Friday, December 05, 2008

Postcard from Heaven



The pristine hills of Ooty are home to many a tea garden, some of which date back to the British times. Being a hill station, the British took no time to discover that their favourite beverage could be grown off the hills of this resort which also served as summer residence to the executive government of those days. Many hills were thus converted to tea gardens with luxurious bungalows amid them, housing group managers of these estates. Tea thus became a commercial enterprise in Ooty and continues to be a source of living for hundreds of planters in and around Ooty, despite repeated calls for diversification by various bodies.

This picture was taken on New Years Day, 2004 when along with a group of friends, I went out on a trek to a nearby town called Lovedale.

We began our trek, walk rather, from the Ooty railway Station and intended to conclude it at Ketti, which is a hamlet situated just outside Ooty. The trek was special because we had decided to walk along the route of the metre gauge railway line that connects Ooty to Mettupalayam. The route is very popular among visiting tourists who often board the Mountain Railway, that snakes its way through some of the most picturesque locales of Ooty.

We had passed Fernhill Station when this marvelous view presented itself. The day was semi-clouded and the winter chill was still in the air despite the mid-day sun which was in and out of the clouds every few minutes, casting huge shadows on the ground below! One can see a cluster of buildings amid the tall eucalyptus trees on the far right hand side of the picture. They are part of the renowned Narayana Gurukula which was founded by Sree Narayana Guru, the famed Social Reformer and Redeemer of Kerala. The Fernhill wing of the Gurukula is currently managed by Swami Tanmaya, who I am associated with for a decade now!

One can envision the lives of the hard-working simple farmer folk who toil for a living. The tea industry is currently in doldrums and revenues are a pittance. Slowly but steadily the call to diversify and engage in crop rotation is being heeded to. Terrace farms are very popular and yield some of the finest crops that one can savour.

The half-rail fencing (two of which can be seen) were laid by the British when the railway line was being built. Both, the line and the fencing, have endured more than a century of wear and tear but have stood still and have not once broken down. I decided to title this post "Postcard from Heaven", after little thought, since this reveals the true picture of the Ooty that was, many many years ago!

Untouched, Unspoiled and Magnificent!



37 comments:

  1. I feel nostalgic, totally. Our short time there was one with so much of pleasure for the pristine state of most of the flora and fauna, that we discovered around Ooty.

    May it ever be so.

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  2. I have been there and man-o-man, cherished moments while driving through there. The smell of the TEA filled the air!
    It was fantastic!

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  3. "Untouched, Unspoiled and Magnificent!"
    Its those things which touch your heart when you go back and find everything else altered.

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  4. Loved your last line! Seriously, thats when some one gets real nostalgic. I can really feel what you have penned down in this post. Nice one as usual.

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  5. I haven't been to ooty..but i can recognize the fact about the untouched beauty as u were mentioning..i have spent a great deal of time in the north eastern states as a child..and well now again as a fauji..but it aint what it used to be before.. ;(

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  6. Hi Rak..

    Lovely post...
    and the magnificence of Ooty...just alluring :)

    it was while in college that i went there last.

    wishes,
    devika

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  7. ur posts on oooty just wanna makes me come there again!!! its beautiful!!

    ;-))

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  8. You have been awarded and tagged :

    http://vimalsparadise.blogspot.com/2008/12/couldnt-come-up-with-title.html

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  9. Ooty what a great name. Lovely shot.

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  10. Certainly it must be a exciting traveling on mountain rail in nilgiris; I feel it’s a outstretch fruit for me. I truly agree with the title Postcard from Heaven. I come across this same location recently in a picture and felt must visit this sight sometime. Lovedale have known through films, I think so actor kamal’s ‘mundraam perai’ was taken there?

    it worry to see the greenery of nilgiris taken over by concrete is increasing.

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  11. Been to Ooty only once and that too during a restricted college tour. I somehow liked Kodai more than Ooty, the latter I felt was too commercialised. Could be becuz I never explored Ooty as much as I did with Kodai.

    Btw, nice theme.

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  12. I am yet to hit that place....must be a paradise for photographers....

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  13. Yeah!!! Chetta! It really makes me nostalgic... Missing the place very badly,, The beautiful lush greeneries, the Waft of the tea leaves aroma in the air.. Its bliss. It's heaven.. It is time that I drop in there.. See You soon chetta!!!

