There aren’t many cities or towns in India which will take you back into time like Fort Kochi would. As far back as 1500s when explorers like the famed Vasco Da Gama set foot on the Malabar coast. You leave Kochi for Coimbatore which is only a night’s stopover as the plan is to board the Nilgiri Mountain Railway Toy Train on the following day from Mettupalayam. The charming toy train with blue wooden coaches stops at five stations before it terminates at Ooty from where you’ll be transferred to a serene hill resort. Ooty is a scenic hill station, nestled in the lush green and scenic Nilgiri hills (Blue Mountains) at an altitude of 2240 mtrs and is known as the queen of hill stations. Our last destination is Hassan – Once ruled by the Hoysala Dynasty, Hassan is the temple architecture capital of Karnataka.
Post breakfast we take you for a guided walking tour. This is a 2Hrs walk which starts with the guide introducing you to Fort Kochi’s history and then walking you around the fish market at the water front where you also see the Chinese fishing nets and some street shops followed by the Dutch cemetery, St Francis Church and the Santa Cruz Basilica. Feel free to ask questions as the guide will be happy to oblige. Rest of the day at leisure.
There aren’t many cities or towns in India which will take you back into time like Fort Kochi would. As far back as 1500s when explorers like the famed Vasco Da Gama set foot on the Malabar coast. Packed with the old world colonial charm, this peaceful little seaside town was a fishing village which became the first European township in India known for spice trade. Experience Portugese and Dutch architecture, witness the Chinese fishing nets in action, visit several synagogues and churches, the Dutch palace, walk down the Jew town street, Mattancherry and the local spice market, visit art galleries, go for a sunset cruise, eat out at some interesting cafes, local sea food restaurants, enjoy the Kathakali dance and Kalaripayattu martial arts performances. Fort Kochi is the kind of place where you just float around and soak in the heritage, culture and the colonial past.
Weather: Winters stretch from November to February with a temperature range of 20 – 32 Deg C. Summers start in March and go up till June with a high of 33 DegC. Monsoons which are quite heavy come in July and stay until September.
Closest Airport: Kochi international airport (42Kms)
Railway Station: Nearest Ernakulam South which is approx. 12 Kms away but you can also use the Ernakulam Town station which is 16 Kms away.
Best time to visit: November to February
Language: Malayalam and basic English as the literacy rate is very high and it’s a tourism destination.
Population: Although Kochi city has a population of approx.. 3 million but the For Kochi area is not very densely populated.
Altitude: Sea level
Coimbatore has some great places to visit like the Dhyanalinga Temple, a temple of Lord Shiva, an architectural marvel believed to possess seven fully energized chakras. You also have the The Marudhamalai Murugan temple dating back to the 12th century, located on top of a hill where you’ll find peace and serenity. What one shouldn’t miss is the dazzling array of shops selling Kanchivaram, Benares and designer Indian sarees at Cross-Cut Road
State: Tamil Nadu
Weather: Moderate all year round experiences mild winter and a moderate summer. Summer (March – May) temperature range is 21-39 DegC. Winter (December to February) range is 15DegC – 31 DegC. Monsoons are split between June-August and October – November.
Closest Airport: Coimbatore International airport
Railway Station: Coimbatore Main Junction
Best time to visit: December to February
Language: Tamil is the main language but English is also spoken throughout in addition to Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada
Population: 1,920,000 approx.
Altitude: 400 Mtrs ASL
Nilgiri Mountain Railway Toy Train is a charming toy train with blue wooden coaches stops at five stations before it reaches Ooty. Enjoy scenic views and nature’s bounties as it moves through 16 tunnels, 250 bridges and 208 curves. The 46 km distance between Mettupalayam to Ooty is covered in 5 Hrs while the same distance downhill takes 3Hrs 30mins. You’d be traversing through rocky terrain, ravines, tea plantations, and thickly forested hills It’s a scenic, wonderful ride.
Ooty is a scenic hill station, nestled in the lush green and scenic Nilgiri hills (Blue Mountains) at an altitude of 2240 mtrs and is known as the queen of hill stations. Once upon a time it was the summer headquarters of the East India Company because of its cool climate, neighbouring lakes, flora and fauna and the British nicknamed it snooty Ooty. Ooty, also known as Udagamandalam and is located in the state of Tamil Nadu. The main attraction at Ooty is a man-made lake which was built for fishing purposes. There are also two other natural lakes nearby called the Avalanche lake which got created due a massive landslide somewhere around the 1800s and then there is the Emerald lake in the Silent Valley, surrounded by lush green tea gardens. Ooty can get busy towards the center but it’s easy to cut away and enjoy the verdant natural beauty, pine trees, picturesque surroundings, lakes, waterfalls, trekking, cycling and soaking in the scenic splendor. Between October to March it is cold and night temperatures can drop to 0 Deg C.
State: Tamil Nadu
Weather: Pleasant during summers (March to June) with a temperature range of 10-30 DegC and cool during winters (October to February) with a temperature range of 5-22 DegC. The monsoons (July to September) receives a lot of rains and will keep you mostly indoors.
Closest Airport: Coimbatore (88Kms) and alternatively Bangalore (295Kms)
Railway Station: Ooty railway station.
Best time to visit: March to June and November to February.
Language: Tamil and basic English as it’s a tourism destination.
Population: 90,000 approx.
Altitude: 2240 Mtrs. ASL approx.
Hassan, once ruled by the Hoysala Dynasty, Hassan is the temple architecture capital of Karnataka. The main attractions near Hassan are famous temples of Belur, Halebidu and the towering Gomateshvara Bahubali statue situated at the historical town of Shravanabelagola.
Weather: Winter (November to February) Temperature range is 15-28 DegC. Summers (March – May) are warm with high temperatures touching 35 DegC and high and uncomfortable levels of humidity. During Monsoons (June-September) Hassan receives heavy rainfall.
Closest Airport: Mysore is the closest domestic airport (130Kms) and Mangalore is the closest international airport (180 Kms) but the Bangalore international airport is the most viable with the maximum flight options (210Kms)
Railway Station: Hassan Junction
Best time to visit: November - February
Language: Kannada and basic English.
Population: 173,000 approx.
Altitude: 950 Mtrs ASL.