India gets hot. Sometimes fatally so. When the British colonized India, they set up hill stations in the mountains to escape the suffocating heat. Ooty (Udhagamandalam, if you're up for a linguistic challenge) was established in the Western Ghats as a British Raj summer resort. it is known as the queen of hill-stations, the setting for countless Bollywood romances.
I took an overnight bus through the tiger reserve and woke up to the most Seussian of landscapes. Beautiful, strange trees and rolling hills of tea plantations.
Arrival at Ooty was another matter. This town is.. ugly. I spent two days wandering around trying to find something to redeem my efforts to get here. There was a beautiful lake, littered with trash, and an amusement park with animatronic dinosaurs. I now understand that the most beautiful parts of Ooty are on the outskirts, and usually coincide with staying at various luxury lodges. Luxury has not been the purpose of my voyage, so I decided I should just shuffle myself back down that mountain. Of course, the famous toy-train that winds its way to Ooty was overbooked (my most frustrating non-theft experiences in India all involve trains), so I booked an overnight bus to As Far Away From Here As Possible.
With an afternoon left to explore, I ventured into the botanical garden. It was actually quite charming, built into the hillside where the various gardens hung over each other. A lovely (if somewhat crowded) end to my mountain excursion.