Ooty (Udhagamandalam), the chief hill station of Tamil Nadu is popularly called Udhagamandalam and is described as “Queen of Hills Stations”. Nor far away are two smaller and quieter hill resorts Coonoor and Kotagiri in the same range. Ooty is a paradise of Tamil Nadu. Ooty in Nilgiri district is surrounded by hills of height varying between 2280-2290m. Eucalyptus, pine, coffee and tea plantations cover the rolling hills of Nilgiris also called the Blue Mountains. Nilgiris is India's first Biosphere. It is in the Nilgris where the Western and the Eastern Ghats meet near the borders of Tamil Nadu,Karnataka, and Kerala. Earlier known as Wotokymund, it became the summer capital of then Madras Presidency. Settlement in Ooty began in 1822 after the Collector of Coimbatore John Sullivan discovered it. British life-style with stone cottages and clubs, big lawns and winding lanes is still evident. The Toda tribal community who still occupies small areas in the higher altitudes has inhabited it.
The journey on the Ghat Road is one of the most scenic, the narrow gauge hill train from Mettupalayam to Ooty negotiates through 16 tunnels and 250 bridges, and the entire journey (46km) via Coonoor through lush forests and tea plantations is very scenic. Today Ooty is a favored summer retreat along with two other hill Stations Coonoor (18km away) and Kotagiri (31km) in the Nilgiris.
Ooty offers plenty of choices to adventure and sports lovers like 18 hole golf. Horse riding, trekking and even hand gliding (at Kalhatty Ghats).
Charring Cross and the area around the lake is the hub of activities. The annual Tea Festival and the Summer Festival is a big draw.
Wenlock Downs, 8km from the railway station is a vast expanse of undulating landscape sprawling over 8000 hectares. This used to be the ground for the Ooty Hunt with horses, hounds and the jackal. It offers pleasure of long stroll on quiet road along grassy knolls. The Gymkhana Club and the Government Sheep Farm are also in the Wenlock Downs. Cairn Hill, about 3km on the road to Avalanchi is one of the few surviving original walks. Dense cypress trees flank the entrance road to the hill.
Ooty Tour Information
Ooty Botanical Garden was established in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale. A variety of exotic and ornamental plants adorn this garden. It helps the research scholars and students to pursue their studies. In the midst of the garden, just below the mini lake, a fossil tree trunk can be seen which 20 million years old. The annual flower show of the Agri-Horticulture Department and the Dog show of the South India Kennel club are held here. It sprawls over 55 hectares and lies on the lower slopes of the Dodabetta Peak, the highest point in Ooty. Developed in 1848 by the Marquis of Tweeddale, it has a wide range of plants, shrubs and trees including enchanting orchids, ferns, alpines housed in beautifully maintained gardens and glass houses. The garden is best known for its annual flower show in May. There is also a 20 million year old fossil tree trunk Phone: 0423-2442545. Timing 08.00 to 18.30 daily.
This artificial lake was formed in 1824 by Mr. Sullivan. The Boat House maintained by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation is kept open from 8.00 Hours to 18.00 hours on all days. Pony rides along the lakeside are much sought after by children. The mini train and video games are the latest attractions. John Sullivan constructed this lake in the year 1824. Boating organized by the Tourism Dept, the Lake Garden with a mini train and dodgem cars are the main attractions here. Boat House Phone: 0423-2444053. A lovely Children's Park lies at the eastern end of the lake.
Horse Ride can be enjoyed outside the Boat House. The Race Course (running area 2.4km long) in the heart of the town has the racing season starting 15 April until June.
Children’s Lake Garden
Children’s lake Garden is situated near Railway Station and Bus Stand, this gorgeous garden and its musical lights lure the tourists one and all.
On the Mysore Road, this museum is under the auspices of the Tribal Research Centre (TRC). It exhibits models of the typical tribal dwellings with items of tribal objects. Representative sculptural arts and crafts of Nilgiris are displayed here. Photographs are displayed depicting various aspects of tribal rituals. timing 10.00 to 17.00 daily except Saturdays and holidays.
