Sunday 24 June 2012

Mesmerizing Kotagiri



Nestled amidst the beautiful canopy of Nilgiri hills, away from the hustle bustle of the city and the commercialization of nearby tourist spots, lies a simple, serene, beautiful hill station which goes by the name - Kotagiri. As the oldest hill station of India, this place is full of lush green tea estates and breath taking viewpoints which can only be complimented by the peace and quiet that surround this place.
The calmness is broken occasionally by the chirping of the birds or the humming of the bees.
As an added flavor there are cottages available which are over a hundred years old and which can be easily booked online.  So if you are looking for a place to relax and reboot this may be just the perfect option. 

Our Experience:
After searching for a calm place to escape from the scorching sun in the month of may, myself and some of my teammates zeroed in on Kotagiri.  We booked one “Ridgeway cottage” which is a 125 year old British style Bungalow and offers a very unique experience by retaining the original settings by providing some basic amenities.

We hired an innova and set course towards Kotagiri via Mysore and Ooty.  The en-route Bandipur forest range closes around 6 P.M is the evening and opens at 6 A.M in the morning. So the travel must be planned accordingly.

The journey was pretty uneventful except but we spotted a herd of elephants (which included 3 baby elephants), monkeys, deers and a number of peacocks in Bandipur and Mudumalai.  From Mudhumalai, there are 36 hairpin bends on the road to Ooty via Kalhatti ghat, which is nothing short of a visual treat. There is also an alternate route available which the buses normal take.

Once you reach Ooty there are 2 routes which can be taken to reach Kotagiri. While going we went via Coonoor, but later discovered that there is a shorter route from Ooty via Doddabetta.  We took this route while coming back.
It took us around 7.5 hours to reach Kotagiri from Bangalore.

We lazed around this place for a day roaming around the tea estates, discovering the surroundings or just relaxing in the cottage.  We also visited kodanad view point which provided an excellent view of the Mysore plateau. The road to kodanad view point which was very well maintained, surrounded by greenery on either side.

The cottage provides a cook and a caretaker who can cook food if we provide groceries from the nearby local market. 

All in all this was a very different experience in an old British style cottage with some delicious home cooked food. 
  
About the cottage:
 Ridgeway cottage is around 125 years old and has 2 suites each with an attached bathroom, a dining hall, living room and a kitchen. This cottage makes a comfortable stay for 6-8 people and is in the middle of tea estates.  
More information about this cottage is available in the following link:

Nearby tourist attractions:
The roads in and around kotagiri are very well maintained.
There are quite a few places to see in and around Kotagiri.
1.       Kodanad View Point: Gives a splendid view of the Mysore Plateau. We can also get a sneak peak of      St   Catherine falls and the Rangaswamy Pillar from here.
2.       St Catherine falls: Around 8km away from the city, offers a good view point with its cascading falls.
3.       Rangaswamy Pillar: unique rock formation

While there don’t miss the toy train from Ooty to Coonoor.  This is the train where the Chaiya Chaiya song was shot and supposed to be very scenic all along.

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