Food

Exploring the Tribal side of Ooty via Sterling Holidays

The day of reckoning had come when the amazing journey to Sterling Fern Hills at Ooty was about to end.   But like the other 2 days, there were many more activities lined up before we boarded the flight back home. With the rejuvenating experience over the past 2 days, I was up and ready for the final day.

Today’s plan included a visit to Toda & Kota villages and meet some of the elders.  And while heading to Coimbatore, we would get an opportunity to see the famous Badaga Hutties.  Let me share more info regarding various activities that we did during the day.

Foggy Morning at Sterling Fern Hill

The reporting time in the morning was set at 7am for the breakfast and checkout planed at 8am.  After a brief period of thunder in lighting at night, the weather was expected to change in the morning.  But I never expected it to change so dramatically.

When I came out of the room by am, I noticed that the entire resort and valley covered in fog.  The fog was so dense that the visibility was poor.  This only meant that we would get to take some amazing pictures.  I remember taken multiple pictures in normal mode, portrait mode, panoramic view.  Also tried the google camera and took multiple videos of the place.

As I walked up the main-building of the resort, I felt sad that the holiday had to end. But I was very happy to have experienced living in the building Sterling Fern Hill Ooty property.

Kudos to Mr. Rajib, the General Manager of Sterling Fern Hill Ooty was the wonderful hospitality.  Cheers to the staff for helping me and fellow travellers have a pleasant stay.

Visit to Toda Community Village

We boarded the bus and were headed to the Coimbatore International Airport to get take flight back home.  But, Mr. Richard from Sterling Holiday had planned to take us for a quick visit to one Toda tribal village.

To our surprise, the houses were not the contemporary houses with multiple floor.  But these houses were half-barrel shaped.

One of old ladies from the community named Pingamma greeted us into her traditional house.  She was looking very happy and cheerful to see us.

After inviting us inside her home, she wrapped traditional Toda shawl around few ladies and posed for pictures.  I was also lucky to be wrapped by a shawl and got a photographer of mind clicked with the cheerful lady.

Pingamma also sang a traditional song and blessed all of us.  It was endearing to see how a person with limited resources, no family living with her was looking happy.  City dweller like us have a lot to learn from the lady.

Visit to Kota Tribe Village

The first day of my visit to Sterling Fern Hill Ooty, Kota Tribal men welcomed with amazing musical performance.  We also got an opportunity to visit the Kollimalai village where the community resides.  The village does not entertain outsiders as they follow strict rules.  If one needs to go inside the small village, footwear needs to be removed.

I got an opportunity have conversation with few men and was able to click few pictures.  Everyone seemed to be very warm and down to earth. 

The village is set across the Nilgiri mountain ranges and has an uneasy calm.  I would love to visit the community sometime and spend few days in peace.

View of the Badaga Hattis

Badagas, generally, refer to their village or hamlet as ‘HATTI‘ spread around ‘Nakku Betta’ (the Nigiris).  Nakku Betta literally means four (Nakku) Mountains (betta) though there are many hills around which the villages are located.

The houses are mostly east facing and located closer to water stream. It was also nice to see the way individual houses use the concept of common walls.

Thanks to expert from Sterling Holiday, we were able to spot the village from far across the coffee plantation.

Stop over at Tea County

The route that we took during the decent from Ooty was different from that we used during our climb.  This route is longer by 10kms but much peaceful compared to the original route via Coonoor.

While we were half way through our decent, we stopped over at a ‘Tea County’ at Kotagiri.  The nice tea shop in the city had some of the amazing collection of teas, snacks, pastries, desserts and more.  I enjoyed some of the refreshing masala tea along with the tasty Ooty snack, Varkey.  I loved the snack so much that I ended up buying the complete pack for consuming at home.

Lunch at Kanappa Restaurant, Coimbatore

The journey from Ooty to Coimbatore took around 4 hours due to foggy conditions and the traffic.  But we reached nearly 1.5-2 hours before the scheduled flight departure.  It was time for traditional Chettinad style meal at Kannappa Restaurant in Coimbatore.

The fastest meal that was suggested to all of us was the meals so most of us chose to have it.  Meals was served on a plantain leaf kept on top of a plate.  The items served included 2 types of sambar, rasam, 3 curry, salad, pickle, rice and papad.  We relished the traditional meal and enjoyed some soothing curd rice.  At the end of the meal the waiter suggested that we try Tender Coconut Payasam as it was their signature dish.  The taste of the payasam was just amazing and refreshing

It was the perfect meal before heading to airport and seeing off everyone.

Closing Thoughts

An amazing holiday experience with Sterling Holiday for 3 days had finally come to and end.  The last day gave an insight into the beautiful foggy weather in hill station.  We all got an opportunity to also interact with lady from Toda village and see the Hatti village across the village.  It was again a well-planned day that plenty of fun activities.  This only gave a glimpse of the special Holiday Experience that every guest at Sterling can enjoy.  Looking forward to my next holiday with Sterling.

References

Sterling Holiday
https://www.sterlingholidays.com/

Sterling Holiday – Fern HIlls
https://www.sterlingholidays.com/resorts-hotels/ooty-fern-hill#/overview

Sterling – Achievers Unconference Retreat

Sterling Fern Hill Ooty – Hidden Paradise in South India

Best Timeshare Vacation for Travelers by Sterling Holidays