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Captivating Coonoor!

Last summer we had a family reunion cum holiday in Wellington, a quaint Cantonment town in the Nilgiris (South India) straight out of the British Raj, which hosts The Madras Regimental Centre and The Defence Staff College.

And just outside Wellington is Coonoor, a lovely hill station that does not get the attention it deserves because nearby Ooty tends to attract the tourist traffic. If I were asked to chose between the two towns, Coonoor would win, without a shred of doubt.

But even a day spent in Coonoor will make you want to come back, again and again, to rest and relax. And discover more. Like Sim’s Park. This beautiful park cum botanical garden is situated in a ravine, and was developed in 1874, using the natural contours of the land. It tends to get a bit overcrowded, but to the credit of the staff of the park, the place is very well maintained.

Beautiful Sim's Park
Beautiful Sim’s Park
The flowers in full bloom in May
The flowers in full bloom in May

We had to cut short our stay at the Park because we had to two other important things to do. First, locate Baker’s Junction and second, have lunch at 180 McIver. Actually, we had come across McIver’s on our way into Coonoor from Wellington and Baker’s Junction had been highly recommended for the cheese it stocked.

After driving around a bit, we located Baker’s Junction, which was well stocked with dry goods, provisions and of course, cheese. And we were once again reminded that we live in a small world. Turned out that owner, Cedric Joseph was the brother of an old friend of Corinne.

Having ticked off the items in the shopping lists, we headed to 180 McIver. The 180 in the name comes from the unique location on a cliff that offers a fantastic 180 degree view of Coonoor.

180McCiver
180McIver

180McIver is an old colonial era resort with a multi-cuisine restaurant, La Belle Vie.We had some delicious pastas and pizzas made  from scratch after the order is placed. And the desserts were delectable. Though the food is a bit expensive, the location is so unique, that overall it is a value for money proposition.

180McIver – The Resort

 

The Wellington Gymkhana Club
The Wellington Gymkhana Club

By the time we finished a leisurely lunch and went round the beautifully appointed rooms in the resort, it was almost tea time. We headed to  The Wellington Gymkhana Club for tea.

teaatwellington
My first taste of NonSuch BOP

There  I was introduced to NonSuch tea. And after tasting the NonSuch Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) tea, I was hooked. I now order it directly from the tea garden to drink in Mumbai. So now we have memories of Coonoor at least four times, everyday! πŸ˜‰

PS: Thanks to my brother-in-law, John Campos, for the fantastic pictures.  Until he gets his website up and running, we’ll continue to showcase his talent! πŸ™‚

Today we’re on C of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9

 

This post first appeared on From7Eight

 

57 Comments

  1. Sia Sia April 4, 2013

    Aah! Beautiful India ! love the photos

  2. Joyce Joyce April 3, 2013

    That is one beautiful place!

  3. sharmila sharmila April 3, 2013

    NonSuch tea ! What a name ! Delightful coverage of Coonoor Jose .Must visit soon.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Yes, I India too has some beautiful places to visit. And you know where you can get Nonsuch tea in Mumbai.

  4. Sulekha Rawat Sulekha Rawat April 3, 2013

    Brought back fond memories of my visit to Coonoor with my parents and my kids. Loved the place, my dad preferred it to Ooty too.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Ooty has always been in the limelight. Now it is overrun with tourists. You have to wait in a long queue to visit the botanical gardens.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Thanks for visiting. Nonsuch tea is a perfect pick me up.

  5. janu janu April 3, 2013

    Jose…you got me at Tea. Now, no one can stop me from visiting The Wellington Gymkhana.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      I am sure that you can visit the club. But I am not too sure whether you can have tea.

  6. Nandana Nandana April 3, 2013

    This looks like a great place to relax. Nice, informative post and great pics

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Thanks for visiting. Yes, a great place to relax and unwind.

  7. Priya Sreeram Priya Sreeram April 3, 2013

    planning a trip to ooty & coonoor this month and was delighted to read this post πŸ™‚

  8. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury April 3, 2013

    Nonsuch is superb. Thanks for the lovely travelogue. Great photos! Just added Coonoor to my must-visit list!

  9. Shail Shail April 3, 2013

    I have heard so much about Coonoor from friends who used to be hostellers in a school there. Ever since I have wanted to visit the place. The pictures are awesome. My determination to visit the place has just been renewed.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Do visit Coonoor. Before it goes the way of Ooty.

  10. blogwatig blogwatig April 3, 2013

    Wonderfully done! Now this is on my must visit list. I am most intrigued by the NonSuch Tea. πŸ™‚ Learnt something new today. Gracias!

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Yes, you must visit. We are going to take a local agency for Nonsuch tea.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Yes, it is. especially if you live in a concrete jungle, like we do.

  11. Sarah Sarah April 3, 2013

    Commenting via the UBC – this sounds a wonderful place. I’ve not ventured that far East in my travels and it’s lovely to see the pictures.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Thanks for visiting. Guess there are lovely places all over. Just have to locate them, before they disappear.

  12. Dot Hurley Dot Hurley April 3, 2013

    Thanks for sharing. I had no idea there were places like this in India – looks lovely

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Yes, there are many places like Coonoor in India. But urbanisation is taking its toll. Sad! But can’t be helped, I guess.

