Looking Down at the Valley of Ketti

Known as the Switzerland of Nilgiris, Ketti is a very scenic valley en route to Ooty along the Ooty-Coonoor highway.  If only we had another day, I would have loved to go down there and explore the town, specially because I heard that one can sight wild boars and elephants there!  Another interesting tidbit is that drinking is a favorite habit of many men in Ketti. People drink when it rains “because it is raining” and they drink when it doesn’t “because life’s boring”.

I took these pictures through the bus window, while the driver supplied us with information about the valley, like there is a huge sewing needle factory down there and an engineering college.  Everyone stayed put in the bus, so I took more pictures, thinking that we were having a brief stopover.  Ten minutes and twenty photographs later, the driver suggested we get down to enjoy the view.  However, right there at the steps of the bus stood a boy – not more than 14 years old – holding out tickets.  “What’s that for?” I asked.  “Twenty rupees for the camera, ma’am,” he replied.  I looked at Masood, who looked at me with that if-you-want-to-take-more-pictures-then-I’ll-get-you-a-ticket look.  Of course I didn’t want to take more pictures, I had taken enough from the bus itself.  Nevertheless, I find it ridiculous how they charge tourists to take pictures of the landscape.

My mood quickly lightened up, however, when the driver stretched out a hand and pointed down at the railroad track.  “That’s where they shot that song, Chaiyya Chaiyya,” he said.  If you look closely at the first picture, you’ll notice the tracks, between the trees and the house, and more clearly in the picture below.  If you watch Hindi films, I will not believe you if you say that you have never heard or saw the Chaiyya Chaiyya song.

But the most interesting part was how our driver got us to that place where we stood admiring the entire valley.  There was a sharp detour from the main road, and it was – and I am not kidding you – so vertical that I can not imagine how a vehicle could go down there except by rolling.  At first we thought, “Okay, so he’s just going to park here.  We’ll get down and take pictures.”  But no, he drove straight down!  We held on to whatever solid and sturdy object that our hands could grab at that moment, and began praying for our life.  Once we reached a safe, horizontal surface, it took me a few minutes to return back to my normal, picture-taking self.

Here’s an illustration of what we went through, though I seriously believe that I didn’t do justice by not making the road vertical enough.


  1. The last picture is awesome which no SLR camera can figure out in the whole world :-). It’s amazing how you always give your readers a virtual tour with your wonderful writing and, of course, with beautiful pictures. I am loving it 🙂

    1. Awww, thank you so much! You are the sweetest, and hence, as a token of my appreciation, I shall make you a cup of lemon mint tea when you get home tonight.

  2. Nice explanation and also extremely intelligent pictorial description..

    (I’ll suggest you to seriously consider penning down a book.. either a travelogue or a memoir…. I am sure it will become a huge hit and a best-seller..)

    1. That’s very sweet of you, Narendra! Actually, I’ve always wanted to write a book (have secretly dreamt about it several times), and it will be – most probably – about travel and photography combined. I can’t separate those two anymore. But I would need to travel more to be able to write a book that people would actually want to read. Until then, I’ll improve both my writing and photographic skills on this blog. And, most importantly, learn from the comments that I receive here.

  3. Ooh that’s cool that you saw the place the song was filmed!
    Okay, it’s really freaky that the driver took the vertical road but…that was a GOOD drawing! 🙂 I like all the little details you put in. 🙂

    1. It took me along time to put that drawing together, LavendarClouds. My drawing is horrible; so bad, in fact, that the only thing I can sketch with pure precision is an amoeba. Did you know that being bad at drawing is what made me turn towards photography? With a camera, you get beautiful results in an instant 🙂

  4. LOL, I agree with Masood, hehehe… the last picture was the best 😀

    hehehe, i’m loving the place… and I’m totally digging the way you explained a very complicated situation in a way I could understand complete with pictures, diagram and a comprehensive note 😉 A golden star for you 😀

    1. Aww, thanks, Smiley! 😀

      Did you just say you’ve never heard that song? The Chaiyya Chaiyya song? *super shocked* You Google it, jaldi se 🙂 It’s from SRK’s film called Dil Se, by the way.

    1. Aww, thank you, ‘liya! You are an art teacher, so if you think that my illustration is awesome, then it is awesome, no matter what anyone else says 😀

  5. … but didn’t anyone say anything to the driver for what he did ?

    btw … indeed if u write a travelogue or a memoir – will u be more rich 🙂

    1. Welcome to the blog, Sharmila!

      If anyone said anything to the driver, I didn’t notice. I was busy panicking, praying and then, moments later, back to taking pictures.

      I like the idea of getting rich, so I should start working on that travelogue now 😀

  6. Masha Allah! nice pics and cute drawing … 🙂

    Of course I heard of the song Chaiyya Chaiyya some years back … but the thing is I don’t watch movies! 😉

    1. That’s perfectly alright; I don’t watch movies either. Well, maybe just 2-3 per year, that’s all. I don’t have the patience to sit through an entire movie anymore. Old age.

  7. Salam Sis Nadia,

    Hey, I know that Chaiya Chaiya song.. it’s from the movie Dil Se by SRK and Manisha Koirala. Am I right? I’ve watched the movie. The story line was good. But you’re right for one thing – I can’t freeze myself in front of the TV for 3 hours to finish up the movie. We are getting old…hahaha…

    You have a nice day ahead, sis! Keep writing. You are wonderful that I felt the terror as if I was in the bus together with you. 😉


    1. Walaikum Assalam Atie, thank you!

      Yes, you are absolutely right: it is from the Dil Se movie.

      I can only stand television for 30 mins – max – if I ever watch at all. It sometimes take me 2-3 evenings to finish one Hindi film 😀

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