We left a chilly Ooty at 8 o’clock, retraced our steps through Wellington and forty minutes later reached Coonoor, also a hill station but 400m lower and noticeably warmer.
|Wellington, Nilgiri Hills|
Like most small restaurants it specialised in ‘meals’, which can be ‘veg’ or ‘non-veg’ and are served on a banana leaf. Thomas had a 'non-veg meal', which meant unlimited rice - and we were always amazed at Thomas' ability to absorb rice - a selection of vegetable curries and pots of spicy chicken and mutton gravy, no actual meat was included (this is normal in Tamil Nadu but it is different in Kerala). They also offered an á la carte menu, from which I chose pepper chicken, which was excellent, while Lynne had vegetable biryani, a touch dull, she said, but greatly improved by a splash of Thomas’ chicken gravy. They offered forks and spoons, but everybody else was eating with their fingers, so we did to.
|One non-veg meal and one pepper chicken, Udumalaipettai (Lynne's finished the biryani)|
Somewhere along the road the Indira Ghandi National Park turned into the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and we left Tamil Nadu and entered Kerala.
Eventually we emerged into the Kannon Devan Hills, which Include Anamudi, at 2,695m (8,842ft) the highest peak in sub-continental India. The Jacaranda were spectacular….
…but this was largely a land of tea plantations….
…sometimes stretching into the far distance.
|Tea plantations Kannon Devan Hills|
|A footbridge over one of Munnar's rivers|
|Hindi shrine, Munnar|
|Churches and tuk-tuks, Munnar|
Thomas had never been here before and found our hotel using the sat nav on his smart phone. I am always amazed by the way India flip-flops from the third to the first world and back again. Comfortable and modern, the hotel stood on a hillside out the town. The view from our balcony could have been magnificent had it not been so hazy.
Part 1: Bangalore to Mysore
Part 4: The Road to Ooty
Part 5: The Nilgiri Blue Train to Coonoor
Part 6: Across the Palakkad Gap and up to Munnar
Part 7: Munnar - Tea, Dams and Elephants
Part 8: Madurai
Part 9: Rameswaram
Part 10: To the Very Tip of India
Part 11: The End of India and Beyond
Part 12: North to Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) and Kollam
Part 14: The Backwaters of Kerala (and some Coir)
Part 15: Marari Beach, Rest, Recreation and Refuse
Part 16: Kochi, a Second Visit