Thursday, December 10, 2015

Conoor: A Beautiful Holiday in the Hills

A holiday in the hills has its own charm. Just a few hours drive from the fast paced city life lies paradise with absolutely serene settings and lovely weather to go with it..almost unimaginable, isn't it? The last week was simply awesome with plans for a quick holiday in the hills with hubby and a friend.

 We set off in the morning by 6.30 am with a quick breakfast stop of idlis and dosa at one of the Sree Mu Saravana Bhavan's (which seem to be cropping up real fast especially on the highways providing a clean nice place for a quick bite while on the move) on the highway between Angamaly and Chalakudy(Kerala). With lunch plans for Coimbatore, we headed towards the blue mountains. The roads turned out to be great (but for small patches where work is still on) and we made it to the city of Coimbatore way before lunch time.

The Nilgiris in the backdrop

A quick snack of dosas, idli, sambar vada and strong filter coffee at Sree Annapoorna is what followed. Sree Annapoorna Sree Gowrishankar is a family run business with a chain of restaurants in various parts of Coimbatore and also other cities of Coimbatore. Started in the 1960s it has come to be a name synonymous with good South Indian food. An elaborate menu and every time the waiter passes by with a tray loaded with delights you are actually wondering as to what more can you order to satisfy those drooling taste buds. The pipng hot food that is quickly served is a treat. Tummy full, tastebuds satiated, we owed our friend a big thank you for suggesting the restaurant (for more on the chain click here). So we head to the "Blue Mountains" or the "Nilgiris". The climb up through the hair pin bends is scenic ad puts the driving skills through a real test.

Enjoying the salubrious climes

A lot of golf was on the hubby's mind, however, the weather Gods definitely made it very clear that they decided to favour me. With the friend being very well-versed with the hill town, we had the opportunity to have a first hand tour of a tea factory. We got to learn a lot about the making of tea, the orthodox, CTC and how the best pluck is that of 2 leaves and a bud. It surely is a long process and many many years of experience and expertise that ensures the perfect cup at the table. 
2 leaves and a bud - the perfect pick

Ladies at work in the tea estate

Walk through beautiful tea gardens and yes, an unforgettable close encounter with a bison. The bison thankfully decided to not really acknowledge our presence and go on its way. With this was decided, no venturing out after dark:). Looking back we can have a have a good laugh, but at that moment when we found a huge towering creature (only the silhouette vaguely visible against the dark) at such a close distance, the heart did skip a beat and all Gods were remembered in the quick prayer. 

Bisons grazing in a tea garden 

With rains deciding to stay on for the whole week, the sun got a chance to make only a special appearance once a while. That however, did not prevent us from having a memorable vacation. Lots of good food(and that too without having to do any planning or cooking:).

 A view overlooking the golf course

 The Golf Hut

Several cups of hot chai (I need to make a special mention here of the cup of the exotic Makaibari tea which we got to savour thanks to our friend). The Makaibari tea factory has the distinction of being the first tea factory in the world and literally means corn fields which got converted to tea plantations ("Makai" meaning corn and "Bari" meaning fields). Kappi, good company, drives through sprawling tea gardens all completed the memorable holiday. Couldn't have asked for more. Need I say more, I think I will let the pictures do all the talking now.

  The view from the room

The Room

The misty mornings

Succulent pizza at the La Belle Vie restaurant of 180 Mc Iver Villa in Conoor

At the Mc Iver Villa, a heritage hotel with 6 rooms and a nice small restaurant that serves some good food. A nice evening there. Recommended for a quiet dinner with family and friends.

Now, back from the holiday there is a lot of catching up to do and a new kitchen awaits me where a lot of cooking will be happening in the days to come. It is goodbye to Mumbai and Hello Cochin for us. The hunt for  new and familiar tastes and flavours continues. Will keep you updated:) 

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