…and you should too.
I love the hills. I love the weather, the vibe and the people in the hills. I feel my skin takes on a special glow and my mind a rare calmness when I smell the hill air.
So it was only inevitable that I would take my parents for a vacation up in the hills. Although we are from the Uttrakhand hills, I haven’t spent much time there. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Nilgris. I was in Coonoor a couple of months ago to participate in a run. This past weekend Coonoor was colder, quieter, prettier.
We didn’t have many days and I wanted my parents to love the place as much as I did. So I wanted to do something different and memorable. Also, I have an affinity for all things weird, offbeat and quirky. So, without further ado, here are three offbeat things to do in Coonoor.
- Hit up a local and badger them for information. There’s no better way to really get the vibe of a place than by hanging out with a local. You end up hearing fascinating personal anecdotes and hopefully getting an interesting story or two. My favorite kind are the scary ones and I was #sorrynotsorry to find out that there aren’t any ghost stories in the hills around Coonoor. In fact, the lone deserted house that I was so sure was haunted was only up for sale…and not because it was haunted. We were lucky to meet Zubin Contractor, resident and Coonoor expert. From tea factories to how Eucalyptus oil is extracted. From the history of the five tribes of the Nilgris to scenic walks around town, Zubin had us covered.
- Visit Acres’ Wild, Mansoor Khan’s cheese making farm, complete with its own gowshala and geese in a pond. I had been to this property years ago on a cold and foggy day. This weekend it was nice and sunny and we were there to find out how cheese is made. We were given facts and figures, shown the apparatus and the equipment and had our questions patiently answered. We came away with a few packets of their delicious cheese. (You know what you’ll be served if you drop in for a visit.)
- Visit the cemeteries. We went to two cemeteries and they were beautiful. An old one with centuries old tombstones and a beautiful statue of an angel. The other one we visited had graves from World War 1 and was maintained by the Commonwealth Graves Commission. Although slightly creepy, its in cemeteries that you get a sense of an era long gone. Of the aesthetics and beliefs of the time. You actually get a sense of the individuals that lived and walked in the same pathways centuries ago. It brings history to life.
Also, we go on vacation to take a break from the frenzy of city life. A cozy little nook helps. It is important to find a comfortable home away from home to stay in. Coonoor has many options and when dusk falls all you feel like doing is putting on some comfortable socks and crawling under a soft blanket with a good book. Luckily, I had the home away from home, the socks and blankets, a good book and family.