot which is also part of the lake. I had to grab the shot quickly, as my friend was hurrying to leave that forest area, and warnings were given to not to stop in the forest.
Once we reached Ooty, we returned the bike and came back to the hotel by bus. The whole day we did not have any food, only cigarette, and tea. We were so cold that it was becoming unbearable to wait anywhere. After we reached the hotel, we ordered hot chicken soup. The soup was just too delicious.
Next day we did not do anything, just had our breakfast and left the hotel at 11.45 am. My friend had a bus in the evening but he canceled it and came in the same bus with me till Bangalore from Coimbatore. I reached Hyderabad next day morning and back to the same old corporate job.
Few things, if you are planning a trip to Coonoor, I would highly recommend you to stay in the sunvalley hotel. It’s not only located in an amazing location, also the staffs are really nice, very polite. The food was very good and reasonably priced, overall we had a wonderful stay. If you are planning a trip to Ooty, I would suggest Coonoor and Kotagiri instead. You can always visit few places near Ooty, which is worth watching. Few places we missed this time, because of bad weather and immature planning, but will surely cover them next time. Continue reading