Day 1 – Doddabetta Peak and Botanical Garden
As we calculated, we reached Bandipur at around 6 AM. The view of Bandipur forest in the morning was spectacular. Many deers were wandering on the road side. We also found 5-6 elephants. All of us were excited to find those animals romaing so freely. After Bandipur, the road was not in a very good condition for few kilometers. But, the view was breathtaking. The road was going through dense forests throughout and there was a deep valley on one side of the road and at the end of the valley, there were mountains cladded with clouds. It was one awesome journey. The scene continued till we reached Ooty. As soon as we entered Ooty, we could see huge tea plantations, and some other vast vegetable fields (mainly carrot fields). There was greenery everywhere. We crossed many villages which were all rich in nature. Thilak’s friends had booked a hotel called Silent Valley resorts. We were not sure of the exact location of the hotel. The hotel owner asked us to wait near the nearby Church. We waited for some time and after 10 minutes, a guy from the hotel reached near the church and directed us to the hotel. The hotel was around 6 km from the main town and the road leading to that was very narrow, but was beautiful.
We reached the hotel at 9.30 AM. As they informed us, they took some time to clean up the rooms. The view outside the hotel was spectacular. Just behind the hotel, there was a mountain covered with clouds. In front of the hotel, there was a deep valley and mountains again covered with floating clouds. At around 10 o’clock our rooms were ready. The breakfast was not ready at the hotel because as per the itinerary, our complimentary breakfast was for tomorrow. There was no hotel nearby also. So, we asked the hotel guys to bring breakfast for us. All of us decided to freshen up and get ready for the trip before the breakfast arrives. But, within half an hour of the time we got into our rooms, the power went off in the hotel and after some time, water also stopped coming. On top of that, our breakfast also did not arrive even after waiting for an hour. All of us started getting frustrated. There was no one to tell our complaints also. After waiting for almost 2 hrs, finally we got electricity and we all got ready very quickly. At around 12.30, our breakfast was ready. We all felt disgusted with the Silent Valley resort’s management and decided not to refer this place to any of our friends or relatives. Even though each one of us were in a very bad mood, we quickly finished our breakfast and started our journey towards Doddabetta peak. While going in the TT, we discussed and decided not to spoil our mood because of morning’s events.
- Opening hours – 7 AM to 6 PM
- Entrance fee – 5 Rs/person
Doddabetta peak was around 12 km from the hotel where we stayed. It is the highest peak of Nilgiri hills at 8650 feat. The road leading to Doddabetta peak was amidst dense forests. It was extremely beautiful. We do not have to walk much as the vehicle reaches till the top. The view from the top of the mountain is absolutely awesome. It is surrounded by hillocks on which the clouds constantly play hide and seek. The town view of Ooty and Coonoor is amazing from the peak. There is an observatory house at the top where they have kept telescopes to have the city and mountain views. After experiencing the natural beauty for some time, we had ice cream and the tasty churmuri. The churumuri tasted as wonderful as we had in Kodaikanal. Our stomach was full because of Churmuri and also since we had late breakfast, none of us were feeling hungry to have lunch. Therefore, we decided to visit the famous Botanical garden.
- Opening hours – 7 AM to 6.30 PM
- Entrance fee – 15 Rs/person (for children), 30 Rs/person (for adults), 50 Rs (for still photography), 100 Rs (for videography)
Botanical garden is around 6 km from the Doddabetta peak. This is the most famous tourist attractions in Ooty. This garden is well maintained by Tamil Nadu horticulture department. The garden is huge covering an area of around 22 hectares. The flowers in the garden are truly treat for our eyes. It started to rain heavily when we were in the garden. Luckily we got a nice place to stand where it was covered. After half an hour, the rain stopped and we continued our walk in the park.
The weather was extremely cold which made the walk non-tiring. We spent around 2 hrs in Botanical garden and decided to return at 5 PM.Outside Botanical garden, there are many shops selling Ooty chocolates, handcrafts, Nilgiri oil, etc. In this street, we walked in search of a good hotel to have tea/snacks and finally found a decent hotel and had wonderful tea. Near this hotel, there were many shops selling Ooty chocolates. Some of us bought chocolates from these shops and some of us felt that the shops near the Botanical garden sold the same chocolates for lesser price. Therefore, while returning, we went to the shops near the Botanical garden as well and purchased Ooty homemade chocolates and Nilgiri oil. And yes. The price was lesser here compared to the shops in other end of the road, but the taste and quality were same.
We wanted to give a visit to Ooty lake today, but we were short of time. Also, the weather was not good. It was drizzling slightly and none of us were in a mood to go for boating. So, we decided to have early dinner and decided to return to the hotel. In the Ooty town, we found a good hotel, finished our dinner there, and returned to hotel at around 9 PM. The temperature was around 15 degree. All of us were feeling extremely cold. We talked for some time, played Rummy, and slept at around 11 PM.
Though we had a very bad start in the morning, it did not alter our plan much. Above all, the beautiful weather was a total surprise for us because as per Accuweather, today there was supposed to be heavy rainfall in Ooty. But, that was not the case in Ooty today.
- Route Travelled: Silent Valley Resort > Doddabetta Peak > Botanical Garden > Silent Valley Resort
- Photos: Day 1 – Doddabetta Peak and Botanical Garden Photos