The next morning at Ooty was everything I was ever told about that hill city. We had fog, it had rained a tad through the night, the lawns were as lush green as it could get -glistening with water droplets on them. The bikes were wet, the bikes looked clean. After the trashing they had endured a day ago, the rains had washed them clean.
I was hungry. Again. We had a great breakfast at that Taj Savoy and rode out to explore that gorgeous city. We had to load up and ride out because we weren’t coming back to the Savoy. Well, Vir had more plans.
As we rode around Ooty, the only sight in the periphery was that of houses and boarding & finishing schools on the slopes of the city. We rode past some narrow lanes down-hill and then back up hill until we spotted, The Ooty Lake. That was the first part of the plan for the day – ride down to Ooty lake and chill. Narrow winding roads occasionally taking you away from the lake and then bringing you back in sight. We rode and rode and rode but never made it to The Ooty Lake. Vir did find and off shoot that took us a tad closer but to no luck. We continued to ride in hopes of finding something while taking pictures along the way.
Finally, we did manage to get to Emerald lake. What a stunning view that lake was!? A few minutes there and we were off, well because, Lunch. At Hyderabad Biryani House. Yep, Vir strikes again. The biryani there was lip smacking, I’d highly recommend that place to everyone.
Vir then set out some instructions as to where to rendezvous once we’re down the hill and in Masinagudi again. Yay! We rode down the 36 Steep switch-backs once again and I don’t remember ever descending so fast. The rain clouds did scatter in again. But the only thing descending on those hills were the three Karizma ZMR’s. We made it to a turn off at Masinagudi and followed Vir into a village of sorts which gradually transformed into a dense forest. That was our stay for the night – The Jungle Retreat.
The Jungle Retreat as the name suggests is a forest resort with absolutely not barricades around it. The place is a family run property who have managed to re-construct that forest out of farm land, by never hunting away the animals that swung by and creating an ecosystem for them to survive. So here’s the deal, that place over the years has now found itself in the middle of a bustling forest, with wildlife. They have a bunch of forest marshals in place to escort you in and out of your cottages placed far and wide so that the it doesn’t get cramped up and the animals can move around freely. One is not allowed to move out or into the cottages, tree houses or the common social area after dark without a marshal, it’s dangerous. There are tigers, sambars, elephants, bears just doing their daily business in that jungle and we might prove hazardous to them if unassisted. How freaking cool is that?
We stayed put for a bit after unloading and sat through a whole hour worth of briefing about the code to maintain at the resort. Then we hopped onto a jeep and went out on a night safari to try our luck at spotting some leopards and other wildlife. Well, we did not catch no sight of leopards but we did come across a family of Elephants, some Sambars and a Flying Squirrel? A porcupine crossed our path too. After a 3-hour drive through the jungle in the dark we were kaput! All I could think of was, my bed and that beautiful cottage.
We got talking over dinner with the owner of the place, relaxed a little and then called it a night. The next day was supposed to be a long ride back to Bangalore and one too many coffee breaks at the numerous CCD’s and KFC’s along the Mysore – Bangalore Highway.
Foot Note : This part of the Blog is called Turn For Turn. These are stories from my rides/travel that have only been informally narrated to my buddies and session of incessant pestering later, they seem to have found their way here. I’d like to try and share a turn for turn experience in text as we go ahead. These are going to be long reads so please bear with me.
See You on the next one!
- Sigmund Q
All Pictures Courtesy – Vir Nakai & Sigmund Quadros