PLACES NEAR OOTY
One of the three popular hill stations in the Nilgiris besides Ooty (29 km), Coonoor (18 km), Kotagiri is your quintessential plantation. Situated at an elevation of 5,882 ft, the hill station is located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. The name Kotagiri means ‘mountains of the Kotas’ (the Nilgiri hills have been the traditional home of the Kota Tribe). Kotagiri’s importance fell when the ghat road from Mettupalayam at the foothills of Coonoor was built. Surrounded by tea estates and beautiful green landscapes, Kotagiri offers plenty of opportunities for trekking and rock climbing.
Nestled in the Western Ghats, Wayanad is the least populous district in Kerala and is known for its mist-laden mountains, lush forests and green paddy fields stretching up to the horizon. With an altitude ranging from 700 to 2100 m, the climate of Wayanad is pleasant throughout the year. With a large part of the district covered by forests, Wayanad is home to some endangered species of animals and nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts can visit the numerous sanctuaries here. Agriculture is the main means of economy here. Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper, plantain and vanilla are the main crops grown here.
Known as the city of palaces, Mysore is the second largest city in Karnataka and is located at the base of the Chamundi hills. With its glittering royal heritage, its monuments and its buildings, it has become one of the most famous tourist destinations of south India. The musical fountains of the Brindavan Gardens, the quaint Railway Museum showcasing the rich history of railways in India and the Chamundeshwari Temple are just some of the many symbols of Mysore’s eclectic character. Apart from its rich architectural heritage, it is also a thriving center for the production of premium silk, sandalwood and incense.
Situated in southern India between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Kozhikode has been attracting travelers from antiquity. The city is also known by its Anglicized name, Calicut. As the major trading point of eastern spices, Calicut was known as the ‘City of Spices’. The city was founded in 1042 AD. The word Calicut is derived from Calico, hand-woven cotton cloth that was exported from Kozhikode. Kozhikode was the capital of the Kingdom of Samoothiris or the Zamorin. The Samoothiri Kingdom became powerful among the kings of Kerala due to the flourishing international trade. The Samoothiri Rajas were the arch enemies of the Rajas of Valluvanad.
If you are fond of nature photography and want to capture the best possible views of the valleys below, Doddabetta Peak should be your first pick without any second thought. Approx 10 km from Ooty, this mountain peak is one of the best tourist attractions in Ooty. If you are climbing the peak on a clear day, you can have distant views of Mysore or even Coimbatore. As you approach the peak you will notice that it holds a slightly curved flat surface. This means that there are plenty of places to sit and relax in the sun after the journey up. Along with Ooty to the west you can also see the great open highlands of Mysore and Bandipur National Park to the north. Doddabetta Mountain is the highest point in the district.
Located at the lower slopes of Doddabetta Peak in Udhagamandalam, Government Botanical Garden is a delight for the nature worshippers. Brought out with a terraced layout, the garden houses a precious collection of flowers along with other exotic species of plants in different layers. The foundation stone of the park was laid down during the British rule in 1848 and was further extended and beautified by the British as well as the Indian government. The garden is divided into 6 separate sections called Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace and Nurseries. Be privy in to the lifestyle and culture of this tribe during your visit.
Around 3 to 4 km from Doddabetta Peak, Rose Garden of Ooty is an ideal pick to pamper the nature lover in you. Entirely dedicated to the cultivation of exclusive varieties of roses the garden takes care of around 2000 species of pure-bred as well hybrid species. Blooming with burning colours, this magnificent garden presents an opportunity of spotting all exclusive colours of roses which are hardly seen anywhere else in the country. The beautiful garden is spread across 10 acres of land and houses some of the largest collections of roses in the country including miniature roses, hybrid tea roses, floribunda, ramblers, black and green roses and many other unique varieties.
Looking for a lot of amusements to make your Saturday evening cheerful? Simply head to Ooty Lake where you will get the best scenic view ever to make your evening colourful. The lake which covers an area of around 65 acres was constructed by John Sullivan in 1824. The highlight of Ooty Lake is the opportunity of boating in and walking through the lakeside surrounded by Eucalyptus trees. The boat house located next to the lake allows you to enjoy different types of boating like paddle boats, motor boats and row boats. In case you are with your young ones, let them enjoy a ride in the adjacent mini train and amusement park.
