People and Life in Ooty,The Nilgiris
People and Life in Ooty,The Nilgiris
Ooty People: What makes place truly appealing to tourists? Is it the scenic beauty of the place? Is it the cultural heritage? Is it the hospitality of the locals? More likely, a place becomes truly appealing when you find a confluence of all the factors mentioned above which makes it truly a memorable experience for the tourists. Ooty people are very hospitable and friendly by nature. They are always ready to help a soul in need. Very soft spoken and down to earth they are sure to be among the most friendly lot that you will come across in your travels.
Apart from some indigenous tribes the local population mainly consists of people who have migrated from other parts of South India like people who have migrated from Mysore to Ooty or from other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also those who have migrated from the Malabar and North Kerala. Due to the presence of these varied origins the people of Ooty speak a number of languages like Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam. Some of the tourist guides can take you by surprise by speaking a foreign language or two like French or Spanish. Regardless, all of them are quite fluent in English. So communication is bound not be a problem if you are stranded in some alley in Ooty.
Among the original habitants of Ooty the Todas form a formidable number. Although most of them have been bought into the mainstream they have still managed to preserve their traditions and beliefs. So have other tribes like the Kurumbas, Bagadas and so on. The fabled Toda huts are a source of curiosity for a first timer in Ooty as they have no windows. These barrel shaped structures can barely accommodate a family of four and the doors are small enough that you have to stoop low to enter the hut. Yet they are main source of attraction for the tourists.
But as time passes the numbers of Todas are readily decreasing and last accounted for, there were only 1000 odd Todas left. But the local population of Ooty truly represents a cross section of the whole of South India as you find people from all the states here. Most of them arrived here as part of mass migration in search of better livelihood. Now they form one single happy community co-existing with each other. But all the distinct cultures are well preserved and this is truly visible when the people celebrate the Ooty festivals. Also many of these cultures have stuck to their family jobs like weaving, farming and so on.
Toda shawls are really very famous and of high quality. It is a good idea to buy a couple of them while you are shopping. The local population and their hospitality plays a very important role on the impression that place creates on the mind of the tourist. Ooty people leave an everlasting impression in your heart and you are sure to leave Ooty with a firm promise to come back again.
Lifestyle in Ooty, Nilgiris
Ooty, or the Queen of Hill Stations as named by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, fits the bill for a perfect getaway from the fast paced city life. From being a sleepy city with people leading simple normal lives, Ooty has really come a long way. One walk around the town and you find people from all walks of life going around with their business day in and day out. With a lot of pharmaceutical companies and other such industries making their presence felt recently, Ooty is undergoing a slow transformation into a business hub. But none of this happens at the cost of the scenic charm that Ooty possesses since time immemorial.
Ooty also boast of a number of world class boarding schools which have been counted among the best in the country (though they are on the expensive end for a small town). The local people lead a simple lifestyle. Tourism still remains the greatest source of income for the people in Ooty. The local inhabitants of Ooty are quite down to earth and extremely helpful lot.
If you see some local guides who can speak five or six different languages including one or two foreign languages don't be surprised. This only proves their belief in the age old tradition of "Atithi devo bhava (Sanskrit: अतिथिदेवो भव; English: 'The guest is equivalent to God' or 'Be one for whom the guest is God')" and they try not to inconvenience their guests in any way.
As far as accommodation is concerned you are assured to find a place that fits your tastes and specifications. Ooty caters to all the sections of the society, be it low budget hotels for the middle class Indian family or high end Ooty resorts for the elite society. You will also find many comfortable home stays for the lone traveler, who wants to experience the hospitality of the local population first hand and at the same time who is also mindful of the money he has with him. Home stays also provide you the option of tasting the home made local cuisines, which are extremely tasty and healthy as well, since they are cooked at home.
Since Ooty is frequented by tourists from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu a large chunk of the local population can understand, if not speak, all the three languages (Malayalam, Kannada and Tamil). Since the place is visited by a lot of foreign tourists as well throughout the year, a lot of people speak fluent English as well. Communication will not be a problem for sure, if you are lost some place and trying to find your way back. Besides, the people are so very friendly and hospitable and ever ready to help a person in need.
In fact, after travelling through roads lined by tall pine trees, crossing rolling hills and lush green fields, when you have a hot cup of filter coffee with a local inhabitant a sense of fulfillment and ultimate satisfaction fills your soul, for no special reason. A perfect start to the journey which will take you through the dense forests of Nilgiris and through waterfalls and trek paths in the company of Mother Nature.