Stop and Smell the Roses

The first park that we visited in Ooty was the one closest to our hotel:  the Centenary Rose Park.  We walked for about fifteen minutes to the base of the hill (on which the rose garden is located).  Once there, we were encouraged by several rickshaw drivers to take a ride.  When we refused and started walking, one of them called from behind us, “It’s a long 2 km walk uphill!”

There were two main reasons why we decided to walk:  save a hundred rupees for a mere five-minute ride, and to treat our joints and muscles to some exercise.

But our legs – who equate walking into and out of the elevator to hard work – began to feel the strain as we slowly made our way up the hill.   Almost half way into our climb, with our determination dampened by the fact that nobody else was waking the same path,  we contemplated walking back down and riding a rickshaw.  But in the end, we remained strong in our resolve and made it up on our own.

Tickets cost 15 rupees per person, 30 for a still camera, and 75 for a video camera.  Everywhere we went, I took both Nikon and Kodak (P & S), but paid for only one camera.  People saw only Nikon and paid no attention to the smaller Kodak.

The Rose Park was established in May 1995.  Today this garden has the largest collections of roses (around 3,000 types) in the country like Hybrid Tea Roses. The Rose Garden is situated in slopes of the Elk Hill.

This garden is maintained by Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department, and has received the award of Excellence for the best rose garden in entire south Asia from the World Federation of Rose Societies in 2006.

The place was filled with young, newly wed couples – men in nicely-pressed shirts and pants, and women in colorful clothes, glass bangles, and flowers in their hair.  The women pressed their faces against every bunch of rose in the park while their husbands take pictures.  Meanwhile, in another busy corner of the park, a family of eight prepare themselves for a group photo by standing right in front a batch of bright, red roses.  When they see the picture later, I am sure they will realize that the roses are nowhere to be seen.

I was supposed to take a lot of macro shots, but the light was too bright and despite adjusting the exposure in the camera, I couldn’t get the shots the way I’d like them to.  I should’ve tried shooting in RAW, but don’t remember why I didn’t.  Also, the place was crowded.  With the constant movement of people around us, I didn’t have enough space to set up the tripod.  And I don’t like rushing photography.

The park extends over 4 hectares in 5 terraces, and is at an elevation of 2200m above sea level.  It’s really beautiful up there, and our lungs were grateful for the healthy dose of fresh air.

Green roses, but not in full bloom yet.  I didn’t find them pretty.

Later, we had some mango ice cream and charcoal-grilled corn.

That’s a shortcut that we discovered when climbing down the hill.  It feels like walking through a forest.  I loved it!

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29 Responses to Stop and Smell the Roses

  1. Pingback: Stop and Smell the Roses | indiarrs.net Featured blogs from INDIA.

  2. Frozeefa says:

    I wished there was a “like” tab to like this article like in facebook. Am glad u had a great time at ooty : )

  3. Having read this post, I feel I have visited this rose park 🙂 Amazing write up and wonderful pictures. Seventh picture is really lovely. And did you taste the home made chocolates at the mini super market?

    • nadia says:

      Thank you, Ahmed Irfan. Yes, we tasted the chocolates; they were good. But I like mine bitter, so I wasn’t too impressed to actually buy them.

  4. masood says:

    Cool and Awesome place to visit. Ohh I miss that charcoal – grilled corn, it was very tasty.

    • nadia says:

      I know how much you missed the corn. I remember you wanting to walk all the way up again just to buy another piece of it, lol 😀

  5. 'liya says:

    What a unique place! Looks very pretty. I like the idea of a garden dedicated to just roses 🙂

    • nadia says:

      Oh, it’s truly pretty, ‘liya! And the weather was so pleasant even in summer. We walked, and walked, and walked some more all over the town.

  6. Raheel says:

    Charges for taking pictures? never perceived anything like this before! Though, I have experienced ‘no photography!’ at places like museums, historical structures etc (still don’t know, why).

    I like the shortcut not because of cutting down the distance but also walking in wood. Good to know that you are enjoying your journey, MashaAllah.

    • nadia says:

      Raheel, that’s right: almost every tourist place in India charges separately for still and video cameras. I suppose it’s just one way of making more money. Personally, I think it is unfair because in reality it is us who are doing them a favor by promoting these places through our blogs.

  7. This place is really beautiful! & you captured it so well!
    I love the forth picture, so pretty 😀
    & charging for taking photos is really weird, never heard of that before!

    • nadia says:

      Smiley, you’re back!!! ((hugs))

      When I visited India for the first time, I couldn’t get over the fact that I need to pay for the camera (which, by the way, always costs double than my own ticket). But now I’m used to it.

  8. Serene says:

    Lovely roses!!! I love the pictures… Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  9. Anu says:

    Hi Nadia,

    So you had a chance to visit my state! 😀 Guess wht, I’ve never been to Ooty ever… Would love to go thr to smell the roses.. 🙂

    Cheerios

    A

    • nadia says:

      Hey, Anu. You’ve never been to Ooty?! *shock* *horror*

      Pack your bags this very minute and board the plane to Coimbatore 😀

      • toomuchtotake says:

        haha…I’ve planned a visit this December… in freezing cold.. Lets see how that goes! 😀

        • nadia says:

          Anu, I’ve spoken with a lady who lives in Ooty. She told me that it gets so cold in December that they all spend their winter break some place warm, like Chennai or Bangalore. But I’d like to hear about your December trip, so don’t forget to blog about it 🙂

  10. sakura says:

    salam sis..

    wow!!! the pictures are damn nice sis!!! i love the sixth photo… soooo nice… =D

    • nadia says:

      Walaikum Assalam, Sis Sakura! Thank you so much! The sixth picture is my favorite too. I took one with Masood in it, it looks even better. You’ll see it when I post it on Facebook 🙂

  11. Masyallah! So beautiful!!! I love the sixth photograph!!! Looks like something out of Narnia! hehe… (referring to the same pic…) Are those cream-coloured roses or another type of flowers on the ground?? I thought roses only grow on shrubs or bushes…

    • nadia says:

      Thank you, Mrs. Umer! Your “Narnia” comment made me go back and check the picture, lol. And I think you are right 😀

      Yes, those are roses and they are on shrubs. It’s just that from the angle where I took that picture, all you could see in front is the grass.

  12. Specs says:

    I’m not even a fan of roses but even I can appreciate the beauty you’ve captured!

    The Narnia comment= tooo true! The seating place is beautiful!!

    P.S. The weather looked a bit hot and muggy from the pictures- maybe owing to the greenery-I was surprised to know the weather’s cool (ref: your comment to Liya on another post)

    • nadia says:

      Thank you, Specs!

      Regarding the weather, it wasn’t the cloudy, cool type. The sun shone brightly, but the air was crisp and cool. And since we didn’t have much time to see all the places, I was not able to take pictures during the golden hours of photography, hence the harsh lighting in 99% of pictures 😦

  13. uneekmuslimah says:

    LOL I ddn’t know there was a rose garden in TN .. I only knew of the Botanical garden in B’glore …. Guess I’ve been too ignorant about my own country … Believe me your posts sometimes make me feel ashamed to admit I’m an Indian! LOL :s

    • nadia says:

      Yes, uneekmuslimah, there is a rose garden in TN – and a pretty one at that! Don’t feel ashamed; it’s just that you have spent more time in the Kingdom than in India.

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