Ooty, also known as Ootacamund is a popular hill resort in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India.
Ooty is the Queen of hill stations and the capital of Nilgiris (meaning Blue Mountains) district.
Ooty is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India.
It used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the
Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude
of 2,240 meters above sea level.
The renowned hill resort is situated at the junction of the three southern Indian states namely, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. You may plan your trip to the hill resort any time of the year.
One of the reasons people like to visit hill stations is that they not only offer respite from the hustle and bustle of the city but also give people a chance to see the beauty of nature at it's best. The green hills, the cascading waterfalls and sparkling brooks, all make the hill stations a delight for the eyes of the city-weary.
The landscape is marked by rolling hills covered with dense vegetation, smaller hills and plateaus covered with tea gardens, and eaucalyptus trees.
Ooty is not the destination in itself, as much as it is the focal point of attraction. Auto touring the surrounding country side is certainly a must do.
Botanical Gardens - Built in 1847,
the garden offers 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree, which is believed to be more than 20 million years old. The garden is very popular with nature lovers and those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close.
Ooty Lake -
Built in 1825 the lake is about 2.5 km long. Enjoy a boat ride in the beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. Visitors cal also enjoy fishing - but don't forget to get fishing permission before you head to buy baits!
Dodabetta Peak -
The peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters and is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. Located just 10 kms from Ooty, it offers amazing views of the valley below. Many say that on a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore.
Lambs Rock -
Lamb's Rock is another vantage point that is ideal for taking pictures and is a wonderful picnic spot. It is merely 9 kms from Coonoor and is known for the splendid views it offers of the plains of Coimbatore and the tea states in the surrounding areas.
Other nearby attractions - There tourist attractions within 30-90 minutes drive from Ooty and are highly recommended for visitors.
Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary - The Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 67kms from Ooty and a must-visit for a great way to spend a day. The Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of very rich flora and fauna, and is home to many endangered species. Elephants, giant squirrels, sambhar, chital, barking deer and flying squirrels are a common sight. Tigers and leopards can be seen by the fortunate few. The Sanctuary is also a great place to see many kinds of birds, including colorful parakeets, black woodpecker, Malabar trogon and crested hawk eagle. If you have children with you or you yourself are simply fond of the majestic elephants then, you might like to visit the elephant camp within the sanctuary, Theppakkadu.
Kotagiri - East of Ooty, is a little village of kotagiri, which is about 28 kms from the popular hill station. It is said to have the most pleasant weather among all the nearby hill stations. It is a beautiful hill resort with wonderful tea estates and is definitely worth a visit.
Taxis, tourist cabs, auto rickshaws are available in plenty. There are no standard rates except tourist cabs. Town buses are also available to all important places. Conducted sight seeing tours are arranged by the private operators and the Government Tourism Development Corporation.
The hills are connected to Chennai by a nightly train. The Blue Mountain Express leaves from Chennai at night, and reaches Mettupalayam, a small town at the foothills of the Nilgiris early the next morning. The train, a standard diesel powered locomotive continues from Mettupalayam as a small coal powered historic locomotive that is a remnant of Swiss engineered trains imported in the late 1800s. The coal train is much smaller, and can only accommodate a portion of the passengers that disembark at Mettupalayam. A through ticket from Chennai to Ooty will ensure a place in the smaller train, although many prefer the faster route of taking a cab or a bus from Mettupalayam.
The coal train takes a very scenic route, and the pace of travel (sometimes 5-10 km/hour) will let you take in the beautiful scenery at leisure (the journey takes about 5-1/2 hours compared to 2 hours by road).
There are other trains from Chennai to Coimbatore. The journey can be continued from Coimbatore by road, a 3-1/2 hour journey.
The Coimbatore airport is the closest to the hills at 3-1/2 hours by road. There are flights into Coimbatore from most parts of India including Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The road trip is quite scenic from the airport.