I won’t rate this park as something out of the box but still it is worth visiting without any doubt. It is counted among the few high altitude zoos in India. If one has a fascination for deers and wants to know about their different species in details, the park is an ideal pick without any doubt. The park is very close to the Ooty Lake, so in case you are in Ooty Lake in a weekend afternoon, you can explore both together. For those who are on a family vacation in Ooty can educate their kids about the Nilgiri’s wildlife in brief spending some time in this park.
Upper Bhavani Lake
It would not be wrong if I say Upper Bhavani Lake is the most tranquil tourist spot of Ooty and I would suggest you to be here at least once if you are spending your holidays in Ooty. Located in Snowdown Road of Ooty, this lake is much different from the other commercial highlights of Ooty where you can have unlimited fun but can’t enjoy solitude. The water of Upper Bhavani is greenish blue and unpolluted. Spend an evening roaming around the greenery enriched lake side or simply sit idle to feel the romanticism of solitude.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Travelling on a train route with elevations ranging from 1069 feet to 7228 feet is bound to generate abundant amusement, and the ride on a vintage train then excitement only gets multiplied manifold. To enjoy the same feel in Ooty, you must travel once in Nilgiri Mountain Railway which runs from Mettupalayam to Ootacamund or Ooty. You can either go for the entire 5 hours journey to get the most enchanting views of the nearby greenery enriched mountains or simply board the train from Coonoor to Ooty. The train that runs between Coonoor and Ooty is operated by a diesel locomotive and compliments your vintage train ride perfectly.
The lake is located at a distance of 28 kms from Ooty in the Nilgiris. It was formed naturally in the year 1823 due to a massive landslide and therefore is named as Avalanche lake. Small waterfalls falling down from the encircling mountains creates a picture perfect ambience. The surrounding forests are so dense that even sunlight cannot penetrate through them. Also called as Avalanchi, this lake is mostly visited after monsoons as the high water level offers great opportunity for trout fishing. Fishing rods and other equipments can be taken from a trout hatchery located near the lake. Other activities like trekking and camping are also popular among tourists.
St. Stephen’s Church
An Anglican cathedral founded in the year 1829 St. Stephen’s Church is counted amongst the oldest churches in Nilgiris. Located on the road to Mysore in Ooty, this church depicts several religious scenes through glass painting and wooden works. The church vicinity is a treat to the eyes as you will get to see enough of greenery around the church. The stained glasses and the wooden beams add to the graceful beauty of this church. The structure still stands tall and there are no signs of wear and tear although it has been about two hundred years since it was built.
Mother Durga represents three powers (shakti or energy) called Itcha Sakti, Gnana Sakti and Kriya Sakti. Thre are three deities in the temple representing each of these powers in the form of Mari, Kali and Katteri and this is a rare type in a single temple. Kali, though described furious, is very calm and smiling in the temple. A thread called Mudikayiru prepared with Mantras in the Katteri Amman shrine is believed to protect the devotee from evil looks, illness, magic spells, witchcraft effects etc. This is mostly used to protect children. Women wear it for child boon. The thread is also used to protect cattle.
Mukurthi National Park
Located at a distance of around 34km from Ooty, Mukrthi National Park can be counted among the best weekend getaways from Ooty. The highlights of this reserve are the sizable population of Nilgiri Tahr along with exclusive varieties of orchids, ferns and rhododendron. The park can be accessed through various short trekking routes which makes your visit quite adventurous. People fond of birding should always keep their eyes open while trekking as they might get to see birds like Black Eagles, Kestrel, Grey jungle fowls, wood cock and Thrushes. National park is an area which is strictly reserved for the betterment of the wildlife & biodiversity, and where activities like developmental, forestry, poaching, hunting and grazing on cultivation are not permitted.
Ooty Golf Course
No matter if you are an avid Golf enthusiast or not, but spending an evening at Golf Course of Ooty won’t be a bad deal. Located at a height of 7200 ft, this golf ground is one of the oldest golf clubs of the country. Spread over an area of around 193.56 acres the club comprises 18 holes. Playing golf in this ground is easy and full of excitement as the air is thinner at this high altitude ground. The golf course is enclosed with thick forest coverings where trees like rhododendron, oak, aromatic eucalyptus, and fir enhance the scenic beauty.
