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Old 24th June 2010, 14:39   #16
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^^ Absolutely. We were excellent friends during the college days. Lived in the same room, went through loads of struggles those days to just survive and complete our course in Madurai, Thiagarajar College of Engineering. We were going through very difficult times and most of the time college was closed and we had to do all the studies on our own. The common troubles we had to go through bonded us tight, which never was lost during these 30+ years.
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Old 24th June 2010, 14:40   #17
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Great narration and start to your story, Raja Ji. It must have been wonderful catching up with your friend after so many years.

Waiting to see pics of your second wife and of the Nilgiris!
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Old 24th June 2010, 14:43   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RajaTaurus View Post
The place? Heaven on earth, the queen of mountains… Ooty.
That's a nice long holiday. I guess pure water is gushing at Minjur without any issues eh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RajaTaurus View Post
7:30 am. Departed home at Kilpak Chennai, stop at Balaji Bhavan for a tummy full breakfast.
Is this the Balaji Bhavan on 1st Avenue, Anna Nagar? I always get a tummy upset when I have a tummy full there. Hope you did not have any such issues.

Looks like you made it to Salem quite quickly. Were you cruising around 120?

As for your second wife, she's more of a mistress or a girlfriend right? Polygamy's not allowed here.

Last edited by Gilead : 24th June 2010 at 14:46.
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Old 24th June 2010, 14:50   #19
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^^ Yes. This is the same. I know what you mean, but I restrict myself only for breakfast and Idlies and Dosas can't do any damage to the intestines I guess. At least those were fine with our tummies.

Even I have a third wife mate. My Work - That's what my 1st wife says. In fact they take turns as to who is 1st, 2nd and 3rd, Depending upon with whom I am. hahaha
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Old 25th June 2010, 09:27   #20
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Default Day-3 Annur Temples

Day – 3 – Annur Temples.
I booked a cab to go to Annur, about 30 kms from Coimbatore. I had already done some research about the temples there as well as inquired from my friends in Chennai about the specialties of this place.

Our first stop was at Annur Manneeswarar Temple, an ancient Shiva temple built by Chera kings. The architecture was similar to Perur temple, but this one was built about 1,000 years later. The temple was completely empty, the day being a normal working day. Except the Pujaris, nobody was there. However, the temple was spotlessly clean and all the decorations and Aarathies were being done per schedule.

When we entered the temple, the pujari welcomed us and while walking down the main mandapam, towards the sanctum we literally felt like some ancient King and Queen being given special welcome. Absolutely mind blowing, refreshing and above all, cleansing for the mind. We both felt so light in our mind when we came out to go around the temple.

As there was nobody around, I took a bit more freedom to capture the temple in my BB.
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Look at the stones, hand crafted and matched with each other and bonded with special lime based mortar that has last for a thousand years!

We also visited the Vishnu temple and Angaala Parameswari Amman Temple nearby and then came back to Coimbatore around noon.

We entered a newly opened mall called “Leemas” on the main commercial street called ‘Cross cut road’ (whatever that means). Wifey surveyed all the floors and spent some time and money, while I was sipping a Cappucino. After both were satisfied with what we were going about, we went for another Annapurna lunch nearby and headed back to the hotel.

My friends family became so attached to us, they visited again that evening. This time we dined in the Roof garden of the same hotel and talked a lot.

I took tips from him for the travel on the mountain road (Ghat road) to Ooty. There are two roads that take you uphill to Ooty. One via Coonoor and another via Kotagiri. He advised us to take the Kothagiri route. This road is about 15 km more in distance and not normally used by the travel cabs and tourists and so would be less traffic there. And while coming back he advised to take the Coonoor road, just to see the picturesque sceneries of the valleys. Also took tips for local trips and shopping.

We were talking until it was late until around 10:30 pm and then we parted. Of course, reuniting after 30 bloody long years is a beautiful thing.

