Nilgiri Railway was declared in July 2005 as an extension of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The Nilgiri Railways is also known for UNESCO World Heritage Site. The distance covered by this railway system is of 45 Kilometres. The heritage was preserved by issuing Edmondson style manual tickets for the Ooty-Mettupalayam journey.
Queen of Hills - Ooty
The mesmerizing, enchanting, thrilling, scenic, stunning, peaceful, tranquil Ooty is rightly named as the queen of hill stations in India. This bustling hilltop destination is in the Nilgiri hills, also known as the ‘blue mountains’ because of the Kurunji flower. This rare blue coloured flower blooms once in twelve years and when it does, the slopes of the Nilgiri Mountain Range get a delightful bluish tinge. The lovely mountains and the green valleys have crowned Ooty as the ‘Queen of Hills’ and rightfully so. When compared to all the other hill stations in India, this one is extremely beautiful and majestic.
Ooty is located in the Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu. The hill station is surrounded by four magnificent mountains of the Nilgiri range, known as the Snowdon, Elk Hill, Doddabetta and Club Hill. The town is situated 2213 metres above sea level. It is situated in a location where the Eastern ghats meet the Western Ghats.
Diversities in cultures, languages and religion is an interesting feature of Ooty. The town is home to six primitive tribes namely Todas, Badgas, Paniyas, Irulas and Kurumbas. The Toda tribes are most prominent here. As the town is located in Tamil Nadu, the culture is no different from the culture of Tamil Nadu, but yet, it has an influence of the Malayalis, Kannada and the Telugus. There is an also a vast Christian population here which traces its origin back to the British influence in India. MAD annual festival in Ooty celebrates pure forms of art, music and dances of the region. This festival is 3 days long and is thronged by artists and musicians every year.
Famous Schools and Colleges
Just like its rich culture, Ooty stands out when it comes to education too. There are many famous hostels and colleges here and people from across the globe come here to seek education. You can find the finest schools with the best of teachers and all types of courses are offered here. Schools like Good Shepherd, St. Lawrence and some of the most prominent names in educational institutions.
The former name of Ooty was Udhagamandalam, abbreviated as Udhagai. This town came under the rule of East India Company towards the end of the 18th century. The Britishers were smitten by the beauty of the quaint little town and felt that it was the Switzerland of India. With densely wooded forests and water running through every valley, the Britishers developed a fancy towards this hill station and started developing it as their summer capital. Even today, when you visit Ooty, you can find the British influence in the architecture and interiors of some bungalows. Many British time bungalows and properties are still preserved here till date for the visitors. The Britishers also travelled to Ooty for hunting. They preserved large areas of grasslands of the Nilgiris and kept them as hunting grounds. It was under their influence that the name of Udhagamandalam was changed to Ootacamund and later abbreviated as Ooty.
10 Best Places in Ooty you Cannot Miss!
With lovely scenic destinations and lakes worth visiting, Ooty never fails to charm the tourists. For the people of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, Ooty remains as the favourite holiday destination. The hilly town is thronged all year round as the weather remains cool and pleasant round the year and winter temperatures falling to 5 degrees or below.
Ooty is known as the summer capital of Tamil Nadu. People from south India generally come for the picnic here.
The beautiful Pykara lake is the name of the river flowing in this region of Ooty. Pykara is also the name of the village here and is 19 km from the main town. Government has built a pretty little boat house for tourist attraction. There is a restaurant here and tourists can also enjoy boat rides. A motor boat ride for 20 minutes and a speed boat ride for 10 minutes is offered here. Tourists also come to enjoy the Pykara waterfalls that flow through the Pykara, Glen Morgan and Mukurti dams. A forest rest house is available for the tourists here.
Timing: Mon-Fri: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sat-Sun: 9:00 am to 6:30 pm
Boating Fees: Speed Boat: Rs.785, Motor Boat(8 Seater): Rs.750
Waterfalls Fees: Rs 5 per person
Mudumalai is a small town nearby famous for its Tiger Reserve and Elephant Feeding Camp. This feeding camp run by the government has elephants engaged for eco-tourism and patrolling. Tourists can interact with the elephants here and see how they are fed. The town also has a museum near the elephant camp, where some species of animals are preserved. The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is also the first wildlife sanctuary in southern India. Tourists can find the grey langur, bonnet macaque, tigers, leopards, striped hyenas and many other rare animals here. The pretty Moyar River and the Nilgiri River flow through this sanctuary and it is surrounded by the tropical evergreen forest. While here, you can take a jeep or an open van to explore this area.
Van Safari Timing - Morning: 06.30 AM to 09.00 AM, Evening: 03.30 PM to 06.00 PM,
Elephant Safari - Morning: 07.00 AM to 08.30 AM, Evening: 03.30 PM to 05.00 PM
Entrance Fees: No Fees
One of the hills surrounding the town of Ooty, Dodabetta peak is at a distance of 10 km from the main bus stand. It is the highest peak in South India and apart from its picturesque beauty, and so you get a full 360 degrees panoramic view of the place. To reach the peak, you will have to climb a short flight of stairs. The observation tower at the peak offers magnificent views. Café Coffee Day located here serves soothing cappuccino that can be enjoyed in the chilly weather. Tourists can also enjoy corn cobs, raw mangoes and peanuts sold by hawkers here
Timing: Mon-Fri: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sat-Sun: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entrance Fees : Rs. 6 per Person (Adults), No Fees (Children below 5)
Tea Estate View Point
The Nilgiris in India is one of the renowned producers for tea. Ooty is covered with tea plantations on all sides. Tourists come to see tea plantations sprawling over acres of land. Glenmorgan here is one of the most popular tea estates and also a famous picnic spot. While here, do visit the famous tea factories where tourists are allowed to take a peek inside the manufacturing process. Most of the hotels in Ooty provide lovely views of the tea estates because it is one of the prime tourist attractions.
