“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded!”
Who would have known 20kms ahead of the touristy Ooty awaits the breathtaking views of India’s 2nd largest inhabited valley- Ketti Valley. My love for off-beat places and less traveled paths has always made me witness magic in the name of nature, and this time wasn’t going to be any different. Also, it was the first time I tried an Air BnB stay. So, the whole experience thrilled me to bones!
Starting up from Lovedale to my stay, I witnessed every possible change with each mile. The winds grew stronger, the path became steeper, there was a nip in the air(perfect to apricate, i tell you! Only if getting sun burnt hadn’t come easy) , and the astounding views of the valley and beyond lay in front of my eyes. Words can’t do justice to describe the sight my eyes beheld.
Our BnB was at a perfect location with a view to die for.
There is not much to explore in the valley. So, surrender yourself to the place and roam in the neighborhood! Blend in, ALWAYS, to get the most out of a place! That’s exactly how I spent a day and half leisurely absorbing the vibe and shivering.
Pro Tip: Never underestimate the hill stations of South India, they are capable enough to make your teeth chatter. Pack wisely, clearly not like I did! 😀
Here’s the rough 2-day itinerary to Ketti Valley. This is how I spent my time here making it one of my most memorable trip.
Please your eyes with the beauty all around!
To be honest, a day or two would not be enough for the valley even if you mean to soak in the views. The valley is too vast to be covered in 2 days. However, you can start by exploring the neighborhood areas. I leisurely spent my afternoon staring at the fascinating gorge and sipping in hot coffee(much needed, everyday!) I wouldn’t have budged from the spot if it wasn’t for my stomach constantly growling. Owing to the hunger pangs, i decided to roam around in the evening and satiate my buds at one of the coziest cafe in Ketti.
Eat your heart out
I would not be bragging if I say I am an expert at finding the best places to eat, no matter where! And finding The Culinarium was the highlight of the trip. A cute little cafe with views to die for and scrumptious food to hog on, what else would you ask? Oh well, yes everything in budget.
Travelling to remote places and taking off-beat paths, mostly, in my travels I was convinced i would never stumble upon a cafe/restaurant of my dreams. Hey, you never say never, remember? So, here i was standing in the middle of a European style cafe overlooking the green meadows as far as the eyes stretched. Bright and colorful decor with a bar, bakery and a pony store to buy quirky gifts from, it was everything my Sundays would demand(with a book, of course!).
Enjoy the eye-some sunset
There is no better way to end your day with a sunset unless you devoured on some lava cake, which I didn’t so i made peace with the hues of sunset spread across the valley. Oh, did I mention again I shivered to death roaming around with the fierce winds and biting cold? 😀
Roam in the famous Ooty city market
Just 5 kms into the descent from my stay was the bustling city market with restaurants/cafes lining up the streets and various shops attracting tourists. If you’re someone who would be thrilled at such a set up then you can consider booking a room in the area. For those you prefer solitude, go a little further 🙂 The famous handmade chocolates can be bought from the market or you can shop a variety of souvenir to take back home. I had a late night dinner in the market and headed up for my stay in the dark, shivering again. The roads in the valley might not be well lit, carrying a torch could be helpful if you are on foot.
Surrender under the starry sky
Less pollution, no contemporary lifestyle and pitch dark atmosphere would take you through a sky full of stars, literally though! Setting up a tent could be a great idea here. For me, craning my neck sitting on a chair was exciting enough to collect that moment all to myself. No camera, no bonfire! Just you sitting in the dark looking at how, figuratively, you’re just a speck of dust in this universe. Total bliss!!
Witness the soulful sunrise
Being on the western side of the country I rarely got the opportunity to witness a sunrise and a visit to Ketti happened to be one of the reasons.
Procure every sight of the valley
I must have said a million times and would not hesitate to reiterate – You can never get enough of these views! Explore the near by areas on foot. Take an early toy train to Coonoor from Lovedale and behold the journey in your heart. The toy train starting from Ooty, crossing Lovedale and Ketti reaches Coonoor. So, if you are staying in the mainland Ooty you can still experience the beauty of the valley while on the train to Coonoor.
I walked through the lanes of valley, stumbled over the abandoned railway tracks(now used a few times a day for the train to traverse), watched a group of ladies soaking in the sun near the tracks involved in their giggles and knits. Peeked through the adorable houses which i could see from a distance till a day before.
Set off to explore the famous sister lakes- Avalanche & Emerald
40kms from main city Ooty lies the pristine water bodies, the famous Avalanche Lake and the not-so-famous Emerald lake. The lake used to be a unit of water body when an earthquake in early 1800 divided the source of water into two. Avalanche lake is maintained by the Forest Department and regular tours are conducted through the nearby woods covering the lake. On the other hand, Emerald is tucked away near a small village and mostly used by farmers for agricultural purposes. And where did i end up? No points on guessing though!
I rode all through the gorgeous parts of valley and the creepy forest to reach Forest Department outstation for Avalanche, only to be disappointed by the swarms of crowd and the odd timing. The whole tour sounded too touristy for my liking and thus, happened the ever so beautiful Emerald Lake. Not a single soul in sight, I had the whole place to myself.
I used to dislike Ooty for all the hype and for being the most touristy place. But now I know, the beauty of the place is beyond the scope of articulation. I have always despised mainstream travel for accentuating a few known places, the crowd following the footsteps and before we even know, the place has already been stamped with tourists. But it is when we take a step further and push our limits, we find the unaltered pieces of nature hidden somewhere. That’s how I found Ketti and I will forever be grateful!
Have you ever been to Ketti? Which is your best found place till date? Share in comments below! 😀
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