Monday, February 18, 2013

Kodanadu View Point, Kotagiri (Ooty) Nilgiri Omnibus Part 1


This bus is going to Nilgiri Mountains.
Get on this bus.
I visited Ooty many-many times because I just love Nilgiri Mountains. These mountains are a unique biosphere and must be nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site, just like Western Ghats. So much diverse flora grows here that there is no single book or publication that describes it all. Each and every book misses something of a lot.
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Nilgiri Mountains
So let’s visit Koadanadu view point today.

This is not an ordinary view point but a Super View Point. In clear weather it offers an All You can See buffet feast of views of far away and far away. You can see whole swath of the jungle area where Veerapan used to hang around. Below this view point is the scenic village of Thangumarada. Surrounded in Jungles at 3 sides and at fourth side is the towering Nilgiri Mountains. At your right side you can see Rangaswami pillars. These are a cluster of mountains standing like pillars or towers. And there is a huge waterfall visible that crashes into the valley 3000 feet below. You can see Rangaswami temple on the top of Rangaswami peak. Temple is in uninhabited wilderness area, there are no priests and it is a small shack there. Only daring people visit this temple that is a 6 kilometers of stern climb on the stairs carved on the rocks.
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Rangaswami Piller
An hourly bus goes from Kotagiri to Kodanadu view point from morning till 7PM, but let’s not just visit Kodanadu view point but there are other views too on the way. Whole way is an amphitheater.
We take the bus from Kotagiri to Keradamuttam that is 10 kilometers from Kotagiri and Kodanadu view point is now 7 Kilometers from here. Road is very less traveled from this point on and also the most scenic Kodanadu Tea Estate boundary starts here.
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Kodanadu Tea Estate
There are two tea shops at Keradamattam. We drink tea here always.
While we drink tea, we look at the beautiful village of Keradamuttam, neatly arranged on the mountain with straight streets crisscrossing avenues those are straight stairs from the bottom to the top. Then in front of us to the left is the dense forest of Eucalyptus trees and a road goes down in other villages in the valley.
These handsome majestic blue colored eucalyptus are Eucalyptus Globulus, this variety of Eucalyptus was introduced in Nilgries from Tasmania and they are very happy here. So this place is full of eucalyptus fragrance. Whenever it is foggy its fragrance is overwhelming. Whenever I see this tree in Nilgiri Mountains, I crush it leaves on my hand so I get its perfume on me; although it makes my hands sticky for a while but it is a small price to pay for the heavenly aroma. This tree is the source of Eucalyptus Oil that is sold in Ooty area.
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Eucalyptus Jungles in Nilgiris
So we drink tea and eat vada here and enjoy the perfume of Eucalyptus. Fragerence is so pleasing; it gets hard to move on but finally we leave the place. After a turn, Kodanadu Tea Estate begins on our left. Both side of road is decorated with a purple flower. This extremely beautiful purple colored wild flower is growing all over Nilgiris. For years I was searching its name. I asked many botanists in Ooty area but nobody knew its name. Asked the people whom home perimeter was decorated by these handsome flowers but they too never knew its name. They all brought its stem and planted in the fertile Nilgiri soil and then nature begun gifting them with endless bounty of these flowers. So folks this flower is Salvia Leucantha. Mexican Bush Sage. We are lucky to have this in India and it is a feast to eyes and all senses. Butterflies hover around these flowers and it blooms whole year.
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Salvia Leucantha. Mexican Bush Sage.
So we are walking on the road. Edge of road is full with purple flowers and then most scenic Kodanadu Tea Estate spread from the road, to the valley and then to the mountain in front of us. On the top of the mountain is the forest and you may see bison there. Bison are huge wild buffaloes and they are very dangerous. These are protected animals in Nilgiri.
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Kodanadu Estate
After a couple of turns comes the HQ of Kodanadu Estate. It is a very scenic place in Nilgiris. Road climbs gently and then comes the Kodanadu Bungalow. Around this area are the amazing Rainbow Eucalyptus trees; you may think someone has decorated these trees with colors but it is not. Colors are natural.
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Rainbow Eucalyptus
Jayalalithaa owns close to 1.600 acres of pristine land here. In fact, most of the tea estates and forest area fall under her property. A palatial bungalow situated on one corner is Jayalalithaa’s summer home and relaxing centre.
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Rainbow Eucalyptus
Locals say that her property is so huge that it has nine different gates to enter from, though only extremely important people are allowed even with prior appointments. Half the times I’d been in this area (several times) she was having a retreat here.
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Kodanadu View Point
Although Kodanadu view point is situated over a 3000 feet cliff and views are extreme but views begin from right at this point after first turn from Kodanadu Bungalow. At the hairpin bend, view are so overpowering that everybody stops here. I spend hours here sitting on the parapet by the road. From here you can see views of the west and about whole of the Madhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
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Salvia Leucantha. Mexican Bush Sage.

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