Timing: Mon-Fri: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Sat-Sun: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Entrance Fees: Tea Factory - Rs.10, Tea Museum - Rs.10 per Person (Adults), Children over 5 yrs - Rs.3
The delightful Ooty boat house is also famous as the Ooty lake. The place got famous after many super hit Bollywood movie songs were shot here. One such film was Maine Pyaar Kiya. This lake is at a distance of 1 km from Ooty bus stand. Boating is the prime attraction in Ooty. The boathouse offers various boating facilities such as the paddle boats, speed boats, motorboats and even rowboats. Tourists can have a picnic at the garden on the side and enjoy a mini-train ride. The amusement park here has lots of thrilling adventure activities for the kids. This lake was artificially constructed by John Sullivan in 1824. The water flowing down from the steams was redirected to form a lake. This water resource was originally used for fishing with ferries, but It gradually shrunk and the rest of the areas were then constructed into the current lake park, race course and bus stand. This lake was taken over by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation in 1973 and they have been taking care of the lake since then. One can find many tall Eucalyptus trees around the lake with a railway line running along with them. Exciting boat races and boat pageantries are arranged every summer in the month of May. Tourists throng the lake during this festival to watch the race. Guests can also enjoy horse riding and cycling here.
Prices: Ooty Lake Entry fee Rs. 15/- Adult, Rs. 10/- Kids
The Wax Museum here has some near-real statues of great celebrities and personalities carved out of wax. It is a great alternative for some tourist attraction other than sightseeing natural beauty. It is situated at a distance of 2 km from the main town of Ooty. The wax museum offers a very enjoyable and informative experience for the children. It houses life-size statues of personalities of Indian history, heritage house and culture.
Timing: Mon-Fri: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, Sat-Sun: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Entrance Fees: Rs. 30 per Person (Adults), Rs. 20 (Children Below 5)
The Lamb’s rock is a lovely viewpoint inside a reserve forest. It is at a distance of 8 km from Coonoor Bus Stand. The trees here become exceptionally colourful between January and March. Beneath the gigantic rock is located in a huge forest reserve. The Coonoor River flows on its right side. It a much-visited tourist spot which is seen on the way to Dolphin’s Nose. This rock is also known as the Echo Rock.
The beautiful Hidden Valley is located in Coonoor. It is a little beyond the Wellington Golf Course. This tourist spot is not known by many people as reaching it can be a little tough. One needs to trek through lush and dense forests to get to this spot. It is not quite popular amongst tourists but you should visit this virgin land if given a chance. It has a breathtaking panorama of majestic mountains, lush greenery and picturesque landscapes. The atmosphere here is truly tranquilizing and serene. It is a favourite spot of trekkers and nature lovers.
The Emerald dam is named such because of the deep green colour of the lake water here. The scenic view of this place is mesmerizing. One can also visit the Upper Bhavani and Avalanche dams a little near to this place. This beautiful place has tall pine trees and farms surrounding the lake. This dam is one of the major water resources to Kundah Hydro-Electric Power Station. It is a favourite picnic spot amongst the tourists.
Located in the heart of the hilly town, the Botanical Garden is a must-visit destination. This famous sightseeing destination is spread across a 55-hectare land. It lies on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak. The initial layout of the garden was designed in 1840 by the Marquis of Tweedale. This garden was later completed in 1848 by architect William Graham Mclvor. A school Hebron and the Raj Bhavan are located inside the garden.
Timing: Mon-Fri:9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Fees: Rs 40 per Person (Adults), Rs 20 (Children from 5-10 yrs), No fees (Children below 5 yrs)
Ooty is one of the most filmed location in India.
Food and Shopping
Ooty has a number of multi-cuisine restaurants as it is a famous tourist destination. You can find all kinds of Indian and International cuisines here. The traditional south Indian cuisine – dosa, idli and Pongal is widely available in various food joints here.
For shopping, there are many shopping destinations here. Do visit the Lower Bazaar Road which is located in the heart of the city. Here you can find clothes, artefacts, footwear and many such items. Also, the Tibetan Market has something interesting to offer. If you are fond of local Tibetan items, then do visit this place offering a lot of traditional Tibetan handicrafts and apparel. Also, visit the Doddabetta Tea Factory to collect your own tea sample if you are fond of tea.
Be mindful of the enviroment here!
Although Ooty is one of the most visited and filmed place in India and people love to spend their summertime in this beautiful place but one should keep in mind to not spoil the beauty of the place. Let's make a promise to ourselves, we will definitely visit this beautiful place but whenever we will visit, we will contribute to making the place more beautiful.