Ride to Mysuru, Nilgiris and a visit to KMF hospital.

Tilak Francis

Active Member
A ride was brewing in my mind amidst my routine administrative work. I started with informing friends in my church and was expecting someone to join which otherwise would be a solo ride. when the expected ones were unavailable and I was almost ready to do solo, Paul, our youth fellowship secretary who works in Scudder school affirmed that he would join in with his HeroHonda CD100. I was happy to have him but sceptical about his first time long ride that too with his 1998 model two-wheeler.

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Tilak​

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Paul​


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Mysore Palace​

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British Jail, Naduvattam​

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Kotagiri Mission Fellowship Hospital
 
Last edited:

Tilak Francis

Active Member
I checked and planned my routes with Khagesh sir in our BCMT Community as I had read that he served in Airforce in Ooty.
Dr Suceena was of great help providing contacts to Kotagiri Mission Fellowship (KMF)Hospital. She sent a formal communication to Dr Tony and Dr Sujith about my visit. I got some Calendars from St Johns church, Fort, Vellore to give to KMF Hospital. I also packed a copy of my book on Evidence-based practice for the hospital library.

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Things to pack

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Claw bag mounted

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Start of the ride Odometer reading 45,671 km
I was planning to reach KMF hospital on a single day riding via Mysuru. But after assessing in google maps that 12 hours of continuous ride to pass Bandipur and Mudumalai tiger reserves before nightfall is at no way possible from Vellore, I planned for a break at Mysuru on day one.

The Tentative Plan

12th January 2020 Sunday



  • attend morning 7.30 am service
  • reach home and leave for Mysuru by 10 am
  • reach Mysuru by evening
  • Hotel check-in
  • visit Palace
  • Rest for the day
13th January 2020 Monday
  • Start and ride via tiger reserves to Ooty
  • Visiting ancient British Jail, Naduvattam.
  • Lunch Malabar Parrota beef curry at Ooty
  • Reaching KMF, hospital, Kotagiriat around 3 pm
  • Visiting nearby offbeat tourist places.
  • Rest for the day

14th January 2020 Tuesday

  • Visit around KMF Hospital and meeting the staff.
  • Visit my relatives in Coonoor
  • Dolphin nose
  • Visit Laidlaw memorial school, Ketti
  • Back to KMF hospital
  • Rest for the day

15th January 2020 Wednesday
  • Start early from KMF Hospital and reach Vellore via Mettupalayam, Krishnagiri

As stated in good old days, the only one that is permanent is CHANGE. This tentative schedule also wasn't fail-proof to that change as it turned out to be inevitable.

Paul was unable to get leave on Monday and so he worked half a day and started his solo ride to Mettupalayam at 1 pm on 13th January.




My plans for the search of the room after reaching Mysuru changed. I was a bit panicked to risk staying in cheap budget accommodation alone. During my search online I found a dormitory stay near the double tank, Lakshmi Puram, Mysuru called Roambay. I liked the visuals and reviews and so texted them to inform my arrival. I got the prompt reply of assured stay there.



12th January 2020 Sunday

I started at 9:50 am as per the plan from Vellore and left to Mysuru. We had a small prayer as a family before the start. Usually, I start early morning, so they would not be so alert to be emotional but this time it was different. It felt so good to cross Palli Konda toll in my bike without paying. "Happiness is passing toll without paying with wicked glee." Advantage of a Bike ride!
I was maintaining an 80km/hr speed and reached Krishnagiri around 12 pm. Had a stop for fuel and filled 10 litres of petrol.
I stopped again for lunch at Burger King. Had a big veg burger (misunderstood for a non-veg burger) and fizzy drink. the cost was not worth the dish. I saw another biker in an old bullet and exchanged smiles. Rested a while and continued my journey.

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No value for the money! Burger King

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View from Inside

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View from Inside

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View from Outside
After Attebelle, around 2pm, I stopped to ask for directions and was not in a mood to use mobile GPS. I was directed to take a left turn from the electronic city where there was an elevated highway for Bangalore. I was told to use the Nice ring road. I saw a toll levy tax even for two-wheelers. I said to myself that I'm going to pay the toll for my bike for the first time. but suddenly some toll inspectors came and the booth made open for all, allowed to pass freely. I thank God and continued. After some time at the exit end, I was asked to pay a toll of Rs.38 and was given a receipt in a different number plate. Hmmm ...Suspicious!!!
I was riding cautiously but cruising in 80km/hr as the road was under construction in many places towards Mysuru. Crossed Ramnagara - silk city. I thought so far it was only Kancheepuram that has the name as silk city. Then came the City of Toys called Channapatna.
After passing Srirangapatna, at the outskirts of Mysuru I stopped for tea and a bottle of water. Tea was Rs 8/- and the water bottle was Rs20/-

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Tea break around 4 pm at Mysore outskirts.
I took the mobile and mounted on the bike mobile holder and connected Bluetooth headset to hear the additional voice guidance. There was no hiccup in reaching Roambay, my place of stay for the night. It was as beautiful as I imagined.
Preeti, the receptionist was standing outside helping a European guest and I was guided by her for a tour around the facility after my transactions.

