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The next day we wanted to spend sometime with lesser crowd. So we decided to go to Doddabetta on the morning as a early bird. Doddabetta lies at 8 kms from the Ooty town and on the way to Kothagiri. Immediately after our lunch we started to Doddabetta by the bike we retained for the second day. The upward journey was quite fine, calm and thrilling to travel amidst the dense jungles on one side and the cliff on the another side. The roads were the same as we saw few years ago and quite bumpy. By the time we reached Doddabetta, we were in for a major disappointment. May be the whole tourist crowd thought the same like us and there was a huge crowd in the peak of Doddabetta. Also the streetside vendors have shrunk the magnitude of the top and the roads.

{mosimage}The place which was once vast like a stadium, which formed a beautiful and stunning postcard perfect view with the towns of Ooty and Mettupalayam in the backdrop have now been reduced to a creepy and crowdy junction. Adding insult to the injury all the sides were covered with wired fences and closed gates. I was very upset of visiting this place. I must have lived with the memories of my earlier visits to this place rather than seeing the plight of current condition. We just saw the telescopic view of the Ooty town and Mettupalayam and I was getting restless to leave from that place. Initially we had planned to spend half of the day at Doddabetta but we left that place within 1 1/2 hours flatly. So what to do the rest of the unplanned time? We left to Sims park in Connoor by bike.

{mosimage}There are two ways of reaching Sims Park while coming from Ooty. One is the straight via Black bridge, crossing town and the another one is via Welington Cantonment. I chose the former one while going. This is quite a roundabout and tortuos path while going to the Sims park. Thankfully the park was not crowded except the children play area. This Sims park is one of the oldest Botanical parks in the world with trees of more than centuries old. Initially developed by ******, a British *****, sprawling across **** acres, Sims Park offers a cool and serene tryst with nature. Infact I can suggest people to spend more time in Sims park rather than Ooty.

{mosimage}Now the park authorties have arranged for a small boating in the mini pond inside the park. They charge Rs. 25 for 20 minutes. It was a funny ride except I found that pedal boat given to us very hard to move on. I came out damn tired and as usual took a nap for few minutes with my wife complaining about my sleeping habit. There we spent some considerable amount of time and while returning we drove through the Gymkhana golf club and Welington Military cantonement. This Welington cantonement is one of the pride training institutes for Indian Army. It also had doubled as Kashmir in Maniratnam's "Roja". Ever since I showed my wife those places, she wanted to see the movie Roja again. Ofcourse she did it when we were in Coimbatore.

{mosimage}We saw one wax world, a private wax museum, located in 2 kms before Ooty town. Seems that it is a commercial establishment looking at the potential orders and name through this display. They charged Rs. 10/- for entry and Rs. 20/- for the camera. There are around 15-18 life like wax statues, which are quite good even if not so great. They sell designer wax candles, which look quite good. We bought one candle as a memory for this trip. The place we stayed was closer to this place and we had our lunch in the hotel itself.

{mosimage}By the evening we went for boating in the Ooty lake, we planned in such a way that we reach the lake when most of the crowd had left and also the lighting is mild and fine. We chose to pedal our boats.. The Ooty lake is vast and man made, that forms the end of the seven miles lake and is one of the major attractions of this hill station. They charged Rs. 60 for 30 minutes and Rs. 100/- for security deposit. We drifted away from the mainstream crowd and pedalled towards the deer park available at the mid of the lake. Normally I used to carry the whole camera kit, but strangely I chose to carry the camera alone with wide angle lens. The deers were in the distance and I really regretted for not having the telephoto lens to shoot them. Other than this, it was a pleasant evening.

Once we came out from the boating, we boarded into the toy train. In the same compartment a newly married mallu couples boarded and that girl was so shy, feeling intimidated by our presence, whereas that guy was in terribly erotic mood that he didn't mind our presence, trying to smooch that girl. Since we also were newly married, we turned away from them. Hope they had a good time.

We returned our bike to Imran and walked to the hotel. After the bad experience with that hotel previous night we decided to stick with our hotel itself and really the food was good. We regretted for not using their room service previous night also. Next day we have to leave back to Coimbatore, so we packed our bags. That night I catched up with 'Ponniyin Selvan - Part 4' after the break of a couple of days.

{mosimage}Next morning we visited the Botanical garden by 9:00 A.M. It was least crowded and we were fortunate enough to see the frozen snow on the grass of Ooty. This winter was supposed to be the coldest winter among past 5 decades in Ooty. My camera worked actively to capture lot of floral beauties. There is a beautiful Glass Green house that had beautiful & delicate flower varieties amidst the Botanical Garden. But that was under renovation, so I got put off. We spent some time in the park and went to the hotel and checked out.

We tried to travel by the toy train till Mettupalayam while coming back but we were told that all the trips till January 4th were booked, so we were left with no other option than travelling by bus. Thankfully we got a SETC airbus immediately bang opposite to hotel itself, that we reached my cousin's place at Coimbatore by 5:00 p.m. It had been my long time desire to visit Ooty in its off-season period and thankfully it happened this year. Combining it with my honeymoon was a bonus. Next time when I visit Ooty I have decided to explore the other places than mentioned above.

{oshits} readers for this final part of my Ooty trip in Dec 2008.