A Secret Little Campsite in Ooty – Avalanche

It was around the same time last year (way back in 2019 and I wrote this post in 2020 during the time we were all locked in our houses) , when my husband planned a weekend getaway to Avalanche, with his guy friends. I stealthily heard him and executed the same ,ditto with my girls gang and the little boy.

Avalanche, does that sound familiar? Yes, it did sound to me too and I was reminded of the chocolate factory and the sky-high eucalyptus trees( you can relate if you have watched the 2010 Tamil movie Deivathirumagal) I was initially intrigued by the name. Avalanche is the geographic term and the hillside village gets its name when there was an avalanche effect a few hundred years back thus forming the village.

Nestled in the range of the blue mountains, this is a lesser frequented village. Yet another time we joined the crazy group of travelers from Exoticamp and had our bags packed with hiking shoes and quick dry tees for an adventure filled weekend.

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How to reach Avalanche?

We planned to reach Ooty from Chennai via an overnight bus and it did go as we planned. There are lots of buses that ply between Chennai and Ooty. You can use http://www.redbus.in to book your tickets. The other option would be to take a train, which is again another 6-7 hours journey. Most preferred are the night trains that takes you to Coimbatore at the early hours of the day.Planning to reach Ooty again has multiple options.

1. Take the Nilgiris Heritage train

2. Board a local bus from Coimbatore/Mettupalayam

3. Book a taxi from Coimbatore/ Mettupalayam.

Shades of Olive, Pine green and Crimson

Avalanche is approximately 25-30 Kms from the town of Ooty and we hired a taxi from the Charring’s cross junction, to reach the village. When we assumed that we reached the camp site , we had a huge truck waiting to transport us to the camp spot that was a few kilometers away. The first look at the truck gave me giggles and it was a task to board.Yes, we used a mini ladder to board! Once we loaded the luggage and ourselves,then began a roller coaster ride.Hardly within 5 minutes of that dusty and bumpy ride,we all unanimously decided to walk up to the camp spot which turned out to be a mini trek , up and down the pine forest and the red soil patches .

The moment we stepped deep into the forest, there was no sound of civilization, but all that enveloped us was the distinct sound of the insects, birds .The olive green foliage turned slowly to pine green.The air felt fresh and clean. The ground was covered with the cones and needles of the pine trees.I picked a few cones ,no quiet a lot actually ,as souvenirs. And what waited for us at the end of the 60 minutes huffing and puffing was such a sight! A totally secluded place, which I bet google maps cannot spot.

Avalanche is one of the wettest places in India and receives approx 5000 mm of rainfall annually and keeps the valley covered in beautiful shades of green all round the year.

The Camp site

For all us tired souls, the tents that were going to be our house for the weekend looked like a luxury, though it was very primitive. And the food(simple South Indian lunch) served was a feast for the growling tummies. We had our guide brief us on the rules of the campsite, the primary one being not to venture alone in any of the nearby areas as there were chances of getting lost and few chances of spotting a wild creature too. It was interesting to see that in a civilized world, cooking was done using fire wood, bottles were filled with water from the nearby stream and electricity was rationed.

Hiking To The Silent Lake

We carried our small day-bags with water, torch lights, napkins(strictly no biscuit packs or snacks), the camera gear (of course)and followed a narrow trail that took us to a place that looked like it came straight out of the windows wallpaper. With zero tourists, the lake was all for us to kayak, play and float with all necessary precautions. We waited till the sky slowly turned to the pastel colors of pink and orange and we receded back to our tents, collecting firewood. The temperature dropped to a less than 10 even during the month of march and we had to work on those fire woods to keep ourselves warm till the time dinner was cooked and served.

The best part of staying in places with zero modernity is you get to experience the primitive ways of living. Tents for shelter, stream water boiled for drinking, fresh farm produce and firewood to cook the food,no noise & light pollution that gives your eyes a visual treat of the constellations twinkling in the dark.

Isn’t it a pleasure to wake up with out the alarm ringing, but to the coo coo-ing of the birds.? That’s how we were woken up from the deep sleep and to our surprise it was still dark. We still had a few minutes to rush to capture the shades of dawn from the picturesque lake bank. While the mist cleared and the sun rose above the hills, we sat on the banks with our feet dipped in the icy cold water, in silence. We had the birds chipping and the stream bubbling over the rocks and branches for company.

Back to civilization

We returned to the camp site for a quick shower and some yummy idlis, chutney, sambar. We had another adventure activity to be experienced and we yet again carried our equipment. Taking another narrow trail, we reached a small waterfall. It was time for some rock rappelling and some dip time in the natural pool. Post lunch, we were ready to pack our bags and leave the camp spot. This time we had to take the big truck and the bumpy ride because of the lack of time. We were slowly taken back to the civilized zone and dropped at the bustling Charring’s cross of Ooty.

Where to Stay in Avalanche

There are few guest houses and farm stays in Avalanche. But, our recommendation will be this little secret camp spot .You can plan your trip by reaching out to them through their website exoticamp.com .

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Best time to visit Avalanche

March to June would be the ideal time to visit Avalanche, when the temperature will be pleasant, ranging between 20°C-25°C . This place receives heavy rainfall between July – October and to be avoided considering the landslides , though this place may look differently beautiful. November – February can get very cold with the temperature dropping below 5°C and we’d not recommend this period.

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Things to do in Avalanche

The forest department of Tamil Nadu,arranges for guided eco safaris and other activities like bird watching, trekking and fishing. A prior booking will make your trip easy.

There are also a few cottage industries making homemade chocolates , cheese and varkey. Paying them a visit is all worth it. We even love the crafts, shawls made by the Baduga tribes.

So pack your bags with the trekking/camping gears, camera equipment .Enjoy the wild, create memories, take nothing from the forests, but leave only your foot prints. What belongs to the forest, remains in the forest. Let’s preserve the sanctity of our flora and fauna.

Before you go, do not forget to take a look at yet another offbeat location – Lovedale in Ooty. You can also pin these images to your boards.