Thursday, May 8

Colonial Clubs

Visiting the Nilgiris transports us back in time to a place where life is unhurried and everything has an old world charm to it. I'm talking about the clubs, the centres for social interaction for a group of like minded people.

Entry to these clubs are by membership only or if you come as the guest of a member.Most clubs are a hundred years old or more, they were begun when the British were still in India.

There are two clubs in Coonoor dating from the colonial era - Coonoor Club and The Wellington Gymkhana. Even the names are very British, houses have names, the house we lived in when my parents were in Coonoor is called Hatherly and tea estates round about there have names like Glenmorgan, Craig more and Glendale. Named by some extremely home sick tea planters no doubt!
Tiled roof and white bougainvillea on the porch of Coonoor Club.

A portion of the bar in Coonoor Club. The antlers of deer on the walls goes to show hunting must have been one of the leisure activities people indulged in the good old days,an activity now banned in India.There's a lot of bridge and rummy played, snooker and tennis. An indoor badminton court and gala nights. One could end up spending a lot of time at the club if you live in Coonoor because that's where everything happens. There are no malls (as yet and hopefully for a long time yet) or movie theatres.
The door leading into the Gun Bar at the Wellington Gymkhana. Children under the age of eighteen are not permitted in the bar and to be served in the Gun Bar you have to be formally attired - men in suits and women in sarees or salwar kameez, this was the rule when you came to dine in the evening but that has been relaxed. Most clubs expect semi formal attire for men and women especially in the evening so no flip flops and sportswear after six in the evening. Some clubs won't permit jeans.

The chambers or rooms at the Wellington Gymkhana are these cottages. The bearer will bring you morning tea and afternoon tea and biscuits which you can choose to have sitting on the lawn outside your cottage.
The gardeners at The Wellington Gym are an ingenious lot. Isn't the topiary delightful?
This little jumbo stole my heart. He's the cutest one ever.


pRiyA said...

coonoor could be some english countryside or bangalore that i remember as a child. i just hope this little piece of paradise remains that way.
ps: love the jumbo!!!

Maya Sara Matthew said...

During the season time which is April to June the place is a mess but the rest of the year things are still another world. I too hope it stays that way.

Unknown said...

I love the topiary elephant - he's a sweetie - topiary always seems magical to me

Maya Sara Matthew said...

Thank-you Fiona for all the comments.

rachel said...

Hey I'm from Coonoor too...**do not publish this comment though for security issues**. I lived in Upper Coonoor near Bedford!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of old Bangalore!!