Type of Journey
Subscribe to newsletter and stay updated
Read about our travel expeditions, new destinations, new pictures, latest trip schedules
Located in the Nilgiri hills is the beautiful picturesque town of Ooty. Formerly known as Ootacamund, the tourist destination given the name, "Ooty" for convenience of a large number of tourists that visit this hill station each year. The town is located in Tamil Nadu in the Nilgiri District. The Nilgiri Mountains add up to the scenic beauty of the hill station. The history of the town can be traced back to the Todas tribe who occupied the area before the East India Company took over the place in the early 19th century.
Ooty is famous for its rolling tea gardens and picturesque lakes. There are many tea factories in and around Ooty and it is a major Tea supply hub. It has been the shooting location of many Bollywood movies and there is actually a “filmy chakkar” movie trail that guests can do as a half-day tour. Apart from the usuals, the hidden secrets of Ooty are Avalanche and Emerald lakes which are about an hour drive away, where one can also see the endemic Nilgiri langur. Finally, if you come back from Ooty without tasting the local homemade chocolates, your trip to Ooty is not complete!
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
Botanical Garden,Dodabetta Peak
St. Stephen’s Church,St. Thomas’ Church
Tea Factory and Museum
Ooty, the Queen of Hill stations, is influenced by British culture. Tourists often think of the destination as a small English village. The art, architecture, the designs, buildings, and the construction of the houses remind us of the forgone English Era. The cultural practices resembling the British are deeply ingrained in the locals despite their religious beliefs. The local cuisines are a mix of English herbs and Indian Spices. This rich cultural diversity attracts many travelers to Ooty, India.
Places of Interest:
Botanical Gardens: The most picturesque destination in the town of Ooty is the Botanical Gardens. This place was established in 1848, the gardens are home to a fancy glasshouse, a 20-million-year-old filled tree, you can find over thousands of exotic species of flora finely spread across the gardens. The garden is well manicured attracting many tourists to absorb the dazzling landscape. Make most of your stop here on your Ooty trip by capturing many photographs of the scenery.
Doddabetta Peak: The most fascinating place to visit in Ooty is the Doddabetta Peak. Mounted at 8,652 ft it stands as the second-highest peak in the Nilgiri mountains. Here you will find a 9km long trail with many towering ferns surrounded with eucalyptus trees that leads to a telescope. You can find kids enjoying themselves around the swings and the snack food joints. The view of the Hecuba, Kulkudi, and the Kattadalu are breathtaking.
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 the 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, the 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, 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 guides 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 the tea plantations.
Coonoor:At a 20kms 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 are 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 30kms 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 on your Ooty trip includes the Nilgiri Mountain Railway experience. This is the only mountain railways 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 cms high. Each shrub reproduces only once in their 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.