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Roambay Entrance​


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Front View​


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Side view
The cost of stay was Rs 549 and the addition of 10 for paying by card. I was allotted a bed on the upstairs and had difficulty carrying my Via terra claw bag which would be around 80 liters in that step like a ladder.

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The step-like ladder​

After I settled down and got refreshed. The co-guests were very friendly to the newcomers like me. I could sense some were staying for a long time. There was a living room, kitchen, dining hall, shower and toilets separately around 10 in numbers.

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Shower and Toilets

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Living Room

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Upstair Dorm

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Shared fan
It was an old European styled house which was cleanly maintained. Both mixed and separate female dormitories were available.


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Side entrance where reception is located.
I inquired about the distance to the palace and decided to ride the bike.

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Road to Palace​

I went around the palace and suddenly an auto driver saw me in my bike and recognized I am a Tamil ( number plate!) and told me in Tamil that palace entry is free on Sunday and if I stay till 7.30 pm I could see the lighting of the palace which does take place only on Sundays. He also told me about the free parking near the palace entrance. If I am interested he told me that he would take me in the auto to the nearby sandalwood emporium where I can buy sandalwood items and silk sarees. I thought it was a good idea as it was only 6.30pm at that time. I went with him in his auto-rickshaw and he dropped me in the government emporium. I bought two carved elephant key chains and some sandalwood soaps. Came back and got into his auto and he dropped me in the palace. While I was standing in the queue he came with the mobile and asked was that mine. I thanked him. The mobile was ringing at the time he was handing over to me. It was God's miracle that my wife felt suddenly to call me and the ring prompted Khalif the auto driver to notice the mobile in his back seat of the auto-rickshaw. All happened in a span of 10 minutes before another passenger alighted the auto. I could feel God's protection. Praise God . what a disaster it would have been ?! The net banking and other important documents a mobile could have these days!!! I showed my wife and children in WhatsApp video call of the magnificent palace. Initially, the palace was lit in lights from rooms in the palace. exactly at 7.30 pm the lights went off and came backlighting along with lining serial lights giving a beautiful line structure to the palace.


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Palace without lights

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Palace in normal lights

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Palace in normal lights

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The palace with special lights on Sundays
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Thrilled people

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The Police Band playing in front of the palace

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Me!!!

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Parting shot​

After some time around 7.45 pm came out of the palace and took the bike from parking and returned to my stay at Roambay. The parking place was crowded with zigzag parking of two-wheelers but I was able to take my bike as it was in one corner. I reached Roambay and after parking my bike and keeping the magnetic tank bag with my DSLR camera in the locker near my bed, I left walking to have dinner in a nearby hotel. I inquired an old Muslim fruit seller on the road in Tamil and he spoke to me in Tamil that there was no good non-veg hotel nearby and he suggested to try vegetarian at Udupi Upahara hotel in Mysore Kollegal road. I had Dosa and a set of Parotta and went walking back to my stay.

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Jotting down first day events
Noted a few points to remember in my pocket notebook and went to bed. The room was warm and a foreigner reduced the fan speed which was shared by six occupants in that part of the dormitory. There were bills stuck about the house rules but none was mentioned on the fan and Air conditioner. There was a split Ac and I did not feel like inquiring into all this stuff as it was for one night stay. The bed was cosy and comfortable with clean linens. I fell asleep in no time.

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The GPS map for 12 Jan 2020



 

Attachments

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Nice photographs and writeup Tilak. So finally the trip took off then. Good. By the way, sorry if I had given you an impression that I worked in Air Force. No. My association was with hang gliding, microlight flying, both at Ooty as well as Mysore later on in Coimbatore and then Bangalore. When I read your travelogue, reminiscing the golden era of my life where I learnt my flying. Looking for more.
 

Tilak Francis

Active Member
Nice photographs and writeup Tilak. So finally the trip took off then. Good. By the way, sorry if I had given you an impression that I worked in the AirForce. No. My association was with hang gliding, microlight flying, both at Ooty as well as Mysore later on in Coimbatore and then Bangalore. When I read your travelogue, reminiscing the golden era of my life where I learnt my flying. Looking for more.
Thank you Khagesh sir. Hope my travelogue comes at least a 10 per cent of your travelogues. Still wonder about your stay in a tent of an old lady with your bike in Padum. I somehow connected you to Ooty and Tambaram with Airforce.
 

Tilak Francis

Active Member
13th January 2020 Monday

Got up to the alarm at 5;40am. Leisurely went to the restroom and got ready. There were no provisions to keep my toiletry kit and hence was hanging it in a bag and used it from there while showering. Filled up two litres of R.O purified drinking water from the kitchen. I felt some stomach upset and I was cautious to take some bland breakfast. Mounted my claw bag on the bike back seat and the magnetic bag on the tank. I took some pictures of the building as I liked the architecture of that old building very much. One of the guests asked me where I am heading to and when I said I am riding to Ooty, he replied saying awesome and wished me a happy journey. I said thanks and followed GPS to hit the right road to Ooty. The road to Ooty was dominated by Kerala eateries and shops.