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  14. first time here and a wonderful blog..my dad studied in Lovedale and all my holidays were always in Ooty and around..have a great week

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  15. Usha Ma'am

    Its always a pleasure to be associated with Ooty! The slow but enriching life! The laid back routines, The not-in-a-hurry lifestyle and so many others!

    Over the years however, things have changed, thanks to the invasion of "so called modernization."

    Rakesh

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  16. Vivek

    Yes! Those mist covered mountains, with the air filled with the aroma of Tea!

    I yearn to be back there forsaking this super-fast life that I've been part of!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  17. Nivedita

    Correct! One expects a great deal of serenity from a place such as Ooty which unfortunately has been spoilt, thanks to rampant commercialization

    Rakesh

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  18. Vibu

    Thanks much my good friend! I long for those wonderful days that were of my childhood! Unfortunately, things have changed for the worse!

    Sad, but true!

    Rakesh

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  19. Armyguy

    Ooty, like many other hill-stations has lost its charm and glory, thanks to commercialization and uncivil people who are regardless of the environment around them!

    The north-east, is perhaps the last remaining vestiges of India that can be truly called unspoiled and untouched!

    Rakesh

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  20. Devika Chechi

    Thanks very much!

    You should plan a trip to Ooty! You'd be surprised as to how much it has changed, and more saddended to know that it has changed for the worse!

    Nonetheless, Ooty is Ooty and having spent more than 2 decades there, I cannot call any place else home!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  21. Satheesh

    Do plan a trip to Ooty sometime! Despite however that it is currently, it is still worth the visit!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  22. Vimmuuu

    Welcome back! Its good to see you! Thanks for tagging me and also giving me this wonderful award. Means quite a big deal to me!

    I echo your views on Ooty and Kodai, despite not having been to Kodai once! Ooty has become commercialized to the core and has lost its beauty to pillaging tourists and resident touts alike!

    Kodai, I'm told is much better a place, less polluted and home to lesser evils!

    Thanks for your comments!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  23. Lynn

    Ooty was derived from the name Ootcamund, by the British who setup residence here in the late 1800s. The place served as summer-residence to the executive government of the time and thus looked every bit like a place in Europe!

    Sadly, things have changed for the worse now!

    Rakesh

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  24. Magiceye

    Yes, indeed! Ooty, the queen of hills!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  25. Old Monk

    Welcome here and thanks very much for your comments!

    Yes, some parts of Ooty are still very beautiful and appealing to anyone!

    Do keep coming here!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  26. Jeevan

    Yes, it is very exciting to travel by the NMR - Nilgiri Mountain Railway! The route and its surroundings haven't changed for over a hundred years now, so one can imagine the serenity!

    Lovedale is another place of extreme beauty! Am not sure if Kamal's 'mundraam perai’ was shot there!

    Yes, it is a matter of worry to note the ever changing topography of Ooty which is giving way to many concrete structures!

    Rakesh

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  27. Humanobserver

    You should goto Ooty! As you said, it is a paradise for photographers given the wonderful environ!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  28. Bharath

    I plan to be there sometime during Jan 2009 (provided I get my much deserved leave)

    You should make your plans!

    Totally agree when you call this place Heaven! It still is, despite all the massive change that has rendered it far from what it used to be once upon a time!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  29. Lakshmi

    Welcome here and thanks very much for your comments!

    I'm sure you associate this place as one of those very special ones!

    Lovedale particularly is wonderful and still remains untouched largely!

    Do keep coming!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  30. Lucky you live in such a blissful place.. Very nice blog. Keep up the good work!

    Cheers!

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  31. I wanna go there too. Heaven indeed! Very beautifully written Rakesh.

    Keshi.

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  32. Inspiration

    Welcome to my space and thanks very much for leaving me a very warm and encouraging comment!

    Yes, indeed, it is a matter of privilege to be staying there! However, work has shifted me elsewhere since a long time now and my parents stay there currently! I get to visit Ooty twice every year!

    Do keep coming!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  33. Keshi

    You must make a plan to visit Ooty! Although, it is not anything like what it used to be, it still is worth the visit!

    Thanks very much for the comments

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  34. Tr3nta

    Thanks very much! Is is very beautiful indeed!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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