08 February 2015

Train hopping 4: Coonoor to Ooty

The picture postcard station of Lovedale

Ooty Railway Station

The scenery from the train window

Leaving the road behind amidst tea gardens

Lord Baden - Powell Hall at Ketti

Ketti Railway Station

Previous: The Coonoor railway station
There are a few places in India where the lifestyles and the locations remain in a colonial time warp ... as the British made them. Over a period of time quite a few of these bastions have been penetrated and "liberated" by republican India. The Nilgiris are one of those that remain. Climbing up from Coonoor, the Niligiri Mountain Railways reveal an interesting glimpse of what was once a privilege of the colonials. Vast Tea Gardens, exclusive Public Schools nestled in hills, a massive army cantonment named Wellington and last but not the least, the railway itself. In a snapshot from the past, you get to see a large structure named 'Baden Powell Hall' in a quaint little station right out of Thomas & Friends animation series. Its called Ketti. I guess if there were a place in India where such a monument to the great originator of the Boy Scouts movement would "look" appropriate, it would be the Nilgiris. There are more such stations, Wellington, Aravankadu, and the most beautiful of them all ... Lovedale. Unlike the run till Coonoor, these are inhabited places where passengers donned in huge woollen overall and looking completely incongruous to the typical description of Tamil Nadu board the train. My co - passengers from Mettupalayam are getting restless. It is indeed a long and slow ride in comparison with the completely inelegant road travel. However, elegance in the twenty first century is giving way to speed and sometimes rarely to efficiency. The impatient passengers are now eagerly waiting for Ooty to turn up. And it does finally turn up and in time! at precisely 12 Noon the train enters the Ooty railway station which is not as atmospheric as the others on the line. My agenda is a train ride back to Mettupalayam on the returning train at 2.00 pm. I have a waitlisted ticket but I am hopeful of a seat.
Next: The train ride back to Mettupalayam.
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