The last I had visited Ooty was when I was in the second year in college. This time almost 12 years later I visited Ooty during the monsoons and what a treat it was!
Right from the drive through Kerala all the way up to Ooty had been one fantastic journey. We watched how the landscape changed and the narrow winding roads with huge trees that seldom allow the sunlight to pass through creating an awesome ambience for that perfect drive.
The drive was peaceful, though you have to be careful not to honk too much and avoid overtaking, as it’s a single narrow winding road with two-way traffic consisting of both small cars and huge trucks.
Actually, once you’re in a road like that, there isn’t much to hurry about, just enjoy the drive, switch off the air conditioner and breathe in the fresh air that’s so beautifully crisp and moist at the same time.
Just before entering Ooty, we stopped by at Archies Curry Lounge (Phone: 04262 – 263907), situated in the Municipal Complex, Ooty Road, Gudalur for biryani and cola. This restaurant was recommended by friends who had visited Ooty before. Park your car nearby or in the parking space inside if a spot is available and walk into the family room for lunch.
One of the safest things to have if you’re travelling through Kerala or having just crossed over to Tamil Nadu is to opt for a chicken biryani meal as that is usually prepared fresh every day and preferred by one and all. A plate of chicken biryani will cost around INR 80 and is enough for one person as it offers a generous helping of chicken cooked well in a smoky masala served with aromatic rice.
We stayed at the Mahindra Resorts, a lovely property overlooking the Ooty Race Course, and it’s a drive up from the town. An ideal location where you can either choose to walk down to the town for shopping and eating if you feel like.
Even though we stood in line from early morning, we couldn’t get tickets for the toy train from Ooty as they have a fixed number of tickets on sale. That day the tickets got sold out and we were still in the queue.
Since we didn’t want to lose out on this journey, we parked our car at the resort and walked back to the railway station and took a bus to Coonoor and bought tickets to Ooty as it was easier to get tickets the other way round.
I know you must be wondering why take so much trouble, but hey, we were on a holiday and it’s fun to do something different once in a while and the bus journey had its own share of fun! The drive up from Ooty to Coonoor is barely half an hour by car or 40 minutes by bus.
So we took a train ride in the famous Ooty Toy Train and what a gorgeous journey it had been. It amazes us each time we visit a new town, city or village in our country as it unfolds a magical story. Our country has so much to see that one lifetime is not enough. The view is breathtaking from the train and when we reached Ooty we decided to go for lunch back to Wellington as we hadn’t explored the town yet.
Based on a recommendation by a friend we dropped by at Riga Regency at Wellington. We were the only people at their restaurant Tycoon, which I believe we visited during the off-season.
Since weren’t sure whether we would get something, we asked at the reception and the lady directed us to Tycoon, their in-house restaurant where we were attended to by an attentive 2-man staff.
Still sceptical of what we could get there since there was nobody around, we asked them what best we could get made fresh and they said Chilli Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice and we accepted the menu.
Let me tell you that the drive up and down worked an appetite for us and the food served was brilliant. The chilli chicken and fried rice were smoky, piping hot, non-greasy and very light. A perfect lunch overlooking the town from a height and a meal for two inclusive of tax cost us INR 300.
So the next time you’re in Wellington or visiting the town for the first time, just drive up to Riga Regency for a quick lunch. I’m sure there are far more places to eat and drop by, and if you have some good place in mind do let us know and we’ll be happy to include your restaurant review in The Lifestyle Portal.
No. 2 Appleby Road
Wellington – 643232