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Dalvoy Lake on the Mysuru - Ooty Road

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Mysuru - Ooty Road

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Nuts and Cereals in a roadside shop
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Tender Coconut breakfast

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The boy in the shop spoke Kannada and I replied in Tamil. The only word I told in Kannada was Eshtu? which means how much. I told him to take a picture of me. He told he was not used to handling the big camera. I taught him how to stabilize and click by half-press first and later full press to take a snap. The conversation was happening smoothly. Amazing!!!

I started riding and stopped to take a picture of the safari point of Bandipur before entering the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
I was having high hopes that I would spot a herd of elephants or Bison. I was cautious and was riding in a high alert mode as I happened to watch a youtube video of a tiger chasing two men in their bullet.


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Safari point of Bandipur. Comes before Bandipur Reserve Gate.

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Bandipur Reserve Gate from Mysuru side
The bike ride inside felt to me like a horror movie without encountering the ghost. So many speed breakers to disturb the smooth ride too. But I did enjoy those winding roads inside the thick jungle.
Soon I was out of the Bandipur Reserve and after crossing a small river bridge I immediately entered the Mudhumalai tiger reserve. The TamilNadu government collected an entry fee of Rs 30/-


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Mudumalai tiger reserve
I did not dare stop to take pictures, though it was tempting as I spotted a lot of deers grazing the grasslands in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. I was wondering if I happened to be between the deer and a crouching tiger in the bush and if I ended up adding in the exotic Tiger's menu?! No way! I did not stop. But immediately after the Mudumalai reserve, I took these pictures which had similar landscapes as inside the forest.

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Moyar river

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Some bikers riding in front of me

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Road -Nearing Gudalur

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Tea plantation near Gudalur

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A thicket of Eucalyptus trees on the side of the curving road


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A thicket of Eucalyptus trees on the side of the curving road

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View of the Needle rock. I imagined differently.​
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Thank you Khagesh sir. Hope my travelogue comes at least a 10 per cent of your travelogues. Still wonder about your stay in a tent of an old lady with your bike in Padum. I somehow connected you to Ooty and Tambaram with Airforce.
No Tilak. Never say that ten percent of my travelogue. Each one has their own unique experiences. This road of Bandipur and Mudumalai I might have travelled a near hundred times at almost all the hours of day and night by virtue of my stay at Kalhatty. All the times I was hoping to see a wild cat in wild but never had a chance. I know the eerie feeling that you might have encountered when passing Bandipur Mudumalai section. So, Mudumalai collects fees is it? Could be latest development.

By the way, its not Padum that I stayed at a tent along with my bike in the tent, its Pang; the most dreaded one and the most avoidable for a stay. I have read dreadful stories of their experiences during their stay at night in Pang owing to high altitude. For me not exactly with altitude but a different one:

In the middle of the night, I don't remember the exact time now, but way past midnight, I had to get up for a nature call. Obviously in the tent I was accompanied by my dear bike no issues for that. Nature calls in these parts are attended in open. I was looking for water but the water was frozen to hard ice. Some how managed to break it with a stone nearby and took a walk for about say three to four minutes. It was windy, bone chilling winds. The feeling was so eerie I could hear strange sounds like jackals or dogs howling at a distance. I know there is no settlements around excepting those tents in pang and the military transit camp. So, from where these sounds could be coming. After a while I could make out that it could be those high velocity winds passing through those curiously shaped mountain surfaces. I dont know if I explained this in my Leh travelogue. But that was it; still so vivid in my mind.
 

Tilak Francis

Active Member
No Tilak. Never say that ten percent of my travelogue. Each one has their own unique experiences. This road of Bandipur and Mudumalai I might have travelled a near hundred times at almost all the hours of day and night by virtue of my stay at Kalhatty. All the times I was hoping to see a wild cat in wild but never had a chance. I know the eerie feeling that you might have encountered when passing Bandipur Mudumalai section. So, Mudumalai collects fees is it? Could be latest development.

By the way, its not Padum that I stayed at a tent along with my bike in the tent, its Pang; the most dreaded one and the most avoidable for a stay. I have read dreadful stories of their experiences during their stay at night in Pang owing to high altitude. For me not exactly with altitude but a different one:

In the middle of the night, I don't remember the exact time now, but way past midnight, I had to get up for a nature call. Obviously in the tent I was accompanied by my dear bike no issues for that. Nature calls in these parts are attended in open. I was looking for water but the water was frozen to hard ice. Some how managed to break it with a stone nearby and took a walk for about say three to four minutes. It was windy, bone chilling winds. The feeling was so eerie I could hear strange sounds like jackals or dogs howling at a distance. I know there is no settlements around excepting those tents in pang and the military transit camp. So, from where these sounds could be coming. After a while I could make out that it could be those high velocity winds passing through those curiously shaped mountain surfaces. I dont know if I explained this in my Leh travelogue. But that was it; still so vivid in my mind.
Thank you Khagesh sir. The Pang incident was mentioned in your Leh travelogue but curtailed. Thanks again for a vivid narration.
 

