A train ride to Ooty…
When I was scrolling on Facebook in my room in Ernakulam without going to the office, I noticed the travel description of going to Ooty by train. After searching on Google and getting all the details, after watching the videos from YouTube, I wanted to travel immediately, I went to the website of irctc and looked for the ticket. The tickets for all the days in the month of July have been sold.
When I looked at the month of August, as if by some luck, I got a ticket on the 30th and booked it immediately (30 rupees). So on August 29, I left the office early and booked the ticket from Mettupalayam to Udakamandal (Ooty) at 07:10 am for Karikal Express train which starts from Ernakulam at 10:10 pm till Coimbatore and reaches Coimbatore at 3:00 am. From there you have to take the Mettupalayam train departing at 5:15 am to reach Mettupalayam. So I packed all my clothes and got out of the room and took a bus to Ernamkulam South Railway Station. The train I wanted to go was lying there and I had booked a sleeper seat.
Bought a veg biryani (45 rupees) from the railway station and ate it on the train. Everyone was sleeping and I was lying on my berth. At 3:30 am the train reached Coimbatore station and my next train is at 5:15 am. I went to the ticket counter and bought the Mettupalayam ticket (45 rupees) and just walked outside as I had time. In front of Coimbatore railway station, I have made a model of the heritage train that I have to go. So I walked to the third platform when the train I had to go to arrived. The train arrived quite late. I boarded the train and grabbed a window seat.
The train started its journey again. It continued its journey through vast fields and farm fields. As the sun rises, the sky becomes orange in color. The cold wind caresses your face and hair. You can see some mountains in the distance. This was a different experience for me who used to sleep till 8:00 am during the day. By the time the train reaches Mettupalayam station at 6:30 am, everyone’s face is full of happiness and excitement. I got down from the train and walked inside the station. It was a small station, only the compartment of the train I had to go to was lying on the track and the engine was being filled with water after being moved to another place.
It is the steam engine that fills the water. I saw the train for a walk and it was like a small toy train. The train has a total of four bogies out of which 3 are reservation and rest 1 is general. He is much smaller than a normal train. After showing the ticket from the line ttr showed me the seat to sit. I got the seat next to the window seat. It really disappointed me. 2 families were sitting around me. They were all talking about something. Sometimes he looks at me as if he is traveling alone. However, the pleasure of traveling alone is different. At 7:10 am someone came and locked all the doors from outside (only from outside can be opened and closed) and the train started moving slowly with hooting. That’s when I noticed that the train was going backwards but the engine was at the front. It was later realized that the working of the E train is in the way that the engine pushes the bogies forward. Farms and houses can be seen outside. There are many peacocks standing there.
The train moves very slowly so you can see all the sights along the way. He has to travel 47 km and takes 5 hours to reach Ooty. The train stops at a nearby station and everyone gets off there and takes photos. Now the forest is about to start, this handsome man is going to start his journey again to see the beautifully dressed nature. ttr called me from the back as I was staring at the sights outside. I looked at the ttr as if all the tickets were shown, my Dinka Bhagavan what now? The woman must have seen my look and smiled and asked me in Tamil if there was a window seat available in the other compartment. I didn’t get rid of the laddu that was broken in my mind, I took my bag and took a place on the window seat on the left side of the other compartment and took ttr with me.
The train is moving forward. The elephant mass is lying on the side of the railway track which will be the landing place of the elephant at night. Some passenger asked ttr to sing. With a big smile, the lady sang a Tamil song for everyone. It was very nice to hear that song. That song and the scenery outside took me to another world.
The song ended and everyone gave a good clap. I could tell that the lady sitting in front of me enjoyed the song very much because she requested ttr to sing a song for us again an old Hindi melody song. I asked ttr the name. My name is Valli, I was born in Palakkad and have been living here for several years now. After the introduction, Valli Akka’s next offer was to shift the passenger sitting in the right window seat and asked me to sit there. You can see a lot of good sights just by sitting there. Praise again to Lord Dinka!. The mountains with their heads as high as the sky, snow covered with snow and green trees. I clicked some good memory pictures on my mobile camera. It is a route with many climbs and therefore the train will stop at intervals. And then it will jump forward again with good power. He will scare us from time to time. After some ascents, the train will go backwards and the controller will go as if the control has gone, and then his parents will bring him back. There are a few tunnels, big and small, on the way. When the train enters the tunnel, it is completely dark. Then all the lights inside the train will be on.
