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Lovedale – Picture Perfect Retreat of Nilgiris !

acr2748“The British didn’t discover Lovedale.
They created it.
They created it to become a picture perfect retreat from the pressures of their working life.
It was in 1812.
Not much has changed since then, Thankfully!”
Lovedale a small locale in the Nilgiris range is a town of British Colonial hang up… Quaint old bungalows, Tea gardens, Gothic churches, Residential Boarding School, Cute Police Station, Quaint Post Office, Small Bank, Golf Course close by, Clubs close by… It has it all! Added to this Lovedale has a picturesque small UNESCO Declared Mountain Railway Station the 45.88 Kms Railway Line connecting to the foothill town and the hilltop town. It’s an ideal fairy tale town out of the story book. The National Mountain Railway traverses from Mettupalayam a small town near Coimbatore to Ooty passing the last but one final town Lovedale. It climbs from 6159 feet to 7228 feet above the sea level and is the second steepest gradient in Indian Railways with gradient of 1:12. Worth the 45 mins ride.
Lovedale is 5 kms from Ooty and connected by rail and road. It’s a better stay being put up at quiet Lovedale than commercial exploited Ooty. . . which is bursting at its seams! A quiet soul-searching trekking peaceful holiday becons one to this picturesque town. Sunrise time changes the landscape of this 1000 odd population town. The 150 year old 750 acre occupying Lawrence boarding school adds another 1000 to its population.
Lovedale is driest in February, warmest in May, coldest in January, July and October sees rains… It experiences two monsoons. In Lovedale one experiences rich tribal bio-diversity! There are only a few places of city comforts one can stay, the best choice in terms of location and comforts is the Hill Country Resort. It makes sense to have your meals at nearby Ooty or Udagamandalam which is just  5 kms away – you get the choicest cuisine at your budget here. It’s better to have your own mode of transport here too. Public transport like train’s and buses are reasonable but autos and taxis fleece you. The economy here is tourist dependent. Homemade chocolates, tea and woolen garments are a good buy out here.
Lovedale is crowded during vacations and summer months. It’s a good retreat for a two day stay. There are enough beautiful locales to keep you busy… or just snuggle up with a book and hot cup of tea and enjoy your holiday with your family and friends. Liquor is controlled distribution here. Dirty filthy bars or pricey bars & restaurants. Club members are lucky. Carrying liquor into Tamilnadu territory is an offence but most do sneak-in escaping the check-post.
Lovedale is a six hour drive from Bangalore one can stop over at Mysore midway or even soak up Bandipur or Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries enroute.
Enjoy the winters and but don’t venture out during the rains – it’s dampening. The nearest airport would be Coimbatore which is about a 90 mins drive from the other side of Mysore. Lovedale is a retreat town where you do nothing but soak up the scenario.

-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography
[email protected]

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