Ooty is now an urban sprawl that you have to pass through on your way to Coonoor and Wellington. Except for the home-made chocolates that are a major attraction in the town-centre there is nothing much to recommend about Ooty and you are better off just looking for the road to Coonoor and pressing on. Having started at 6.15 am from home at Bangalore we found ourselves at the MES Inspection Bungalow at Wellington at exactly 1.15 pm where my ex-colleague from the Army days was waiting to receive us. No prizes for guessing where the conversation veered after the initial pleasantries. Yes, after a quick lunch we agreed to tee-off at exactly 3 pm!
You need to be almost a mountaineer to enjoy the Wellington Golf Course – an 18-hole round will see you walking almost seven kilometers over very undulating fairways with the greens not always visible from the tee. The course is unforgiving in more ways with numerous rivulets, large and small, crisscrossing the course and every so often, if you err in your drives, you are rudely reminded of one of the fundamental laws of golf – ‘Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is a known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water.’
I don’t want you to have the impression that all I did was played golf at Wellington (although I would not have minded one bit!). During the almost three days that we spent there, we took time off to explore the surroundings and took several drives in and around Coonoor and Wellington. Coonoor is pre-dominantly a tea-growers’ town with several planters associations and tea gardens spread over several hundred square kilometers. Several lucky families have their villas in upper Coonoor and although well guarded by high walls and gates, you can well imagine the surrounding gardens and the beautiful views from their verandahs.
Equipment: Golf Set, Light Woolens, Good Shoes with rough soles, car
Head to the Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp which is around 80 kms from Bangalore for an unforgettable fishing trip. You can even stay for a week at the Galibore Jungle Lodges Resort for an unforgettable trip. The Bheemeshwari camp also has log huts which make for a comfortable stay as you enjoy some fishing. You will also catch a lot of birds fishing there making for some memorable photography.
Equipment: Carry your own gear unless you only want to indulge in joy fishing
Trekking:India is the ideal destination for a trekking holiday, offering everything from short and easy excursions to the long challenges of the snowy peaks. The highest mountain range on earth - the Himalayas - forms 3500km (2200 miles) of India's northern and eastern frontiers. The spectacle of the snow-capped peaks, glaciers, pine-forested slopes, rivers and lush meadows of wild flowers cannot be equalled. Peninsular India offers natural beauty of another kind, clothed in green woodland and fragrant orchards. Consult the Government of India Tourist Office before departure or local tourist offices on arrival in India to ascertain what restrictions may apply and what documentation may be required. The trekking season runs from April to June and September to November. Essential equipment includes a tent, sleeping bag, foam/inflatable mattress, rucksack, umbrella (doubles as a walking stick), sun-hat, dark glasses, toilet requirements. The best clothing is a windproof jacket, trousers, shirts, woollen pullover, woollen underwear (for high altitudes), and gloves. Be sure to take a light, flexible and comfortable pair of trekking boots (two pairs should be taken for longer treks) and at least three pairs of woollen socks. Use talc to keep feet dry. A first-aid kit is recommended, as are anti-sunburn cream, morphia salt tablets to avoid cramps, a torch, thermos/water bottle, insect repellent, mirror, cold cream, lip-salve, walking stick, spare boot laces, sewing kit, tinned and dehydrated food.
Camel safaris can be taken in the Thar desert and range from 1-15 days' duration; Delhi is the country's centre for rock climbing, also available in the Aravalli Hills and the Western Ghats. Permission for mountaineering must be obtained from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Anand Niketan, Beneto Juarez Road, New Delhi 110 021. Hang gliding, Skiing ,ballooning and gliding are also poular.. . Horseriding is available in hill stations.
Equipment: Spectator sports
One of the great Indian sports is cricket. Other popular spectator sports include polo and hockey, sports at which the Indians have long excelled, winning many Olympic gold medals in the latter. Interest in football is increasing.
Golf:. Calcutta Amateur Golf Championships attract large numbers of serious golfers in the east; the standards are high, and for those interested, temporary membership is available from the Royal Kolkata (Calcutta) Golf Club. Srinagar and Gulmarg have good courses ( Gulmarg is the highest golf course in the world). The course at Shillong is widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful in the world.
India has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the most popular ones being in the southern states of Goa and Kerala. The Andaman Islands and Lakshadweep Islands off the southern coast are noted for their white-sand, deserted beaches and excellent swimming and scuba diving (but visitors should note that they may require a special permit to visit). Whitewater rafting is a young sport in India; the snow-fed mountain rivers of the northern Himalayas place them among the best regions in the world for this sport. Fishing is also available, particularly in the Kangra Valley and Shimla, in Darjeeling and Orissa and throughout the Himalayas. Tackle can often be hired from local fishing authorities. Check with the local tourist office for details of seasons and licences.
Nandi is the highest mountain in the Bangalore area. Cycling or Trekking will be a great adventure. We cycled up from the base 7 kilometers in a little less than an hour.
One of the rare public golf course is located north of downtown on Sankey Road. It's very well maintained and doesn't look to busy.