The interior of the train is beautiful to see in the light of the bulbs. The sound of the train coming out of the tunnel is a scary sound. The train is moving forward through places like Koka, which are scary if you look down. Go ahead crossing waterfalls and rivers.
The train reaches its next station and stops at every station for 10 minutes to fill the engine with water. There is only a facility to fill water here. Since there is a good view outside, everyone gets down and takes photos with the mountains and snow behind as the background. The tunnel starts right in front of the train stop.
I slowly walked into the tunnel and it was dark and covered in smoke from the train. The train blew its whistle to start its journey. Everyone got up and started the journey. On the way, monkeys are jumping and running under the tree. I looked out the window. The train is about to cross a big bridge. If you see it, you will be scared. There is a good depth down there. It is all rocks with water rushing over it. I noticed a look of fear on the faces of everyone who had been smiling until then. It was a bridge that was both terrifying and endearing at the same time. After traveling some distance, he again stopped at a nearby place to drink water.
There is nothing called a station here. This place is in front of a bridge. Just ahead is a bridge with less water below. He got on top of the bridge and looked down for a while. You can see the road to Ooty below and the train forest area is over. There are some houses here. My camera eyes captured the entire scenic beauty during the journey to the next station. It was 11 o’clock. I feel very hungry. When I stopped at the next station to satisfy my hunger, there was a shop there.
When we came out, we were surrounded by a group of monkeys. Everyone buys food for the monkeys. I also bought a packet of biscuits in the group and gave it to all the monkeys. I put the cover of the juice I drank in the waste bin and someone came and took it and bit it and drank the rest of the juice. The train did not finish watching the monkeys. Ooty is just an hour away. On the way you can see the road and houses. The next station is Coonoor. This is the main station and from here the steam engine will be changed and the diesel engine will be connected and then the train speed will increase. So there are many people stopping at Coonoor station and getting on and off. Everyone is buying food from here. I watched the engine change. Now the train will go very fast.
I was not disappointed and he started running faster than he had run before. Ooty town is full of houses, schools and shops on the way. Pine trees are growing all around. So the train reached the last station and I got off and walked out. I ran around the hotel to get something to eat. Finally got into a small hotel and ate porotta. I have arranged my accommodation at Ywca, Ooty (Rs. 440) which is just 1.5 km away after giving the destination on google map. I proceeded along the path shown by the map. It got too cold and Chumma walked around. My only goal was to travel by train. It was thoroughly enjoyed. So I didn’t have a plan about going to local places in Ooty.
After leaving there, I walked straight to Ooty Market and saw the evening scenery there and people bargaining and buying things and walked through the market. I bought mushroom and chilli gopi from a thatth shop I saw on the way and went back to my room. I went to the room and read the India guide book. After 8 o’clock I went down to the town lot again and bought a fried rice from the shop I had eaten at earlier (Rs. 50). It is very cold 15*c. While walking back to the room, Moham bought some hot tea and drank it and went straight to the room. The next day morning after the pallu theppu and went out, the security guy gave me an interesting job. I went with that brother to put rice grains to the birds that came to the garden there. After some time, he went back to the room, took a shower, checked out the room and left there.
Had breakfast from a Malayali guy’s shop outside. After walking to see Ooty Lake, we reached the place by the time we reached the place. Everyone has come for boating. To get tired of walking so far, we saw boating there for a while. The next day is a festival so I have to reach home early. Went outside and boarded a bus and went to Ooty bus stand and from there boarded the next Coimbatore bus. Now the return trip… got down the pass and the bus left for Coimbatore… sat in the pass enjoying the beauty of the snow and forest and came down the pass with many good memories…..
– Harshid R B