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Dream World Niligiris Lost in Green wood Forest …

Daily swipe in, swipe out routine was taking a toll on me and I desperately needed a break. So, when BTC announced their next travel plan to Kotagiri I couldn’t control my excitement. Even though I had little knowledge of Kotagiri I had full faith in BTC treks, because when BTC treks will always be fun. So, I packed my bags and headed to the meeting point which was Shanthala Silk house overlooking Majestic bus stand. We waited for everyone to arrive and boarded the bus around 10:00 PM to for an overnight journey to Kotagiri. Since I was relatively new to the group and could sense that many of the other travelers knew each other from previous tours, so was little worried that I may be left alone. But all of my concerns were thrown out of the window once the wheels were set in motion(quite literally)

The overnight journey began with 20 odd like minded travel enthusiasts with fun, frolic and failed attempts at guessing each other’s names through dumb charades. As an ice breaking session, we were asked to guess each other’s names while one of us enacted the names through gestures. It was  not as easy as we had anticipated(Yes, Pragtheeswaran and Vitrag ,we are looking at you ) and took us a few hours which was one of the  best part of the journey .The ice was thoroughly broken by then and had turned to vapor and we were close to approaching the point where we could consider each other as friends. There was a short halt for a light diner and then the next day we were greeted by the undulating lush green terrain and tea plantations of Kotagiri. 
You would have heard many a people citing Ooty as their next travel destination. And why not, Ooty is mesmerizing and more of place for  Bollywood films. But not many know about its quaint cousin, Kotagiri .A tiny hill station, about 30 kilometers from Ooty, Kotagiri captivates you with its serenity , still relatively untouched by commercial tourism.

We reached the guest house that was booked for us at  around 7:30 AM , had our breakfast and geared up for the first destination in our itinerary – trek to a hilltop that  offered a 360 view point .The trek , a 5 km trail wasn’t particularly a difficult one  ,but the entire trail ran through tea plantations and offered breath-taking views of the surroundings throughout the journey. On our way , we came across a bison family, seeing the bison we all had become kids looking at it   making sounds telling shhhh (remembers the childhood days) also we saw some workers plucking tea leaves and some small but beautiful huts of the local tribes, where they don’t even have electricity(we can’t stay for 5 mins without power  ).We also came across a wonder called the shola forests .Found only in the high elevations  of the Nilgiris, exclusive only to the high altitudes of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and found nowhere else on earth , these forests retain water from rains and supply water to rivers like Cauvery making them perennial .The are also responsible for the moderate climate of the region.

  Dog’s are human’s friends. Whichever trek we go there will be a dog accompanying us  same here we were accompanied by dog us the entire trek (we called him happy because that’s what he made us) .This is something that many would share with me , that a dog always unfailingly  accompanies you through the trek ,which always  warms my heart .
Fun Fact – Kotagiri is home to many tribes, predominant of which is the kota tribe from which Kotagiri borrows its name. Kotagiri literally translates to mountain of the Kotas(See , travelling is not just fun , it makes you smarter as well).

We reached the peak and took many pictures (including many embarrassing ones of my non photogenic face) and headed back to base camp. We finished our lunch and got ready for the next spot – Catherine falls. Catherine falls was named after the wife of  a British officer  who introduced coffee to the region .Since it was summer, the water was shallow and allowed us to venture in for a dip. We also visited   a suicide point for a panoramic view of the mountains and the falls from above (why is there a suicide point in literally every hill station I have visited) 

Evening started with a bonfire and the fun continued. After a while , we ended the day and slumped into our tents but not before sharing  horror stories which scared the ladies(some probably  for life   ).

We woke up the next morning which gave us time for a stroll to explore the landscape further .Around 9:30 AM we started  to Ooty .The ride to Ooty was the famous toy train which added to the experience .We took the train to Ooty from   Mettupalayam  station.   The toy train, which I came to know about later ,is a UNESCO world heritage site(OMG,I was inside a world heritage site – now picture a flabbergasted face)  The railway is particularly picturesque because of the surrounding rocky terrain, ravines, tea plantations, and thickly forested hills

Fun Fact – Ooty’s original name is Udagamandalam which was renamed Ooty due to the Britisher’s inability to pronounce it.In Ooty we toured a botanical garden, a tea and chocolate factory and then bid adieu to the Nilgiris to head back to Bangalore.

We travel not only to explore the unknown or witness the scenic, but also to learn, to bond and grow and implore who we are. The best travel stories are formed with great companies and I was lucky enough to travel with folks as such

Until next time.

Written by             : Pratik Das
Organized by         : Ashish Chouhan &  Shilpa
Date of event        : Mar 30th, 31st, 2019
Pictures                : FB Page
Place                    : Kotagiri

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