A Year in India

February 18, 2009, 2:01 pm
Filed under: Travel | Tags:

A few weeks ago, my friend Loren and I spent a weekend in Coonoor, a hill station about 250 km from Bangalore in the state of Tamil Nadu. Coonoor is a beautiful, quiet city in the middle of the Nilgiri Hills, an area known for its tea plantations.

Below, a photo montage (made using animoto.com – these aren’t my own editing skills!) of the trip. More pictures here. Written highlights follow the video.

Trip highlights:

The Drive: What began as a pleasant ride from Bangalore to Coonoor turned into a bit of a dicey journey. As the terrain changed from city to farmland to hills, our car started overheating. By the time we reached the steeper hills and switchback roads, we were stopping every five minutes to cool the engine. Needless to say, the stops were beautiful: the sky pitch black, the stars brighter than ever, and the night as quiet as I’ve heard in a long time. The charm, though, finally wore off, so we ended up parting ways with our driver and hitching a ride with a random park ranger whose massive SUV got us to Coonoor safe and sound. Eek.

The Hospitality: We were extremely lucky to stay at my parents’ friend’s vacation home in Coonoor. Their 100-year-old house sits on 6 acres of tea plantations and manicured gardens. What made the place even more special, though, was its caretakers warmth: we were pampered with fresh, gourmet meals, guided tours and hikes, midday drinks in the garden, and so forth.

The Scenery: Loren and I must have spent 99% of our time in Coonoor talking about how gorgeous the landscape was. We were surrounded by stunning greenery, bright blue skies, an astounding variety of flowers and trees, quiet sunsets, and beautiful nighttime stars.

The Treks: Mani, a caretaker at my parents’ friend’s house, led us on two beautiful morning treks. Being local, he knew exactly where to take us to avoid tourist crowds. The first day, we hiked up through the forest until reaching a tribal village. One of the villagers, Sangeeta, welcomed us into her home, showed us the quilts she embroiders to make a living, and served us fresh goat’s milk. The following day, Mani took us on another forest hike, this time leading to a spectacular view of the tea fields.

The Food: As mentioned, the food – most of it homegrown and organic – at our family friend’s house was phenomenal. We had a bit of everything: fresh morning juices & jams, bacon & eggs, idly & sambar, steak, chicken, pork, pasta, cheesecake, and on and on – all of it gourmet and delicious.

An amazing, memorable trip to say the least.


1 Comment so far
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This sounds amazing & the video made me so envious! How long is the ride from Bangalore to Coonoor? Just curious.

Comment by Em

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