Despondent and crestfallen with clamorous tourists on your arrival at heavily commercialized Ooty – southern India’s favourite hill-station? Don’t be, because you can still find a quiet escape at Pykara, a scenic hamlet, just 20 km away from Ooty town. Even if you are staying at Ooty, you can plan to have your tryst with nature and fill your lungs with exuberance at Pykara for a day. You can easily hire a cab or an auto for the day, to enjoy a hassle free journey.
As you cruise through the windy ghats of the blue mountain range, you come across several resplendent locations, a couple of which have served as popular shooting spots for Bollywood movies. I stopped by the Pine Forest for a delightful view. As I traversed through the tall pine trees arranged in a small downhill, I reached the emerald coloured Kamraj Sagar river.
I followed the horse track on the left and was left awed by the peaceful atmosphere and unparalleled charm of Kamraj Sagar. The bird orchestra and light drizzle aggrandized the experience.
Apart from the pine forest, I stopped at the lush green Tree Park and the verdant meadows of 9th Mile shooting spot that offered different views of the Nilgiri mountain range, before arriving at the Pykara waterfalls. The Pykara river rises at Mukurthi peak and flows down majestically in a series of cascades. The river is considered sacred by the Toda people, a Dravidian ethnic group who live in the Nilgiri Mountains. Although Pykara is not a full fledge waterfall, the cascaded effect makes it picturesque. This waterfalls is best visited during monsoons as the river is pretty dry in summers. The dramatic skies and tumultuous downpour added to the charisma of this place. Pykara also has a boat house a few km away from the waterfalls. The long queues on a rainy day was not very attractive and I chose to enjoy an ice cream and watch the speeding boats from afar!
Kotagiri, located at 30km from Ooty is your quintessential plantation. The name Kotagiri means ‘mountains of the Kotas’, the traditional home of the Kota tribe. Kotagiri is surrounded by tea estates and vast serene landscapes. It is also home to a variety of birds. There are not may places to see here apart from the Catherine Falls and Kodanad view-point. There are a couple of less explored trekking trails and rock climbing opportunities too. It is also a bikers paradise due to excellent roads and fantastic views of tea plantations throughout. Kotagiri is much quieter and less busier than Ooty and Coonoor and is a perfect place to enjoy some lone time in the lap of mother nature.
Have you planned your monsoon weekend escapade? Let me know in your comments below.