The other places of interest at Ooty include the St. Stephan's Church, built in 1829, it is the oldest in the Nilgiris. The Rose Garden near the Charring Cross has around 1500 varieties of roses. 3km west of the Ooty Railway Station is Kandal Cross a relic of the true cross is here. The Lalita Kala Academy, about 2km from Ooty has various collections of contemporary paintings and sculptures from all over India.
Doddabetta is the highest(2623 mts) peak in the Nilgiris and offers beautiful vistas of the hill ranges, plateaus and plains around. A micro telescope is vistas of the hill ranges, plateaus and plains around. A micro telescope is functioning here. Bus service is available from Ooty. It is 10 km from Udhagamandalam. About 10km east of Ooty, the Dodabetta is the highest peak (2623m) in the Nilgiris. It lies at the junction of the Western and the Eastern Ghats and offers unmatched vistas of the hill ranges, plateaus, and plains around it. It is easily accessible on a good motor able road and bused ply at regular interval from Ooty.
17km from Ooty, Glenmorgan is a vantage point, reached by a winch (operated by electricity Board, prior permission required to visit). From Elk Hills, another viewing point you can get panoramic view of Ooty and Lovedale Valley. 7km from Ooty is Ketti Valley offering panoramic view of some Badagas tribal villages. One of the highest falls in the Nilgiris, the Katery Falls are approachable by a diversion from Coonoor on the Kundah Road. 13km from Ooty, Kalhatty Falls also attract a lot of tourists. The Needle Rock offers a 360° view of the landscape below.
Kalhatti water falls
A Kalhatti waterfall is 14km from ooty.
Hindustan Photo Films
Hindustan Photo films is situated in picturesque surroundings in Winlock Downs, HPF manufactures sensitized photographic materials. This is the only factory of its kind in India. The company has established a model room to enable the visitors to understand the process. It is 8km from ooty. Buses and taxis are available. Admission is only on prior permission.
Ketti valley view, the Wenlock Downs, lamb’s Rock, Lady Canning’s Seat, Dolphin’s Nose are picturesque view points from where one can have a panoramic view of the tea estates, the Coimbatore plains, the charming Ketti Valey, the Mysore Plateau, etc. Avalanche, Mukurthi Peak, Frog Hill and Pykara dam and other excursion locales around Udhagamandalam.
Mudumalai Wild Sanctuary
Mudumalai wildlife Sanctuary is lying in the Nilgiris district abutting Kerala and Karnataka States, it is situated at an elevation of elephants and bison’s are very commonly seen here. One of thescaly ant-eaters is pangolin. Other carnivore includes tiger, panther, jackal, Hyena. Mongoose, wildcat, civet cat, four-horned antelope, mouse deer, giant squirrel and barking deer etc., also make the sanctuary their home. Pythons, cobras, rat snakes and saw scaled viper are commonly seen. A variety of birds like grey jungle fowl, peafowl, spur fowl, grey patridge, quail, golden oriole, night jar, hill myna and also peacock cab be seen. Mudumalai is 67km from ooty on the Udhagamandalam –Mysore road. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is about 60km from Ooty, this 321 sq. km wide sanctuary border the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and the Wynaad Sanctuary in Kerala. It has a varied mix of flat land, open grassland, swamp, and valleys. The wildlife includes a rich variety of mammals; the prominent among these are the elephants, gaur, tiger, samar, panther, deer, bonnet macaque, and giant squirrel. To get to Mudumalai, get down at Masinagudi enroute to Mysore. From here, buses and jeeps are available to Theppakadu (8km).
The tamed elephants are seen at Theppakkadu in the heart of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Elephant rides are available from 6.00 am to 8.00am and 4.30pm to 6.00pm.
Sim’s Park, Pomological Station, Lamb’s Rock,Lady Canning’s Seat, Dolphin’s Nose, Ralliah Dam, Kallar Agricultural farm, Burliar, Agricultural farm and Law’s falls are some of the attractions of Coonoor. Annual fruit show is conducted at Sim’s Park in May every year.
Kotagiri is a much smaller and a quieter hill station about 28km from Ooty. From here you can visit St. Catherine Falls, Rangaswamy Peak, Elk Falls and Kodanad View Point where you can have a fine panoramic view over the plains and the eastern slope o the Nilgiris.
