It is always refreshing to visit a hill station. It is more so in summer when it is unbearably hot and sultry in the plains. In the months of May and June the mercury soars to the highest points of temperature. It is during these days that schools and colleges are closed and there is vacation. But only well-off and rich people can afford to visit hill stations regularly. Hill stations are crowded in summer by the people from the cities in the plains, especially by the people belonging to the creamy layers of the society.

I have visited a couple of hill stations. I enjoy the beauty of mountains, loveliness of nature and grandeur of rivers and waterfalls at such places. In the lap of nature, far from the madding crowd and pollution of the cities, a visit to a hill station is a great boon and blessing.

India is a sub-continent and very large. It is also rich in so many things including many famous hill stations. Last summer I had a golden opportunity to visit Ootacamund, popularly called as Ooty. Located in the Nilgiri or Blue Hills of Tamil Nadu, it is one of the best hill stations of the country. My maternal uncle is a doctor in the army. He was transferred to Wellington, nearby Ooty. He invited my mother and me to pay them a visit in the summer vacation. It was a long journey to Ooty from Delhi, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. We reached Mettupalaam by train. From there we took another train for Wellington. This journey, in the little mountain railway, was quite exhilarating and unforgettable. During the journey we saw breath-taking scenes of Nilgiri hills and forests. There were my maternal uncle, aunt, their little daughter Jasmine and two attendants to receive us at the station. We were overjoyed to see and meet one another.

The following day, and then on the week-end, we visited Ooty. On both these visits we enjoyed the beauty, freshness, food walking, horse-riding and excursions. Ooty is situated at the height of two thousand two hundred and eighty six metres on Nilgiri hills. Ooty is a very popular and famous hill resort of South India. It is in the state of Tamil Nadu. Full of rich tourist activities and possibilities round the year. Ooty was discovered in eighteen nineteen the by the then collector of Coimbatore, an Englishman, Mr. John Sullivan. He constructed his summer residence there. He was the first man to do so. He was soon followed by numerous other Englishmen. It then became the summer seat of Provincial Government of Madras.

The temperate coolness attracts a large crowd of people from nearby areas, provinces and distant parts of the country. Originally it belonged to the Todas, a hill tribe which still lives in the Nilgiri Hills. This “Queen of the Hill Stations” is full of nice outdoor activities like hiking, boating, fishing, horse-riding, long walks, excursions and shopping. There is a big and wonderful botanical garden in the very heart of the town. It has more than 600 varieties of exotic plants and trees. We visited the botanical garden and then enjoyed boating in the lake.

We went to Dodabetta Peak in our uncle’s car. From there we had an excellent panoramic view of the plains below. It is the highest point in the Nilgiris and boasts the height of two thousand six hundred and thirty eight metres. There is also a telescope for the viewing pleasure of the tourists. We also visited and immensely enjoyed the nearby Sim’s Park, a nice picnic spot full of many varieties of plants, trees, herbs and a fine pool full of lilies.

The shopping in the small but colourful market of the town is an unforgettable experience. Mother bought a few silk sarees, spices and some other items as gifts for our friends and relations. I bought some special tea and items of woodcraft. Ooty, overlooking blue hills and lush green valleys, is a very pleasant place and tourist resort. There was a big crowd of Indian and foreign tourists.

We also visited nearby Coonoor, a small but colourful town amidst sprawling tea gardens. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this hill station. We also exposed a number of films to capture beautiful and natural scenes, events and memorable moments. These photographs will help us to keep our joy and memories of the place ever new and fresh.