Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 2: Coonoor-Kotagiri: Sim's park, Dolphin nose, Kodanad viewpoint, Catherine Falls

Hello Sir Wake up. I need to sweep this place. Is that your car? Can you remove it?” I woke up listening above words, from a sweeper, at Coonoor main bus stand, on 2nd of May 2009 5.45-6 AM. Couple of hours back I’d slept there, after a failed attempt to find an ideal camping place/hotel during day 1 of our Ooty trip. You need to read part one here to get full picture.
The place where we camped
Highlights of Day 2: Campsite found, Dolphin Nose, Lamb's Rock and Kodanad Viewpoints, Catherine Falls and Sim's park, Saying No to Rs 500 buffet dinner at Wallwood garden, driving in lush green Coonoor roads.

Thus began Day 2 of our trip, with the shadow of Day 1 still haunting us. We needed a place to freshen up-few hotels in the city which had proper restroom facilities would open only by 7. We had about an hour to spare, so thought we’ll visit one or two tourist places and return. We set out to explore Dolphin nose. One kind localite guided us for most of the distance. Somewhere suddenly I saw a board-“Parking Toilets” and I slammed the brakes. Two people got out and checked the place-it was a shop (run by Mayur Teas) selling tea, tea powder, oil, homemade chocolates and other products Ooty is famous for. They had a toilet which visitors could use and lots of open space, generously offered for parking/camping, free. We freshened up here and had great tea. We checked with them if we can camp tonight in the premises of their shop and they generously agreed. Thus we decided to come back and camp there that night, without searching any further. One problem solved. (Clarification: Parking & Toilets are two separate term-not a combined service like Drive in Restaurants :) )

We next went to Dolphin nose-located at the edge of a hill, connected by very narrow road. Nothing there resembled the name, but view was great nevertheless. A magazine page with Amit Agarwal’s photo was lying on the ground and caught our attention. Catherine falls is visible from here (we went there later in the day- refer photos at the end of post). Photo session at the tea garden, stop at a small water stream and checking out Lambs Rock viewpoint were next few activities before returning back to city. Sim’s park was the next destination, where we had breakfast. The Poori we had there came with a Sabji of north Indian style. The garden was ok ok-a tiny pond with boating, several big trees (with honeybee nests) and lots of shade. This garden was supposed to have a japanese style-didn't notice anything to that effect. The Pasteur Institute was right in front of Sim's park, which we could have visited, but didn't.
honeybee nests on a tree at SIM's park, Coonoor
It was noon by the time we came out and started looking for a restaurant. Saw the board of Hotel Vivek and we went there. We were the first customer for the afternoon. This hotel has very nice restroom-a bathroom included. Lunch was good, comprised of biriyani and pullao.

Next we set out towards Kotagiri. Got to see a possession en-route in which a person had pierced a rod through is cheeks. First destination was Catherine falls, hidden somewhere inside a private tea garden. First proper bathing for us since we left Bengaluru-refreshing. Dolphin’s nose was visible from Catherine falls. The places of tourist interest are spread all over the district, 10-40 kms from each others, most of them connected by narrow roads in the middle of tea gardens-good that we had our transportation. A few autos and jeeps do seem to ply between places ferrying people. No buses for most of the places (road isn't wide enough)
Business ideas
Energized by the falls, drove towards Kodanad viewpoint. Roads were good all around. Signs were adequate to help us with direction, but at times we had to stop at ask. In Kotagiri, I believe villagers are used to people asking for directions-At junctions if we aren’t sure which way to take, we just had to slow down and people would automatically guide us to the right direction, without our asking. Feels good. Viewpoint was good and we’d reached just in time for sunset.

In Yercaud, all viewpoints-Pagoda point, Lady's seat, Gents' seat etc were looking similar. But in Coonoor each viewpoint had different view and were interesting.
Went back to Coonoor, no other plans for the day, except for dinner and rest. Almost all key destinations were covered. But we had to reach our campsite in time, so that the shopowner won’t lock the gates and sleep off. Searching for a restaurant for dinner, suspecting another traffic jam in Coonoor city, took an impulsive decision to checkout Wallwood Garden, a posh hotel which we’d just passed by few mins back while driving towards Coonoor. We took you turn, went inside the Wallwood Garden campus and parked the car. We went to the restaurant and surprised to see a person playing a Piano there, entertaining the guests. With little hesitation we asked how much the dinner would cost. “Rs 500+tax sir” promptly came the reply. (Comparative buffet dinner rates, Deccan Plaza, Chennai: Rs 350+tax, Club Mahindra Yercaud: Rs 200+tax) Way beyond our budget and we had to escape from there. To the surprise and dismay of the hotel representative, we promptly told him that the rate is beyond our budget and left. If only they’d put a small display saying “Dinner-Rs 500+tax” we wouldn’t have taken the trouble of going inside, parking the car and come back after asking the price. We went back to Hotel Vivek which we’d tried in the noon, had dinner and went to camping site to call it a day. Tent was small for 5 people, without pegs to stretch it properly-too late to worry about all that, we slept off. Sound sleep finally awaiting us.
View from Dolphin Nose view point-What you see inside the circle is Catherine Falls
View from Dolphin Nose viewpoint. What you see inside the circle is catherine falls
view of Dolphin Nose viewpoint from Catherine falls
View of Dolphin Nose from Catherine Falls

End of Day 2. Read part 3


Jennifer said...

Wow nice story! Like the park and use toilets! :) It's always hard to find toilets on trips...

Your post intrigued me because of Kodanad.. It took me a minute to realize that this must be in Tamil Nadu... You should see the river viewpoint at Kodanad in Kerala- a nice morning visit to watch elephants taking bath (it's posted as a video in my youtube account).

As always, thanks for sharing!

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Yes, this Kodanad is in Tamil Nadu. Will visit the Kerala Kodanad sometime.


sandeep said...

thanks for giving all the details. guess i have a lot more places to check out for my next ooty trip :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...


vinesh said...
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