• Photo essays

    What a beautiful world #3 – the Nilgiri Mountain Railway

    Nilgiris 1989. John Sullivan, the father of Ootacamund, in a letter to Thomas Munro the future governor of Madras. * This is the finest country ever…it resembles I suppose Switzerland more than any part of Europe…the hills [are] beautifully wooded and [there is a] fine strong spring with running water in every valley. To be fair, Ooty has lost much of its charm to crass commercialization. There are tourists thronging all the roads leading to the hill station and much of the city center. But there are a few experiences that still retain their old world charm, like taking a ride in the decades old Nilgiri Mountain Railway, built by the Britishers…

  • Porthimund near Ooty
    Best of the Travel Bag Tales,  Tamil Nadu,  Travel Bag

    Uncovering the secret Porthimund lake in the Nilgiris

    There is a lot more to Ooty and the Nilgiris than the cliched tourist brochures and websites would have you believe. I couldn’t get enough of the Nilgiris during my last trip and knew for sure there were a lot many things that lay hidden. To uncover these, you either have to know people who know about these ‘secrets’ or be a Google ninja. Either way (and especially if you own a vehicle), sometimes the best map to follow may be your intuition. Parsons valley and Porthimund lake were just two best kept secrets that I unearthed through countless hours spent reading forums and blogs. And once a rough itinerary…

  • Best of the Travel Bag Tales,  Tamil Nadu,  Travel Bag

    Exploring Avalanche and Emerald in Ooty

    2013 had dawned upon us and having traveled to Yercaud, Hampi, Chikmagalur, Belur, Halebid, Bijapur, Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal in the past 6 months, there was an ardent desire to kick in the new year with another trip. None of us had ever been to the Nilgiris and off-season is, I feel, always a better time to visit popular tourist destinations. What is more, I also had the beautiful twin lakes of Avalanche and Emerald in mind that are not exactly mainstream, touristy ‘places to visit‘ in Ooty. The Nilgiris, so named due to the mist induced bluish appearance and also due to the blue Kurinji flowers that bloom once in…