India

OT Travel Itinerary: A Summer Retreat In Kotagiri

Of the many summer holiday destinations in India, Kotagiri in the Nilgiris stands out for its colonial legacy and diverse flora and fauna

Go birdwatching in Kotagiri Photo: Getty Images
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I went looking for a bakery, a nondescript nook named after a famous saint to be found near the "priary". Around noon, the legend went, they sliced hot bread, fresh out of a wood-fired oven, and it was best had on the spot, out of its old newspaper wrapping. I must have lost my way, but I found wildflowers growing on the rock faces that bordered the winding road stone steps that led steeply down hillsides to ageing homesteads mud tracks covered with fallen leaves and enormous roots of gnarled trees the "National Model" kindergarten school set within a cusp of an emerald green tea estate iridescent crowns of sentinel-like silver oaks that shimmered in the sunlight curious and friendly locals, but not one other tourist on the horizon and, just beyond a blind curve, transfixing vistas of the hazy blue Nilgiris with the sun lowering shadows upon what looked like a limitless expanse of mountains. It was only later in the evening, while munching yummy vazhakkai (raw banana) bajjis by a blazing fire at the Sunshine Bungalow, that I remembered my martyred bakery.

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