Tilak Francis

Active Member
13th January 2020 Monday (.....Continued)

The reason I was taking a long route via Gudalur instead of Masinagudi to Ooty was to visit the old British era Jail at Naduvattam. The Gps of google maps was doing wonders by showing narrow routes just before Gudalur to bypass the traffic. I took a narrow left turn to a street which took me for a steep 60degree climb and descent to cut across the main road again after Gudalur. I enjoyed thoroughly in the RE which climbed the steep uphill road like a tractor.

After joining the main road within a few kilometres, a small road bifurcates on the left side near the Tan Tea outlet on the main road.
Spot the Tan tea outlet on the roadside and take the adjacent road which goes down. This can be easily missed. Well, I did.
I enquired the Tan Tea shop owner about the jail and he immediately declined that it is under renovation. But I insisted that I wanted to see at least from outside. Then he showed the road that descends down to the Jail.

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Road Leading to the Tan tea and Jail museum.

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Road Leading to the Tan tea and Jail museum.

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Back side of the jail building as we approach from road.


History of Jail (excerpts from online)

In 1864 W.G.McIvor, the superintendent of cinchona plantations and earlier the architect of Government Botanical Gardens asked the British government for 500 convicts to develop the cinchona plantations, having found the local tribal labourers too lethargic. The first convicts arrived in 1865 from the British Straits Settlements.
The Naduvattam jail consisted of two large rooms with brick walls and zinc sheet roof with only a small skylight for each of the nine prisoner’s quarters. Wooden planks served as beds and each prisoner was provided with ‘one rug and two cummlies’.
After serving their sentence and service, the Chinese prisoners are believed to have settled in and around Naduvattam engaged in gardening and dairying, some of them marrying local women.


I went inside the road descending from the main Ooty Gudalur road. The workers lifted a barricade to allow me to pass through. I was taking some pictures of the structures from outside. Then I approached a man named Pushparaj who was there with a government jeep. He told that he works as a driver to the Officer in charge of the place and knowing that I had come from Vellore, He opened and gave a guided tour. There was one recorded escape of Chinese prisoners who mixed with the Kerala side people of plains and was never captured by the British. In fact, the Chinese beheaded a troop which went as the British search party.
I must confess that the place was creepy. Particularly the execution room. The camera did not click in any mode raising my fear. I remembered once I read in a Tamil weekly magazine about a jail where the prisoners were tied and left to starve to death. A group of friends who visited that place in the remote forest of Ooty had a bad experience after the visit. I doubt whether it is this one I had gone to see.

One thing was sure that I did not feel like staying long in that execution room. I could describe it as a perfect creepy cold gloomy dungeon. I definitely feel those who can see spirits could definitely spot one there.

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Naduvattam jail

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Wall paintings depicting the nature of life in prison

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Wall paintings depicting the nature of life in prison


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Wall paintings depicting the nature of life in prison


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Wall paintings depicting the nature of life in prison


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My bike outside the Jail

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The bridge connecting the prison block and the tea factory.

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The old Tea Factory

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Each of the two prison quarter has 5 cells in the building accommodating a total of 200 prisoners.

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View from the passageway to outside

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View from the passageway to outside


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One of the Prison cells


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Probably a morning view for the inmates of the jail from within

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History of Naduvattam jail on the prison wall


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History of Naduvattam jail on the prison wall

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History of Naduvattam jail on the prison wall

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Dummy model of a prisoner

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Dummy model of a prisoner

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Entrance to the execution room

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Prisoners were tied in this iron beams in Starvation as punishment Projecting from walls.


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Hanging rods were removed as it was rusted and spoiled


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A wooden bed slider in the hanging room opening a channel beneath where the unclaimed body of the prisoner will be flushed down through to Moyar river

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A gate just outside the hanging room where bodies were given to relatives

I left the jail and headed to Ooty. I stopped for some snaps near Pykara and Wenlock hills.

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Pykara Lake

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Pykara Dam


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Water flows from Pykara Dam

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Wenlock Downs​



I was feeling hungry and my taste buds are reminiscing the Parotta beef curry I had two years ago near a busy circle in Ooty. I was asking for direction to a policewoman about a circle with a fountain. She said that was charring circle and in no time I reached there and parked the bike outside the restaurant and told the Parotta master to have an eye on my bike.

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Restaurant Madheena

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Charring cross

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Adam's Fountain, Charring cross


It was around 2pm. After having a delicious food satisfying the Noisy stomach, I headed to Kotagiri and reached KMF hospital at 3.30 pm.

