Heritage Run at Udagmandalam

“Is it okay, if I walk instead of running? I haven’t run in ages!!”

When I came to know about this GoUNESCO Heritage Run at Ooty, tempted as I was, I knew I would be panting more than I would be running. I had almost given up but a nagging lingering desire made me post a query on the public forum of Facebook page of Heritage Run.

And guess what? They replied in affirmative….in fact that is what they said they wanted…for people to see heritage in the sylvan beauty of the famous hill town.

Once upon a time I used to run…and win medals…but that was way back in school!  Post marriage, I had taken to long walks, instead, catching up on gossips on the way with close friends.

I immediately registered for participating in the  5 kilometre RUN as soon as I knew that I was allowed to WALK and soak in the beautiful weather, the verdant hills, the chirping birds and the gentle breeze steeped in faintly pungent eucalyptus aroma…

The walk was scheduled on 29 th May at with Lawrence School, Ooty as the starting point. At the registration kiosk the previous day all participants had been provided with run ticket and a tee-shirt with Heritage Run logo printed on it.

Flat top as it is popularly known(Lawrence School Main Building)

Flat top as it is popularly known(Lawrence School Main Building)

On the day of run I reached promptly at six in morning. I was not expecting the warm-up session to be a freestyle dancing at foot tapping Bollywood numbers, but the mike toting girl of the team with her effervescent energy managed to bulldoze everyone from first time runners to marathon runners and from teenagers(well, they did not need any pushing around to dance) to enthusiastic 70 year-olds to sway to the catchy Hindi and Tamil movie songs.

5K run was last to be flagged off. The horse riders of the school led the run…and I was on my way for first such event. On account of rain previous day, the trail through the forest was muddy and slippery. Most participants were in groups and I found myself alone a while later trudging along the trail, marvelling at the flora and at the rolling tea estates at a distance.

Somewhere along the trail

Somewhere along the trail

Stars on Earth

Stars on Earth

Though the route was shortest of the three categories, for a first timer like me it was enough to have a general idea of whole Heritage Run Event. And accomplishing the walk along a trail along the mountains did give exhilarating feeling.



Post the run a sumptuous breakfast awaited us and few women of local Toda tribe performed for us.

Toda performers

Toda performers

Few takeaways from the walk

Medal and certificate of run

Medal and certificate of run

Run Trivia:

Go Heritage Runs

An off-shoot of GoUNESCO, Go Heritage Runs is an award-winning series of fun runs organized across India at various heritage locations, all through the year. Designed with an aim to make it a holistic experience and run-vacation for friends and family, these are organised at heritage sites like Hampi, Khajuraho, Murud-Janjira etc .

GoUNESCO has something for everyone travellers, writers, photographers, fitness enthusiasts and history buffs. They also have student programmes and volunteer options.

Go Heritage Run Calender 2016

While the January saw participants run at Hampi, Karnataka, it was Warangal for February and Ooty in May. Next few runs are:

JULY: Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

OCTOBER: Udaipur, Rajasthan

NOVEMBER: Bidar, Karnataka

DECEMBER: Murud Janjira, Maharashtra 

Stay: The organisers had catered for accommodation in school premises itself on first cum first serve basis and by April mid-week they were full.  I had to fend for my stay. May-June being the peak tourist seasons at Ooty, it is better to plan and book accommodation as early as possible.

Cost: Excluding the cost of stay, I paid about Rs 1164 for the Heritage run which included breakfast, a tee shirt and participation fee.

Travel: Buses ply from Ooty bus stop to Lovedale where the school is situated. The Nilgiri Mountain Train needs early reservation for seat availability or like me one can travel standing inside a cramped compartment with other last-minute travellers. Taxis also are available at various spots.


About shoma abhyankar

I like to believe that I am a creative person. I read, write, paint, sketch, rustle up some quick and some elaborate meals for friends and family, love chess, su-doku and scrabble, can hum an old Hindi song tentatively, always stand up for women rights, hate fake people, bugs, roaches, spiders and cigarette smokers!! I graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Architecture in 1998. Soon after, I married an officer in Indian Air Force and have been on move since then. For a brief time of two years when we were posted in Pune, I worked as a junior architect in a firm. Being aware of frequent movement that we would have to live with, I chose to be a homemaker and concentrated on creating a warm and welcoming home for my family. But sitting at home without any creative activity was not my cup of tea. I learnt candle making and soon put up an exhibition at Poona Club when my daughter was barely a year old. I also enjoyed a short stint as a home-based entrepreneur, supplying chocolates and cakes on demand, while we were posted in Bareilly. With an inclination towards writing, I completed a diploma in ‘Creative Writing in English’ from Symbiosis College of Distance Learning, Pune. Then I discovered the blogosphere. Now I hope to not only travel and share my experiences with the world but also to pen a book someday....
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13 Responses to Heritage Run at Udagmandalam

  1. Roopa Sinha says:

    Very nice photos.You are serious travel blogger.Please add more photos.


  2. Pingback: Chugging Along Aboard The World Heritage Nilgiri Mountain Railway | Astonishing India

  3. Indrani says:

    A very good event. Hope to participate in some in future.


  4. very nicely written..


  5. Kalpanaa says:

    amazing initiative


  6. Wish i could participate, hope one day i will, good to know about it. The pics are very nice.


  7. Love what UNESCO is doing here to bring the heritage top of mind…


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