Day3. First Stop.
The entire time we were in Ooty, there was one name that we kept hearing again and again from anybody we talked to about tourist attractions was Dodda Betta. We were told its a must visit. Strangely Doddabetta never featured in my shortlist. In fact I hadn't even heard about the place till we landed in Ooty. Only after we reached the place, did I realise why it never featured in my shortlist.
It was Day3 and we were quickly running out of destinations to visit. Most of my shortlisted locations were in and around Coonoor. But getting to Coonoor and worse still, moving around Coonoor had already become a pain. So we were in no mood to go back to Coonoor and re-live the tragedy. Hence we decided to go around Ooty. Anything and everything that could be covered in a bus. As I said a little while ago, Doddabetta kept cropping up whenever we asked the locals. So here were, on our way to Doddabetta. We covered the first 6 kms uphill ride in a State Transport Bus. You then need to take a jeep for the remainder of the journey. The jeep driver told us it would cost us Rs 25 per head for the to and fro trip. He would take us to the top of the hill and would be back in an hour to take us back. We told him one hour would not be enough and asked him to come back back 2 hrs later. We didnt have much plans for the remainder of the day and so we felt spending time here would have been ideal. But the driver insisted that you would finish your sight-seeing in half hour and we still had another half-hour to kill. This got us a little confused. I mean how could you explore/trek a hill in half hour?
Anyways we said ok and hopped into the Jeep. After us, 8 more girls squeezed themselves into the back of the jeep. What happened after the driver switched on the ignition, took us totally by surprise. As if on cue, all eight girls seated behind us started screaming and howling. At first we presumed it to be the excitement of starting a journey to a wonderful destination that prompted this insanity. But hell no. The girls just wouldn't stop it!!! They screamed and howled all of the 4 km stretch, till we came to a halt. They screamed at their male-counterparts in the jeep ahead of us, they screamed when our jeep overtook theirs, they screamed when they saw jeeps coming in the opposite direction, they screamed when they saw people walking up the hill, they screamed when they saw people walking down the hill, they screamed when they saw a stray dog, they screamed when they saw a tree, they screamed when felt they were not screaming enough, they screamed because wanted to scream louder than their last scream. In other words they screamed for 4 kms.
Apart from this being the most horrific experience of my life, it was also the most embarrassing. More than a wish for deaf, I would have loved to have placard hanging from by neck saying "I am NOT with them". Every time the girls screamed (which was ALL the time), the some tourists gave us a glare which said something to the extent of "Where the hell did these guys come from?", whereas the others howled back, making the girls howl even louder.
So finally our ordeal came to an end but not the ringing in our ears. The first thing that caught our eye was the sea of vehicles, then the sea of humanity, then the sea of trash and then the unbearable stink. It being a "popular" destination, they place is equally trashy and stinky. It was not even 5 minutes since we landed, and we were ready to leave. The Jeep driver had said it would take us 30 minutes to cover this place and we were done in 5! With time to kill, we decided to go ahead and check out the place. A few flight of trashy steps and an entry ticket of Rs 5 later we were at the highest peak in Tamil Nadu. At 2635 mts MSL we were at the highest point in Tamil Nadu with a view of the meeting place of the Eastern and Western Ghats. And thats about it. We spent about 10 minutes amongst that sea of humanity and got out of there. Not wanting to go completely deaf on our way back, we decided to walk the 4 kms downhill. About close to an hour later we got back to where we caught the jeep. Not finding the Jeep driver there we waited there till we got a bus back to Ooty.
Must-Do: Avoid going to this place at any rate.
My Rating: 0/10