A trip down the Blue Hills - Part Two

So there we were, chugging through the tunnels on the mountain railway, with me having to push my fingers into my ear whenever the train approached a tunnel. I literally counted the seconds it took us to traverse each tunnel and had I written it down then, I could have told you how long each tunnel was along the journey. But the scenery made up for all the hullaballoo. Here was a meandering stream...


Sometimes the railway line hugged the serpentine road...


We caught glimpses of very orderly looking tea estates...




 And sometimes we were treated to craggy vistas...


Soon the sedate pace put some of us to sleep...


And then we drew into Hillgrove station where they began pumping more water into the engine. This my train enthusiasts HAD to see. Can you see the water pipe amongst the billowing steam clouds?


Our groggy sleeper had to get up because there was another side show going on involving some of our little cousins...and by "our" I mean all mankind's!!!


There was a horde of them enjoying little titbits thrown to them by our fellow travelers. Notice how his/her throat is stuffed with biscuit - possibly to share with family later? I am both fascinated and repulsed by this feature - though I can't deny it can have its uses - like at a buffet for example? :)

And here's our groggy guy taking a peek at all the drama at the station

Yup, not looking too pleased at being woken up! And here's a view of the other side of the train...


Just wanted to showcase the oval window of the door!

Soon enough our jackets came off as we came chugging down the mountain and entered the prosaic plains. The camera went into the bag, our kiddos nodded off again. All too soon the train had pulled into Mettupalayam station, the compartments were emptied and the mountain greens were carried off to grace a florist's creations for the next day, no doubt...


And that was the end of our Nilgiri Toy Train ride. We were lucky to have had the chance to do it, because at the Ooty railway station we had got to know that the morning up train had been cancelled that day. DH's foresight and Lady Luck combined to make it happen and it was definitely worth all the preparations that went into it.

So if any of you want to take the same trip, do plan for it at least three months ahead and be ready with your computer turned on and logged in at 8 am on the day the booking opens on IRCTC's website. Remember that the up train journey is in the early morning at takes more than 5 hours - but it must be more romantic to see the misty Nilgiris in the morning light. The up train would be a better option if you don't have kids who could get restive on a long journey and you won't be disturbed in your contemplation of the mystic mountains with questions of "Are we there yet?" and constant demands for snacks and the window seat. If you have kids with you, the down train is the best option. You can have your lunch at Ooty and be in time for a good masala dosa in Mettupalayam.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy this journey!

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