Ooty Life in British Times

(The Nilgiris is endowed with a variety of entertainment and past time round the year- sports, culture, nature and so on related. The British enjoyed them to the best. We are unfortunately limited by our lack of imagination, interest and initiative.

The following is an account of Ooty life in 1920

“July was a gay month in spite of a good deal of monsoon rains and August promises  finer weather and an equally festive time.

The two Chief events in July were the Bachelor’s Ball and the staging by the Children’s Dramatic Society of the play ‘Where the Rainbow Ends’. The Bachelor’s Ball was given in the dining room of the Ooty Club. There were nearly 200 people and dancing was kept up till dawn. The fair sex had donned their prettiest gowns and Lady Willingdon (Governor’s wife) was in a lovely brocade of green and silver.

Early during the month of August,  Mrs. Richardson gave a riding gymkhana. This was held on a portion of the Downs not far from the golf link. There were three events and they were interesting not only to the competitors but to the spectators as well. After the events the hostess and the guests adjourned to the Gymkhana Club for tea where the tables were decorated in mimosa flowers. Mimosa flowers excellently in Ooty and in August and September the trees are laden with the pretty fluffy yellow bloom in great masses.

Hunt meets three days a week and there have been some glorious runs.

The golf links are in good condition for the monsoon rains have softened the ground. There has been several competition  of late albeit not of a very serious nature. There is usually a golf meeting during September when various interesting competitions and matches take place.

Tennis is, of course, only practicable spasmodically during the monsoon. During the break the tennis enthusiasts make hay while the sun shines  and get in as much tennis s they can.

Ooty is undoubtedly a sportsman’s paradise. He can shoot a tiger if he wants huge game or have a jungle-sheep  if his ideas are modest.

Fishing is also a very favorite pastime, the rivers being well stocked chiefly of trout. The cool and bracing climate  of  Ooty make it an ideal place for shooting trips. There are many dak bungalows were the sportsmen could put up for a few days within 10 or 12 hours of Ooty and civilization

There is a project on foot for starting a new club next year. At the club members can play tennis, badminton, billiards and bridge and dance too. (The project in the original gymkhana grounds (present Race course) never came through. Dance and entertainment moved to Assembly Rooms. Golf moved to present gymkhana and racing stayed in the grounds)

Images: British life in Ooty in the 1920s

Nilgiri Documentation Centre

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