Roughly 2.5kms on the Ooty - Coonoor Road is an inconspicuous right turn marked by a board that reads "Sagar Holiday Resorts". Take that turn and know that its always darkest before dawn. The 200 odd meters that leads you to the gates of I-India lie dilapidated. But once you make that turn into the cottage, the view that greets you is one of insurmountable peace. Welcome to a Pucca Stay, a Pucca Experience.
The pathway, lined by brilliant wild flowers and flowering shrubs, leads you to a charming English cottage set against a backdrop most refreshing. Said to be almost a 100 years old, it has been refurbished thoughtfully without losing its old-world appeal.
The courtyard overlooks a section of the famous Ketti Valley and offers a glorious view of the mountains and the valley. Less interestingly, it also offers plenty of parking space. The Blue Mountain track runs across the valley, not very far from the cottage and a walk along the track is a good way to get to know Ooty.
The cottage has 6 or 7 rooms, rustic in nature, all clean and well maintained. We booked the Heritage room for the two nights we stayed. It had two comfortable queen-sized beds and enough blankets to keep us warm through the 2 degree celsius nights without a heater. There are no fans or television sets. We didn’t miss either of them. The wardrobe was clean and big enough for the two of us. The bathrooms are sanitary and the fixtures modern. Running hot water is a bit of a problem. So have the staff switch on your geyser first thing in the morning so you are shower-ready by the time you are done with your morning tea.
A ‘Glass House’ or a communal lounge runs across the entire length of the cottage over looking the valley. You can watch some television here, or read a book or ponder over your next move in a game of chess amidst a picturesque setting.
Your Trip Advisors:
I-India has a wonderful staff, very welcoming, always attentive, and all Nilagiri aficionados’. As far as I am concerned, they are the cake. Everything else is just the icing. Sabi, the property manager, is a Nilagiri devotee and an avid trekker. He’ll help you figure your itinerary, whatever your needs might be. Gokul, who looks after the accounts, is a PhD research student. His research on the temples of Nilagiris makes for informative conversation and if time permits, exciting field trips. Denish, the strapping young marketing guy knows all the nooks and crannies in and around Ooty. Be nice to him. He might just take you there.
I-India provides you with a more than decent fare on their menu. Just show up at the kitchen when you’re ready for breakfast. Its usually Idli/dosa/masala dosa with chutney and sambar. You also have bread and eggs. Geetha akka will have you wanting more.
However, be sure to ORDER LUNCH and DINNER well in ADVANCE. Jerry is the omnipresent lord of the jungle and the ever genial man Friday. He will be around to take your order. While Chef Suresh is a pasta specialist (Ex Sidewalk and all) the menu includes South/North Indian and Chinese treats (Veg and Non Veg).
At the end of the two days; we not only had a delightful stay, having seen some breathtaking sights; we also made a bunch of friends. There’s no doubt this is the only door we’ll be knocking the next time we are in Ooty.
The Heritage room is the largest, can accommodate up to four people, and is the only room that opens out into the lounge. The others open to face other rooms.
Carry a pair of house slippers. The floor is wooden and tends to get really cold in winters.
I am sure the staff might be able to get this for you, but carry some toilet paper on you for “drying off” purposes!
If you want to avoid the hassle of making a lunch/dinner stop after getting to Ooty, feel free to call Sabi and place your order enroute, lets say, 2 hours before you are slated to reach Ooty. If not, you can head over to SideWalk Café on Charing Cross before you get on the Ooty-Coonoor road.