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 😛 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 😛
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 😀
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’ 😉
Now for the birds!
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 ❤ 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? 🙂
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 😀
6 thoughts on “Red Hills, Blue Mountains…”
Sounds like a perfect trip. You don’t have to go traipsing through the mountains to love them. Or so I’m told. I’m kind of a perpetual traipser 😉
Do you just know all those birds? Or did you look them up? Either way, color me impressed. I usually just go with “bird” 😉
Glad to see the sign, so I don’t have to worry about your sanity in counting the hairpin turns 😉 I’ll focus my worries about your sanity on other things now, haha! Or maybe I’ll just worry about you being charged by protective mama elephants! That’s not something I have to even remotely consider. Bears, however, are a different story. We’ve had backdoor bear visitors a couple of times (as evidenced in paw prints, not in actual sightings). Can’t stop looking at that pano shot. Would love to watch the sun rise/set over those hills. Or any hills. We’ve been cloud-covered these past few days, and I am weary of it.
I hope the Sun is out today Heather! Really I do 🙂 I see Beautimous sunrises in your future!
Perpetual traipser is a very good job title methinks! I would love to be one…not mountains though…too hard 😛 Everywhere else is fine 😉 Ooh…exciting those paw-prints but rather scary too right? I mean this Mama Jumbo had us quaking in our boots. And suddenly the car begins to seem so flimsy 😛
I know the birds! When I first began to photograph them, I got myself a handy little book to identify the ones that I commonly saw in Mom’s garden. I’m familiar with many of the garden varieties we see here now, but not so much the others, of which there are hundreds! Thank God for the Internet 😉
Fantastic pictures, Harsha! I especially love the bird images!
Thanks a million 😊 It’s a beautiful place 👍
What an absolutely gorgeous place to get away to for a relaxing few days. It reminded me strongly of Sri lanka, perhaps because of the tea plantation. The Blue mountains are breathtakingly beautiful indeed. But I also enjoyed your account of the journey H, esp the angry mama elephant bit! Scary but amazing!
And I’m scratching my head with wonder as to why it took me a whole week to get to read this post! o.O
LOL…better late than never M!! Although I must confess you are one of the few people who’s reaction and comments I wait eagerly for 😀
It was a little slice of Heaven and I am resolved to go again…but am soooooo….looking forward to Kaabini, I can’t tell you!!!