Nilgiris mountains, where Ooty stands as the most famous touristic spot were one of the last attractions of South India where we hadn’t put a foot. We knew the opportunity would show up eventually. So when our friends living in Malaysia visited us recently we thought they might be interested to get a chiller weather by climbing up to one of the famous “hill stations” of the Nilgiris, Coonoor.
Those “hill stations”, located around 2000m above sea level, were initially created by the British who couldn’t stand the heat of Madras (today Chennai) during the summer months. And altitude is indeeed having a great effect, temperatures are lower there and we even had the (smocky) pleasure to get a fire in our room’s fireplace for the night! By the way, we’re recommending the 180 McIver Villa for its English authentic architecture, its garden with a nice view and its restaurant serving delicious meals ranging from French to Indian.
More than the chillness and the Brit’s architecture, the two main local attractions are the tea plantations and… the famous “toy train“, one of the last running steam train in the world! The best part of the track is supposed to be between Mettupalayam and Coonoor but it’s difficult to book and the timing is quite unconvenient. So we finally boarded this train for the Coonoor to Ooty part which is still enjoyable as you’ll get to see the steam loco entering the station and getting out of it as it gives way to a Diesel one for the other part of the journey. Views from the train aren’t always amazing but the experience is quite unique in the small coaches where interactions with other passengers are always funny.
Once arrived in Ooty, we went down directly to Mysore, going through several wildlife reserves on the way, including Bandipur where we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of some wild animals from the road (including a couple of elephants with their baby!).
And for once, Mysore, didn’t bring us bad luck! We reached at the end of the day being able to enjoy the sunset from Chammundi Hills and even the fully lighted Mysore palace without planning it (we discovered later that it happens only once a week for one hour).
Sometimes it’s like that, everything goes smoothly!