Ooty and Wayanad are neighboring towns separated by 100 km at the confluence of 3 states in southern India. On the eastern side Ooty is a quintessential hill station in Tamil Nadu popular with Indian tourists for a long time now. While on western side Wayanad in Kerala has jumped to preference in recent years especially due to proximity with Bangalore (or rather Bengaluru). Ooty offers beautiful views of valley and lakes along with lush green tea gardens. Wayanad might have more variety with caves, waterfalls, dams and wonderful plantations. But both are extremely popular (read crowded) in holiday season as we experience firsthand.
In the lap of Nilgiri Hills, Ooty has traditionally been among the top hill stations in south India. And there is a good reason for it. The tea plantations, the grand lakes and the beautiful view of the valley creates a complete package.
Our trip to Ooty started on a false note with overcast morning. We couldn’t see a thing at the Doddabetta peak. However, the day went uphill from there on. The clouds cleared to allow a bright sunny day. And we enjoyed the expansive views at the 6th mile and the 9th mile shooting points/viewpoints. The hike to the top of the hill added to the experience.
We skipped the lakes due to shortage of time as we had spent hours at our favorite spot, the pine forest. The stretch with the tall trees casting long shadows created a scene right out of any lovely story. We just sat down at the end admiring the beauty around us.
We ended the day at the Pykara waterfall. These wouldn’t be the largest or the tallest waterfall you would see but still they have a quiet appeal. After the day’s plunder we spent the night at a lovely resort in the middle of a tea plantation which was perfect setting to start the next day.
Wayward at Wayanad
We were really lucky in Ooty which we realized only when we reached Wayanad and tried to go to our first tourist spot – Edakkal caves. These natural caves with stone age carvings were on top of our list. But we got stuck in the vehicular traffic for an hour and had to walk a long way to the entrance. By the time we started on our way up the hill, we were exhausted in the heat and had to turn back about halfway up. So much for getting stuck here.
We had better luck when we hit the lesser known Neelimala point. We soon jumped on the 4-wheel-drive jeep while took us 1.5-2 km uphill to the viewpoint. The narrow pathway through the trees and the grassland was fun and provided a stunning view of the valley and the waterfalls in the distance.
But this respite was short-lived as the traffic struck back when we tried to go to the Meenmutti waterfalls. Another hour lost and we had to turn back couple of kilometers before as the cars were standstill. We guessed that the long weekend coupled with proximity to Bengaluru (Bangalore) and the large traveler/buses had jammed the routes.
We gave up on trying any other attraction for that day and better part of the next day. Instead we spent our time leisurely enjoying facilities (games, cycling, walks, birding etc.) in our resort which was in the middle of a gorgeous plantation.
In the evening we closed off the Wayanad experience with an excursion to Banasura Sagar Dam. This the largest earth dam in India. The best part of this place (apart from lack of traffic) were the long swings put on the trees in the play area. Not limited to the kids, we swung hard and enjoyed our time to the till. We also liked the stroll on the dam amidst the clouds that came down on us as the evening fell.
May be next time we would go in a better time to explore the Wayanad district in a better way without getting stuck in the traffic.
Do you have a story to tell about your Ooty and Wayanad experience? Drop in a comment or send us a mail. We will definitely reply. All the interesting tales will be published in a special feature.