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KMF Hospital

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KMF Hospital

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KMF Hospital
I asked for the office and told about my email regarding my visit. The administrative officer Mr Jebaraj checked with Dr Sujith as Dr Tony was on leave. I was allocated a good quarter to stay in Geoffrey block of KMF hospital. Dr Sujith after knowing my passion for bike riding and my visits to other mission hospitals invited me to attend next day staff morning devotion at Chapel. He also asked whether I could share a message for KMF hospital staff. I did not deny when I consider that as a "Call" and accepted it. I did not know at that time what to share as a message to the staff.
I got refreshed and kept the luggage. I made a call to Paul to know his location. I texted him that I would wait for him at GM eye hospital, Mettupalayam.
Two of the boys, Nithish and Vikram from the orphanage ( www.mbkgpkasam.org) I work for, were studying Diploma in optometry course in this hospital. I was planning to meet them and have dinner with them.
I started around 4.30 pm and reached around 5.15 pm to the GM hospital.

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GM eye hospital, Mettupalayam


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GM eye hospital, Mettupalayam

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With Nithish
The boys were excited and introduced me to their friends as many as possible. We went to a departmental store called Kanna where there was a fast-food eatery. They had noodles and chilli chicken and I had Chicken Manchurian. It was very spicy and was prepared in a way different from the actual Manchurian.


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With Nithish and Vikram


Then we had badam milk in another tea shop near a signal. We came back to their hospital and was waiting for Paul to arrive from Vellore. The WhatsApp location showed he was somewhere between Mettur and Sathiamangalam. While I was chatting with the boys and their friends I was also checking Paul's location. I read online that the robbery is common in Sathiamangalam by tying metal wires between the trees during the night. But I shared this to Paul only after he reached safely. Meanwhile, I met the in-charge Mr Prem for optometry course in GM eye hospital and the Nursing superintendent. The boys were happy to introduce me to their staff in-charges and to their friends. I was convinced that they were enjoying their time there.
I was nervous as the time was running late. I have to take Paul in the night to Kotagiri. Everybody was cautioning about Bison and Elephant encounter in the night, particularly near Kunchappanai village.
Paul reached at 8 pm. I was happy and had a sigh of relief. I wanted him to relax and went for a simple Parotta shop in the GM hospital lane. He ordered Parrota and omelette. I ordered a kothu Parotta and shared half with Paul.

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With Paul and Nithish
The food was nice. Simple eateries always taste good.
Around 9.15 pm, Paul and I bid goodbye to the boys and left for Kotagiri. Initially, I was scared and was going behind a car and later I felt more comfortable leading forward taking on the curves in the mountain. I was feeling a kind of responsive, as I was taking a youthful Paul and I did not want to set a bad example for him. I did not notice anything on that night except my front headlight beam and the curves ahead. Paul said later that he saw a Bison on the road and that I went very close. I did not know a bit about it.
With GPS we reached the KMF campus around 10.20 pm. Thinking about my preparation for next day message, I fell asleep. It was a very cold night. I could feel the cold with two blankets on and with a Jerkin. Later I heard that the temperature dropped to less than 9 degree Celsius.

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The GPS map for 13 Jan 2020​
 

Attachments

Tilak Francis

Active Member
The reason I planned to visit the KMF hospital was about the speciality of its humble begining by three ladies from West.

KOTAGIRI MEDICAL FELLOWSHIP, Kotagiri

Background and history of KMF


Kotagiri Medical Fellowship hospital (KMF) is a 50-bedded facility in the town of Kotagiri, located in the hilly Nilgiris district of Tamilnadu, India.
KMF was started by a couple of intrepid women missionaries from England, Miss Monica Sutton and Ms Vera Nowell. In 1935, Ms Nowell, a Pharmacist at CMC, Ludhiana while recovering at Bristol from Malaria met Ms Sutton, a Lab Technician who was working at the Nilgiri Medical Mission in Kullacombai. Convinced of the need for medical work among the tribals in the hills, the two women moved to Kotagiri in 1937. The same year they repaired an abandoned cow-shed on the plot of land they had bought, and with the help of a couple of locals converted it into a dispensary with an operating table. This dispensary had the bare minimum of equipment, namely a small cupboard for medicines and an old operating table. The first staff consisted of Ms Hannah who was a Badaga Bible-woman, a water boy, a general handyman and Dr Sarah John, a lady doctor from Christian Medical College, Vellore, (sent to assist Dr Jeffrey) helped out part-time. By 1939, the work grew to a two-bedded hospital.

