Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rediscovering Ooty (Part 4): Kid's Park, Film Shooting Point & A Memorable Camp Fire Experience

Sleeping out in a cool chilly morning on a holiday, with no timelines/engagements planned is one of the best things in most people’s life. We are doing the same thing here in Ooty at the beautiful Brookdale resort. Flip open the window and we can see the beautiful valley sprite up by the morning sun. Just open it and real cold air came gushing in. Adjust the woolen blanket and go to sleep again. Simply fantastic !! Thank God for giving us this fantastic routine called sleeping, something which can be enjoyed by the rich and the poor, irrespective of their caste, creed or race.

This day we have plans to visit the Ooty town. Yesterday was wholly spent in this resort and it was truly enthralling. (Watch our exploration of this beautiful resort facilities here). We could stay here in the resort today also exploring their wide property. But somehow we cannot digest the thought of a visit to Ooty without roaming around the town to the regular picnic spots, a routine which we had practiced right from our school excursions.

Someone is knocking hard at the door. “Breakfast sir”, the room boy is coming here for the second time with breakfast.

By 11am our sojourn starts with no specific plans, no preconceived notions or expectations on how the destination will be, as we were already satisfied with the place of our stay.

The day is really bright. The roads are stunning, the scenery alongside the valleys even more stunning. Gliding slowly through these beautiful ghat roads is pure fun and all the approaching vehicles seems to pose as models for a vehicle ad.

Just passed the board stating that Ooty is still a good 15 km away. What is that rush over there in the roadside? Seems like a tourist spot and all the tourists have flocked the entrance with some vast hilly area further away. The small tea shop owner clarified my query regarding the importance of this place – the place is called “film shooting point” and the climb up yields rich dividends in terms of the panoramic view of the surroundings.

The sun which is shining in full glory made the argument in favour of my co-travelers, for not climbing upwards now and the journey continues.

Another major board was pointing to the Pykara lake which according our reception guy is much less crowded and the boating experience is way better than the Ooty lake. Again the shining sun’s heat made the reasoning tilt in favour of those, who wanted to proceed ahead in search of greener pastures.

Greener pastures seemed to welcome us as we are approaching Ooty town. The vast meadows naturally made me halt the vehicle and jump out into the vastness. The ambience is cool and a kind of calm silence was dominant even though many fast moving vehicles are screeching past the black tarmac.

The stoppage here is lasting a little longer than expected and the fact is that we have still not reached Ooty town and it is well past noon now. Again we are rolling ahead and a board which is almost near extinction is welcoming us to the “Queen of Hills” – Ooty.

The Ooty Boat Club - (1 Km from Ooty Bus station)

All of sudden we are in the midst of highly traffic dense town and it does not look like a hillstation any more. The circle near the bus terminal and Ooty railway station is in front of us now. The confusion on where to go is still prelevant, thanks to the lack of planning and differing opinions. All of a sudden I began to think whether our decision to roam around Ooty was a false one. By instinct I turned right towards the Ooty lake, coz that is the route most people take when we reach this circle and as expected we are heading towards the boat club. As expected the boat club was filled to the brim by tourists. Neverthless lady folks enjoyed a bout of shopping for knick knacks while I just kept on walking with my son around.

Incidentally this is the second time I am reaching this place and deciding against going inside the club owing to the crowd the previous one during my ride to Ooty (read the thrilling ride experience here). Watch the Ooty lake from outside the boat club.

The Kids Park @ Ooty - (300meters from Ooty Bus Station towards Boat club road)

Within no time we are again on top of the rolling wheels and just like the saying goes, till now we have gathered no moss. If yesterday we were traveling on dream roads during this time, today we are negotiating heavy traffic as if in a mad city. Finally some respite seems to be on offer as our kids spotted a gigantic hen like balloon on one side of the road.

It is the Ooty Children’s park. Inside the pathways are neatly laid out and luckily there is no heavy rush here.

