Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is the “Queen of hill stations” and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India. Nilgiris means “Blue Mountains”. It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level. An added attraction for the tourists to Udagamandalam is the mountain train journey on a ratchet and pinion track which commences from Kallar, near Mettupalayam and wends its way through many hair-raising curves and fearful tunnels and chugs along beside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens.
One can notice a marvellous change in vegetation, as one goes from Kallar to Coonoor. The establishment of numerous tea estates made Ooty famous. Lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts crowds in huge numbers. For a pleasant stay there are numerous Ooty hotels, cottages, restaurants, service apartments, resorts and guest house available ranging from budget to Luxurious.
Ooty Botanical Garden
This garden was laid out in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale and is spread over 55 acres. Lush green well maintained lawns, rare tree species (like the cork tree which is probably the only such tree in India, the paper bark tree and the monkey puzzle tree – monkeys cannot climb this tree), a 20 million year old fossilized tree, an Italian-style garden bordering a clear pool, a vast variety of flowering bushes and plants in myriad hues (exotic and ornamental), fern house with a vast range of ferns and orchids, are some of the many highlights of this garden. A flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held every year in the month of May at this garden. The Garden is maintained by the Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu and has a very wide variety of plants that include different types of roses, imported shrubs, rare flowering plants etc.
Ooty – Lake
From just behind the Main Bus Stand (also near the Railway station) the famous Ooty Lake
stretches, in an irregular ‘L’ shape, for about two kilometres in length and varrying distances in width. At the far end is the Boat House where all kinds of boats are available for hire from eight in the morning to six in the evening. During summer seasons, in May, boat races and boat pageantry are organised on two days at the lake which draw huge crowds.
In recent years the lake and the boat house have become the hub of entertainment for the visitors. At the boat house end there is children’s park with a toytrain. In the adjacent site there is a deer park. A mini-garden is at the bus stand end and a well laid footpath circles the entire lake. Just outside the Boat house local ponies are available for jolly rides at a charge.
For the curious, this lake was artificially formed by Johm Sullivan, the founder of Ooty, in 1823-25 by damming the mountain streams flowing down Ooty valley. The lake which breached thrice, completely emptying itself, originally extended upto the present day market and ferries were used to get across one side to the other. The lake gradually shrunks in size giving place to the present racecourse, the bus stand, mini garden and some part from the mini garden end.
Ooty – Gardens
Tourists can visit this mini garden which is on the way to Boathouse. There is also a Children’s amusement park. A snack bar is also available. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Limited maintains it.
Located less than a km from Charring Cross, the rose garden is laid on 10 acres of land. The garden has a collection of more than 1000 varieties of roses.
Ooty – Doddabetta
The beautiful hill station of Ooty, draws quite a good number of tourists from all over the world. The natural beauty of this region is outstanding and memorable. Apart from the natural splendors, Ooty has many more attractions that are worth a visit. Some of the important ones are the Botanical Gardens sprawled over an area of 50-acre. It was established by Marquis of Tweeddale in the year 1848. These gardens lie on the lower slopes of the Doddabetta peak, the highest point in Ooty. Another exotic garden found here is the Rose Gardens, situated about 3 to 4-km away from Charring Cross. They are spread over an area of 10 acres of land with 2000 variety of roses.
There is also a Mini Garden over here along with a children amusement park. Definitely, a worth visiting site. Another famous attraction here is the Ooty Lake, a charming artificial lake. Constructed in 1824 by Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. A noteworthy attraction of Ooty is the St Stephens Church situated in the hilly area on Club Road. It is said to be the oldest church in the Nilgiris. This church was built in the year 1829 and consecrated in 1830. The cemetery close by houses the grave of John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty. Another outstanding attraction here is the Doddabetta peak. It is the highest peak (2623 meters) in the Nilgiris and is situated about 10-km from Ooty, offering a beautiful view of the Nilgiri hill ranges.
Ooty – Pykara Falls
19 km from Ooty. The river has a dam and power plant. There is a breathtaking scenery. The falls, about 6 km from the bridge on the main road, are best in July, but they are also worth visiting from August to December. There is a forest rest House at Pykara. A boat house by the Pykara falls and Dam is added attractions to the tourists.Pykara boasts of well protected fenced Sholas, Toda settlements, undistributed grassy meadows and also a good wildlife habitat. The Pykara Dam, Pykara falls and the reservoir attracts many tourists. A boat house with Restaurant is available. It is maintained by T.T.D.C.
Ooty – Other Places
The Government Museum, Mysore Road, Udhagamandalam has items of tribal objects, districts ecological deatails and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu.
Art Gallery – Lalith kala Academy
It is situated about 2 Kms, from Udhagamandalam in the main Mysore road. It has various collections of contemporary paintings and sculptures all over from India..