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Dr Pauline Jeffrey

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1937 KMF Staff
In the same year of 1937, Dr Pauline Jeffrey who was working at CMC Vellore contracted tuberculosis and was sent by Dr Ida Scudder to recuperate in Kotagiri which is known to have the second-best climate in the world. Dr Jeffrey lived at Craiglea two miles from St. Margarets and had started a doorstep dispensary in her house. Burdened with the need of the region these three pioneers joined to consider organizing a regular medical work. A trained nurse Ms Catherine Samuel joined the team in 1941 and on 30th August 1941, the Kotagiri Medical Fellowship was registered as a Society. In 1942, Dr Lydia Herlufsen, a general practitioner from Denmark joined KMF while she was stranded in India during the war and the hospital grew steadily from then. It was particularly known as an ‘Eye-hospital’ because of the excellent service provided by Dr Jeffrey. From 1974 to 1980 Dr. K. A Nambudiripad was the Medical Superintendent and brought in many developments.
The hospital reached a peak under the leadership of Dr Ashok Philip Oommen between 1980 and 1995. Following his period, there was a gradual decline in the affairs of the institution due to several reasons.

Connection to CMC, Vellore
Dr Pauline Jeffrey was from an American missionary family and worked as a school teacher in Madurai. Moved by the work of Dr Ida Scudder among the sick and especially during an incident when one of her students was sick made her consider pursuing Medicine. Dr. Scudder and Ms Gertrude Dodd who were close friends, recognizing her interest offered to sponsor her for medical studies. She returned from the United States and continued at CMC, Vellore. However, in 1937 she became sick with tuberculosis and was sent to Kotagiri to recover. While there, she saw the need of the region and was encouraged by Dr Ida Scudder to do medical work among the tribals. CMC, Vellore helped by sending Dr Sarah John in 1938 to support Dr. Jeffrey and in later years helped in funding for the buildings and in training people in various areas. A TB Convalescent Sanatorium Dodd Memorial was opened in memory of Ms Gertrude Dodd.
The hospital had grown since 1941 from a cowshed to have several blocks of buildings.

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The humble beginning of KMF - The cow shed clinic

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Drip stand used in cowshed clinic 1937

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Glass containers of cowshed clinic


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Radio used in cowshed clinic


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The instrument at cowshed clinic


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Instruments used in cowshed clinic

It was administratively and financially autonomous and managed by the KMF Trust which included Trustees from the Danish Missionary Society in India represented by the Director of Bangalore Baptist Hospital and India Mission in India represented by the Director of Christian Medical College, Vellore. However with the gradual decline in the hospital’s function, the management of the trust approached CMC, Vellore to help revive the hospital and in 2017 KMF was taken over by the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. After a formal take-over in August 2017, CMC has been striving to revive the hospital and its activities in the community around it.

Community data and background

The Nilgiris district is comprised of towns and villages in the hills of the Western Ghats and is divided into 6 districts. Kotagiri, in particular, is at an elevation of about 1800 metres (above sea level) and is one of the towns that comprise the district. It has 8 Panchayats and 60 villages. According to the 2011 census of India, the total population of the Nilgiris district is about 7,30,000 and currently estimated to be about 9,00,000. The population comprises of a large community called the Badagas who are migrants from the neighbouring state of Karnataka and who speak a language different from the local language Tamil. They are classified as Hindus in Government census but they have their own unique religious beliefs and systems which tend towards animism and do not fit into the mainstream Hindu religion and culture. Over the years they have grown in numbers and in financial strength and most people from this community are fairly well-off financially. Besides the Badagas, there are other tribes such as the Todas, Kurumbas, Irulas and Kaatunayakars who are not as affluent as the Badagas and local Tamil-speaking people and migrants from other states.

Problems facing the community

The entire district does not have a reliable facility for addressing the health needs of the population. Though there are general practitioners with their clinics and small hospitals, it is found that almost everybody goes to the plains, especially to the city of Coimbatore for any kind of serious illness. This involves a journey between 2 to 3 hours just to reach a reliable hospital facility. The very sick often worsen or die during the journey. Moreover, the cost of transportation in an ambulance is between Rs.8000 to Rs.15,000, depending on the distance from the city - and that is just to reach the hospital. The KMF hospital had been serving this population for several years in the past, but since its decline, the people of the Nilgiris have been making their way to the city for even the most common medical needs.
Past records and even current report of the medical suggests the region’s higher incidence of Myocardial infarction with sometimes about 3 to 4 cases in a week. The only point of first level critical care is possible at KMF hospital before they are referred to the plains, which many do not make it by the time they reach.
The Kotagiri town and even the entire Nilgiris district is covered with vast tea gardens and there is a large group of tea-estate workers who belong to the lower socio-economic strata of society and earn their wages picking tea leaves in the estates of rich landowners. They are often migrants who live in poor conditions and have limited access to health facilities. They also have illnesses peculiar to their profession - with a high incidence of arthritis, back problems and varicose veins with complications.

14th January 2020 Tuesday

I got up at 5:40 am to the alarm. Got ready by 6.30 am. I told Paul to get up and get ready for the chapel so that he could meet the KMF Hospital staff along with me. I took the DSLR and went around the campus to take some snaps.

