is the most popular hill
station in South India nestled in the Nilgiri hills of Tamilnadu. Ooty is highly anglicised
version of original name – Udagamandalam.
In peak season (April to June), Ooty gets impossibly crowded and resembles a booming town rather than a picturesque hill station. In fact, to experience the real charm of ooty, you should not visit during the peak season and instead visit during October to February when the crowds are sparse and the nights do get real cold. Given the popularity of Ooty, make sure you have booked your Ooty resort in advance.
Ooty Sightseeing - Getting Around:
If you do not have your own vehicle, the best way to cover all the important places at Ooty is to hire a Taxi. (Government run TTDC operates Taxi service and can be contacted on 0423-2444370 / 9443522990 ) In peak season, the Ooty sightseeing trip by taxi costs Rs. 750 (rates are negotiable in off season).
There are plenty of taxi operators around Charing cross and you can negotiate for better rates
The taxi trip will cover most of the sight seeing places within Ooty that are listed below. If it is raining, there will not be much sense in going to the view points as it will be covered with mist.
To visit Coonoor and Kotagiri, make use of the frequent buses that ply between Ooty - Coonoor (travel time - 30 minutes) and Ooty - Kotagiri (travel time - 45 minutes).
The best way to reach Coonoor from Ooty would be to travel by Ooty Mountain Train (Trains to Coonoor start from ooty at 9:15; 12:15; 15:00 and 18:00 Hrs. Ooty - Coonoor mountain train timings
Ooty Sight Seeing: Places to visit in Ooty (Ooty Attractions)
Ooty, being a popular hil station has lot many of attractions and places to see to keep a tourist busy. Here is a shortlist of key attractions
Ooty Botanical Gardens: Spread over 65 acres, the garden boasts of well manicured lawns and houses rare tree species including cork tree, maple, oak etc. The star attraction is the fossilised tree trunk that is 20 million years old (yes, 20 million – not a typo). At the eastern end of the garden is the Toda Hill, where the exhibits of Toda tribe, the original inhabitants of Ooty are in display.
Interesting Read : A tribute to creator of Ooty Botanical Garden
Ooty Rose Garden :With more than 3000 varieties of roses, Ooty rose garden has the largest collection of roses in India. The garden is well laid out in terraces with rose tunnels, pergolas and bowers with rose creepers. A small climb to “Nila Maadam” (view point within the garden) will enable one to view and admire the entire garden.
Ooty Flower Show: Ooty hosts the annual flower show in May. The first flower show was held in 1896 and has been held almost continuously ever since. Flower show attracts huge crowds and special arrangements are made by the Government to monitor the crowds.
Ooty Lake :
Ooty Lake is an artificial lake built during British regime. It has a unique irregular shape (like “L”) which s impossible to see in any natural lake. The tourism department runs a boating club at the Ooty Lake from where one can hire row boats. Children’s Park and mini train are other attractions very close to the park. St. Steven’s Church : Very reminiscent of the Victorian era. Near to the church is the tomb of John Sullivan, who is considered as the father of Ooty.
Dodda Betta: Dodda Betta literally means “Big Mountain” and is the highest peak of Nilgiris. At Doddabetta, there are with two telescopes available thru’ which one can have a panoramic view of the Nilgiri range and the valley.
Pykara Point on the Ooty Mysore Road is where there are two waterfalls formed as Pykara river cascades down the valley. There are boating options at the Pykara dam.
Glenmorgan: At 25 km North West of Ooty is situated Glenmorgan , the oldest tea estate of Nilgiris. Today, it is famous for the hydro electric power plant. Glenmorgan is an excellent view point. There is a ropeway operated by TN electricity board that connects two important points – Glenmorgan and Singara. Prior permission with TNEB is needed to travel on the ropeway.
Coonor: Just 17 Kms from Ooty, Coonor has managed to retain the old charm of hill station. Sim’s park (botanical garden),Highfield tea factory, Lambs rock view point, Lady canning seat view point and Dolphins nose view point are the key attractions at Coonoor. Budget travelers are advised to take a bus or mountain train from Ooty and then hire taxi/ autorickshaw at Coonoor to view these Coonoor sightseeing spots. Coonoor taxi fares are much lesser than that at Ooty
Kotagiri : At 30 Kms from Ooty, Kotagiri is a scenic hill station with tea estates all around. Kotagiri was popular with Europeans, thanks to its Mediterranean climate.
Key attractions at Kotagiri include : Catherine Falls , at 8 Kms from Kotagiri, the falls comes alive during monsoons. From above the falls, one can view Dolphin nose , which is a popular Kotagiri viewpoint. The Kodanad point at Kotagiri offers excellent view surrounding hill ranges and Bhavani River.
Given the relative calmness and excellent scenery, many tourists prefer to stay at Kotagiri than at Ooty. Find list of Kotagiri Cottages