Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Why: The railway line consists of unearthly views of rivers, bridges, valleys and grasslands; it covers 16 tunnels, 208 curves and 250 bridges
How: Bedecked with tunnels, forests, valleys and grasslands, this mountain-bound train voyage passes through Mettupalayam curves, and spirals into Ooty while scaling an elevation from 326 metres to 2,203 metres within a span of five hours.
Dubbed as the steepest railway system in Asia, and labelled a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the toy train halts at four stations during its voyage, and offers travellers splendid views of cascading waters, extensive bridges, and mist-riddled hilltops for one to marvel at. Try landing a seat to the right when on the Mettupalayam-Coonoor-Ooty route, and one on the left while travelling through Ooty-Coonoor-Mettupalayam.
Rise and Fall in Ooty
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Why: Waterfalls nestled in unsullied nature are a treat to sore eyes
When: The ideal time to visit is September to June
How: The Song of the Brook by Tennyson will fall short to explain the serenity of the cascading water as it curves through the cliffs and bounces across the river. Just 16 kilometres away from Ooty at Mettupalayam Road lies the beauty of Catherine Waterfalls, for which you must trail up the Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint to enjoy the twin waterfall gushing down.
Go boating to visit the Pykara Falls or to the idyllic Law Falls carved in the thick of the Coonoor forest range, the lushest of Ooty. Home to exotic flora and fauna, Kalhatti offers the thrill of wildlife adventure. For the best of Ooty, the Halasana, Kolakambai and Katary waterfalls have a lot to offer with the Elk Falls being a must-visit.
Read: A Road Trip to Ooty
Glimpse of Mini Tibet: Bylakuppe
Why: A Tibetan nook, Bylakuppe is an amalgamation of Tibetan serenity and south Indian culture
How: Rows of fluttering prayer flags, 12 monasteries and 13 Tibetan settlements strewn across, Bylakuppe is an experience like no other. Namdroling Monastery here is a must-visit with it’s Golden Temple towering with three golden statues of Lord Buddha. The best time to visit this mystical place is around the Tibetan New Year celebrated for two weeks in the month of February-March. The town has a rustic charm during the festival with monks in traditional costumes, and music and dance filling the air. Try the local Tibatan culinary fare here—fresh momos, thukpa, phing or shalpta, the choices are endless.
Winter Paradise: Lambasingi
Why: It is a fine blend of snowfall, tall deciduous trees lining the sidewalk and charming tea plantations
How: Also known as the ‘Kashmir of South India’, Lambasingi is a small village in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This winter wonderland is the coldest place in Andhra, with occasional snowfall and temperature dropping as low as sub-zero levels, during the winter months. With a blanket of cold air due to its elevation of 1,000 metres above sea level, and a lush green cover formed by deciduous forests enveloping it, Lambasingi has a plethora of must-visit places ranging from the Kothapalli Waterfalls, the Thajangi Reservoir, Yerravaram Waterfalls, to Susan Garden and many more.
For bird watchers, the Kondakarla Bird Sanctuary is quite a delight. You can also take a stroll on the Ghat Road at Lambasingi, with a visual panorama around and a light breeze waving by.