A subtropical highland with abundance of tea plantation, a fragile ecosystem well reserved situated at an altitude of 7350 ft above the sea level located 80km north of Coimbatore, the capital of Nilgiris district, the queen of hill stations…OOTY..! Being one of the popular South Indian holiday destinations the drive to Ooty itself is very scenic and an exciting road trip on the ghat sections. Let’s look at some of the popular places Ooty has to offer.
- Doddabetta Peak
If you’re one among those who get high over heights then this place is a must for you. As the name suggests its one of the highest peak points amidst the Nilgiri Mountain. Situated at a height of 2637m (8650 ft) above the sea level is perfect for your adventurous pictures. The peak is surrounded by abundant reserved forests. There is an observatory at the top with two telescopes for a view of exuberant beauty. Plan your visit early in the morning to avoid traffic and crowd during the day; also you get to enjoy the morning mist. Also if you enjoy drinking tea and would like to get to know the process, take a little detour on your way to the Dodabetta tea factory.
- Pykara Lake & Falls
Pykara Lake is one of the sacred rivers named after a village called Pykara. The river flows as a plethora of waterfalls; two of them being the Pykara waterfall. Due to its wonderful location in the Nilgiris, it gets rain from both the monsoons. This place is also surrounded by abundant green and also boasts that many Kollywood filmmakers have shot various songs around this picturesque lake. The Pykara Dam is one of the oldest dams in South India. A boat house on the reservoir with a restaurant is an added attraction to relax your day. For a thrilling experience, you can also hire a boat and adore the view around. Various options including the row boat, paddle, and motor boats are available.
- Ooty lake
One of the major attractions of Ooty being the Ooty Lake. An artificial lake surrounded by groves of eucalyptus trees. Surrounded by artificial dams that were built around 1824. 65 acres of water is what this place offers you. Originally constructed for the purpose of fishing this place has become an important tourist landmark for boating. Want to burn some calories while enjoying your vacation then choose if you want to paddle or row a boat. If you prefer to just relax and enjoy the views then pick a motor boat. This place also has a boat house where you could stop for some refreshments. A small amusement park invites more entertainment. If you are traveling with the elderly, this place offers small gardens and shady places to rest. If your visit is during the summer do take part in their popular boat race. The stalls around here sell plant seeds if you wish to create your own mini Ooty plantation in your backyard.
- Moddy’s Chocolate
I’m sure you have people telling you to pick up some homemade chocolates if you’re visiting Ooty. This is the perfect place to pick your taste souvenirs from. Moddys is one of the oldest chocolate stores which have served their best quality of homemade chocolates for over 62 years. Not only do they offer more than 100 varieties of homemade chocolates but also home to various local products to choose from including tea, spices, honey, jam, essential oils & aromatherapy oils. Their chocolates are not limited to just dark, milk or nuts but extended to fruit flavors, roasted almonds, rum and raisin, Irish cream truffles and much much more to relish from. Are you diabetic and still have a soft corner for chocolates? Then you should definitely try their sugar-free chocolates.
- Rose Garden
The Government Rose Garden formerly known as Jayalalitha Rose Garden has breathtaking views of over 20,000 varieties of roses of 2800 cultivars being the largest in India. Surely not to miss the arrangement of this blooming flower bed in five curving terraces generously spread over 9 acres. Ooty being blessed with the unique tropical mountain climate is one of the perfect places to grow roses with uniform rain year around. The assorted range of roses comprises of miniature roses, ramblers, hybrid tea roses, yakimour, papagena, floribunda. One can also find astonishing colors of roses like green, black, purple, etc. The garden has been designed with rose tunnels, pergolas, bowers with rose creepers. Being situated on the slopes of Elk hill at 2200m one can get an impressive view from the observatory platform at the Nila Madam statue within the garden. Also pruned figurines of animals, toy train, instruments can be found during certain festival seasons.
- Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Want to experience one of the steepest railway tracks in Asia..? Hop on one of this oldest train for a remarkable journey. This is one of the oldest railways in India built by the British in 1908. The train operates for a distance of 46km from Udhagamanadalam station I.e., Ooty to Mettupalayam with a stopover at Coonoor. It travels through 208 curves, 16 tunnels and across 250 bridges. The uphill journey takes around 4.8 hours and downhill journey takes around 3.6hours. The famous Chaiya Chaiya song was shot here. It attracts various tourists from a century and still continues to inspire weaving through the forests, along with the valleys, and into the little dark tunnels. Plan an early morning visit to catch this little blue train to enjoy some amazing views. Also, it is advisable to book your tickets online to avoid the last minute rush.
Not only good for its nature but Ooty also has a lot of temples and churches too. You could also explore the wildlife at the Madumalai National Park. Not to miss the Avalanche Lake, Emerald Lake, Stone House, wax museum and the tribal museum. An evening stroll around the lake, cycling around with your family, sipping on hot tea in the lake front, tranquil time at the botanical gardens, a shopping expedition with fresh fruits and vegetables, an exotic train ride would add bliss to your perfect weekend getaway with your loved ones.
How to reach:
- By Air – Approximately 88kms away, Coimbatore is the nearest domestic airport from Ooty.
- By Bus – Ooty is a major tourist attraction of South India which is well connected from all Major cities.
- By Train – The nearest railhead is Mettupalyam, 40kms from Ooty.
- The best way to reach here is to drive and enjoy the road.
Best Time to visit:
March to June is the best time to enjoy all the places around. But Ooty is a year round destination with charm in all seasons.
Varieties of tea, antique Toda jewelry, Toda embroidery shawls, chocolates, aromatic oils & spices.