TRAVEL: OUTLOOK GETAWAYS/COONOOR EXTRACT





COONOOR

In the shade of Dodda Betta


By Sheila Kumar

While just about every hamlet in the Blue Mountains vies for the title of ‘Queen of the Nilgiris’, mist-wrapped Coonoor in season, when the emerald green of the tea bushes is sharply offset by blood-red poinsettia, purple morning glory and golden sunflowers, is truly a regal sight. This really is a charming oor (‘hamlet’ in  Tamil). Legend has it that it used to be home to the Coon tribe, but I suspect the last of the Coons were seen a good while ago. The other legend concerns the blue kurinji flower, which is said to bloom once every 12 years, giving the Blue Mountains its colour and moniker. 
The white man left this hill station years ago but touches of the Raj remain all over Coonoor: in honeysuckle-fronted cottages named ‘The Gables’ and ‘Gorse View’ which sit pretty on the side of winding pine-hedged lanes; in areas called Bedford and Elk Hill; and in the headstones of the graveyards where many a Colonel Hughes and Miss Jones rest in peace.
This article appears in Outlook Traveller Getaways’ Romantic Holidays in India. For more about the book, and more excerpts, click here.

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