Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ooty - The Pride of Tamil Nadu at Nilgiri Hills

Ooty was built by British on a plane at Nilgiri hills. That small township is now extended to the slopes of Nilgiri hills and now the official name is Udagamandalam.
Ooty is a very popular hill station in southern part of India and loved by the tourists all over the world. Three days break in Ooty can be memorable experience of one’s life. It can very easily be your honeymoon destination.

How to reach Ooty?

The nearest important city is Coimbatore. Coimbatore is well connected to all the major cities of India and you can reach there either by a flight or train. There are direct flights to Coimbatore from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. From Coimbatore, Ooty is 110km and can be reached by bus or cab. Bus services to Ooty are also available from other parts of Tamilnadu and Kerala.

Possibly the most enjoyable way to reach Ooty is by the Nilgiri Passenger train which runs from Metupallyam to Ooty via Coonoor. It takes about 4 hours to run 46 Km magnificent terrain of Nilgiri range and pass through 26 viaducts and 13 tunnels. To avail this train you have to come to Metupallyam from Coimbatore either by train or cab. The train leaves Metupallyam at 7.45 am. Try to come little early to grab a suitable seat. Travelling in 1st Class in this train will be an excellent experience, because of its large glass window at one end of the compartment. On this 46 Km journey the train climbs 7200 ft and view changes rapidly as you gain altitude. To be more precise, Coonoor is 26 km from Metupallyam and at an altitude of 6000 ft! It is a really a steep up climb for the tiny train. Just a drizzle at times, if you are lucky will make the view more romantic. Just to add, this Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a world heriage site.

How to plan the Ooty tour?

The important places to see in Ooty are listed below. These places you can see at your leisure by hiring an auto rickshaw. You may also prefer to walk if you have time to spare.

Botanical garden of Ooty:

This wonderful garden was started as a kitchen garden of the British. From 1845 this garden started to transform into botanical garden, now is a place with immense collection of different varieties of plants, cactus and beautiful flowers on the slopes of the hill. You can spend whole day in this garden and will be charmed by its amazing exquisiteness. The road to Raj Bhaban is through this garden. At British era this was Government House and was the summer capital of Madras Residency. From here on the top of the hill you can see the villages of Toda tribes. They are now modernized. The old type of igloo hut, in which they used to live now cannot be seen except in some of their remaining temples.

Rose Garden:

Though there are variety of roses in the Botanical garden, but the Rose Garden at Viijaynagaram Palace compound is exclusive. This is possibly one of the largest rose garden of the world. Here more than 2000 species of roses are cultivated in the five steps of Nilgiri hills.

Ooty Lake:

Built in 1823 AD this lake is now a major tourist attraction of Ooty. Boat house, beautiful garden, children’s park and deer park around the lake add to its beauty. Leisurely boating in this lake is wonderful feeling, you will cherish in your memory.

The other points to see in Ooty are Government Museum, Government art College, Nilgiri district library, Gymkhana club, and St. Stephen’s Church. See these if you stay some for some time in Ooty.

There are some excellent tourist spots around Ooty, which you can visit by TTDC authorized conducted tours by bus or, hiring a car by your own.

These following tours are operational in Ooty:

Ooty City tour: You need not take this tour. Better travel by your own taking your time. In this trip the places covered are Ooty lake and Botanical garden.

Ooty Coonoor tour: This tour starts 9 am in the morning and returns at 6 pm in the evening. This will cover Ooty lake, Botanical garden, Dodabetta peak (highest point in Nilgiri),Valley view in Ooty and Sims Park, Lamb’s rock, Tea garden, Dolphin nose view points in Coonoor.

Filmy Chakkar: From 9 am to 5 pm trip you will see the places on the way to Mysore, Paikara water falls, Paikara dam, Paikara Boat house, Cine shooting points, Kamraj sagar dam, Pine forest etc. Along with these the city points like Golf links, rose garden, children’s park, deer park lake are also shown. If you plan to go to mysore from Ooty, most of these places can be covered.

Wild ways: From 9 am to 8pm this trip covers Paikara water falls, Paikara dam, Paikara Boat house, Cine shooting points and Mudumalai forest. These places you can cover on your way to Mysore, if you plan that way. Avail this trip if you are not going to Mysore from Ooty.

Coonoor – Kotagiri – Kodanad: This is possibly the best trip, which covers most of the places in Nilgiri hills. From 9 am to 8 pm, this trip will show you valley view in Ooty and then will go to Coonoor to cover Sims’s park, Lamb’s rock, Dolphin’s nose. From Connor to Kotagiri, on the way you will see the tea gardens and through the tea garden, you will reach the wonderful Kodanad view point.

Where to stay in Ooty (Ooty Hotel information):
1st April to 15th June is off season in Ooty. You can get off season during this period.

STD code of Ooty +91 423

TTDC Hotel Tamil Nadu 1: Charing Cross Road, Ooty Ph: 44371/ 372
TTDC Hotel Tamilnadu 2: Botanical garden road, Ooty Ph: 43665
KSTDC Hotel Mayur Sudarshan: Fern Hill, Ooty Ph: 43828

There are many private hotels in Ooty and hotels for all budgets are available. Their rate varies with the number of tourists.
Hotel Charing Cross Ph: 44387
Hotel Dasprakash Ph: 42434
Hotel Nilgiri woodlands Ph: 42551
Lake view cottage Ph: 43904
Nahar Hotels Ph: 43685

This article is republished at India Study Channel

Photo attribution:


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uday said...

Hi Dr. Sparsha,

It's a wonderful article with the information that one might practically be interested in knowing while planning for a trip to Ooty. Finally, I've got what I wanted here after going through various sources and thank you for provided useful information.

I'm going to Ooty on a Honeymoon trip on this July 31, 2011. I know, it's not an ideal time, but that's how I've planned for certain reasons. Can you please provide me the following information?

- May I know, if TTDC authorized tours are operational through out the year? Are the details about these tours available online? Can I make advanced reservation online?

- May I know, if you have the contact information of the same?

- Can you please suggest me a decent hotel with reasonable price (around Rs. 1000), preferably close by Railway station / Bus Stand, if you are aware off?