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Travelogue: A chilly sojourn at Wentworth Estate
(Dec 13, 2017): My ardous journey to the elegant Wentworth Estate took me through the hilly roads of Nilambur and Nadukani check post.

The estate comes under Harrisons Malayalam Limited company. The package tours organised by their hospitality section had caught my fancy.

I reached the estate by noon. Accommodation for tourists are arranged in two bungalows. I chose Cherambadi bungalow which cuts an exuberant figure . The bungalow built by Britishers in 1900 wears a pleasing look from the outside.

The estate offers a package tour program of five days. My estate tour kickstarted with a tea factory visit after lunch. The factory's manager, an ebullient man, enthusiastically threw light on the making process of tea powder, which is exported to foreign markets.

Tea powder manufactured here comes in three variants namely black, green and white. The second attraction in the factory is a Tea tasting unit. Tourists can gulp down mouth-watering tea here.

Night had fallen when I stepped out of the testing unit. I travelled back to the bungalow in the chilly air. Later, I relished the sumptuous meal prepared by Fernando, who is the bungalow's chief cook.

The second day woke me up to an unforgettable morning walk. I spent some time with tea pluckers and returned to the bungalow. After breakfast, it was time for a jeep safari.

Passing through coffee and pepper plantations, the journey could give me glimpses of wild animals, Assistant Manager Gautham informed. This sent a chill down my spine. But, I eagerly looked foreward to the experience.

I could feel an elephant's presence during the uphill journey through the heart of coffee plantations. An elephant's roar hit my ear when the jeep was on its downhill ride.

The driver informed me about a herd of elephants down there. However, he told me that only lone elephants are capable of wreaking havoc.

Two kilometres into the coffee estate, a bench built by an unknown British man caught our attention. Popularly called 'bench mattam', the structure allowed me a few visuals and offered a perfect middle-of-the-forest ambience. A lion tailed macaque and few rare birds were seen there.

An adventurous trekking to the hill top followed. The experience game me opportunities to click few odd clicks.

The evening kept me busy with a scintillating sunset at Neelimala view point. The vehicle reaches right below the view point and a quick walk will take you up there.

Gold mines and Rain Gods

The British reached Neelagiri hills with gold mining in mind. When the land in Cherambadi was dug, they found mica instead of gold. But, mica didn't have many takers and the mine was abandoned.

This mine and the temple dedicated to Rain Gods which lies nearby, are tourist attractions now. Locals indulge in animal sacrifice at this temple for abundant showers. It is believed that rains would pour down immediately after the sacrifice.

Blake hydram and picnic spot

After two days marred by jumbo scare and tedious trekking, I decided to venture out of the bungalow. Soochippara waterfalls in Wayanad, Edakkal caves, Phantom rock and Pookkodu lake were initially offered as part of my third-day plans.

As I had visited these places many times in the past, the day was spent on appreciating the hydram along with a picnic spot. The hydram is an engineering wonder and the decades old structure stands tall at the Choladi division.

Water reaches the hydram through steel pipes and from there it is pumped to the estate bungalow and thousands of settlements under the division. Hydram pumps exist only in Wentworth Estate and Taj Mahal today.

Now, it was the turn of a picnic spot in Choladi division. Waterfalls and a stream are the main attractions here. A steep road leads to the stream.

A deep gorge lies in wait for those who don't give a careful shot while going down the stone-made steps. The rusty safety railings are in shambles and pose a threat here and it's the result of a series of onslaughts by wild elephants.

This marked the end of my eventful rendezvous with the rustic charm aka Wentworth Estate. I bid farewell to the place with a promise to return for more adrenaline pumping adventures.

Wentworth Estate
Cherambadi (po), Nilgiri, Tamilnadu

Text & Photos: Sebin Joseph

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