Photo credit: Nitika Bajpayee Jha
Remember the exotic setting in the movie ‘Dil Se’ where Shahrukh Khan grooved to the song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ with Malaika Arora in colourful attire, flanked by gorgeous, sun-bathed hills? I’m talking about the same train atop which the duo danced. This is the train that runs between Ooty to Mettupalayam in the hills of Nilgiri.
When in Nilgiris, take a joy ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and you will return home as a happy soul. Built by the British in 1908, trains running on this route still rely on the steam locomotives. Listed as World Heritage Site as an extension of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, the train site is also known as Mountain Railway of India.
The blue coloured train strides ahead through the 46 km, passing through 16 tunnels and tall girder bridges. There are over 26 viaducts that fall on its way, making the journey loaded with fun and adventure. The route will take you through the interiors of the district. You may see people ploughing the terrace fields, bright coloured houses, pine and teak trees, shrubs ballooning with coffee and pepper and beautiful waterfalls.
As you look out from the window, you may notice local kids waving you happily. Since the train passes through the residential towns of Ooty, Lovedale, Wellington, Coonoor, you will see the way locals thrive here.