Hey, how many of us have felt like running away from the hustle-bustle of city life far away to a soul-stirring nature’s lap. The mad crowd, rat race, polluted atmosphere and adulterated food have simply become a package deal with a cosmopolitan or a metropolitan life for people in the cities. Strictly following the regime of, “work hard and party harder” many individuals save their hard earned money to spend lavishly on world tours, trips and picnics.
There is always an adrenaline upsurge when we refer to exotic places to visit. It can be the wild destination, the flora, and fauna, the adventure ride or simply the joy of moving out of one’s mundane life. Come what may, many individuals meticulously plan on splurging out for a luxurious trip to the certain destination with their friends and families. In fact, all of us have a hidden nomad within us which wants to be released from the cobwebs of monotony.
One among many such reputed destinations is Ooty, the queen of hill stations and the capital of Nilgiris district, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations.
It is situated at an altitude of 2, 240 mt above sea level and is also a delightful honeymoon spot. One can notice a marvelous change in vegetation, as one goes from Kallar to Coonoor. The establishment of numerous tea estates made Ooty famous. Lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes.
A trip to Ooty is incomplete without experiencing the exhilarating toy train ride. The moment the word toy train is mentioned our wild imagination be fooling us into a perceptual error. There is a feeling that the toy train is a fun ride for children. Sorry folks don’t be misled; the joy ride which we are discussing here is exclusively a journey from one end of the city to another. A train journey can be always misconstrued as strenuous one with a cacophony of engines and the cantankerous tea vendors moving in and out of the trains.
There is also an empty feeling of sitting cross-legged in a journey for a couple of hours quite bored simply staring at the queer faces of the strangers who happened to be our temporary companions. Many of us would have had such experience on a train journey, a preconceived notion of occupying a berth and simply sleeping till we reach our destination. Some other kind of people would beg to differ here and declare that a train journey is simply enriching because you end up meeting individuals from different places who might also turn out to be a prospective employer or a distant relative. Whatever, the journey which is described here is cut above the rest. Not a mundane train ride……..
The Toy Train, also known as Nilgiri Mountain Railway Toy Train, is the key attraction of the popular hill station Ooty. The idea of the toy train was thought of in the year 1854, which took around forty years to be finally executed. The initial line was built by a Swiss inventor Riggenbach who worked on it and created a line up to Coonoor by the year 1899.The line was later extended up to Fernhill and then Ooty in the year 1908. The toy train covers some of these destinations too: Mettupalayam – Kellar – Coonoor – Wellington – Lovedale – Ootacamund
The Toy Train, covering a distance of total 46 km in a span of 5 hours, takes one through a truly spectacular journey filled with picturesque views en route. The nostalgia visitor’s recount even after a couple of years about the magical spell the visit had created is something wonderful. Talking to a couple of visitors like a distant friend of mine, who is in awe to recount the adventurous journey. “As the train chugs in through the green, deep forests on the serpentine tracks, the heart is in the mouth.it is not for the fear but in all glory for the beautiful nature. “
There was this gentleman who happened to recently visit Ooty and when there was a talk about the toy train ride, his wrinkled face lit up. “The shimmering blue and green Nilgiri hills resplendent with fog and mist with sunrays glittering all over were indeed a sight to watch. When the train whistled away to glory we felt that there was a solid connection between the wild nature and life.”
No wonder, when we reflect on these statements we can feel the cool breeze wafting through our hair. The non-pollutant ecosystem, different wildlife, flora , nd fauna, exotic herbs and shrubs, thick foliage of carpet all these things come striking to our memory. The trees dancing along and different hued birds flying around can be a common sight. All these are a feast to the eyes.
The ride not only mystifies an aura of splendid attraction but also leaves a vacuum in most of us. Because some of these destinations are meant to be explored by every individual at-least once in a life time, least said the better about kids they would love the entire journey.
Apart from offering a beautiful journey, the uniqueness of the trip lies in the fact that the rail system is the steepest in Asia and worth a visit. It was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. Another fascinating feature of the
Toy Train being very steep works on a unique system called ABT (Alternate Biting System), also known as the rack and pinion system. The method of pulling the train in this system is quite distinct. Instead of an engine, there two rack bars out of steps with each other between the rail lines that help in pulling the train.
Thus the reverie comes to a halt! Now it’s high time to plan for a rendezvous with Ooty, and not to forget about the toy train ride.