The park is really sprawling but the equipment level is too less. Still kids managed to find some thing interesting for them thanks to their thinking process which is not yet trained to be narrow minded, since they have started schooling only a few years back.

It is already past 2 and we have not taken lunch. This day does not belong to us as we were made to search for another hour for a hotel with restroom. Finally located one hotel on the way to Gudaloor and all the discussions began to circle around the type of day we are having. Somehow the climate kept all of us cool.

Time is now exactly 4 pm as we begin heading back to the route which we took to Ooty from our resort. Even though returns in terms of sight seeing was way below the average rating, our moods are still not down as we expect to have a nice outing before sunset. Soon the mood inside the vehicle turned sombre, thanks to the milky white clouds, approaching us gently caressing the valley.

How will it feel like if a bucket full of water is splashed on to the vehicle's windscreen. Exactly the same thing is happening here as loads and loads of water came down splashing hard. Watch my visibility through the windscreen.

I enjoy driving in the rain, but this one was very tight. Rain seem to subside a little as we slowly tread out of the Ooty town.

Still the only possibility ahead of us seem to be a return to our resort and do something to raise our spirits. As of now no one inside vehicle was uttering a word.

The Enchanting Lake - for those seeking solitude ( 5 kms from Ooty in the Ooty - Gudaloor Route)

A small ray of hope began to appear as a ray of sunshine slowly made its way out through the clouds. Rain gods seem to give us some respite as the small ray soon began to increase its prominence more and more. The woods around began to appear bright and this location seemed very familiar to me.

Two years back I had a stop over here and a tread through the woods down the valley yielded one of the most beautiful locations. But the area seem to be a private property as it was barbed. A little ahead there is a path way through the woods. Naturally we began to enjoy our walk through the woods leaving our vehicle behind near the beautiful forest like settings.

As expected the beautiful lake is in front of us and the sigh of relief slowly became quite audible.

It was like quenching thirst after a long time. The day so far was really not exciting at all, but this space start to grow upon us as we began to start jumping around and lying down in the green meadows just staring at the sky. A walk through the banks recuperated our moods from somber to jovial. The walk ended up at a small dam.

Time is now already nearing 5, and we could make a beeline to the film shooting point if we leave now. So the entrage quickly strolled through the woods back to their carrier only to be greeted by a good number of good friends enjoying evening snacks and quenching their thirst.

Some of them are trying to get closer to us. Since we are not really familiar with their level of aggression we soon found ourselves sitting inside the confines of the vehicle enjoying the show.

The Film Shooting Point @ Ooty - 10kms from Ooty town in the Ooty - Gudaloor Route

In the morning if the place was crowded, now it seems deserted with only a handful of tourists. The intermittent rains must have made this transformation possible.

The route upward seem to last an eternity and we doubt whether we can reach the top before the sun sets. Neverthless let us give a try and so the trek starts.

This is a very barren land with only traces of greenery. Wonder whether this will be green clad after the rains. The hugeness of the place is making it most attractive. As we trek up the visuals become more enchanting as we add more mountains to our field of vision.

Even the lonely cattle grazing here seemed to deck up the ambience with its sprightly color combination.

This panorama will give an idea on the vastness of the place and we are completely dwarfed by this vast land.

The solo tree which has shed all its leaves and eagerly waiting for a new clothing is capturing my attention and somehow I started walking towards it.

Suddenly I felt an urge to capture it in with different background options and no wonder I am loving every moment of this.

From here I could see another interesting pattern. One of the mountains was protruding its peak out as if it is a nose of the human being. Out of enthusiasm I captured a zoomed up image and on rotating this is what I get. Isn't it a master craft of nature?

Meanwhile dusk was setting in and the beautiful transformation of colors is going to take place in the biggest canvas - the sky. The object which captured by imagination is soon showing a different color.

The clouds in the sky almost wrapped up the sun. Even this yielded another beautiful spectacle as the rays could be seen popping out through the gaps in the clouds just like a search light.