  13. Priyanka Dey Priyanka Dey April 3, 2013

    Sounds like one Serene and Awesome place! πŸ™‚

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Yes, it is so serene. Good for long walks.

  14. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg April 3, 2013

    Coonoor and 180McIver resort looks like a perfect holiday destination that we need so very badly! So serene, so beautiful… Never heard about NonSuch Tea… thanks for sharing about it too πŸ™‚

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Yes, certainly worth a visit, though not on a budget. You will appreciate the Nonsuch tea, if you are into mild teas.

  15. Ruchira Ruchira April 3, 2013

    I went to Coonoor as a child and absolutely loved it ! Though I must say I spent most of my time trampling through tea gardens and looking out for the quaint bakeries Coonoor is so famous for ! During one of our tramps across the countryside we found ourselves in front of General Manekshaw’s cottage and actually met him !

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Field Marshal Manekshaw’s cottage is still there, though I don’t know now who occupies it. It is on the Coonoor Kotegiri road, which is a round about route to Ooty. But worth a drive. Pristine forest, even now.

  16. Preetilata Preetilata April 3, 2013

    This travelogue is so well written coupled with captivating photos and it took me to a virtual tour. πŸ™‚

    Also, learned about a new kind of Tea… the ‘NonSuch’ Tea. πŸ™‚

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Wonderful tea and the garden is prepared to deliver a couple of kilos anywhere in India.

  17. rimly rimly April 3, 2013

    Jose, reading about Coonoor brought back such lovely memories. I had gone there in 2004 and the memories are still so vivid. I agree with you that Coonoor has much more than Ooty. I remember we stayed in one of the tea gardens and the flowers there took my breath away. I was not sure if they were for real. Would love to go and visit once again someday. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Coonoor is a lovely place; much better than Ooty, where every shop sells chocolates and ‘varkey’. Don’t know what ‘varkey’ is, but the boards are all over. We too are looking forward to another visit to Wellington and Coonoor.

  18. Jenn Jenn April 3, 2013

    Coonoor looks so peaceful. Enjoyed your post!! Hope to see more of your work soon!!

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Thanks. Will certainly cover a few more places during this challenge.

  19. Afshan Afshan April 3, 2013

    Loved this post and tempted to go and hav that tea and pasta
    Is it also spelled as Kanur or is that a different place in Kerala ? How far is it from Bangalore ?
    Do let me know
    Tempted to visit

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Kanur is a different place. In Kerala. We started from Mysore around 5.00 AM and reached Wellington around noon. With a longish halt at Ooty for breakfast and to repair a flat tyre. Add the Bangalore Mysore journey time.

  20. Meena Menon Meena Menon April 3, 2013

    I am personaly a bigger fan of Coonor than ooty! 180McIver seems a quaint great place πŸ™‚

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      180McIver is a charming and quaint place. Worth an visit for a leisurely meal. The staff (only one guy, who serves) of the restaurant, has a bit of an attitude. Just ignore him and have fun.

  21. Harleena Singh Harleena Singh April 3, 2013

    Hi Jose & Corinne,

    That was lovely, and it brought back good old memories of Wellington and Staff College and the time when Dad was posted there. Of course, we were small then, but we re-visited it and that’s when we went and saw Coonoor, and just fell in love with it. Nice pictures to go with the post. πŸ™‚

    Corinne – wishing you the very best with your challenge. I didn’t know you were having it on this blog or would have come earlier to cheer you along. Sorry for that, though am glad to be here now. Take care and don’t exhaust yourself off πŸ™‚

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Both Wellington and Coonoor are beautiful places. Whilst the former will retain its charm because it is cantonment, I am not too sure about Coonoor. In time, it will get overrun like Ooty. There are early signs of this happening.

  22. Suzy Suzy April 3, 2013

    Looks like a beautiful place. Must be a day for Wellington – I blogged about a Wellington too. And Sim’s park, that could be right out of the Wellington (NZ) botanical gardens. Enjoyed the post and the pics are great.

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      According to the regimental lore, the plans for the barracks were actually meant for Wellington, NZ; due to some confusion in London, they got mailed to India. Consequently, the architectural design of the barracks is quite different from barracks in other cantonments in India.

      • Suzy Suzy April 5, 2013

        This is definitely on my places to see list! Thanks for sharing.

  23. G Angela G Angela April 3, 2013

    Hi Jose !
    Nice to see you here ! I am so happy that you have joined corinne in writing, you have done very well, I liked your post, beautiful pictures – would like to visit this place, thanks for sharing !!

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Nice to see you commenting. And thanks for the nice comments. As you know, my wife is very persuasive.

  24. sridevi sridevi April 3, 2013

    A Lovely travelogue . I could almost smell the clean air there . Thank You Corrine / Jose πŸ™‚

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      If you live in a big city, like we do, you can feel the difference as you drive up.

  25. Roshni Roshni April 3, 2013

    Thank you for a lovely review of the place! The photos are indeed spectacular too! I’m intrigued about this Nonsuch tea! Sounds delicious!

    • from7Eight from7Eight April 5, 2013

      Nonsuch BOP is quite a mild tea. We usually drink BOP tea, but Nonsuch has its own distinct flavor.

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