Turned out to be my last visit around Bangalore, a hill-station near Ooty called Kotagiri. The trip planning was a 3 step process – first click to http://www.eventsbangalore.net; second – call at the given number; third – deposit money. Plenty of search on google also didn’t tell me much about this little explored place.
I guess I would have to admit, there isn’t much to the place unless you go for a trek. Kotagiri is hardly a town. The shops close around 8 pm, and you won’t get any rice or dinner even at 7 in the evening. While searching for decent meal after a tiring day we saw 3 messes (can hardly call them resturants) closing down in front of us. Yet we somehow manage to find one open where we got all that could be found – idli/dosa! When people asked us, the only two north indians, about this dinner experience, we answered that in North India, we actually go to South Indian resturants to have idli/dosa as dinner..!! Boy, the looks we got..!!
Another thing, if you are going to Kotagiri, you gotta stay at a farmhouse! I guess that was the best part of our trip. The view from the farmhouse that greeted us in the morning just made it all worth it.
The two days we trekked weren’t usual treks to some destination. They were more of climbing up and down and crossing mountains. First day we started pretty late, at lunch time infact, after 12:30 pm. We just went to the restricted forested area around the Rangaswamy Peak near a View Point. This was a very rocky trek in heat without any cool shade of the trees. The sight of elephants grazing in the valley and the water bottles in our racksacks kept us going. The visit to the Catherine waterfall was more of a treat at the end of the day. In between lush green mountains the gushing water, and settling sun was a peaceful sight. Thankfully, none of the places we went to were visited by any tourists.
The second day trek was in the jungle to a small stream of water which was 2 mountains across!! The onward journey was more of a sliding falling trail for me, resulting into numerous marks on my hands, legs. The return journey, which was made on an empty stomach long after lunch time had passed, was possible only because of mindless games and friends who kept me going. Being out of shape had never hit me harder. While school kids of 10th standard were jumping and running, I was staggering behind! Somehow we made it back, and oh how good the food tasted after that! A very simple meal taken at the local dhaba consisting of chawal, shambar, sabji, achaar n papad was the best meal I had in the entire year so far!
All in all, the two days were filled with adventures of all kinds, some of which I am too embarrased to even mention here! ;) Also, enjoyed the company of like-minded oldies like me. And lastly, I was reminded of pleasures n pains of trekking! :) Lesson learnt: if you are going to any hills of the south, do make it a trekking trip! The beauty of Nilgiris or Western Ghats isn’t as evident as that of majestic Himalayas. To capture it, you have to do a little more than just reach the station. You have move your ass and go in search of beauty! In the end, you definitely won’t be disappointed!