We are in Silent Valley National Park in Kerala.
In the morning we pack up to go to Nilgiri Mountains. I ask local people about reaching Ooty from here. They suggest me an alternate way that goes to a Nilgiri town of Manjoor that is 31 kilometers from Ooty. This alternate way is a bit complicated, because public transportation is available in 4 segments so I write it down.
All buses that pass through here go to Agali so we take that bus to Agali. The scenic roadway keeps one captivated all through. I feel I am not in India but in the Andes Mountains of Columbia or Peru. Roadside is laced by lush green banana plantain, coffee, black pepper, paddy and huge banyan trees. One may find many open air temple and all villages are serene. Time and again some pretty brook cross our road. Near Agali road descends.
We get down at Agali and change another bus for Kottathara that is a short distance. We cross a very scenic river before getting down from the bus. At Kottathara we have a cup of tea then we find another bus going towards Mulli, it is empty and after half hour it takes off. This route is also almost deserted and least populated.
It is extremely scenic byway. That same pretty river travels along us. Some times we get away from this river and I begin missing it thinking that was the last time we saw it but then to our joy it reappears.
Driver asks us to get down at a place where a gravel road leads towards to mountains and we obey. But we are regretting about getting down from this bus and wanted to go to all the way where road terminates, to the village of Mulli because area is so pretty and mystic. Mully village is visible just after the turn and is barely 1 kilometer.
We walk in that direction of Tamilnadu-Kerala border; after crossing into Tamilnadu we shall find the road to Manjoor. It appears that Nilgiri Mountains are standing at a stone’s throw from us. From Kerala sides mountains look more blue, clear and beautiful because of more rainfall on these slopes.
A small hamlet comes at the border in the wilderness. There are two shops cum restaurants and we eat idle sambar because that is only available and it turns out great. Then we walk on the deserted jungle path and river appears again but this time at our left side.
I am very tempted to have a bath in the river but we keep walking because the area is forested and deserted. We arrive at the Mulli Check Post from here a road goes from Coimbatore to Manjoor (Nilgiris).
It crosses the river bridge and then begins its climb over the mountains. Officer at the check-post is a very gentle and chatty person and we keep our bags in his office and return to the river with my loincloth. There I take a hearty bath; water is cold but gentle. After some bathing I feel cold so I lay down on the sun warm plain rocks.
Feeling is so good that I am in Ecstasy. I repeat this cycle several times; getting cold and then getting warm. We spend more than an hour here but now is the time to move because 12.30 bus to Manjoor is about to arrive.
Bus comes at its precise time but it is full. Somehow we along with others get inside. After it crosses the bridge, instantly it begins its climb to Niligiri Mountains. Luckily we are standing at the rear door and all scenes are at our right so we enjoy the packed bus. View of Kerala are breathtaking but we lose these views for the interior of the mountains views after some turns.
We get lucky and bus gets about half empty in the midway. It takes about an hour for bus to come near Manjoor. A scenic lake is visible at the bottom of the valley that feeds the power plants down the mountains. This area is greener than Kotagiri and Ooty due to more rainfall.
Also this area is not that crowed and populated. Waterfalls are abundant here. Manjoor area villages begins 3 kilometers before the main town and road takes a serious climb. Climate is now cold and everyone in the bus is now putting on the warm clothes.
We arrive at Manjoor at 1.45PM. It is very foggy here. There is just one hotel and rate is 250 for the double bed room. First I go upstairs and check the room that is acceptably clean. Bathrooms are not attached but these are OK. Only drawback is that we have to go inside the restaurant to get to our room.
So we take this room because we have no choice. We unload our backpacks and come downstairs for lunch. Food prices are also amazingly low. After food we go to the road beyond the town, fog is playing hide and seek with sun. Town ends in just half kilometers and then tea gardens start. We have a cup of tea at a intersection of the road. Tea is available in Nilgiris at almost every road junction.