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Woods within the Hospital

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View of hills from the campus

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Jeffrey block - the ground floor we stayed

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KMF Hospital campus

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KMF Hospital campus

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KMF Hospital campus

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The first stone building of KMF which now houses the chapel, Canteen, Admin office and Physiotherapy.

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KMF Hospital campus

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View of the town from KMF. Initially, I mistook the fog as a lake.

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Chapel bell donated by Malla Kounder - a sign of religious harmony

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View of Kannerimukku village from KMF

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The road leading to Kotagiri bus stand from KMF Hospital

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Adjacent CSI Wesley church

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KMF hospital entrance​

Paul wanted to have coffee or tea before he gets ready. The canteen was preparing tea and we took a stroll to the main road at the outgate of the hospital. In the shop nearby we had tea.
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Hot Tea
I wanted to get back early and wait near the chapel for the service to begin. I met Dr Sujith and we went together inside the chapel. I was given a formal introduction and handed over for my message. I started with organisational change and the need for teamwork. I quoted from Psalm 19 on the creation, word and self-introspection. I ended with emphasising on the Importance of tongue and how it can turn the whole body to evil or good like a rudder of the ship.
I was shivering while speaking not of fear but of cold, as I was only wearing a short Kurta. I did want to look like a native in a normal dressing. The thick cold cream application all over the body helped to keep warm to some extent.

Paul joined towards the end of the devotion. We took a group picture with Dr Sujith, Mr Jebaraj and the staff.

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With Dr Sujith and Staff

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At KMF hospital morning Devotion

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With Dr Sujith in front of the KMF Reception

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KMF Hospital The KMF hospital core Team
The KMF hospital is in need of more mission-oriented physicians and surgeons. Starting up of allied health courses and Nursing would be a boon for the hospital and the community that it serves.

Paul and I were introduced to other staff in the hospital and was given an orientation tour over the facilities available.

We came back and had Aapam in the canteen and left for Coonoor. We did spray and lubricated our bike chains just before the start.

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Paul


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Paul and I

 

Tilak Francis

Active Member
...contd ( 14th January 2020 Tuesday )

I planned today for the visit to Dolphin nose and Laidlaw memorial school. I set the GPS for dolphin nose and we took the road to Coonoor from Kattacombai which was on the way to Ooty from Kotagiri.

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Winding roads through this plantations

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Winding roads through this plantations

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Paul
The road was beautiful all the way. When we reached Coonoor, the GPS said we have reached Dolphin nose. I guess it because of the elevation and junctions with narrow roads, the GPS was on an error. So we did ask the local people for directions. One person got a lift from me and showed the way partly. Then we followed the tourist vehicles and reached the spot. The road was beautiful cutting through the slopes of the tea plantations.



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way to Dolphin nose

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Funny name of a place Karanci sounded like Currency

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way to Dolphin nose

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Pose with our machines


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Pose with our machines

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Katherine falls view on the way to Dolphin Nose​

Finally, we reached the Dolphin Nose, Coonoor. The view was mesmerizing. The Dolphin nose of Kodaikanal is more rugged with less manmade structures. The view of Katherine falls was magnificent from the Dophin nose viewpoint. The place was very crowded and we could not take a beautiful picture of a people free Dolphin Nose.

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Paul leaning on the fence of Dolphin Nose


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Me in the centre, Dolphin Nose​

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The real dolphin nose beneath the man-made structure

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A farm below the Dolphin Nose
Way back we took some more pictures of the tea plantations.

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Tea plantations, Coonoor.



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Tea plantations, Coonoor.

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Tea plantations, Coonoor.

There were even people calling at the gate entrance of the tea estates for a guided tour inside. This happened near Karanci village. There were also tea leaf sales outlets for Tan Tea, Glendale Tea. The best I heard was the Glendale brand. But the locals suggested Kannavarai Tea which tastes good even with the plains high Chlorine water.

We started heading back to Coonoor and I wanted to meet my Uncle who works for Emmanuel eye Hospital, Coonoor. His daughter works as a teacher in Laidlaw memorial school, Ketti. On the way, we dropped in at Nilgiris departmental store to buy some chocolates for my Nephew Tim and also for Dr Sujiths children whom we would meet late that evening

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Nilgiris at Nilgiris

Asking for directions and making calls to my Uncle Lawrence, we reached their house. We had stuffed Jaleppino poppers and bread apple pie. We earlier said we would not be joining for the lunch and so these specials, which almost made up for our lunch.

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Paul with Lawrence Uncle family​


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Me with Lawrence Uncle family

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View of Coonoor from their Terrace
My cousin got permission from the School Principal to get visitors to their school. we left for school at Ketti while my nephew enjoyed as a pillion rider in my bullet and his mom riding the scooter. Paul and I were following my cousin Monica in the scooter.

we stopped for a snap at Black bridge in Wellington. The old bridge was collapsed and now they have constructed a new one and dedicated it as Field Marshal Manekshaw bridge.

