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Loving a hilltop
My favourite holiday
Mohit and a friend enjoy the view

Travel has become complicated, with the increased interest in tourism. Even adventure tourism, with all its modern accessories, is not really “simple” anymore. In situations like this, it helps to get back to basics and that’s what we did.

Three of my friends and I packed an old Indian Army-issue World War II canvas tent and headed for Parson’s Valley in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. It’s a pristine reserve forest about 2400mts above sea-level. We were to visit a place called Avalanchee (a colloquial mispronunciation of “avalanche”).

It was a 12km-long steep trek up to the top of the hill, where we camped on the edge of a small forest; a beautiful spot with the scent of eucalyptus all around. We would go downhill to the closest village to buy eggs. There, we befriended a doctor who invited us to his place for dinner.

So we took out our cleanest set of clothes and trekked down 10 km at 6pm to his place, where we ate large quantities of hot chicken. After dinner, we realised that we had to go up the hill at 8pm, by which time it was pitch dark and all we had was one torch among us.

We decided to make mashaals out of sticks. However, we managed to find only two, so one of us walked in front and one behind and we marched our way up, singing songs to fortify ourselves as we had been warned that this was panther territory. It was a great experience and we reached the top unharmed.

It was a fabulous holiday to a place where cellphones still don’t work and there’s the bluest sky that I have ever seen.

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