This year we spent Easter weekend in the Blue Mountains in Ooty. The Nilgiris (Neel = blue, Giri = mountain) are part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves and a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since we moved down South. Don’t get you’re hopes up – I didn’t go trekking in the Mountains or discover a new species but I did have a wonderful time soaking up the atmosphere at Red Hills Nature Resort, nestled in the valley :)
But first things first…getting to Ooty from Bangalore involved an 8-hour long drive during which we passed through two adjacent National Parks – Bandipur and Madumalai and negotiated 36 hairpin bends! Exhausting yet exciting :) especially when a mother Elephant with her baby charged us in Madumalai! That was awesomely scary :P They were just off the road that runs through the park and we thought they were chained, just like the ones we’d seen in Bandipur. Boy were we wrong! There’s not much scarier than an angry Mama Jumbo I can tell ya! We were shaking and screaming but it was supercool! The cars that were headed in her direction stopped dead in their tracks while we speeded off. I wish we could have stayed to see what happened, coz she was right in the middle of that road – all Queen-like – when we left her, but we were too chicken to hang around :P
29 bends to go!
Mama & Baby in Bandipur…not the ones that charged!
Isn’t he gorgeous?!
After that exhilarating experience and the 36 bends up the mountain, followed by countless bumps on a mud track that passed for a road, we finally made it to Red Hills, tired and ravenous! It was worth every jolt ;) Lunch was great and there was fish which was a welcome happenstance :) When we were rested, we were able to take in the idyllic setting of this cozy family-run resort. Flowers everywhere and birdsong, a cool breeze and stunning vistas of the Nilgiris and Emerald Lake…really…a small slice of Paradise right here on Earth. Add to the mix friendly fellow travellers, warm hosts and their extremely friendly and fun-loving pooches, 8-yr-old Moby, an ageing German Shepherd with the gentlest manner ever and playful puppy Mikah – a Golden Lab who stole our hearts – and you have the makings of a pretty special holiday :D
Favourite place to chill :)
The temple at Red Hills…
A view of Emerald Lake from Red Hills
Prettier view? ;)
I spent every moment I could bird-watching :) There were so many of them…Sparrows, Sunbirds, Shrikes, Bulbuls, Great Tits and my favourite – a flock of Oriental White-Eyes. I saw a few other brightly coloured birds fleetingly that I unfortunately could not identify and a lovely black one that I can’t either. The property is surrounded by tea plantations that belong to the owners and even has a little temple of it’s own next to the campsite. And the flowers…oh so many, oh so beautiful :) I’m no expert but I took pictures so you guys can exercise those ‘little grey cells’ ;)
Foxglove! Deadly & Beautiful :)
A Zinia bud…
A Zinia bloom…
A Rose by any other name?
Googled this…Peruvian Lily apparently.!
I was thrilled to find a smiley in this daisy :)
Like upside down Chinese lanterns!
I love these tiny wildflowers!
Don’t know what these are, but they sure are pretty!
Now for the birds!
The Red-whiskered Bulbul
Need help with this one!
The Great Tit
The long-tailed Shrike
A Jungle Mynah
The Oriental White-Eye
A Swallow…there were flocks of these too!
A Purple Sunbird
The ubiquitous Sparrow!
And now for the beautiful Blue Mountains, so called because they glisten blue in the morning mists :) I have no words to describe how stunning they are, how serene, how uplifting. The fact that beauty like this continues to exist on our Planet, despite us and our destructive ways, gives me hope, and reminds me of Nature’s tenacity. It’s a comforting thought. I drank in the beauty of those Mountains, etched them in my memory so that now, when I’m back in the bustle of the city, I can close my eyes and be transported in a magical instant. Like Narnia <3 While we were there, I watched the most stunning sunrises I’d ever seen! If every day began thus, all would be right with the World n’est pas? :)
Shades of Blue…
Sunrise over the Blue Mountains…
All set for the sunrise!
…Beautimous! What say Heather? ;)
Daily visitor to the Resort at sunrise…The Nilgiri Langur.
And so, after an idyllic 3 days, we returned to the chaos that is Home. I cannot wait to revisit and explore those mesmerising Mountains! Junior too is enamoured…more with Moby & Mikah than with them mountains I admit, but I’m not complaining. Hubby would still prefer a TV in the room (city boy that he is :P), but they do have wifi (works pretty well too), and even his urban soul cannot help but be moved in the presence of such awe-inspiring surroundings ;) I hope it will be soon :D