Captivating Coonoor!

Last summer we had a family reunion cum holiday in Wellington, a quaint Cantonment town in the Nilgiris (South India) straight out of the British Raj, which hosts The Madras Regimental Centre and The Defence Staff College.

And just outside Wellington is Coonoor, a lovely hill station that does not get the attention it deserves because nearby Ooty tends to attract the tourist traffic. If I were asked to chose between the two towns, Coonoor would win, without a shred of doubt.

But even a day spent in Coonoor will make you want to come back, again and again, to rest and relax. And discover more. Like Sim’s Park. This beautiful park cum botanical garden is situated in a ravine, and was developed in 1874, using the natural contours of the land. It tends to get a bit overcrowded, but to the credit of the staff of the park, the place is very well maintained.

Beautiful Sim's Park
Beautiful Sim’s Park
The flowers in full bloom in May
The flowers in full bloom in May

We had to cut short our stay at the Park because we had to two other important things to do. First, locate Baker’s Junction and second, have lunch at 180 McIver. Actually, we had come across McIver’s on our way into Coonoor from Wellington and Baker’s Junction had been highly recommended for the cheese it stocked.

After driving around a bit, we located Baker’s Junction, which was well stocked with dry goods, provisions and of course, cheese. And we were once again reminded that we live in a small world. Turned out that owner, Cedric Joseph was the brother of an old friend of Corinne.

Having ticked off the items in the shopping lists, we headed to 180 McIver. The 180 in the name comes from the unique location on a cliff that offers a fantastic 180 degree view of Coonoor.


180McIver is an old colonial era resort with a multi-cuisine restaurant, La Belle Vie.We had some delicious pastas and pizzas made  from scratch after the order is placed. And the desserts were delectable. Though the food is a bit expensive, the location is so unique, that overall it is a value for money proposition.

180McIver – The Resort


The Wellington Gymkhana Club
The Wellington Gymkhana Club

By the time we finished a leisurely lunch and went round the beautifully appointed rooms in the resort, it was almost tea time. We headed to  The Wellington Gymkhana Club for tea.

My first taste of NonSuch BOP

There  I was introduced to NonSuch tea. And after tasting the NonSuch Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) tea, I was hooked. I now order it directly from the tea garden to drink in Mumbai. So now we have memories of Coonoor at least four times, everyday! 😉

PS: Thanks to my brother-in-law, John Campos, for the fantastic pictures.  Until he gets his website up and running, we’ll continue to showcase his talent! 🙂

Today we’re on C of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.


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57 Replies to “Captivating Coonoor!”

  1. Thank you for a lovely review of the place! The photos are indeed spectacular too! I’m intrigued about this Nonsuch tea! Sounds delicious!

  2. Hi Jose !
    Nice to see you here ! I am so happy that you have joined corinne in writing, you have done very well, I liked your post, beautiful pictures – would like to visit this place, thanks for sharing !!

  3. Looks like a beautiful place. Must be a day for Wellington – I blogged about a Wellington too. And Sim’s park, that could be right out of the Wellington (NZ) botanical gardens. Enjoyed the post and the pics are great.

    1. According to the regimental lore, the plans for the barracks were actually meant for Wellington, NZ; due to some confusion in London, they got mailed to India. Consequently, the architectural design of the barracks is quite different from barracks in other cantonments in India.

  4. Hi Jose & Corinne,

    That was lovely, and it brought back good old memories of Wellington and Staff College and the time when Dad was posted there. Of course, we were small then, but we re-visited it and that’s when we went and saw Coonoor, and just fell in love with it. Nice pictures to go with the post. 🙂

    Corinne – wishing you the very best with your challenge. I didn’t know you were having it on this blog or would have come earlier to cheer you along. Sorry for that, though am glad to be here now. Take care and don’t exhaust yourself off 🙂

    1. Both Wellington and Coonoor are beautiful places. Whilst the former will retain its charm because it is cantonment, I am not too sure about Coonoor. In time, it will get overrun like Ooty. There are early signs of this happening.

    1. 180McIver is a charming and quaint place. Worth an visit for a leisurely meal. The staff (only one guy, who serves) of the restaurant, has a bit of an attitude. Just ignore him and have fun.

  5. Loved this post and tempted to go and hav that tea and pasta
    Is it also spelled as Kanur or is that a different place in Kerala ? How far is it from Bangalore ?
    Do let me know
    Tempted to visit

    1. Kanur is a different place. In Kerala. We started from Mysore around 5.00 AM and reached Wellington around noon. With a longish halt at Ooty for breakfast and to repair a flat tyre. Add the Bangalore Mysore journey time.

  6. Jose, reading about Coonoor brought back such lovely memories. I had gone there in 2004 and the memories are still so vivid. I agree with you that Coonoor has much more than Ooty. I remember we stayed in one of the tea gardens and the flowers there took my breath away. I was not sure if they were for real. Would love to go and visit once again someday. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. Coonoor is a lovely place; much better than Ooty, where every shop sells chocolates and ‘varkey’. Don’t know what ‘varkey’ is, but the boards are all over. We too are looking forward to another visit to Wellington and Coonoor.

  7. This travelogue is so well written coupled with captivating photos and it took me to a virtual tour. 🙂

    Also, learned about a new kind of Tea… the ‘NonSuch’ Tea. 🙂

  8. I went to Coonoor as a child and absolutely loved it ! Though I must say I spent most of my time trampling through tea gardens and looking out for the quaint bakeries Coonoor is so famous for ! During one of our tramps across the countryside we found ourselves in front of General Manekshaw’s cottage and actually met him !

    1. Field Marshal Manekshaw’s cottage is still there, though I don’t know now who occupies it. It is on the Coonoor Kotegiri road, which is a round about route to Ooty. But worth a drive. Pristine forest, even now.

  9. Coonoor and 180McIver resort looks like a perfect holiday destination that we need so very badly! So serene, so beautiful… Never heard about NonSuch Tea… thanks for sharing about it too 🙂

  10. Commenting via the UBC – this sounds a wonderful place. I’ve not ventured that far East in my travels and it’s lovely to see the pictures.

  11. I have heard so much about Coonoor from friends who used to be hostellers in a school there. Ever since I have wanted to visit the place. The pictures are awesome. My determination to visit the place has just been renewed.

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