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“The Nilgiri Mountain Railway in OotyTamil Nadu,”

Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed July 11, 2013

The Nilgiri Mountain Railwa is a railway in Tamil Nadu, India, built by the British in 1908 and was initially operated by the Madras Railway. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives. NMR comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Salem Division. In July 2005, UNESCO added the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the site then became known as "Mountain Railways of India.After it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcing abandonment of the modernisation plans. For the past several years diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Local people and tourists have led a demand for steam locos to once again haul this section
The famous Hindi song Chaiyya Chaiyya from the film "Dil Se" featuring Shahrukh Khan was shot on the roof top of NMR.

1  Thank Jayapal V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,101 - 1,105 of 1,282 reviews

Reviewed July 9, 2013

All the good things you have read about this railway are likely to be experienced if you ride on it - especially climbing up from Mettupalayam in the early morning light on a fine day. How to get tickets, where to sleep with a degree of comfort (temperature below 30 degrees C) enjoy a meal and half a pint of beer or a glass of wine is nowhere near so easily documented or experienced. Second time round we'd be much clearer!

Procuring tickets from outside India (essential at most times of the year) can be done via cleartrip. There is a very useful guide on the net as to how to do this. But do so as early as they are available. We were on a waitlist for travelling up for a month without hardly moving - and that was supposed to be low season. If you can't succeed here one carriage is left for on the day sales. But you have to be at the station by 5am to stand a chance!

Everything at the top end in Ooty is much easier - Good hotels. plenty of restaurants and a 2pm start. Down at Mettupalayam it is not quite the same! If you take the train down in order to travel up (which if you are visiting from the Mysore direction seems the only practical way) you arrive at around 6pm with a 15 minute walk from the station to the centre , around the bus stand.

Mettatupalayam is heaving with traffic at any time of day or night. Where everyone is going is a complete mystery! Certainly not to cafes, restaurants, bars or to any kind of night life that is obvious. By way of recce for the four of us I looked for an hour for a place for a meal. I think it is the only town in many thousands of miles of travel I have been unsuccessful in anything like that amount of time.

We were there on the night of England's Cricket Champions Trophy Semi Final with South Africa. As we were in the reputed cricket capital of the world I started by asking where the match might be showing on TV. I might as well have been asking tut tut drivers and shop keepers where I could buy tickets for the 2016 Highland Games on Ice! I then asked widely about any bar (where two men and two women might feel at home) and about restaurants - giving up the idea of England’s Semi final - and chance to play India, long ago. We finished at seemingly the only eating place in the town - The Annapoorna Restaurant - plastic tables, steel chairs, distempered walls, fluorescent lighting strips and eating with fingers off plastic mats. I'm always happy to get ethnic if that's what it is. This was a cross between a British World War 11 army canteen and the sort of cafe put out of business in 1950's Hull by the invention of the Wimpey Bar. No atmosphere or ambience - just sit-eat-go

At this point - a spot of luck. The manager who had helpfully advised that the sort of place we were looking for just did not exist with ten miles of Mettupalayam, came back during our third Pepsi cola and Nan bread and told us that he had heard of somewhere 10 minutes walk along the Ooty road and along a turn to the right - the Suraya (I think) International Hotel. Their bar and restaurant would never have been evident from the road - but with the right degree of persistence we found our way there with a welcome drink in hand, even a light beer in almost prohibition Tamil Nadu, in front of a large TV showing Owen Morgan hitting the winning runs to end the game!

We retired to a very hot room and a bed (no other distractions from sleep and early rising) at the Nanda Lodge - the furthest my travelling companions would search for a room that might offer air con and a TV. The heat did not induce deep sleep and it was easy to wake at 4.30 to pay our 660 Rupees (£7) for a double room and queue from 5.00 to 7.15am for the train - All surprisingly considered well-worth everything by those with neither interest in railways, cricket or getting up early! And with a little more patience and existing knowledge upon arrival think a cooler bed and even an earlier drink could have been found.

4  Thank Davmart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2013

A long-cherished dream came true.
As we walked into the compound of the small Ooty aka Udhagamandalam Station, we had to hold our breath because of the crisp stench of urine and garbage littered around. No, it wasn't the dream.
Train No. 56139 plies between Ooty and Coonoor. Our seats had been booked online and we took our seats, waiting for the train to start, and it started trundling on time, carrying exhilarated passengers.

" And is this -Yarrow? -This the stream
Of which my fancy cherished
So faithfully, a waking dream,
An image that hath perished?"
[ Yarrow Visited by W. Wordsworth ]

Much to my shock the lines streamed into my mind.
The train rolled through sparse pines, oaks, deodars and other unknown trees and shrubs. Where are the woods " lovely, dark, and deep " ? Before Coonoor, the train stopped at Lovedale, Ketty, Aruvankadu and Wellington. Human habitations encroach everywhere upon the solitude of the Nature.
Yet the diesel-driven train rolled along some shady, cool, and silent patches of the backwoods, awarding us, for a while, the beauty of the Nature that had beckoned me since my childhood.
And, finally, the journey concluded with the squalid and dingy Coonoor.
Is there anybody to save the Nature ?

2  Thank Saikat_on_wheels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

This slow train is a great piece of heritage and will leave you with some good memories and great views of the hills, valleys, tea estates and the farms along the way provided you have a seat to sit and enjoy the ride!
At the time of this review, there are 4 trains a day from Ooty to Coonoor (less than 2 hour ride) and the same in the other direction. Two of them can be reserved online (one of which is the full Ooty to Mettupalyam route which takes about 5 hours) and the other two are unreserved. I heard that the train timings changes slightly in different seasons so its better to confirm this from the Indian railways website or at the railway station.
The ticket counter for all the trains opens only about 40 mins before the departure of the train. But during the peak seasons and on most weekends, the ticket queue would have started about 2 hours before the departure time itself!
There are very few first class tickets (Rs.135) and they get reserved/sold out very fast! The second class ticket seats (Rs.20) are good too if you’ve reserved it or are standing ahead in the ticket queue. The general class tickets (Rs.5) are again only worth if you can get a seat, which is unlikely in the peak tourist seasons and on most weekends.. and in my point of view is not worth the ride if you have to travel standing in a packed train with all the pushing and arguing to just get into the train!
Wish this piece of heritage is better managed especially when it gets crowded! If you can pick a weekday or non-peak season, go for it and enjoy the ride!

5  Thank TheCTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

The slow ascent, the meandering pace of the train, you can almost run alongside and catch up at any time, it begins to cool slowly as you climb higher and the drizzle makes it that much more exciting; one the few mountain trains that are still operational in India...it will soon cease to exist, experience it at least once.

1  Thank jaya30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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