Coming up… Ascending into the Heaven… This is BLISS…
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Old 25th June 2010, 10:32   #21
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Crisp and clear narration. Your write up about temples explains why temples in south are not just for divine worship. I should pay more attention when I visit these temples the next time.
Now Ooty has been stripped to its last apparel by fellow bhpians. I am curious to see if you will reveal more beauty of Nilgiris that is still hiding beneath
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Old 25th June 2010, 11:02   #22
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^^ Ooty is one place on earth that offers different feast each time anybody visits her. She is true to her name "Queen of Mountains". Upcoming posts and pictures will vouch for that.
Please keep watching.
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Old 25th June 2010, 13:45   #23
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Default Ascending into the Heaven… This is BLISS.

Ascending into the Heaven… This is BLISS.

Day-4.
Checked out at 8:50 am from Heritage Inn. Filled tank full at nearby petrol station.
Full Tank to Full Tank: 2000 INR (39 liters) and trip meter read 540 kms. FE: 13.8 kmpl.
Took the ‘cross cut road’ and caught up with Mettupalayam road right after the flyover. With city traffic slowly increasing, we moved on and touched Mettupalayam at around 9:00 am. Right after Mettupalayam, There came the Bhavani river and immediately after crossing the bridge, took right turn towards Kotagiri. Few hundred meters and the mountain road started.

Man, the whole ambience, sceneries, atmosphere and mood transformed as soon as we started ascending. Slow and steady climb, sparse traffic either side of the road and we were ascending with wild forests encompassing us from both sides.
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Here I have to tell you something. The day we reached Coimbatore, we saw the news on TV that entire Nilgiri district was battered by heavy rains due to the monsoon starting from the South West and many places were flooded. Slightly worried but I as optimistic as ever, told my wife that it will clear up on Wednesday. Next day we saw the news saying all schools and offices were closed in Ooty, Kotagiri and nearby places since the rains were even heavier. And I said to my wife the same thing that I told her earlier – “Everything’s Gonna be Alright”.

Tuesday morning, the weather started clearing up and on Wednesday, the weather was absolutely pleasant. Heavy cloud cast, but not a drop of rain, gentle breeze caressing us all along and the sky was absolutely amazing. Everything transformed as if just for us.

At this place, around 1,000 Meters elevation I just couldn’t resist stopping. I found a safe place and parked the car, switched off the engine and got out. The atmosphere was absolutely tranquil. Some rain-bugs and wild beetles were providing rhythm at various beats, few wild birds were playing their trumpets and flutes, skyscraping trees were swinging in the gentle breeze and serenely a Symphony was being celebrated by Nature. Took a deep breathe and felt the pristine air filling the lungs and the bloodlines. Took a stroll and opened up all my senses and let them absorb every nano-bit of Nature there. Eckhart Tolle says this is living in “Present”. Let every single sensor of your body focus on what it is doing simultaneously and do not block any sense. Let all the senses transmit exactly what it feels to the brain. Do not analyze them. Do not question them. Do not compare them. Just let them all flow in. And that is what I did. And lived in “Present” for a few minutes. You have to experience it to realize in full what I am trying to explain here.

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Came back to this world, continued our ascent. Me driving carefully and wifey clicking away at her whims, we passed Kotagiri and couldn't help thinking about Amma, who is resting nearby at Kodanadu estate and wanting the world to believe that she is serving Tamilnadu sitting up on those mountains!

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Take a look at the clouds. Threatening to down-pour anytime like an arial tsumani, yet, quietly watching us.

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The road was spotless, thanks to our President Prathiba Patil, who was supposed to visit Ooty for a three day rest and the program got cancelled due to rains the previous week. Thus we were presented with brand new asphalted road all along up to Ooty.

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Last edited by RajaTaurus : 25th June 2010 at 13:49.
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Old 25th June 2010, 15:24   #24
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We reached Ooty at around 12:00 Noon.

Odo read 96 kms. Running hours: 3 hours. (1 hour plains and 2 hours uphill).

