Hello from cool and rainy Bangalore! Sorry about the radio silence on the blog, but I have been travelling. After my last trip to Almora, I was back in Mumbai for a bit and then took off again - this time down South. From Bangalore, the husband & I headed off to Coonoor on a whim and had such a fun (working) vacation :)
If you've been following me on Twitter or Facebook, you'd have seen my updates and photos from Coonoor. If you don't (why not?!), here's a 'storified' version of my #CoonoorTrail. We went chasing the monsoons in the Nilgiris and these photos will surely prompt you to take a monsoon vacation soon!
Breakfast pit-stop at a place called Up South on the Bangalore-Mysore road.
And a bison and a few peacocks on the return trip... Sadly, no tigers!
Caught a bit of rains on the way up the Kalhatti Ghat to Coonoor.
We stayed at Tea Nest the first couple of days. Our room was in the Tea Nest Annexe, which is a charming, brick-red bungalow, nestled among the Singara Tea Estate. It's part of Nature Resorts - more about this in a later post.
We reached Tea Nest in the afternoon and were welcomed by a short drizzle and this gorgeous rainbow!
The morning after! The weather was just perfect, cool and crisp, with the mist descending down from the heavens...
Here's a pic of Tea Nest Annexe. More images on my Facebook page (while you're there, do 'like' it to stay updated!)
That evening we reluctantly ventured out of our lovely 'home' to visit Coonoor town.
One of the attractions in Coonoor is Sim's Park - a massive landscaped garden on the hillside, full of pretty flowers in bloom, several birds twittering away, a pond (they call it a 'lake') with forever-hungry fishes, and lots of greenery. Worth a visit...
The next day the mist had pretty much obscured our view, but it was still a lovely morning for a ramble through the tea estate. Thankfully we didn't come across any bisons.
From Tea Nest we moved to Kurumba Village Resort, also a part of Nature Resorts. This one has a spice plantation of its own and is pretty much in the jungle. We had a cottage that was split over two levels - a bed & bath above and a sitting area & 2 balconies below - everything overlooking the dense Nilgiri jungles!
That night, the husband & I were treated to a special, tree-top dinner in the jungle - complete with our own chef who prepared the food fresh in front of us, flickering candlelight, the almost-full moon casting a bright light and the jungle sounds as musical accompaniment...
The next morning we were taken on a walk through the spice plantation. Apart from vanilla, there's nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and pepper, as well as fruit trees such as grapefruit, jackfruit, avocado, mangosteen and more.
Speaking of jackfruit, I had a bowlful of it sent over to the room :) Unlike in the Konkan (Maharashtra) where jackfruit season is in the summers, here in the Nilgiris (Tamil Nadu) it's available during the rains.
That afternoon we headed to Coonoor town to catch the Nilgiri Railway train down to Mettupalayam, a scenic journey taking in the Nilgiri range, tea estates and general natural beauty.
Frankly, I was a bit bored after the first 30 minutes (the entire journey takes 2.5 hours, at a slow, laborious pace). But that was partly because the compartment is quite cramped and my co-passengers just wouldn't shut up! Not to mention, TWO screaming children :/
This was the view from my bed the next morning :)
Decided to get some work done, so headed down to the balcony (with this distracting view)! Yet finished writing and filed two articles, so was quite pleased with self :)
This was at entrance of the resort...
We left Coonoor and decided to visit Ooty before returning to Bangalore. It was a cold and rainy morning so the lake wasn't filled with paddle boats (yay!). We wandered around a bit, gorged on some 'Ooty apples' (or as we call them, plums) and then headed to the market for the mandatory chocolate shopping :)
We picked up a ton of those homemade chocolates that Ooty is famous for. So many options - from plain (white, milk, dark) to almond, fruit & nut, cherry brandy, fig & honey, fudge etc. We purchased from King Star, one of the well-known shops, also recommended by family & friends, and the hotel as well.
We stopped for lunch at Sri Guruprasad at Gundlupet. Since we were in 'awesome dosa land', the lunch was superb, obviously. But this filter kaapi was the star! What a great way to end #CoonoorTrail.
I'll be back soon with more details of the places we stayed at. Stay tuned.
Disclosure: We were guests of Nature's Resorts at both the properties.