My adoration with the nature's canvas somehow made me a loner as I could not see my wife or kids around. A peep around made me realize that they have almost reached the bottom of the hill.

There are some tyre marks around which means that vehicles can be taken up here, something which the driving enthusiast can feast on.

It is advisable to take only wheel drives up here as the terrain is steep and slippery. So I don't dare to bring my vehicle up here even though every bit my heart is yielding for it. Before I leave this place one more shot of the beautiful tree and the setting sun.

The Camp Fire @ Brookdale Resort and a meet up with a jovial family!!

Almost 75% of this day was dull and at one point we had even thought that we made a blunder by deciding to roam around Ooty. The heavy rain in mid afternoon made things only worse even though the downpour was really an experience of its own. The evening was good as we experienced the beautiful lake and the really vast "Film shooting point". As we reached the resort's entrance all that we expected was more rains, so a chit chat and some fun games inside our rooms were only on cards. But the saying is that "Expect the Unexpected".

Dinner as expected is turning out to be a good one with the food having a taste of the Malabar region. Another family is also having dinner in another corner of the restaurant. Their kid was occassionally coming to us and naturally we befriended with the lovely little girl. Meanwhile a resort staff approached us asking whether he can set up the camp fire. Yesterday they were not able to set up the camp fire as it was raining heavily. So that is it. We thought of enjoying the really chilling climate near the camp fire.

Meanwhile my wife felt as if one of the faces in the other family is quite familiar to her. Soon she realised that it is her batchmate in college and naturally within no time we are into a conversation. The camp fire guy soon came and announced that everything is set up and indeed it was a good set up. The other family was a gang of 4 adults and one kid and we were four adults and 2 kids. Not too bad a crowd for a camp fire experience.

A lawn amidst the beautiful hill side, tree trunks transformed as seats, a karoake set, the fire blazing out, really cool climate... all set up neatly. It is amazing as to how well humans get along with like minded people. The nature of a person can very well be judged within a span of very short time. What transpired was really an awesome session as guy and his wife whom I met hardly half an hour ago were perfect entertainers. Almost everyone sang their heart out, tapped their legs, played the games as if their is no tomorrow and the session just went on and on.

The lighting for the event is not only provided by the fire, but from the person who was blazing in its maximum capacity from the sky.

The camp fire gathering really sprite up the whole day which was otherwise more or less dull, and we owe this to the lively people whom we met. Not surprisingly, the guy who set up all these came to us and congratulated my wife's niece for her singing capabilities and my wife's college mate who turned out to be an excellent party guy.

If this resort amazed us on first day because of the beautiful settings and the great trekking experience, they did the trick on the second day because of the camp fire. We were initially skeptical about the campfire thinking that we were only a gang of 5 people, but it was the resort guy who initiated all this and it ended up being one of the most memorable occasions of this visit. The other family whom we met today was planning to leave tomorrow, but decided to stay on for one more day after this experience.

Click here to read the previous parts

Part 1 - Driver's dream roads : Calicut to Ooty
Part 2 - Brookdale: In a different league.
Part 3 - Woodbrook Lake


krishnakumar513 said...

nice as usual!!

Hotels in Ooty said...

Shots are very nice...

United-21 Resort Ooty said...

Amazing information and specially the photography!!!

Anwer Reyaz said...

Superb write up!
I love to read write ups of guests to my hometown :)

and "One of the mountains was protruding its peak out as if it is a nose of the human being" is the Mukurti Peak.

And this is how it looks from the top of this peak:

Nice blog! Cheers

Anwer Reyaz said...

Superb write up!
I love to read write ups of guests to my hometown :)

and "One of the mountains was protruding its peak out as if it is a nose of the human being"... is the Mukurti Peak which is the second highest peak at 2,554m only next to Kolleribetta and the Nilgiri Peak. From this peak you can see the silent valley on one side and TN(Mukurthi Reservoir).

And this is how it looks from the top of this peak(TN Side):

Nice blog! Cheers


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