Hey Peeps! So my blog has turned One today and I couldn’t help feeling sentimental of the journey of last one year. To celebrate this special day I planned a weekend stay in Ooty just before the blog anniversary. Frankly, I have been to Ooty twice, still, I planned to stay in Ooty as it is the first place I explored in South India. Ooty hill station is quite famous in Bollywood movies and since childhood, an Ooty trip had always been on my bucket list.
Because of my hectic schedule, I always plan my trips in advance. So, this time I wanted to celebrate it with my dear husband(The man behind lenses and lots more) and my close friends, who were not only part of my blogging journey but most part of my life.
Homestay in Ooty
So the first question was where to stay in Ooty? Since we were in a group of 4 we wanted to go to a resort, homestay or a cottage in Ooty. This trip was more than a weekend gateway to us and luckily I got a chance to get a complimentary room at Delightz Inn Resorts, Ooty. This resort is perched on the Tiger Hill surrounded by lush green environs of The Nilgiris. I am not exaggerating, but the place fit our expectation for the stay in Ooty. As we say the first impression in the last impression, the serene and beautiful resort, embedded in the beautiful Nilgiris (Blue Mountain), is still fresh in my eyes.
Rooms in Delightz Inn Resort, Ooty
We reached the resort in Ooty by 11 a.m. and first aim to relax and enjoy the resort. Each room has an attached hall and washroom with western closet. The hall was the perfect place for us to dine together, share a cup of Nilgiris tea and trade stories. We wanted to have a laidback vacation without having to tick every spot in the tourist map. Our room’s windows opened up to the breathtaking vistas of rolling hills, definitely, a welcome sight for tired city dweller’s eyes.
In the evening, Bala, the ever smiling and generous manager of the resort arranged a bonfire for us out in the garden. Were we thankful for it! The temperature drops sharply after sunset and by 8 p.m. we were scouting for gloves and caps in the local market during our stay in Ooty. Being in Bangalore for the most part of the last decade, we rarely experience the mercury falling below 12 degrees. At 6 degrees, with a bonfire to keep us warm and cosy, it was definitely a memory to cherish.
Places to see in Ooty
Architecture and Buildings
Ooty has a rich heritage; due to its favourable weather, it served as the summer capital of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. You would spot numerous British era buildings, schools, colleges and government offices. The most famous of the lot is The Stone House built by John Sullivan in 1822.
English Vegetable Gardens
Ooty has a rich farming culture including the cultivation of “English vegetables” and “English fruits” grown locally. This primarily consists of potato, carrot, cabbage and cauliflower and the fruits being peaches, plums, pears and strawberries. You would easily spot farm fresh exotic vegetables as zucchinis, Ooty carrots, turnips, lettuce leaves, bok choy (Chinese cabbage) in local markets.
The entire Nilgiris range around is dotted with breathtaking tea plantations growing dark, intensely aromatic, fragrant and flavoured tea variety distinctly different from it’s Assam, Darjeeling or Ceylon counterparts. In fact, at a few plantations, you could even sample and buy single origin, authentic Nilgiri Tea.
Officially known as the Doddabetta tea museum and factory, this should be a must-see place in you Ooty itinerary. You can get a paid guided tour of the complete tea making process – from plucking to rolling and drying to get the aromatic leaves which most of Indians relish. You get to sample freshly brewed tea, green tea and chocolates and have an option to buy authorised products at their shop.
Ooty has a rich tradition of homemade chocolates with the market area around Charring Cross lined with shops vending scores of different varieties of these delightfully tempting chocolates. I really don’t care about the homemade part, however, I do relish these chocolates, especially the nutty and dark ones.
Government Rose Garden, Ooty
This place has been around for over one hundred and twenty years and is definitely a jewel in Ooty’s crown. With over 20,000 varieties of roses, it is one of the largest rose gardens in India. In fact, The rose garden has received the Garden of Excellence Award for being the best rose garden in South Asia, from the World Federation of Rose Societies in 2006.
Places to see near Ooty
We really didn’t get a lot of time on our weekend trip to explore and tick off each and every spot on the tourist map, however, these two places find a special mention.
It is the highest peak in Nilgiri Range and overall fourth highest in South India. You are welcome by expansive and breathtaking views of the entire Nilgiri range from atop the hill. Sunsets are especially mesmerizing here.
Note: The entrance to the hill closes by 5 pm and we missed it by a whisker of 15 minutes in this trip. So plan ahead.
We got to this scenic spot on our way back from Ooty, about 20 km from the city centre. You need to walk for around 500 meters. There is a battery operated vehicle available for senior citizens which drops you at the ticket point. You get to enjoy a steady stream of rivulet, splendid scenic lake and boat tours. In fact, we prefer this one over the main lake in the city which is always crowded.
Due to lack of time, we could not venture to Coonoor or Wellington. Neither could we enjoy the passage back in time through the toy train officially known as Nilgiri Mountain Railway. they are definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you have got an extra day.
Until The Next Time, Stay Curious and Keep Exploring!