Topics: Tamil Nadu, Ootacamund, Coonoor Pages: 3 (957 words) Published: January 8, 2013
Kotagiri – Where the Blue Mountains turn green
My first introduction to Kotagiri was through someone who had lived there and claimed that it was the prettiest place in the Nilgiris. Having visited Ooty and Coonoor earlier, I was surprised I hadn't heard of it. My interest was fuelled years later when I read an article about Longwood Shola, one of the few remaining shola forests in the Nilgiris, and saw that name again — Kotagiri. In the summer of 2011, I visited Longwood and explored this little-known town. Our first view of KotagiriKotagiri, home of the Kota tribes and picturesque trekking trails, lies below the busy town of Ooty and above the growing town of Coonoor. We checked in at Heavenly Stay, a quiet homestay run by a charming lady who plied us with scrumptious food at regular intervals. We had obtained permission from the District Forest Officer to visit Longwood Shola but to our dismay, we were informed on our arrival that the forest was temporarily closed for visitors due to a leopard attack the previous day. We drove down to the forest only to find all the gates closed. Eager to abate our disappointment, one of the workers at the cottage, a Badaga man, offered to show us around the area. St Catherine FallsWe set off to the St Catherine Falls, Aravenu. It involved a walk up to one of those quaint viewing huts that are found throughout the Ghats and offered a splendid view of the rugged hills and the 250-ft jet of water gushing down the mountain. In the evening, we drove to Kannerimukku, home of the first European resident of the Nilgiris, John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. He built this bungalow in 1819, and then went on to build Ooty. The bungalow itself has a rich history -- it changed hands many times and was used as a summer home, godown, village school, cattle shed and was finally renovated and opened to the public in 2002. It showcases some ancient photographs, tribal art, implements used by the Kotas, Badagas, Todas and other...
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