Pykara is about 21km from Ooty on the Ooty-Mysore Road, the river Pykara originating at Mukurthi Peak gets down majestically through the lush surroundings to form Pykara Falls. The tourist attractions of Pykara are its well-protected shoals, Toda settlements, undisturbed grassy meadows, and a good wildlife habitat. Pykara has a dam and a power plant. TTDC maintains a boathouse and restaurant here. Timing 09.30 - 17.30.
An Avalanche in 1823 gives the valley its name. It is about 24km from Ooty on way to Upper Bhavani via Emerald Camp. It teems with rhododendron, orchids, magnolia, and a beautiful lake running through. The superb scenery at every turn is a wonderful experience.
Mukurthi National Park
Mukurthi National park is about 40km from Ooty on the southeast corner of the Nilgiris, Mukurthi NP is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Mukurthi Lake, which is surrounded by high hills, is known for trout fishing. An excellent place for walking and viewing exotic wildlife.
Coonoor is situated in 19km away from Ooty at an altitude of 1858m on the eastern side of the Dodabetta, Coonoor is essentially a small tea garden town with a pleasantly cool climate throughout the year. The town like Ooty is on the hill rail route from Mettupalayam. The 12-hectare Sim's Park in the Upper Coonoor is the major attraction. It has beautifully laid lawns, ornamental flowerbeds and over a thousand species of plant, which include ferns, pines, magnolia, and camellia. Timing 08.00 to 18.30.
Opposite to entrance of Sim's Park, the Pomological Station researches on fruits and there are two other research centres namely Kallar Agricultural Farm and the Burliar Agricultural Farm.
Lamb's Rock, about 6km away from Coonoor is a viewpoint from where you can see the panoramic views of the tea estates on the slopes. Dolphin's Nose, about 12km from Coonoor is a unique rock of massive proportions, jutting out of the face of the hillside in a formation as the name suggests. This viewpoint offers a vast panorama including the Catherine Falls and Droog (17km) which has the ruins of a 16-century fortress used the ruins of a 16-century fortress used by Tipu Sultan as an outpost.
Law Falls located 5km below Coonoor on the Mettupalayam Road is a beautiful picnic spot, named after Lt. Colonel Law, who traced and mainly constructed the Coonoor Ghat. The waterfall is about 55m high. There are vast stretches of undisturbed shoals, really a paradise for nature lovers.
It is about 3km from Coonoor on way to Ooty is Wellington, now the headquarters of the Madras Regiment, the oldest in the Indian Army and it is also headquarters of Indian Army and it is headquarters of Indian Defence Services Staff College. Frequent buses, almst every 10 minutes leave for Coonoor from Ooty. There are regular services from Coimbatore via Mettupalayam. Ooty to Coonoor is 19km, Coonoor to Mettupalayam 28km and Coimbatore from Mettupalayam is about 49km. Taxis are also available. Many a tour organizers conduct daily tour to Coonoor from Ooty.
Kotagiri is about 31km east of Ooty, Kotagiri (1980m) is the oldest of the three Nilgiri hill stations. It was once a British hill resort that dates back to 1819. Dodabetta Range protects it from the worst of the southwest monsoon and it receives much of its rain from northwest monsoon in October-December. The town follows its name from the Kota hill tribe, still having settlements surrounding the town. One can buy the famed items of Toda Embroidery from the Handicrafts Centre of a Women's cooperative in the town.
Catherine Falls, 8km away (3km on foot) on the way to Mettupalayam Road are the two falls, of which the upper fall over 76m high is the second largest in the Nilgiris. The view of the plains and tea plantations on the slopes is just superb. Elk Falls, 7km from Kotagiri reached through serenely laid out Badaga Habitations is worth a visit, commanding an excellent view of the Kookal Valley.
Kodanad Viewpoint located at a distance of 20km from Kotagiri reaced by bus through the tea estates offers a panoramic view over the plains of Coimbatore and the Mysore Plateau. The view from here of the Moyer River dividing the Erode and the Nilgiri districts and of the Bhavani Sagar is breathtaking. One can also visit the conical Rangaswamy Park, 20km from Kotagiri, or an isolated pillar of rock, Rangaswamy Pillar. Frequent bus services are available from Ooty, Coonoor, and Mettupalayam. Normally a day trip to Kotagiri is widely preferred.
Ooty Distance Guide
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