Comprising undulating hills, lush valleys and a number of beautiful lakes-with its scenic beauty Ooty always casts its charm on discerning travellers. Often referred to as the ‘Queen of Hills’, the hill station is one of the most popular places to visit not only in South India but also in the rest of the country. The hill station is situated at an elevation of 2240 metres above sea level and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu. There are ample sightseeing sites in Ooty that will leave travellers in awe while vacationing. Ooty’s magnificent tea plantations and red-roofed bungalows still carry echoes of the colonial past which fascinated every traveller visiting here for a holiday. The amazing natural exquisiteness with its misty green trails continues to attract thousands of nature lovers who can simply bask amidst its pristine lap. Besides visiting the sprawling tea plantations and admiring the red-roofed bungalows, there are ample things to do in Ooty that will fill you with memories of a lifetime. Offer prayers at St. Stephen’s Church, take a ride at the Nilgiri Mountain railways or opt for a boat ride at the lake- the endless activities in Ooty will always enthral you with an absolute sense of wonder.
One of the major tourist attractions in this Queen of Hills happens to be the Nilgiri Mountain Railways. A UNESCO World Heritage, a ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railways is an experience of a lifetime. Other points of tourist interest include Avalanche Lake, Upper Bhavani Lake and Emerald Lake. Boating at the famous Ooty Lake also qualifies as one of the most exciting things to do in the hill station. Apart from the above-mentioned travel places several religious shrines are also dotted all over – right from St. Stephens Church to the age-old Murugan Temple, even pilgrims can have their fair share in Ooty. Apart from that, travellers can explore a host of other places of interest in the hill station that include the Botanical Gardens, the Pykara Lake and Falls and even sanctuaries. Ooty makes for an ideal destination for honeymooners, solo travellers, family vacationers and also for individuals who simply want to travel with friends.
Places to see in Ooty
Spread over an area of 22 acres at the lower slopes of the Dodabetta Peak, Ooty’s Government Botanical Garden is an amazing sight to behold. An array of beautiful flowers and trees will welcome you, as you step into the garden. The garden has a terraced layout and is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department. The garden houses nearly thousands of species of plants – spanning across plants, shrubs, ferns, herbs and bonsai plants.
KETTY VALLEY VIEW
Ooty’s other major attraction, the Ketty Valley View offers some amazing sights of its surrounding vistas comprising mountains and verdure valleys. The views from Ketty Valley span from Mysore Valleys to the Coimbatore plains. The valley offers such stunning views that it is often referred to as the mini Switzerland of south India. Nature lovers, adventure and experience seekers can have a great time at this beautiful locale.
The Ooty Toy Train is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the hill station. Constructed over a century ago, the narrow-gauge railway runs from Metupalayyam to Coonnor and is one of the most majestic train journeys in the southern parts of the country. Owing to its popularity and uniqueness the Toy Train has been rated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the many water bodies in the region, the Ooty Lake is a major attraction that draws several tourists around the year. The huge artificial lake was constructed in 1824 by a European named John Sullivan. Spanning an area of 65 acres, the lake is very popular as a boating point. Needless to say, several tourists are attracted to the spot every year. Surrounded by the eucalyptus trees- the natural beauty of the tree is further enhanced.
Located far from the madding crowd, the Cairn Hills are probably the least explored region of Ooty. Surrounded by dense forests all around, the Cairn Hills are home to some of the best resorts in Ooty where high-end tourists often end up spending a relaxing weekend. Alternately, Cairn Hills is a great place to simply hang out or spend some time in the evening strolling around.
Flora & Fauna
Ooty is an integral part of the Western Ghats and is one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. To visit Ooty in the month of monsoon, you will find the forests laden with rare blooming flowers. The hill slopes are covered with colourful species of plants not likely to be found anywhere else in India. A lot of pharmaceutical plants and herbs with medicinal qualities can also be found here. It also has never-ending tea gardens and grasslands. Another attraction of the hill station is its beautiful pine forests. This dense forest area is also the part where you can find a large number of exotic wild animals and reptiles, a few of which are the elusive panther, the rock python, the majestic cobra, and the big cats. Apart from these, a large variety of birds and insects are also found here including the flying squirrel. A quaint little toy town tucked away in the Nilgiris is a slice of a haven for a retreat in nature’s bliss. Ooty boasts of emerald hills, charming pathways, valleys blooming with flowers and the blue mountains at a distance. It also maintains its old-world charm of serene grandeur and presents a picture-perfect canvas view.
Best time to Visit
As a hill station, Ooty enjoys a cool and pleasant climate around the year. However, the best time to visit happens to be the summer months – from early March to early June, when the weather is absolutely at its best. Ooty enjoys moderate rainfall during the monsoons and winters are not too harsh either. Though the temperature may fall to 2°C or 3°C, despite that, exploring Ooty in winter has its own charm.
How to Reach Ooty?
Since Ooty is a popular hill station in the country, it is accessible easily from the rest of the country by air, railways and even by road. A decent network of railways and road help you reach the Queen of the Hills.
The nearest airport to Ooty happens to be Coimbatore, located at a distance of 88 kilometres. Once you reach the airport, buses and cars are easily available that can take you to Ooty. Other options include Bengaluru and the Chennai airport from where trains and other local transports are available for Ooty.
While Coimbatore yet again happens to be the nearest railway junction, the Nilgiri Toy Train is also a good option to reach Ooty. The Toy Train can be availed from the Mettupalayam station (52 km) which helps passengers reach Ooty.
Travelling to Ooty by road is also an amazing experience as several options are available from major cities in South India. Buses to Ooty ply from cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore. Alternatively, travellers can choose to self-drive via National Highway (NH) 181 while travelling to Ooty from Coimbatore. On the other hand, travellers coming from Bengaluru, need to take State Highway 17 via Mysore.