I didn’t find it difficult to locate the hotel, as I virtually visited it many times on Google Earth. It was Hotel Sinclairs. Located just 30 meters below the DottaPetta Peak, at 2,300 Meters altitude, practically this is the highest hotel in South India. And the hotel has fantastic view of the entire Ooty town, the hills, mountains, clouds and beyond. No other hotel in Ooty gives you this panoramic view.
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And the hotel has been built literally upside down. We arrived at the parking lot located parallel to the 4th Floor. And we alight and enter the Lobby, restaurant and meeting rooms at the 4th floor. The hotel rooms are right below, at the 3rd, 2nd and 1st levels. And at ground floor, the door opens up to the lawn.
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We checked in, took some lunch and headed for downtown at around 2 pm. Temperature was around 15 Deg. C, cloud overcast but no rains. We drove around the Charing Cross, boat club and back to Charing Cross. Wifey spotted a handicraft shop, named Big Shop and we stepped in. Picked up some hand made idols of Ganesh, Buddha and Krishna.
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Next was the shop of home made chocolates, and the best shop was King Star, right down the road. We picked up loads of chocolates and climbed up back to the hotel at around 4 pm. It was 4 km from the town center to the hotel and about 60 meters ascent.

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And I found this Yellow Nano parked there. I guess the same Nano C_L spotted.
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Even I saw few more Nanos around the Ooty town during my stay. Man, it was hard to believe this little car was braving all those steep ascents and descents, challenging cars with more than 100 horses. Salutes to Mr. Tata.

It was 4 km from the town center to the hotel and about 60 meters ascent.

... Contd.
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Old 25th June 2010, 15:32   #25
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Boss

Great start to the travelogue, more importantly the nostalgia of being back in our Homeland.... Amazing.

Great to read, include some pictures of your reunion with your long lost friend. I have a reunion every year with my chaddi friends and I still feel nostalgic, cant blame you.

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Old 25th June 2010, 15:46   #26
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Rajaji

Please also tell me how difficult or easy it is for people like us who have stayed out of India, visiting yearly though, to come back and settle down for good.

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Old 25th June 2010, 15:52   #27
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Great pics, Raja Ji. I guess you enjoyed the chocolates more than anything else?

The Nano is indeed very popular, in spite of some incidents which tarnished its image!

Keep the pics coming....
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Old 25th June 2010, 17:56   #28
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Rajaji

Please also tell me how difficult or easy it is for people like us who have stayed out of India, visiting yearly though, to come back and settle down for good.

Subs
Subs, You asked me the right question, I am sure it needs separate thread. I might start one soon. In Brief, I can tell you my experience, it is very easy AND very difficult. It was very easy for me AND very difficult for my wife. More on separate thread soon.
Keep Watching.
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Old 25th June 2010, 18:09   #29
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Had a good cup of tea and went into relax mode. At about 5:30 pm, casually opened the window, only to be stunned by Nature…, again. Till we returned to the hotel it was heavy overcast, but suddenly, like a magic the sky cleared up right in front of me and the Sun showed up with his hands wide open. The sight was dreamy. Constantly changing colors and intensity, Sun was showering its golden dust all over the place, on the mountains, on the little town’s houses, trees, plantations, every where it was drenched in Gold. I just could not wink a bit lest I miss part of the Spectacle unfolding there. What I captured in my little camera just did not do any justice to the display that unfolded in front of us. And the location up there presented us with the best vantage point for viewing the sunset. See the pictures I managed to capture. Almost 30 minutes of scintillating display of Sunset in the most unexpected place at the most unexpected time.


Take time to enjoy the pictures. The photos are in chronological order. The

(C_L is going to love these.)

Lawn lit up by the evening sun
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And the Spectacular Sunset.

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A Gift from Nature to us.

After enjoying this absorbing display, and dinner at the restaurant we retired for the day.

Coming up... Thodas, Pykara Falls and Roses

Last edited by RajaTaurus : 25th June 2010 at 18:11.
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Old 25th June 2010, 18:49   #30
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When I was there last month, I walked from hotel Sherlock to Charing Cross!
It was quite a fun on an afternoon with a chill in the air!
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