Of Cooler Climes

So I’m sitting here and watching doomsday movies about climate change and how we’re screwing Mother Earth’s happiness. But I don’t think we’re screwing anyone but ourselves. The Earth was here before we came and it’ll be here long after we’re gone. All the talk of climate change & global warming reminded me of the times spent in cooler climes.

Monsoon envelopes Amberina, Devala, Nilgiri Wayanad.

A couple of summers ago, The Missus & I made our way to Amberina in Devala. It’s in an area called the Nilgiri Wayanad. It helps that we take our holidays when most people don’t. So like most places we end up typically don’t have other visitors. Not that, that would ever be the case at Amberina. You see, there is only 3 rooms available there. So that would rule out your average tourist travelling with everyone except their neighbours’ in-laws’ kids. Though the bathrooms could take in those. To say that they’re huge would probably not mean anything in this jaded day & age. But let’s just say that if you wanted to dictate your magnum opus while you’re soaking in the bath tub you could do that. You see, the kind folks at Amberina have very helpfully provided a table & chair in each of the bathrooms.

Tea Gardens surrounding Amberina bungalow in the Nilgiri Wayanad hills.

While this is actually in the Nilgiris, it’s about 70 plus kms from Ooty & Coonoor, the traditional spots that the species Tourista Indis heads for. That rules out the check-list tourists who value quantity over quality. For those who are so inclined, forests of Mudumalai & Bandipur are there to explore. This can actually be a good base for that. The extremely friendly manager at Amberina will help arrange for jeeps if you want to travel and don’t want to be bothered with the driving. A better base to explore the forests would be the sister bungalow, The Northern Hay. It abuts the Mudumalai forest near the Singara power station.

Evening at the Amberina Bungalow

We stayed a long while, but like always, ended up doing nothing more than devouring the excellent food & the fairly eclectic (if a little inclined towards WWII books) library. I joined the manager for a short walk around the estate one day. I was educated about the finer points of tea & coffee growing and plantation life as it is now. While the pretty tea plantations and coffee estates attract a lot of travellers & tourists, he explained about the hardships that everyone involved in the plantations go through.

We did step out to take in the views of Mudumalai one day & checked out the Northern Hay. While it was officially monsoon over peninsular India, we were in the middle of a dry spell. The mist covered & rained out days we spent were a welcome change. It helped that the very polite & efficient staff kept us in good supply of hot coffee.

Amberina can be reached via Gudalur – Thepakaadu – Gundulpete – Mysore – Bangalore. You can get directions to Devala once you reach Gudalur. When we reached, cell coverage was not very strong here. But we were not complaining. Those were 5 days spent lazing and gazing at the views outside, covered in mist or dripping in the rain. And for a while we could forget that all the troubles were over the hills & far away.

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