Day2. First Stop.
By now we were resigned to the fact that Guided Tours are the only way to see places in Ooty. So on Day 2, we decided to undertake one such guided tour in a Swaraj Mazda. After a series of pick-ups scattered across Ooty and few exchange of brick bats between the various tour operators on account of bad planning and some surprise last minute bookings (that would be us) we finally were off to see Ooty.
The driver announced to us in Tamil and broken Hindi that we would be touching the following places:
1. The Gymkhana Golf Course
2. Pine Forest
3. Shooting Locations
4. Pykara Waterfalls
5. Boating in Pykara Lake and
6. Safari in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
The first stop as expected was the Gymkhana Golf Club, except that it was not really a stop. Only the Swaraj Mazda stopped there for like a minute, so that the driver could tell us it was the GGC. Apparently only the Gymkhana Club Members have access to this golf course. Not surprisingly, this Golf Course is the most beautiful sight you'd get to see in Ooty, as its not open to general public and hence is well maintained. After the 2 minute stoppage for the driver's recitation and attempt-in-vain to click pictures through the window, we were off to the next destination - The Pine Forest. The less said about the Pine Forest, the better. A vast slippery area of symmetrically planted Pine Trees with oodles of garbage sums up Pine Forest. Off to next location - the Shooting Locations.
My heart was already beginning to sink when I saw the long line of Swaraj Mazdas, SUV's and Mini Buses parked outside the Shooting Locations. After buying some Bhel Puri (for breakfast) we went in to explore the place. The locations in question is a green carpeted hill that spreads over a vast area and climbs a good height from where you get a good view of the surrounding areas. Standing atop this hill, a sudden realisation hit me - Im in Ooty. This was the Ooty I had in mind when I set out of Bangalore. And here I am. Finally something that looks remotely Ooty-ish. Looking at the glorious green plains and the foggy moisture-filled air I could recollect a zillion Bollywood, Tollywood, Mollywood, Collywood, Sandalwood movies picturised here. It was the perfect location for the umpteen song sequences. The place had it all, a steep green hill for the heroine to run into the arms of her knight-in-shining-armour, a lush carpeted slope for the hero and heroine to roll down the hill cuddling each other, the zillion trees at the foot of the hill for dancing around them, a pond where the hero can throw the villain into in the climax of the movie, amazing cloud formations that can rain any second for the heroine to seduce her guy by getting all wet, horses that will enable a chasing scene, a forest where the heroine about-to-be-raped-but-saved-by-the-hero can run into, flowers that the cameraman can zoom into as soon as the hero and heroine come closer to kiss each other et al. Its a total riot for the Indian film-maker. Give him this location and he will make a movie out of it.
I was shook out of my filmy khayals by a horse-mounted tourist who wanted to know how to apply the breaks on the horse. Having realised we had a time schedule to keep we headed back to the Swaraj Mazda only to find we were the only ones back. We then decided to not stick to any time stipulations, but that lead to some unpleasant stares and below-the-breath cursings at our next destination. But that's for the next blog to tell the story.
Must-Do: Take pictures of the shooting landscapes. Check out the brakes on the horse before you mount it.
Must-Don't: Make the lives of film makers difficult by trashing the place thereby rendering the place un-shootable.
Must-Buy: Too good to be true weird-looking carrots.
My Rating: 7/10