It was time for another weekend camping trip. 7 of us left Bangalore one early Saturday morning equipped with all our camping gear towards Red Hills in Tamil Nadu.
The Red Hills area, 28 km from Ooty is an ecologically fragile zone of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is situated approximately 325 kms south of Bangalore.
The group, which left home from different parts of the city, met up at the Raja Rajeshwari arch on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. After coasting on the highway for an hour and after beating the morning traffic, we stopped at Maddur Tiffany’s at breakfast. This was followed by a brief stopover at Mysore to shop for some groceries and brew.
Soon, the scenic 36 hairpin bends that led to Ooty lay before us. It was great fun ascending through the winding roads. The nip in the air increased as we reached Ooty.
Upon reaching Ooty, we stopped by a restaurant for lunch, got proper directions and headed towards the narrow Muthorai road that leads out of Ooty to the villages of Palada, Ithalar and Emerald, all surrounded by acres of cabbage and carrot and further towards Red Hills.
At Red Hills, the forests are magnificent and vast, the foliage is dense and the air, crisp and pure. Lush eye-soothing greenery covered the whole area right into the horizon. Ringed by an almost never-ending array of mountains, clothed in green finery, Red Hills, so named by the British, in remembrance of a similar area in England, is where tranquillity meets calm to produce a sense that is soothing and soul-enriching.
Our initial plan was to camp by one of the 8 lakes that cover this region, but due to some unforeseen circumstances (local trouble), we had to change our plans and instead camp at the Red Hills Nature Resort that overlooks the Emerald lake.
Situated on a hillock at 7,000 feet, the Red Hills Nature resort, is a bungalow that dates back to 1875. It has a sprawling 250 acre tea garden that encircles the surroundings.
Shortly, we set up camp, had some tea and snacks and went on a short hike to a nearby hillock that offered breathtaking views of the valleys and the countryside. As evening set in, we got ourselves a roaring camp fire, sipped into our drinks and had a sumptuous dinner as the temperature started dipping. By midnight, all of us decided to turn in.
It was an early morning call for us and after performing our morning duties, we took a walk down the tea garden and towards the lake. After spending some time in the water, we made our way back to our camp for some much needed breakfast.
After sunbathing for a while on the green lawns, we packed up our camp and made our way back to Ooty. Enroute, we stopped and chilled out on the banks of another lake.
Once we reached Ooty, we had lunch, bought some home-made chocolates for the folks in Bangalore and proceeded to make our descent. We finally reached Bangalore by dinner time.
A great camping trip and Red Hills, a lesser known hill station, is a fantastic weekend getaway from Bangalore!!