Ooty, the colloquial of Ootacamund, is a popular hill station of South India in the Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu. Ooty stands at 7,347 feet (2239 m) above sea level in the Nilgiris mountain range. Ooty covers an area of 36 sq km and contains the highest point of Southern India, the Doddabetta Peak. The name of the place was derived from the Toda word ‘othakal-mund’ that means ‘the house of single stone.’ The weather is quite pleasant at an average of 15 to 20 °C in summer and dropping to 0 °C during winter.
Ooty is not the destination in itself, as much as it is the focal point of attraction. The hilly region also houses smaller towns like Coonoor and Kotagiri. This hill station is popular for its tea farming as well as oil extraction industry, wherein the oil is obtained from its eucalyptus trees, lemon grass, geranium, clove and camphor. The significant festivals include the Summer Flower Festival held at the Botanical Garden that remains the main highlight of the place, during the season. In addition, the Tea and Tourism festival held in January every year also attracts thousands of tourists.
Major attraction of ooty is the mountain train journey to Ooty on a ratchet and pinion track. The journey covers 46 km and the train starts from Kallar, near Mettupalayam and passes through steep curves and long tunnels along deep ravines full of green vegetation, streams and tea gardens.
What to see
OOty Botanical Gardens was established in 1848, by the Marquis of Tweeddale. The gardens lie on the lower slopes of Dodabetta peak. It is enriched with a beautiful lily pond and hundreds of clipped bushes in the form of elephants, with raised trunks. Major attraction of the park are different variety of Italian and Japanese plants, different types of roses, imported shrubs, rare flowering plants, eucalyptus trees and several old trees which are about 20 million years old. During the month of May every year, a Summer Festival is held here.
Charing Cross in Ooty is a road junction surrounded by markets. A short walk from Charing Cross is the Spencers departmental store, where Planter’s Special cigars, made of Indian tobacco are sold.
It is the most exclusive, and best preserved of all the former British clubs. The Ooty hunt, which still rides to hounds, in pursuit of jackals, is one of the main offerings of the club.
Ketti valley is a beautiful valley stays to be 7000 feet deep inside the mountains near coonoor. The Ketti Valley is mentioned as the ‘’Switzerland of Nilgiris’’ due to the beautiful weather conditions which do not fall into any ends, during the season of summer and winter. It is very attractive and scenic spot and looks like a green dessert with different tea plantations around .Tea plantation was first introduced in this region in southern India.
Kalhatty Waterfalls Ooty
Kalhatty waterfalls is situated at a distance of 13 km from Ooty town on the way of the Kalhatty Ghats.
Kalhatty is located 2,000m above the sea level with many waterfalls and streams.
We can also see the group of monkeys and 200 varieties of beautiful birds in Kalhatty. Best time to visit these Kalhatty waterfalls in the season of September and November
Ooty Lake stays in the heart of Ooty with its L shape construction. Several boat races are conducted here one can have a wonderful time enjoying the sport . The function is well planned and organized and there is a huge crowd gathered around the lake at the time of the race.
There are a few children parks where the tourists can halt and have a wonderful time with kids. A race course is also located near the lake. A mini-train takes the visitors around the lake.
Dodabetta Peak is the highest point in Ooty situated at a height of 2,623 metres, 10 km away from the Ooty town. The top of the peak remains covered by mist most of the time but on a clear day, one can caught a glimpse of the landscape as far as the plains of Coimbatore and the Mysore plateau.
This place offers stunning views of the Coimbatore plains and the coffee and tea estates on the slopes.
Kodanadu view point
It is situated on the eastern edges of the Nilgiris, at about 16 km from Kotagiri,. A panoramic view of the tea estates and the Moyar River from either side of the road is worth a glance back.
Cairn Hill Ooty
Ooty Cairn Hill is placed about 3 km on the road to Avalanche Cairn hill. Ooty Cairn hill is one of the little existing unique walks. The right of entry road to the bill is flanked by thick cypress trees. Cairn hill is a perfect place for a picnic. Calamites withstand many natural disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones and heavy rains of this small, but good-looking location which still survives calls us from time to time to visit. There are many hill resorts here. You can hang about and take pleasure in the scenery, greenery and fresh air. Also a great place for camera work.
Thread garden is an inventive and artistic creation of an artificial garden of plants and flowers are made by colorful threads. Its entirely woven by hand only. Unexpectedly, no needles are used in these progress. The Thread garden is situated on the similar road as the Boat House. Ooty tour would be shortened without a visit to this exclusive Thread garden that has such gorgeous handicrafts.
It is situated at a distance of 10 km from the Ooty town and offers an splendid view of the natural beauty. This beautiful green carpeted valleysidis a pure a delight to the eye.
