K&K Explore the Queen of the Southern India’s Hills, Ooty – A Quick Guide to the Less Crowded, Scenic Parts of Udhagamandalam: Part 2 – Pykara Lake, Pine Forest & Wenlock Downs 9th Mile Shooting Point

Exploring the poetic woods and lakes of the Avalanche, Emerald Village & the Arboretum on Day 1, shattered every misconception we had about Ooty! Yes! The heart of Ooty city IS crowded and polluted especially in summer because of the massive inflow of tourists. BUT the city is just a fraction of the massive mountain range of Udhagamandalam! We often let the opinion of that not-so-appealing fraction influence our belief about what the rest of the place would be like. In this case, the outskirts of Ooty was BEYOND all that we had ever imagined!

Our goal for Day 2 was pretty much the same – explore the less explored places as slowly and as relaxed as possible!

Boating at Pykara Lake

Situated 20 Kms from Ooty city in the Pykara village, the Pykara lake is the largest lake in the district. This lake is revered and considered sacred by the Todas, an Adivasi community.

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Boating was a part of my itinerary. Since there was boating available at the Pykara Lake we went for it instead of the Ooty lake!

While I assumed it to be a less popular location, I was completely proved wrong! It took our car nearly an hour from the gate to the lake! Then another hour just to get the tickets + 40 mins waiting for our turn to go boating!

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All the waiting was completely worth it! It was a 20 minute boat ride. The scenery was simply spectacular!

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Us, our kids and my parents, we all were in complete awe of the beauty that surrounded us!

The Pykara village is also home to a waterfalls, dam and power station. We were eager to visit the falls. But we were informed that the falls had dried up due to the summer heat!

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Note: In order to reach the Pykara lake we drove past the Pine Forest and the 9th Mile shooting spot. The reason we decided to visit the lake first was because of the fear of it getting too crowded and eventually missing out the boating.

Horse Riding at Pine Forest

Although the 9th Mile Shooting Spot arrives soon after the Pykara lake (while heading towards Ooty city), we were advised by a friend to visit 9th Mile just before sunset for the best view. As it was quite a sunny day, we did not want to get scorched in the afternoon sun, we drove past the 9th Mile Shooting spot and arrived at the Pine Forest!

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As my parents sat beneath the cool shade of the ginormous pine trees, Vijay and I walked the girls down to the stream where the horses were.

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The girls petted and even plaited the horses’ hair!

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What magnificent and adorable creatures they are!

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We lost track of time admiring these stately beings!

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The girls went for multiple horse rides!

I have fallen in love with these animals because of Kaitlyn’s love for them! I really wish that someday I will be able to gift a horse or two to my girls which they can ride and care for to their heart’s content!

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We then walked along the stream. There were hardly anyone there. It was just us, the stream and lush greenery!

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The view was timeless. I sat there in stillness, breathing in the fresh, clean breeze and watching the spongy white clouds drift across the clear blue sky!

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The girls enjoyed throwing pebbles in the stream! It truly was a very blissful couple of hours!

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Note: BEWARE of the monkeys in the Pine Forest. They are quite notorious and quick to detect eatables. While we were enjoying the company of our horse friends, my mom had a scary encounter with a monkey which tried to steal our treasured Adyar Ananda Bhavan snacks. My mom put up a tough fight and did not let go of the snacks despite the monkey’s persistence and threat!

Wenlock Down’s 9th Mile Shooting Spot

As one arrives at the entrance of the 9th Mile, you cannot miss the little stalls selling steaming hot sundals (steamed peanuts)…

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Corn on the cobs, hot tea..

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…Bread omelette and maggi noodles! Treat yourself! These are must-eat when you are in a hill station!

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We were so glad that we decided to visit the 9th Mile just before sunset.

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Not only are the miles of meadows a visual treat… As the sun begins to set behind the mountains, the various hues it creates it simply spellbinding!

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“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than what we could learn from books.” – John Lubbock

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“If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans… When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man.” – Wilfrid Noyce

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There were horses at the 9th Mile as well. We wrapped up Ooty trip doing what we enjoyed the most during our visit – petting horses to our hearts content!

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