Ooty, also called Udhagamandalam, is often called the Queen of Hill Stations. It is located in the vicinity of the Western Ghats. Located in the Nilgiris, it is a part of Tamil Nadu. There are several hill stations in the southern part of India, but Ooty is the most popular of them all. You will also hear it being addressed as the ‘Blue Mountains’. The ‘kurunji flowers’, which bloom every 12 years, give a bluish color to the mountains and slopes, leading to this nomenclature. The region is a biosphere reserve and has many forests and water bodies, many of which are off-limits for tourists as they are protected.
The hill station is located at least 7,350 feet above sea level, and that is one of the reasons, for its cool climate. October to March and April to May are the peak seasons. You will love the place for its subtle climate all year through, and attractions. There are so many natural creations that you will be spoilt for choice. There is an abundance of gardens and parks in the region, like the Government Rose Garden. Furthermore, it is hailed as the largest rose garden in India. You will find more than 20,000 varieties of roses there. Additionally, there is the Deer Park, located beside Ooty lake. It is the only highest zoo in India, after Nainital. Apart from these, there are tea factories, lakes, and dams aplenty. You will surely have a good time on vacation there.
Background of Ooty
The history of Ooty goes back to the British period. Not much is known about the place before that period. The reason was the dense forest cover, which made it practically inaccessible for outsiders. It Remained hidden from the public eye for a long time. However, when explorers found out about it, they unearthed many cave hideouts. Moreover, it is believed that such caves were used by Tipu Sultan for hiding valuables and his army. So it may be so, that he already knew about Ooty and had spread his hold into the area. The impenetrable nature of the Western Ghats led to its inaccessibility, as well. The official history of Ooty begins with the expedition of Coimbatore Collector John Sullivans. But Ooty supposedly goes back a long way when indigenous tribes like Todas, Kotas, and Irulas, reigned the place. Tipu Sultan had probably captured the Nilgiris in the 18th century. After his rule ended, it went to the British. After India’s independence, it became a popular hill station.
Popular Tourist Attractions of Ooty
The Queen of Hill Stations in India is one of the most popular hill stations not only for tourists, but filmmakers as well. You will also find small cottages and bungalows there that are an evidence of the place’s colonial past. Ooty is most famous for its tea plantations. Moreover, you can lay your hands on a variety of teas like black, white, green, jasmine, and so on. You can also buy the best essential oils there. Eucalyptus is the most popular tree in the Nilgiris, so you get to buy the oil literally everywhere in Ooty at reasonable rates. If you love nature, you should definitely visit Ooty.
Some of the places which you should not miss, includes Emerald Lake, Doddabetta Peak and Fernhill Palace. Well, that is not all. There is a cultural side to Ooty as well, which you cannot miss. You can head there, during one of the festivals. The top festivals celebrated there are The Summer Festival, has being held for more than a century, and consists of fairs and carnivals. You can also attend the flower show at the botanical garden there. The festival of Arulmigu Mariamman Temple is also quite popular, there. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival is also quite a popular one, and held in January. There are more than a dozen attractions worth importance. Find out what they are:
- Botanical Gardens
- Pykara Falls
- Doddabetta Peak
- Elk Hill Murugan Temple
- Ooty Lake
- Tea Museum
- Fernhills Palace
- Deer Park
- St. Stephen’s Church
- Toda Huts
- Ooty Mountain Railway
- Wax World
- Stone House
- Mudumalai National Park
Activities That You Can Indulge in Ooty
You can engage in a wide range of activities in Arunachal Pradesh. Read about a few of them below.
- Go Panda Spotting – This is something, you should not miss when you visit Namdapha National Park. India has just 20 protected places that house these endangered species. And, Namdapha is one of them. Hire a local guard and set off on a panda spotting spree.
- Trekking – If you are a fitness freak and an adventurist at heart, you should set for the trekking trail to Talle Valley. This journey will help you discover all the cultural and tribal customs of the inhabitants. The route covers Pangey Valley, Talley Valley and the Ziro Valley. The terrain is also photo-worthy, so you should not miss any chance to take a good photograph there.
- Attend Music Festival – The Ziro Music Festival is one of the most popular literary fests in India. The festival never repeats a band, so there is something new for you each time. The symphony of music will simply enthral your senses. If you are a music aficionado, you have got to be there.
- White Water Rafting – If you are a professional rafter, then you should head to Arunachal Pradesh. It is not for the novices as the water has a high current flowing through it. You can practice river rafting in the rivers, surrounded by Kameng. You can start rafting from Seppa. All the rivers are Grade 4 rafting spots.
- Boating – You can also engage in boating in Sangti. River Sangti is a nestled amidst the valleys of Sangti. It is around 15 km from Dirang.
- Explore Nuranang Falls – You must explore the magnificent Nuranang Falls, which falls from atop 100 m. It hides several secrets within the waters. It is also called Jung Falls. You can stand below the falls and have a blissful time.
How To Spend a Few Days in Ooty
Most people cover Ooty in 2-3 days, as they often combine the trip with the other places like Mysore and Bangalore. However, you can also invest in a week-long trip to Ooty. You can cover places like Pykara Lake and the Boat House, Kamraj Sagar Dam, Toda Hamlet, Pykara Waterfalls, Pine Tree Forest, on the first day. Then, on the second day, you can cover Doddabetta Peak, Ooty Botanical Gardens, Coonoor Tea Estate, Lamb’s Rock, and Dolphin’s Nose. Finally, before leaving, you can also visit the Wax World, Ooty Lake, Ooty Rose Garden, and the Stone House. Many people also travel from Coimbatore and cover the spots, starting with the last ones first.
How to Reach Ooty
The nearest airport in Coimbatore is 100 km away. You can take a bus or cab from there, as it takes just 4 hours to reach Ooty.
Additionally, many people cover Bangalore, Mysore, Coorg, and such places, before heading towards Ooty. So, it is a road trip for such tourists. You can avail of state buses as well, apart from cars.
The Nilgiris Mountain Railways run trains from Mettupayalam to Ooty and back. You can take trains from any city in India to Chennai, Mysore, or Bangalore, before taking the connection from Mettupayalam.
Places to Stay in Ooty
You will find no dearth of places to stay at, in Ooty. There are hotels of several categories. Apart from that, you can also stay at resorts. If you want to explore the region, you must stay in Central Ooty. Wild Planet is one of the most renowned resorts there. You can also find government accommodations at cheap rates.