Nilgiris 1989. John Sullivan, the father of Ootacamund, in a letter to Thomas Munro the future governor of Madras. *
This is the finest country ever…it resembles I suppose Switzerland more than any part of Europe…the hills [are] beautifully wooded and [there is a] fine strong spring with running water in every valley.
To be fair, Ooty has lost much of its charm to crass commercialization. There are tourists thronging all the roads leading to the hill station and much of the city center. But there are a few experiences that still retain their old world charm, like taking a ride in the decades old Nilgiri Mountain Railway, built by the Britishers in colonial times and still doing yeoman service to the local populace and the tourists alike.
Read about why hopping on to the ‘toy-train’ as it is more popularly known, is an experience that is not to be missed, in Alde Baran’s article. Some great photographs contribute towards bringing the experience alive. Don’t skip this one – read it now.
Rain, from inside the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, has to be the most uplifting sight ever. Some people keep their windows open and stick their tongue out. I choose to keep my window closed and watch it shudder as the rain hits it. When we finally arrive at Ooty, people disembark, but stick around for a few minutes more. Yes, they look like they’re checking their luggage. But maybe another cup of mint tea will warm them enough to admit that they’re actually gazing affectionately at the toy train that gave them a journey that was, strangely, not about the destination at all.
The “What a beautiful world” blog series is my attempt to share stories of our world, captured in the form of photo essays and blogs by other photographers and writers.
* Taken from the book “Almost Home: Finding a Place in the World from Kashmir to New York” By Githa Hariharan