61. A Few Miles to Go

@Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India.

It would be nearly impossible to find a reason not to be anywhere near Ooty at a time when Vulcan breathes fire like a dragon without a fire control system or the support of firefighters within a few kilometers radius. Even Volcanalia would not have the opportunity to see its own red marking on calendar in a land of working Gods if the heat would just continue to go high. This is that time of the year when the Shrine of Vulcan would love to miss its worship by its favourite element of nature. As his Greek counterpart could bring something like Talos to life, talking about it could possibly bring another reason for the people to believe in whatever to happen on December 21, 2012, which means that there is the need to stick to “Welcome to Ooty, nice to meet you” kind of stuff which would bring that superior nostalgia to the mind which rests on nothing other than that wonderful Malayalam movie Kilukkam. That would be the right thing in the absence of Jason, Medea and those Argonauts. Colossus of Rhodes would take an earthquake to rest and leave its story behind, but the same cannot be said about the man of heavenly ichor.

In the case of Ooty, this ichor should run deeper; also sharing the Greek gods’ own liquids with the beauty that is around, making the place immortal as the survivors of Mount Olympus who have not faded away into that eternal absence created by their non-existant worshippers; those people of legends currently existing only through the works of Homer and whoever followed him, as well as those allusions which came later and spread with the help of colonialisation and due to the power of that international language in which this is being written. Considering the temperature of the place, the existance of Vulcan in about a twenty five kilometer radius has to be a thing of eternal doubt, which would stretch beyond the knowledge of any mortal and his science which would find a volcano instead and wait for the end of days, always contributing to Global Warming and thinking in vain that it would help him find a solution and survive when his so-called inventions will consistently keep falling on his head even after the time for his epitaph passes by.

The thoughts of science bringing that Doomsday mentioned in the Holy Bible, the scene has to switch to St. Stephen’s Church, one of the oldest churches in the district and a good example of simple colonial architectural work. It is undoubtedly the most well-known Christian worship centre in Ooty, may be due to its longer history; ask for a church and it would be were a cab driver would stop for any tourist. Belonging to the first half of the nineteenth century, it has lived long and currently stands with yellow paint on the outside and white in the interior. Except for the painted glass in the front area on both sides, it is quite simple and small a structure even as the colonial elements make it something of further importance, along with its wooden parts. The graveyard and the celtic style crosses on the backyard gives it another view from that side. There is enough natural beauty around to add to all that exists in the house of God, and the cool breeze would continue to certify the significance of that old structure.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral is another nineteenth century structure, but of the second half of that century. Along with the peace and beauty of the surroundings, the church structure stands tall, not that far away from the famous attractions of the town. The church itself is an attraction as well as a place of spirituality, and it is a thing of religious and spiritual serenity; painted yellow and white, and seen even from a distance as a tall structure, not only due to its own height, but also due to the elevation of the ground itself. The scenic delights would surround it, especially the Government Botanical Garden and all which surrounds the same. Being in a church in this cold was something which I last experienced in Nuwara Eliya, a long distance – kilometres away from the current structure; but it was cooler during that time at that hill station of Ceylon and the situation was different; still spirituality and its side-effects were just the same. The same couldn’t be said in case of a sudden enlightenment though. The places were hallowed in both cases, and what made the difference was simply a gap of one and half years.

Coming back to all which concerns the beauty of nature, The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, one of the oldest mountain railways in India remained untouched, considering how crowded that time of the year happened to be. It was not in any way like that off-season trip to Kanyakumari to watch a cloudy sea which covered the sun; this was more of a trip right on target, even if there were too many targets which would mean that a few were in line just to be missed by a good margin. As Ooty is only about eighty kilometres from Coimbatore and eighteen kilometres from Coonoor, they provided great resting places and the need to go by any transport other than bus was completely out of the equation, and I would say it worked perfectly. It would have been great to travel by train through the scenery though, but it was still to be too slow. Well, the journey by road not anything that inferior in nature exploration, as it has its own sights of happiness which spreads and creats poems through the minds.

The Goverment Rose Garden, the largest Rose garden in India, and the Government Botanical Garden remain two of the places to be first visited, and they were indeed well-maintained places of beauty; the verses from Lord Tennyson’s Maud suited the former magnificiently, as one can see it among the roses, as if to improve its beauty by literature. The Ooty Lake with its boating facilities would be of significance to many, and what they call the highest peak in South India would be astonishing, but I found more attraction to the tea factory and museum. It was not something I didn’t see in Nuwara Eliya, but I was closer to tea this time and the chocolate factory had its role to play in making it that good an experience. The tea was superior throughout the stay at Ooty and so was the factory’s addition to it, which was the satisfaction of being at the highest elevation tea factory in India as they claimed, and being that close to tea and all those things which preceded it.

Diving out —>



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