Emerald Lake: An Offbeat Gem near Ooty, Tamil Nadu - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Emerald Lake: An Offbeat Gem near Ooty, Tamil Nadu

The stunning Emerald Lake

Holidays in the hill stations of India usually follow a set template of well known tourist attractions, sights and activities and hence have fallen a little out of the pecking order in terms of best holiday destinations, but I still see them as a spectacular holiday option, especially if you tend to look a bit outside the box as these hill stations enjoy some of the best topography and nature in our country. Let’s take Ooty, the Queen of the Nilgiris, as an example! Usually visitors enjoy the climb via the hairpin bends, the many waterfalls, the cooler weather, the taste of the local chocolates and a walk through the tea gardens. While these are certainly extremely pleasant experiences, Ooty offers so much more if you are willing to look a little bit into its gorgeous countryside.

Red Whiskered Bulbul seen at Emerald Lake, Ooty

This countryside around Ooty is made up of beautiful lake systems, dense rainforests and pine forests, shola grasslands, rolling hills, pretty little villages, vegetable farms, tea gardens, lesser known hairpin bends on smaller roads and an overall idyllic setting. Emerald Lake system is one such offbeat attraction near Ooty that offers all of the above.

Emerald Lake - a great day trip idea from Ooty

Located on the fringes of the Mukurthi National Park and part of the Avalanche and Upper Bhavani water system, Emerald Lake is a sight to behold. Be it the colors and hues of the lake waters, the lush green surroundings, the stunning mountain system or the tiny villages located near it, each one catches your eye and bowls you over with their appeal.

Moddorai village enroute Emerald Lake from Ooty

Right from the time you leave the busy Ooty roads and cross the sprawling campus of the Good Shepherd International School, you will be greeted with one vista after another. It is the beetroot, carrot and potato farms that will catch your eye when you are near the villages and when you are driving on slightly higher roads, you will notice the tea gardens, the sprawling Emerald lake and the huts of the tiny villages in the yonder.

Women working in the vegetable farms surrounding Emerald Lake

And once you turn off towards the Emerald Dam and beyond, you will be greeted by lush forests where you can hardly see a living human being, but oodles of greenery and bird life and once you cross Surukku Palam or the narrow bridge, a dirt track leads you all the way to the colonial Red Hills Resort property that commands an absolutely spectacular panorama of the Emerald Lake. It is here that you can take a coffee or tea break and enjoy the scenery in front of you. If you wish, you can also attempt some small treks in this region.

Tea estates and Vegetable Farms all around Emerald Lake

And when you are returning, do not forget to take a walk in the tea gardens and the vegetable farms where you can buy some fresh carrots and beetroots for your munching or for your evening salad and curries.

Emerald lake surrounded by tea  estates, pine forests and vegetable farms

As tempting as it might be, do not attempt to enter the lake waters as a lot of people have miscalculated its depth and have lost their lives. It is better to enjoy the lake from the banks and from the various view points.

Gorgeous Emerald Lake near Ooty

Winter offers a unique experience.
Well, for starters, the best off beat time of the year to visit Ooty are the winter months and not the popular summer months as we all know. This is when there is a consistent nip in the air, dense fog in the early mornings and late evenings, bright sunny days and a genuine lack of crowds. Also, this is when the lake system is full of water after the monsoon season and the vegetable farms are full with fresh produce.

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