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The lovely, picturesque town of Ooty is situated in the Nilgiri highlands. The tourist resort, formerly known as Ootacamund, was given the name “Ooty” for the ease of the many visitors who come to this hill station each year. The town is situated in the Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu. The Nilgiri Mountains enhance the hill station’s natural attractiveness. The Todas tribe, who lived in the region before the East India Company acquired control of it in the early 19th century, may be found in the town’s history.
Ooty is renowned for its gorgeous lakes and sprawling tea gardens. Ooty is a significant center for the supply of tea and is home to numerous tea manufacturers. It has served as the backdrop for numerous Bollywood films, and visitors can take a half-day trip to the “filmy chakkar” movie trail. Avalanche and Emerald Lakes, which are approximately an hour’s drive from Ooty and where one may also observe the endemic Nilgiri langur, are among the city’s best-kept secrets in addition to the regular attractions. Finally, your journey to Ooty won’t be complete if you leave without trying the regional handcrafted chocolates!
Location: Tamil Nadu
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore
How to reach: by road/train
Famous for: Nilgiri hills, Nilgiri Tea, Tea gardens, Chocolates
Best time to visit: January–June/October to December
WHAT TO SEE
Botanical Garden,Dodabetta Peak
St. Stephen’s Church,St. Thomas’ Church
Tea Factory and Museum
The Queen of Hill Stations, Ooty, has British cultural influences. The location is frequently pictured by tourists as a sleepy English village. We are reminded of the bygone English Era by the artwork, architecture, designs, structures, and house construction. Despite their religious convictions, the residents have deeply embedded British cultural habits. English herbs and Indian spices are combined in the native dishes. Many tourists flock to Ooty, India, attracted by its rich cultural diversity.
Places of Interest:
Botanical Gardens: The Botanical Gardens are the most scenic location in Ooty. A sophisticated glasshouse, a 20-million-year-old filled tree, and thousands of unusual varieties of flora are finely dispersed across the gardens at this location, which was founded in 1848. The well-kept garden draws lots of visitors who come to take in the breathtaking scenery. Take advantage of this stop on your Ooty vacation by taking lots of pictures of the surroundings.
Doddabetta Peak: Doddabetta Peak is the most fascinating location in Ooty. It is the second-highest peak in the Nilgiri Mountains, rising to a height of 8,652 feet. There is a 9-kilometer route here that leads to a telescope and is lined with several tall ferns and eucalyptus trees. Around the swings and the snack bars, you can see kids having fun. Awe-inspiring views of the Hecuba, Kulkudi, and Kattadalu may be seen from here.
St.Stephen’s Church: In Stephen’s Church, you can see the graves of John Sullivan’s wife Henrietta, and his daughter. The Church was built in 1830 in Ooty, India. It still has beautiful old-stained windows made of glass. The European names on the graves are easily recognizable. Many tourists visit the Church to witness the splendid architecture.
Ooty Lake: Once an irrigation tank, Ooty Lake now serves as the busiest destination surrounded by many tourists. The lake was built in 1825, also home to a Boat House. This place is recommended for boating, horse-riding activities, and carousels, if you are traveling with your children, and is popular for its cotton candy. The tank was initially built for irrigation purposes in the region.
Tea Gardens: Nilgiri tea flavors are popular amongst tourists as they are said to be dark, fragrant, and flavourful. The longleaf versions of the tea leaves like the Orange Pekoe are often present at international auctions. Don’t forget to take home some Nilgiri tea from local brews from tested brands like the Chamraj, Glendale, and the Tranquility, which make good gifts.
Tea Factory and Museum: The Tea Factory and Museum of Ooty guide you through the detailed process of the tea manufacturing routine. You can opt for a walk through the factory and collect some tea samples on your way back. From here, you can spot Lego-like houses between the acres of tea plantations.
Coonoor: At a 20 km distance beyond the overlapping hills of Ooty lies Coonoor. Here you can find locals selling fresh turnips and carrots by putting up stalls on the road. The dense moss layer of tea bushes is spread over the hills. Coonoor also witnessed the colonial interest which is quite evident due to its style of architecture, the plantations, and the club culture.
Mudumalai National Park: Get set for your game drive by traveling 30 km beyond Ooty to the Mudumalai National Park.
Kodanad View Point: Experience dramatic views of Bhavanisagar Dam (one of the largest earthen dams in Asia), the meeting point of the Western and the Eastern Ghats, the garrisons of Tipu Sultan (Ali Rani Koli), and the Moyar River twisting in the shape of a horseshoe.
Toy Train ride: The exciting highlight of your Ooty trip includes the Nilgiri Mountain Railway experience. This is the only mountain railway in South India that operate daily. The train runs a daily to and fro journey the frequency increases during the summers when the frequency of travelers to Ooty is the highest. The train travels from Mettupalayam to Ooty via Coonoor. The track is 46 kilometers long and runs through the Nilgiri mountains. The journey is worth it as the views are to die for.
Hiking trail of Kotagiri: Kotagiri lies 29 kilometers beyond Ooty, taking approximately an hour to reach. Tourists visit this place for its hiking trails and to witness the region’s colonial history. This is the most relevant stop to trace the colonial background of the Nilgiris. The Sullivan Memorial helps condense the events of the late 17th and early 18th century events.
Neelakurinji Flowers: Carpeting the terrains of the Nilgiri hills once in twelve years is the mystical Neelakurinji Flower. These are beautiful purplish-blue colored flowers commonly found across the Western Ghats. The blooming of these flowers is a rare spectacle of the flora kingdom. There are around 46 variations of these flowers found in India. The Neelakurinji flowers grow up to 30 to 60 cm high. Each shrub reproduces only once in its lifetime and the life cycle starts again after the seeds begin to sprout. The Neelakurinji flowers play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the Ghats. These bloom every 12 years, the last blooming happened in 2018, and the next one is likely in 2030.