Coonoor, nestled in the blue hills.
Tucked away, from the busy touristy places, in the Nilgiris is Coonoor, a hilly town that offers the cool respite and relative calm you would expect from an offbeat holiday.
Located in Tamil Nadu, this is the second largest hill station, after Ooty, and offers plenty for the tourist. You can spend your holiday simply reading a book or indulging in music while enjoying the beauty of the blue Nilgiris, while the outdoorsy types can go for treks too. This town is in fact considered as the ideal base for trekking into the Nilgiris. With a Bollywood twist to it, this is also the place where the flick Kapoor and Sons was shot. With many traditional homes converted into resorts, you get great stays too. One can head here for the good food and definitely the breathtaking views it offers. The touristy doís here include trips to Lamb Rock and Dolphin’s Nose (Yes, they have one as well!), which offer vantage views of the valley. Tea shopping at the Tantea tea museum is recommended. Make a trip to the Sims Park, which is a wonderful Botanical getaway housing trees that are over hundreds of years old. This place is an ideal birding spot too, so when planning a trip to Coonoor, pack your camera along, for you’ll need it more than once. One can take a train ride from Coonoor to Ooty and enjoy the wonderful view of the Nilgiris through the window.
What to do: Relax, go trekking
How to get there: Rail and road transport.
Where to stay: Neemrana or any of the heritage hotels like La Belle Vie, McIver
Talakadu, The town with a curse
If tales and historical legends fascinate you, then add Talakadu to your list.
With the river Cauvery flowing by, this town of Karnataka is also referred to as the Temple Town. And has a legend associated with it. If the stories are to be believed, this town was very prosperous in the yester years. In 16th century, during the rule of the Vijayanagara kings, the Governor of Srirangapatnam, Sri Rangaraya was down with a strange illness and was advised to offer prayers at Talakadu, and his queen Alamelamma was in charge. When she came to know that her husband would not recover, she rushed to Talakadu to be with him. However, Raja Wodeyar of Mysore stopped her and asked her to hand over her jewellery, which allegedly she had been hoarding. Angered at this, Alamelamma crossed over to the village Malangi, threw her jewels into the Cauvery and jumped into its waters, but not before she put three curses on it. She said that the town would always be covered in sand, that Malangi would become a whirlpool and the kings wouldnít have heirs. Since then, 9 to 10 feet of sand accumulates every year, and most of the old town lies buried in sand. And yes, if you are wondering about the other two curses, there are whirlpools at Malangi and the Mysore kings have no children, and have passed their kingdom to adopted heirs. Over the years about 30 temples have been built here and lie buried in sand, with only their tops visible. In fact the inhabitants were forced to abandon their homes and go further inland. When youíre visiting Talakadu, do visit the temples, dig into history and take the fun-filled coracle rides at the Cauvery.
How to get there: Drive from Bangalore or Mysore
Where to stay: Mango mulch home stay at Talakadu or hotels in Mysore and Bengaluru