Ooty, whenever I use to hear this name my mind automatically use to picturize winding roads, green mountains, gushing cascades, a green valley enveloped in sparse fog until, I visited and returned utterly disappointed.
I found green mountains but laden with plastic and garbage and lots and lots of people
I found cascades but they were barely dripping and again overcrowded, damn lots and lots of people
I found winding roads only to be stuck in hours long traffic, long queues of cars and bikes and lots and lots of people
Naahh, I didn’t find any fog.
It would have been much better had it been not so much commercialized.
I flew all the way from Mumbai to Bangalore and then overnight journey just to witness this! That really annoyed me but then I explored the place and figured out what are do’s and don’ts of this place. To prevent other people whom I know and don’t know from any such disappointment, I decided to write about it.
Don’ts of Ooty:
Don’t stay in the commercialized place:
While travelling alone or in just girls group or the thought of easy access to market we tend to book hotels that are relatively closer to market. I did the same mistake. No doubt the hotel was good and it was not exactly in the market, but then it killed the whole mood of being in hill station. Find a hotel somewhere deep in woods, a little bit higher up in the hill. Going to a hill station and staying amidst chaos makes no sense.
Don’t hire a tuk-tuk or Cab from hotel you are staying:
The hotel manager will portray to be so generous that they will arrange the tuk-tuk/auto or cab for you and would let you negotiate the price but that is all fixed beforehand. You will get better packages at cheaper rate if you get tuk-tuk or cab for day trip from near bus stand or local market stand
Don’t buy local alcohol:
Alcohol shops are little hard to find and ones that are available will sell the local brand of whisky or beer. don’t buy it. It hits really hard. In fact there is one government authorized liquor shop, buy alcohol from there only
Don’t plan a night travel from Bangalore to Ooty:
If you are travelling from Bangalore to Ooty, you have to cross Bandipur wildlife Century on the way which closes every night from night 9 PM to 6AM
Don’t rely on finding hotel on arrival:
Ooty is a craze among people. Visit any time of the year and it will be crowded. Make sure to book your hotels prior to your arrival because there have been several cases where people ended up spending nights sitting in their cars.
Don’t expect much from the site seeing places:
Ooty’s famous site seeing places, doddabetta peak, tea factory, rose garden, ooty lake etc. all these are located in a single line. The cab will take you first to the doddabetta peak and on your way back will show you all these places. Downside is, all these palaces are super crowded and not really worth your time.
Do’s Of Ooty:
Do check out Earl’s secret:
Situated at strawberry hill, Earl’s secret was used as guest house during British era and only the eminent personalities were allowed to stay there. Build in colonial era, the wooden work and architecture still gives the vibes of emperor time and also they serve the best food that you can find in ooty
Travel to Kunnur
Kunnur lies at close proximities to Ooty and is way more beautiful and peaceful. It would be even better if you plan to stay at Kunnur. You won’t find fancy restaurants here but then it is less commercialized and greener than ooty
Visit Paykara waterfall
They are not exactly waterfalls but water dripping down the bright naturally colored orange yellow stones from the lake storage contained between the pine trees.
Buy Acre Wild cheese from Kunnur and Homemade chocolates from ooty:
Homemade chocolates though are speciality of many small hill stations of south but Acre Wild cheese! You won’t find it anywhere else
Book train ticket Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train beforehand itself:
Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train is a UNESCO world heritage site and plies between Ooty and Udhagamandalam. The wooden carriages are maintained by government are constantly checked. It has the steepest track in Asia with maximum gradient increase from 1348ft to 7228ft. Since it has so many factors to visit, tickets gets pre-booked from IRCTC quite early. So make sure to book your tickets prior your visit.