The Man-Made Lake of Ooty
In 1824, John Sullivan – collector of Coimbatore, but more importantly, the founder of Ooty – constructed an artificial lake right in the middle of the valley. Extending an area of more than 60 acres, it was created by damming the mountain streams flowing down Ooty valley, where a lot of people came to enjoy fishing. They say it’s L-shaped, but I didn’t notice.
Standing there facing the lake gave me a feeling of peace, as if time had stood still. Here, everyone looked happy and enjoying themselves. Water has such a calming effect over people. Masood and I didn’t ride the boats. After having had traveled countless times on ships, ferries and abras, I was not interested to ride this small, plastic-looking boat with pedals. So we just stood there and enjoyed the moment. And watched people. And took pictures, of course.
Here in Ooty Lake, just like the rest of the tourist spots, there are a few professional photographers who’d approach you with their big cameras promising to take pictures that paint a thousand words in less than a minute. However, when they saw the SLR that I was holding, they walked away without saying a word, and moved towards the next couple who were taking self-portraits with a phone camera.
Anyway, so besides boating, there were other activities too, like riding a mini train, horse riding (white horse costs more than the black one), an amusement park, and fishing (but only after you have secured a permit from the lake authorities beforehand).
Oh, and there was this ….
Horror of all horrors! It looked like a complete disaster, specially with that pair of legs moving up and down through the crate (with matching irritating screaming sound played over and over again!). I didn’t see anyone going in or coming out of the horror house.
After drinking chilled pineapple juice, we walked back towards the parking lot to find the mini bus that we had hired for this trip. There was another couple with us in that bus – a young girl with sparkly clothes blushing each time her husband held her henna-painted hand while talking about real estate into the phone. However, our bus driver decided (without informing us, even though he took our phone numbers) that since we were only four passengers, he would discontinue the scheduled trip for the day. A strange man approached us saying quite casually that our driver has given him the responsibility to take us around. Masood had him call our driver to confirm (and tell him how unprofessional he was) before we got into the other bus – already packed with four families. It was okay though; we got good seats.
Tickets to the lake cost around 5 rupees per person, 10 for the still camera and 100 for a video camera. The cheapest boat for hire was the small plastic-looking one at 80 rupees for 30 minutes.