Ooty – Cosmic Ray Laboratory
Cosmic rays are charged particles coming from outisde the earth’s atmosphere and its energy varies from around 10^6 degree e V to around 1021e V. Cosmic Rays were discovered by victor by gictor hess, an Austrian Scientist in 1912 and he was awarded the noble prize in physics for this discovery, twenty four years later. Cosmic rays from a very important constituent not only of our own galaxy but of the entire universe. Cosmic rays are charged particles coming from outisde the earth’s atmosphere and its energy varies from around 10^6 degree e V to around 10^21 e V. Cosmic Rays were discovered by victor by gictor hess, an Austrian Scientist in 1912 and he was awarded the noble prize in physics for this discovery, twenty four years later. Cosmic rays from a very important constituent not only of our own galaxy but of the entire universe.
Near Ooty Tourist Places
Mudumalai Wildlife Sancturies
The most prominent of the wildlife sanctuaries in the state, as well as one of the most important in the southern region, thickly forested Mudumalai borders the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and the Wyanad Sanctuary in Kerala. Apart from the wide range of animal and bird life, the rich fauna of this sanctuary has made Mudumalai very popular with wildlife enthusiasts.
It is 31 kms. from Udhagamandalam. The climate is very salubrious which is 6503 feet above sea level. Kotagiri is shielded by the Doddabetta ranges which receives much of its rain from north west monsoon. One can enjoy a pleasure ride on road flanked by green tea beds on either side.
It is located in an area of 13.2 sq on the way from Coimbatore to Udhagamandalam. It is second largest hill station in the Nigiris. It stands on a lower ridge of the plateau at an altitude of 1858 mts. ( 6100 ft.) Population is 48003.
Mukurthi Peak and Mukurthi National Park
Mukurthi Peak is about 40 km from Ooty. The Mukurthi National Park is located on the South Eastern corner of the Nilgiris. The area contains a viable population of Nilgiri Thar(Hamitragus hilocrius). The silent valley is located on the western side of these ranges. Fascinating feature of the Mukurthi Sanctuary is its variety and similarities to Himalayan Flora and Fauna.
Located at a distance of 28kms from Ooty. A beautiful lake surrounded by a thick shola where even sunlight cannot penetrate and abundant with a wide variety of avifauna is a Nature Lover’s Paradise.
The road to Coonoor is the same till Mudumalai and Masinagudi. It is another 35 km to Udhagamandalam, better known as Ooty and 18 more to Coonoor. The drive beyond Masinagudi entails 35 hairpin bends and though these are very enjoyable drives, the trouble is, everyone else seems to think so too. Watch out therefore for maniacs coming tearing down from the opposite side. Masinagudi used to be an elephant corridor. So don’t be too surprised if you do see some wild tuskers on the road. Apart from the scenic beauty of the road, the drive through Masinagudi is charming in itself.
The road between Ooty and Coonoor is quite forested with hills looming in the distance. Again, there are blind turns and you have to be very careful around the corners. Coonoor town seems as crowded as Ooty but, a little distance away from the centre of the city peace descends again. Coonoor is more charming as it has quaint houses, old churches and not too many visitors as compared to its more famous neighbouring city. Ooty and its rolling hills give way to snarling traffic in the centre of town which is thankfully bypassed for a smooth drive on the way to Coonoor.
More peaceful and a lot greener and immensely charming, the first impression you get in Coonoor is that the air smells funny. But then, to our smog-loaded olfactory senses, fresh air always smells funny. The second assault on your senses will be the amount of green all around. There are more greens here than on a Pantone shade card.
Ooty General Information
District Area 36 Sq. Kms.
Altitude 2,240 mts.
Climate Summer : Max. 25°C, Min. 10°C
Winter : Max. 21°C, Min. 5°C
Season April to June and September to November
Languages Badaga, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam and English
Clothing Heavy Woolen in winter Light Woolen in summer
Time 5.30 GMT
STD Code 0423
Air Timing at Coimbatore
The nearest airport is in Coimbatore, 100 km away. You can catch a direct flight to Coimbatore from Chennai, Kozhikode, Bangalore and Mumbai. Indian Airlines flies Delhi-Kochi via Mumbai and Coimbatore.
Train Timing at Coimbatore
Train Timing at Mettupalayam
Nearest broad gauge railway head is Mettupalayam (46 kms). Major broadgauge railway junction is Coimbatore. It is connected with all major cities. Mettupalayam to Ooty, is connected by a Mountain Railway which is 4 hours journey.
At a height of 2,600m stands Udhagamandalam (Ooty) the Queen of Hill Stations. The ‘Nilgiri toy train’ connects Ooty to Mettupalayam, at the foot of the Nilgiris.
Road Distance from Ooty
Ooty is well connected by good roads. It is 535 km from Chennai (via Salem), 89 km from Coimbatore, 18 km from Coonoor (via Gudalur), 155 km from Mysore, 187 km from Calicut, 290 km from Bangalore, 281 km from Kochi (via Coimbatore and Palakkad), 236 km from Kodaikanal (via Coimbatore and Palani)
There is a regular bus service from Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Calicut, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur, Tirupathi and Cochin. Buses ply regularly to Mudhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Kotagiri, Coonoor and