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Black bridge Wellington

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Black bridge Wellington

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Tim and I under Gen Manekshaw statue

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Paul and Tim under Gen Manekshaw statue
We headed to the Laidlaw memorial school. It was a beautiful campus, a small village of its own. It reminded me Hogwarts school of witchcraft in Harry Potter.
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Laidlaw memorial school
The Laidlaw memorial school was founded by Rev. Breeden in 1914 at Kodaikanal and later in 1917 shifted to Ketti. It was funded by Mr Laidlaw. The school was established for Anglo-Indian community across India. At present, it provides scholarships for orphan and children of single-parent among Anglo-Indians.

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Laidlaw memorial school

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Laidlaw memorial school


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Laidlaw memorial school


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Laidlaw memorial school

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Laidlaw memorial school

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Laidlaw memorial school


Monica was narrating how she had to go to dining hall amidst the fear of sloth bear, Bison and leopards. I was asking whether they have pet dogs but Monica replied that the dogs will be hunted by the leopards. I started to feel that the people had learnt to coexist maintaining their timings of campus. In all these years, not a single stray incident had happened of animal attack inside the campus.

we left around 4 pm to Kotagiri through Ooty after bidding bye to Tim and Monica. I was speeding a bit and Paul picked up too with his Hero Honda CD 100. I was thrilled to see it performing equally good except in uphill on par with RE Classic 350 of mine. We did see the mountain train of Ooty at Ketti Railway station. The old charm of the steam engine was missing.

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Mountain train behind the Ketti board

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All of us rushed in bikes and saw the train at the station

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View of a village beneath Tottabetta

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View of a village beneath Tottabetta
I was speeding up than my usual as I wanted to reach the John Sullivan Bungalow at Kannerimukku village in Kotagiri. we reached exactly when it was about time to close but a Baduga lady Officer was very humble to offer a guided tour around the place. Yes, she identified her tribe when she was explaining about the tribes in Ooty namely, Toda, Kuruba, Kattunayakkar and Baduga.

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John Sullivan Bungalow at Kannerimukku


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John Sullivan


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John Sullivan

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Kurumba tribe Glass painting inside the John Sullivan Bungalow​


John Sullivan was the first collector of Ooty when it was a combined district under Coimbatore. he was considered as a father of Nilgiris as it was well developed during his tenure. This particular Bungalow at Kannerimukku, Kotagiri was his field office away from Ooty. The building was completely destroyed but was rebuilt as the older structure by a collector named Ms Supriya reinstating John Sullivan Legacy. Many of the artefacts and photos in the bungalow were gifted by the villagers which they had in memory of him.



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The renovated bungalow as seen in time-lapse photos

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The photo gallery inside has a good collection of Old Ooty Photos

We were told that there is a beautiful fall nearby and so we went 2km further to see it. It was called Elk Falls. We were tempted to go closer but we did not want soil our clothes in cold weather and also it needed steep hiking to reach the falls.

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Elk Falls

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Elk Fall​


We reached KMF hospital campus around 6.20 pm and we got a call from Dr Sujith inviting us for a tea. We refreshed ourselves and went to Dr Sujith Varughese House. Dr Sujith and his wife hails from Kerala. They both studied at Christian Medical College, Vellore. Dr Sujith specialised in General surgery and His Wife Sunitha did Community Medicine. They both served a mission hospital in Fatepur, UP, for 11 long years, before coming here to Kotagiri mission fellowship hospital. They have two children, elder daughter and a younger son. I could understand how the life of a missionary doctors and for their families would be in the remote places as I myself was raised in a similar family.

While having tea and puffs we were discussing the difficulties of operating a Mission hospital for the downtrodden and poor with minimal cost. The application cost for new licensure procedures for scan and other instruments had gone high. The upgrading of nursing course to Bachelor as a basic qualification had evaded the local training of girls for auxiliary nursing resulted in reduced nursing staff. The NEET had definitely reduced the government school students entering medicine and who has the spirit to serve the poor in rural areas.

While we were about to leave, Dr Sujith's son informed about the snake in the bathroom. A not so brave person yet that day I joined them finding a stick and holding firmly the snake to the wall with a bathroom floor rubber wiper while Paul and Dr Sujith smashed the head of the snake. It was a krait. We were happy that we were at the right time to provide the timely help.

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Krait in the bathroom - Life's routine in Mission fields

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Krait in the bathroom - Life's routine in Mission fields​

We bid bye to them as we would not meet the next day morning as we were planning to leave early to Vellore.

After some time went to the Kotagiri market area and had our dinner with the same most sorted menu of ours. After dinner, we went to the market and bought Kannavarai Tea packet 500gms for Rs125/-. The actual MRP printed was 170/-. Super! We bought it like the locals in the market area and not in the tourist spots. Point to be remembered, for us. Paul bought some chocolates for his niece Kristine. we went back to the KMF campus. We did not sleep early instead we went out to take a night view of the town lights.

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Night lights of Kotagiri from KMF hospital

We were chatting for long and fell asleep.

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The GPS map for 14 Jan 2020​
 

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