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The Nilgiri biosphere reserve, also known as “heaven on Earth,” is a beautiful region with breathtaking scenery. The Nilgiri region stretches from the western ghats to the Deccan Plateau. With its rich flora, among 3500 species, 160 species of ferns, 80% of flowering plants over the Nilgiri, and the fauna Nilgiri is a popular location among tourists. The Nilgiri mountains have 24 peaks, with a distance of 2000m above the western section of the states of Karnataka and Kerala.
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve lies within the Western Ghats, thereby experiencing Afro-tropical and Indo-Malayan biotic climatic zones. The Western Ghats is one of the known “hotspot” regions in the world. The Nilgiri Biosphere has unique forest systems with seasonal rainforests in the low hills, tropical montane forests, and grasslands following to the higher reaches, and moist-deciduous scrub to dry-deciduous plains towards the eastern ends.
Nilgiri District, Tamil Nadu
Ooty is 3 hours from Coimbatore airport
October to April
WHAT TO SEE
Protected areas: Silent Valley National Park, Mukurthi National Park, Bandipur & Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve
Mammals: Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Gaur, Indian elephant, Black panther, Mongoose, Malabar giant squirrel, Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Gray langur and Nilgiri tahr.
The Nilgiri Mountain region is well known for its diversity. It is home to over 3500 species of flowering plants out of which 1500 are endemic towards the Western Ghats. The rich fauna includes 550 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles and amphibians, 550 species of mammals, 300 species of butterflies, and many more.
Top reasons to visit the Nilgiri Mountains:
The Biodiversity: The rich biodiversity forms the prime reason to visit the Nilgiri mountains. The forests, the mountains, the dams, and the lakes attract most tourists to this region. Some forest reserves may need permission to enter, you can drive past the reserve or stroll around them. There are also lots of hidden paths and spots which make the Nilgiri mountains an interesting tourist destination.
The birds: You can find many endemic bird species in the area. A stroll in the Sims Park in Coonoor or the Botanical gardens in Ooty can help you spot them. There are close to 75 species of birds in this region some of them being the Nilgiri flycatcher, the chestnut headed bee-eater, the fantail, the Eurasian blackbird, the chestnut headed bee-eater, and many more.
The wildlife: The rich wildlife in the Nilgiri mountains tempts wildlife enthusiasts to visit them each year and explore the whole region. The most commonly found wildlife in the reserves includes snakes, tigers, elephants, Nilgiri Tahr.
The flowers: The flowers in the Nilgiri mountains region cannot be overlooked. The colors are very vivid and they bloom almost in the entire region. With so many parks and gardens in the area. The legendary Nilakurunji flower blooms here once in every 12 years, next blooming is scheduled in 2030.
The quaint hill stations: The popular hill stations in the region include Ooty, Coonoor, and Kotagiri. These hill stations lure many tourists towards them making them very popular in the Nilgiri region.
The mountain hallway: You can explore the Nilgiri mountains by train. This is rather a slow and long journey but it is worth it.
You can find colonialism everywhere in the region. From clubs, bungalows, plantations, churches, railways, and schools. The British have left their legacy of colonialism behind in this region.
The Tribal culture: The Nilgiris are home to many tribes, one of them being the Todas. The Todas are residents in the Ooty Botanical Garden, visit them to understand their culture, beliefs, lifestyle, or to buy their famous embroidered shawls. The weather in Ooty can sometimes get really cold, these shawls can keep you keep warm.
The little tea stalls on the mountain roads: You can find tea or chai everywhere. The plantations are centuries old and have been handed down by the British. If you’re tired you can refresh yourself by having a hot cup of tea and buy yourself some eucalyptus oil in the meantime.
Homemade Chocolates: Home-made chocolates are popular in Ooty. Tourists never miss out on buying themselves some homemade chocolates on their visit here.