Sunday, 14 October 2012

Close encounters with naughty monkeys and Park Officials!

The Niligiri mountain railway train between Ooty and Coonoor takes 45 mins through the tea plantations and tribal villages. It was built in 1886 and the Ooty - Coonoor link completed in 1908. Very little has changed since this time - hard wooden carriage seats .... and a bargain of a ride at 3Rs. At it's steepest there is a gradient of 1:12, Ooty is 7728 ft above sea level.




The Niligiri Mountain railway
We are joined in our carriage by a group of women from Bombay they tell us on a girls holiday...they are dressed with heavy scarves & thick shawls matching their outfits. They are a jolly bunch, shrieking and giggling when we go into a tunnel when one of them is leaning out the window to take a photo.... There is some discussion as to whether they are with a religious group....




Arriving we head to our new found favorite coffee stop Cafe, Coffee Day to fortify ourselves for the long drive ahead. The drive is supposed to take 6 hours according to our schedule but we eventually make the final climb into Munnar 12 hours after we leave....
We cross several National Park and our driver registers and pays the van entry fee. Often at these stops the monkeys gather to peer in at our windows and we have to be careful as they jump on the roof and we even had one trying to slide back the window...




At dusk we have a series of park check points one after another within a few hundred meters of each other, each requiring payment. At the middle barrier our driver returns to the van upset. The entry rate is 22 Rs, the Guard wants 50 Rs, and our driver is not prepared to pay more than 30 Rs. He has asked to see the Park Supervisor. This could take forever and with the failing light and the prospect of many more Km's ahead we have a whip-round, pay the bribe and are on our way...welcome to the way of getting things done in India...




Check points at the National Parks...
Boy were we glad to arrive at Tall Trees, we awake to the sounds of birdsong a really beautiful setting in amongst the tea plants.




We enjoy the setting at Tall Trees, make good friends with the man who comes to turn the water on every morning and enjoy being able to walk out into the tea plantation.




Little Wandering Wren

Location:Ooty - Connoor - Munnar 270km's

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