Chennai Chronicles - Of Hills and Vales
A trotting we will go
Heigh Ho the Cherry Ho
A trotting we will go
The Ooty lake is so small boating in it gets boring in about 10 minutes. But not for Nantu. He wanted to go in the mini train which went on a rockety-rickety trip and back along a straight track. We tried to spruce it up a bit by hooting when we went through a tunnel. But everyone kept a straight face and ignored us! I remember doing this in the Smokeys once on the tram, Nantu and I hooted when the tram jerked and everyone joined us in our merry making! Unfortunately not this time.
Anyway, the next day we were off to Pykara falls and lake. The falls were so beautiful and cool, we hated to leave. We had a fun time splashing around and even got to see some Bison on our way there, as well as some Sheep grazing along the falls. We wanted to go to Mudumalai (Forest renowned for its wild Elephants) next but it was closed for "Fire Season" as they call it. Apparently this time of the year, the dry bamboo stems brush against each other and there are fires in the forest ever so often. So the elephants retreat to the thicker jungles. This was a big disappointment for us, as the forest safari was supposed to be the highlight of the ooty trip!
Spirits restored though, we were off to botanical gardens and some hiking. Most tourists seem to stick to some standard paths and don't venture up the slopes of the garden. But we were eager to move away from the crowd and in search of tranquility and more trees to climb we
ventured farther and farther. Soon we reached a revolving gate and lo behold we were at Toda Mund. A settlement of the toda tribes. Unfortunately our excitement was short lived as we saw the brick houses and very civilized people there! However we got to see their temple and one of the erstwhile huts. They hold the bufallo sacred and worship the pancha pandavas. Also there was a huge stone called the wedding stone, apparently the groom lifts the stone on to his shoulder in order to marry. A lady even obliged us by wearing the traditional garb. We later found out that she was missing the headdress!! Still we were thrilled nevertheless and later directed more aimless wanderers like us to the TodaMund.
Another fun thing about Ooty was the loads of shopping we did for Pashmina (Wool Silk) shawls and Pure Wool Shawls and pretty purses and bags. Why we (my sister and me, oh yes the bext part of shopping - window or otherwise is the company!!) needed so many of them I cannot answer. But the endless shopping did give us a reason to smile. And since then every once in a while, we examine the wares again for a return of the brilliant smile.
However one little gift I brought back from this trip is priceless. Ooty is going green and so are many other cities in south India. Plastics are banned in Ooty. You wont find plastic bags in the stores. They wrap stuff in Paper or give them in cloth bags. I was impressed with this start. Ofcourse there is a long way to go, what with tourists bringing in plastic and further dumping them carelessly on the roads. Also there is no proper mechanism for imposing fines/ punishment. Back in Coimbatore we received a circular saying that throwing away plastic bags was banned there too. I keep harping on the importance of going green. And this approach warmed by heart, the west has something to learn!