At a distance of 14 km from Ooty, Kalhatty Falls is an attractive waterfall situated on the Ooty - Mysore Road or Sigur Ghat Road. Also known as the Kalahasti Falls, it is one of the top places to visit in Ooty and also one of the best waterfalls in Ooty. Situated on the slopes of Kalhatti Mountain, the Kalhatty Falls cascades down from a height of 120+ feet and is considered to be an ideal destination for trekking. It is situated at an average height of around 400 feet in the Sigur Plateau of Tamil Nadu. The Kalhatty-Masinagudi slope is rich in wildlife such as Panthers, Bisons, Wild Buffaloes, Wild Dogs, Spotted Deers, Sambars and different types of hill birds. The falls are accessible from main road through a private tea estate.
Ketti Valley view
The excitement of witnessing a valley sitting at the edge of a hill hardly has any other rival in this world and if you feel the same way then Ketti Valley won’t let you down at any cost. Only you need to keep the battery of your camera fully charged and I bet you would end up clicking a hell lot of shots. To reach this place, you need to drive along the Ooty-Coonoor road (NH67) for around 4 km. Reaching this spot you can witness the enchanting views of Ketti Valley which is further extended from the Mysore plateau to the Coimbatore plains.
Perhaps just like me, you also count Ooty among the best hill stations of India to see the charisma of abundant greenery and small hillocks. So, it is obvious that you can’t stop yourself finding the best greenery enriched view of this part of South India. To tell you honestly, Glenmorgan is the ideal place to satiate the hunger of your greenery-loving eyes. It is a village at a distance of around 25 km from Ooty where you can see the oldest tea estate of this region. It has a small ropeway running from a power house in Singara to Glenmorgan.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are holidaying in Ooty and have ample time in your hands you should not miss to explore Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary which is around 31km from Ooty. Mudumalai is a popular tiger sanctuary on the northwestern part of the Nilgiri Hills and shares boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala. The park houses around 266 species of birds along with critically endangered Indian white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture. Among the mammals, Indian leopard, Bengal Tiger and Gaur are the major attractions of this park.
I won’t say it’s a heritage building but yes vintage residence no doubt. To see the remnants of British colonials in Ooty, this is a perfect pick. It is believed to the first ever British bungalow constructed in Ooty by John Sullivan. The bungalow was called Kal Bangla by the tribals. Today, the house is converted into Government Arts College of Ooty. The nightview of the house is superb and you should explore the collection of relics inside the house. I won’t say it’s a heritage building but yes vintage residence no doubt. It is believed to the first ever British bungalow constructed in Ooty by John Sullivan. The bungalow was called Kal Bangla by the tribals. Today, the house is converted into Government Arts College of Ooty. The nightview of the house is superb and you should explore the collection of relics inside the house.
Toda Huts in Ooty represent the original dwellings of the indigenous people of Ooty. Though we see Ooty as a thriving tourist destination, it was not always this vibrant and modernized. Ooty was once a sleepy quaint Hill Station that mainly flourished on cattle rearing, dairy produce and farming. Toda Huts depicts a curious hamlet like structure with the complete absence of any windows. These Toda Huts are semi-barrel shaped and the entrance is rather very small.
At a distance of 2 km from Pykara Lake and 23 km from Ooty Bus Stand, Pykara Falls is a majestic waterfalls situated on Ooty - Mysore road in Ooty, Tamil Nadu. This is one of the best waterfalls in Ooty and also one of the most popular Ooty tourist places. Pykara Falls is formed by Pykara River on the downstream of the Pykara Dam. The falls drops down into two sections with height of 55 m and 61 m through multiple layers on the rocky bed providing a unique beauty to the stream. The waterfall amidst the dense forest is a treat to watch. It is one of the must visit places for honeymoon couples and nature lovers during their Ooty trip. During rainy season, the waterfall is in full bloom. There are barricades setups along the waterfall view point for the safety of the tourists.