Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ooty Trip with CTC

Date : Feb 20 & 21 , 2010

It was Rithwik who had sent me the notification about the trip. I had immediately registered for the same.

The schedule was hectic as the previous week I was in Mauritius and was really tired. Still the excitement of capturing Ooty rejuvenated me to go for the trip.

Thanking Samyak and Nara from Chennai trekking Club, for taking the lead and arranging such a nice trip. Anu was the point contact for people coming from Bangalore . The tickets and accommodation were arranged by the club. The cost incurred inclusive of everything was some where near to RS 2500 per person.

We were a group of 5 from Bangalore. We boarded in the bus on the night of 19th Feb. The bus from Bangalore goes through the Mandya-Mysore-Bandipur route. The bus has to halt before Bandipur as it is a Wildlife Sanctuary and does transport is restricted from 9:00pm to 6:00am.

The Chennai team in the meantime had planned to travel till Avinashi (near Coimbatore) and take 2 private vans for the travel to Ooty. By the time we resumed the journey from Bandipur, the Chennai team had reached Avinashi and were having their breakfast.

We reached Ooty around 9:30am and had our breakfast in a small tea stall. When checked on the return tickets booked , could understand that the bus would reach blore only by 10.00am in the morning. Went to the reservation centre to check the other options available. We were happy to hear that Tamilnadu State Transport runs two buses with special permit and can go through the jungle and we can reach blore early morning. Booked the tickets in the TNSRTC and moved towards botanical garden as that was the place fixed for meeting with the Chennai team.

Just about 15 minutes after we reached Botanical Garden the team from Chennai (22 people) arrived there to join us. I was meeting Rithwik there after our our Silent Valley Trip. His new cam was really a masterpiece.

We had an initial round of introduction and were really excited to have Mr. Hopeland (yes that is his real name!!), a zoology student with tremendous knowledge about flora and fauna. After the initial introduction, everyone went on our own way exploring the garden and taking photos of whatever we saw and liked. We regrouped at around 2:00pm to have lunch. The lunch was not so rich but was very tasty as our hunger was at the peak. After lunch we proceeded to one of the tribal villages in Ooty.

We spend a good 1 hour there talking to the people there to understand their culture and way of living. Myself and Rithwik were able to get some good portraits of the tribal girls. These tribals are supposed to be the most beautiful ones.

We then proceeded to 9 mile a famous picnic and shooting spot in Ooty. Upon reaching there we saw a film shoot happening . It was Sura - starring Vijay and Tammana. My tele lens helped me to get a glimpse of both of them.

We took some random shots and was waiting for the sunset. The wait was worth it and the reward was great. We got some great sunset shots.

We went to the forest guesthouse which was booked by Anu, for our stay. Ram and Nara went to the town to find some food. They came back with some chapatti's and egg omelet. It was really fun to stand in ques and get the food. After that myself and Rithwik decided to go to City for dinner. We had our regular dose of medicine to kill the cold and had great biryani . By the time we reached back most of the team members were asleep. It was a huge hall where people spread their blankets and got into their sleeping bags. We found ourselves a place to sleep. Fortunately we got a heater from the girls room. The medicine plus the heater dint make us realise how chill it was in Ooty. Otherwise I had only one thin blanket and a jacket on me to save me from the chill during my sleep.

Feb 21: We were supposed to be ready by 6.00am. All were in a rush to clean up themselves. We were ready by 6 and were waiting for the forest personnel to come. The forest guide came only at 7:00am to take us to Avalanche – it is a place about 30km away from Ooty. Avalanche Valley Named after an `avalanche’- a landslide, really- in 1823, Avalanche is a riot of shola trees, rhododendrons, orchids, magnolias and a trout stream: absolutely lovely .

We then headed to the place where river Bhavani starts. This was a really tough trek . The sun was at its peak, no proper breakfast , but the thought and the anxiety to see the river pushed us. We were supposed to leave the place by 2.00pm but later the plan was changed and time was extended till 4.00pm. We reached the place and the sight of the river was awesome. By the time we reached back the bus, we were really tired due to the lack of food. We somehow managed wit the available chocolates and snacks and headed towards the city. As the sun light was harsh , I could get much good pictures.

Reached Ooty, had lunch and energised ourselves. The guys who had to return back to Chennai had their buses starting at 10:00pm from Avinashi, which means they had to start by Ooty not later than 6:00pm if they have reach Avinashi to catch the bus at 10:00pm. Immediately after lunch the Chennai team headed back to Avinashi in the vans and we 5 returned back to our guest houses.We refreshed ourselves in the guest house and left by around 8:30pm, had a light dinner and headed back to Bangalore and reached here by 6:0oam next day.

The trip was great, made lot of new friends and was very economical. Only problem some of us faced were with the food and the time planning. The scheduling could have been better.

Sharing some captured moments of our trip......
Please Click here .