Monday, 6 February 2017

Travel with responsibility

After a long long wait of 6 years, I finally decided to visit my friend in Coimbatore. So on 25th Jan, after 3 months of confining myself to the walls of home & office, I was finally traveling again. I flew from Bangalore to Coimbatore. The next morning, we headed towards the spiritual and yoga centre- Isha Yoga. Isha Yoga is an extremely spiritual place, surrounded by silence and Villiangiri hills . This center is built on a huge piece of land and so you have to take a long walk to the the actual "Dhyanalinga". You are not allowed to wear slippers, no anklets that make sound, no phones and no cameras. And so unfortunately I could not take any photos of the place. Once you go inside the huge dome you can meditate in front of a mega sized Shiv Ling for a minimum of 15 minutes or you can extend your meditation for as long as you wish. You can also take a dip in the water if you wish to. It is extremely spiritual and you feel refreshed after meditating in pin drop silence.

The Dhyanalinga at Isha Yoga. Pic Courtesy:Google
After this holy encounter, we decided to go to Siruvani water falls. But on the way to the falls, we found a resort- Dvara and decided to have lunch there.
The 'Dvars' of the rooms of the resort are also majestic!

The location of the resort is stunning!

Dvara Resort!
So much natural beauty is almost non-existent Bangalore (where I am currently put up).  
The entrance of the resort.

However the food was mediocre and there were very less options. The only starter available was Pepper Chicken Dry. So we were forced to order it. Along with it we ordered Chicken Biryani and Pepper Chicken gravy. The taste of the starter and gravy was similar (obviously, since both were Pepper Chicken) and the biryani was below average.
Pepper Chicken Dry.
However the courteousness of the staff and the ambience of the resort made up for the food.

Inside the restaurant of the resot!

So after this, it was a bit late for us to go up to the falls and hence we had to cancel our plans (Disappointed).

We headed back home made plans to go to Kotagiri and Ooty the next day and retired for the day.
Next day we left home at 6:45 and caught a bus to Mettupalyam. From there we had a friend pick us up by car. We headed towards Ooty. The road leading to Ooty is beautiful. With tea plantations on both sides of the road and vision blurred by the fog, the journey was a very artistic one. We stopped at several places to click some good-looking pictures.
Blurred Vission

Tea Plantation workers plucking tea leaves.
Next we made our way to Pykara Boat house. The lake is much cleaner than Ooty Lake and since the weather was chill, the boating experience was extraordinary.
Pykara Boat House

To have lunch, as Pykara has a scarcity of good restaurants we had to go back to Ooty. We lunched at Quality restaurant. The quality of the the restaurant Quality was above average. We had, corn soup, naans and chicken fried rice with Methi Chicken.
Corn Soup.
With a full stomach, we left ooty for Gudalur, where my friend’s uncle resides. Gudalur was our resting place for the night. And so we bided goodbye to ooty.

The Bigger Concern

Now let me throw some light on the bigger concern. I remember when I was a little girl, I would visit Ooty quite often. Probably once a year or so. I remember very clearly how heavenly this place was. And now, when I visit again after 8 years, it is becoming a dump yard. Garbage thrown everywhere on the streets, men shamelessly peeing on the roadsides, people spitting on the road right in front of where you are walking or standing and the most famous Ooty lake has got poison foam floating on it. These are some of the things that is not only common to Ooty but to majority cities and towns in India. But I noticed it to a very large extent in Ooty. And one more very peculiar observation made is that majority of the people who litter and make the place untidy are the locals and not tourists. If locals themselves do not care for the cleanliness of their city/town it becomes hard for tourists to fall in love with the place. Many tourists will dread the thought of going back to the place a few years later. And eventually the tourism in that place will be dead.
Even research says that Ooty lake is the dirtiest lake in Tamil Nadu(Ooty Lake). I am afraid that if protective measures are not taken immediately, this lake has the potential to become India's dirtiest lake. For places like Ooty where the major revenue is tourism I feel that the government and municipal bodies have to make sure that the town of Ooty is kept clean. Last year, there was a cleanliness drive (Check out this article) but yet people have not learned from these drives.They banned plastics a long time ago, they should probably ban throwing garbage, peeing and spitting on the roads. This is a serious cleanliness and health issue. What Ooty was, and what it has become is really sad. This ban against throwing garbage, peeing and spitting should not be specific to Ooty but the whole of India. As it is ladies and young girls are scared to visit India because of innumerable eve teasing, molestation, rape and murder cases. Let’s not deteriorate our tourism revenue further. If each one pledges to keep their own city clean, this country will be a much better place. This 2017, let’s all pledge to keep our surroundings clean wherever we go and continue this pledge for all the years to come. Travel is just not a leisure and luxury, it is a responsibility. I urge you to be responsible travellers. And teach your children and their children the same. Let’s promote a greener and cleaner India. Let the tourist spots and all the cities and towns in the country sustain for the generations to see their beauty. PROMOTE SUSTAINABLETOURISM!