Memorable three days were spent with family in Ooty at Sterling Fern. The resort has vast open spaces, with fun filled activity areas for children and a magnificent view of the surrounding landscape.
The evening chill and cold nights were a welcome change from the heat of the plains. A three hour drive through the picture perfect Nilgiri Hills dotted with tea gardens, Nilgiri and Fern trees and quaint small towns and bustling yet very colourful big towns, fourteen hairpin bends, the ever changing landscape and a running commentary by Hatimbhai Taxi ( M 09360658346 ) made the journey worthwhile.
Nowadays, it is very easy to check out all the places of interest before embarking on a long or short vacation. So this post I am dedicating to Bhai Hatimbhai who I did not find on Google or any travel sites, but on landing at Coimbatore and his name referred by my dear brother/ friend Sk. Hakimuddin Rampurawala.
Before start of the journey I had braced up to be driven around by a Tamil driver, and accepted the fact that communicating and understanding would be an issue. However, internet was always there to make me aware of the tourist spots.
However, lucky me and my family BHAI HATIM TAXI was a real find. I dedicate this blog to him. His knowledge of all that encompassed the Nilgiri Mountains, the trees, the vegetation, the tourist sites, the history , was encyclopaedic. ‘ apne kasre A’li na rasta thee drive kari ne jasu’ was his often refrain, as he drove us through diversion roads, so that we were not stuck in usual tourist rush of traffic and having to park long distance.
Hatimbhai has a passion for cooking and he regailed my wife and daughter with dishes and cooking tricks to pep up ‘thali’ food. That was an additional bonus.
Hyderabad Biryani House started small but now has many branches. The latest is ANGARA, an upscale restaurant with good decor, suits well if you want to take your date out or to impress someone.
But the old Hyderabad Biryani House is what Hatimbhai recommends, and he is right. Value for money. All the preparations are good, and they have free home delivery service within 5 km radius.
We ordered food at Sterling Fern where we stayed, _and piping hot food was delivered within 45 minutes.
The most memorable experience for me was the speed boat ride on the scenic Pykara sweet water lake in pouring rain. After taking a slow leisure ride on a big boat and enjoying the surrounding scenery in tranquility, when it was time to take the speed boat ride, it started raining heavily and as closing time was nearing, we took the ride with rain lashing which was most memorable.
If any of my friends plan a trip down South, I recommend Hatimbhai Taxi. He can double up as a cook if one plans to stay put for a few days in Airnb bungalows which are available in Ooty and Conoor.
The only regret is we could not get tickets for the ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Train.