Not everyday do you travel on a train to just enjoy the ride. However there are certain train journeys that you must take just to soak in the beauty of the experience. One amongst them is the ride from Mettupalayam (near Coimbatore) to Udhagamandalam aka Ootacamund aka Ooty. The lovely blue Nilgiri Passenger chugs all the way from Mettupalayam to Coonoor and further up to Ooty and then back to Mettupalayam. Unfortunately I had the opportunity to take the journey only half way from Ooty till Coonoor.
I had heard about this lovely train ride from a lot of people who have recommended the train instead of the road. No doubts that the hair pin bends would give an adrenalin rush for any driver/rider, but a ride on the rails all through the blue mountains would definitely be a different experience. This joy ride covers a stretch of 20 kms over a time period of one and a half hours.
As the rustic train pulled up we all jumped in searching for a window seat like school kids. A window seat surely does make a lot of sense as you get a better view of the stunning landscape. The train chugged along slowly going past the green tea gardens, the tall pine trees, the numerous vegetable cultivations, serene lakes, colourful churches, picturesque hamlets and mountains covered up in mist.
Smoking away through the small tunnels, the train had its brief stops at stations like Wellington, Lovedale, Ketti etc. Excited like a bunch of school children on an excursion, we got down at every single station on the way and jumped in when the whistle blew.
With the extraordinary landscape spreading out, the place looked like a master piece of Michelangelo or Rembrandt. The rail lines by the British holds good even today and some places and stations still have an Anglicised feel. Our wonderful journey disembarked at Coonoor and then it was a lazy drive in a bus all the way up to Ooty.
The cool breeze, the bright sunshine and the pleasant temperature only added on to the lovely ride that will remain etched in my memory forever. This is a must ride for every traveller visiting the blue mountains and for me its the complete ride from Ooty till Mettupalayam the next time am in Nilgiris.
Signing Note: A ride that will chug along in my memories...!!
Route- Ootacamund- Lovedale- Ketti- Aruvankad- Wellington- Coonoor