There is an observatory at the crest of Doddabetta with two telescopes offered for the people to benefit from the wonderful panoramic sight of the entire region. It opened on June 18, 1983 and is run by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC).
Pykara river situated 19 km from Ooty. The The river was very blessed by the Todas. The Pykara River originates fromt Mukurthi peak. It flows throughout the mountain region, usually maintenance to North and twisting to West after the arrival at the edge of the Plateau. The Pykara river has a dam and power house.The Pykara river flow to run downward throughout the hills; and the two waterfalls of 55 meters and 61 meters are famous Pykara falls. The waterfalls are around 6 km from the bridge on the highway. A boat house by the Pykara falls and Dam is added to the attractiveness to the tourists. Pykara boats of well protected fenced Sholas, The Pykara lake is most excellent visiting place in during the months of April,May and in December.
Major Tourist Attraction around Ooty
Avalanche is about 30 km from Ooty and about 130 km from Coimbatore on the Manjur Geddai road. It is a part of the Kundah Reserve forest area. There are 2 lakes, Avalanche and Emerald, along with a power house and EB colony. Avalanche is full of lakes meadows, shola jungles and plantation forest, streams and clean fresh air. This is a must visit place for nature lovers who enjoy peace, quiet and solitude in a pristine environment.
Coonooris 17 km from Udhagamandalam, Coonoor is a fabulous hill station in the Nilgiri hills about 19 km from Ooty. Coonoor, located at an altitude of 1,856 meters, is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri hills. . It is a popular tourist stop because of its impressive views of the lush green Nilgiri hills. It is also known for its tea plantations as the environment there is very conducive to growing exceptionally aromatic tea. In fact, touring the plantations and taking walks through the tea gardens is on of the draws of the area. It is noted for the different varieties of birds. Various species of vultures, eagles and owls, song birds like bulbuls, thrushes, babblers, larks, cuckoos, robins and several others act as melodious music gives new adventure effect for the visitors who are accustomed to the city sound pollution
The impressive views of wildflowers are another favorite thing experience in Coonoor, as is bird watching. It is common to be able to see such birds as cormorants, pipits, skylarks, Nilgiri verditer, thrushes, and parakeets. The species in the area are not limited to only these, though.
The area surrounding Coonoor offers the perfect landscape for such activities as trekking and hiking. The area offers impressive views that is best experienced while truly out in nature.
It is possible to experience the area around Coonoor while taking a ride on the local toy train. This train connects Coonoor with other hill stations that are located in the Nilgiri Hills. This train ride provides some breathtaking views of the Nilgiri hills.
About 100 feet in height, Kalhatty falls located around 13 km from Ooty. The wild habitants include panthers, bison, wild buffaloes, wild dogs, spotted deer, sambhar, and different types of hill birds.
About 28 km east of Ooty lays the quiet village of Kotagiri, the oldest of the three Nilgiri hill stations. Kotagiri is about 30 km. east of Udhagamandalam, 23 km. from Coonoor and 33 km. from Mettupalayam. It is situated at a height of 6511′ above the sea level.
It is protected by the Doddabetta range from the violent southwest monsoon and is not affected by mists which are so common at Coonoor. The lower elevation of the place makes it warmer than Udhagamandalam.
Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in South India, the is situated at about 67 km from Ooty. An elephant camp called Theppakkadu is located within the sanctuary is also available for accommodation. Accommodation can also be available at Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation’s Youth Hostel and rest houses in Masinagudi, Abhayaranayam and Kargudi and the Bamboo Banks Farm.
A trip from Ooty to Mukurthi Peak and National Park is one of the most beautiful excursions from Ooty. The peak is just 40 km from Ooty and the park spreads on the South Eastern side of the Nilgiri mountain range. It continues to blend in the verdant greens of the silent valley. The surrounding Mukurthi National Park is home to a significant population of Nilgiri Thar (Hamitragus hilocrius). The park also features a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The magnificent Mukurthi peak has granite cliffs that stretch from an elevation of 200 meter and slope down to around 1500 meter from the highland to the plains. The national park is spread on this highland covering a geographical area of 78.46 km2. Eucalyptus plantations cover much of this area. Those out for a holiday to Mukkurthi Peak and National Park cannot afford to miss the Mukurthi Dam situated right at the foothills.
When to visit
Best time to travel Ooty is April to September.
How to reach
The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, which has daily flights to and from Madras, Bangalore, Cochin and Trivandrum.
For a magnificent view of the hillside covered with forests, a train journey is recommended. The Nilgiri Express leaves Madras at night, reaching Coimbatore in the morning, and continues to the small town of Mettupalyam, at the foots of the mountains. From Mettupalyam, it connects to the Nilgiri Passenger which takes you to Ooty.
There is a regular bus service from Bangalore (300 km), Mysore (170 km), Coimbatore (105 km), Calicut (187 km) and Cochin (281 km).