The Western Ghats is an amazing chain of mountains with plenty of beautiful towns and villages. It runs from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu along the Deccan plateau covering places in Karnataka and Kerala as well. The mountains are the home to a diverse variety of flora and fauna which makes it another reason to be a place of attraction for all kind of people. From families to adventure lovers, wildlife photographers, landscape photographers to even geologists, the Western Ghats is open to everyone for some purpose or the other. Out of all the beautiful places in this range of mountains, the most popular in South India are Ooty and Coonoor that are situated in Tamil Nadu bordering the three states- Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Ooty and Coonoor are indeed two beautiful yet different places situated less than 20 kilometers from each other. But there is this age-old debate among people as to which town is better. Obviously, the locals would say theirs is the best! But again, being a traveler we would want to visit the best right?
Ooty or Ootacamund also was widely known as the “Queen of Hills” is one of the most scenic towns in South India. The beautiful town has been a place of attraction even during the British rule. Ooty is the head town of the Nilgiris district and also is the major tourist attraction of the district. Every year Ooty has a massive crowd of tourists racing into this little town to have a memorable holiday with friends and family.
Coonoor, on the other hand, is an even smaller town a few minutes away from Ooty. Coonoor is more like a pit stop for most people visiting Ooty via Mettupalayam as it lies on the way to Ooty. Coonoor usually
If you are a person looking out for good places to be at, shop a bit, stay within the town for easy access and definitely love crowdie evenings, then Ooty is the place for you. Gone are the days when only the richer folks came to this little town to spend their holidays. This was maybe like 15 to 20 odd years back. Now Ooty is open to any kind of person, thanks to our economy for making Ooty a very accessible town for all. Ooty basically has no nightlife but however, you can still find people buzzing into Ooty at any time of the year.
The most popular tourist season is April – June here, and at this time of the year, you will find the most crowds in Ooty. Summers in Ooty welcomes its visitors with a variety of events happening in the town organized by the government as well as local bodies. And this is that time of the year anyone coming to Ooty will regret the decision at least once because of the traffic and the crowd. But this definitely does not mean the rest of the year in Ooty is pretty calm! Ooty keeps buzzing with tourists throughout the yearlong weekends in Ooty are sometimes a nightmare because of the unplanned traffic strategies. So basically Ooty is a beautiful town that has been created into a disastrous mess in the recent years. If you are a person that loves solitude and wants to see scenic places near the town Ooty is definitely not your cup of tea!
Where can you go?
Ooty and Coonoor have these cliché places that people go to almost every time they visit. But no matter how many times you visit these places, you will still feel like you have not seen enough of them. Here are few to-dos for every person visiting Ooty
Rent a cottage
We suggest you go for a cottage than a hotel because most hotels are in the town and you would probably just stay there. Not living. Cottages give a different experience- a homestay. To find the best cottages in Ooty we suggest you check out www.ootycottages.com to find your best-suited cottage at the lowest price.
Visit the gardens
Ooty is most famous for its Botanical garden and Centenary Rose Garden. The Botanical garden has a collection of a most number of trees and plants, flowers from around the world maintained by the Horticulture department. The Rose Garden situated a few minutes away from the Botanical Garden is the home to a diverse variety of Roses from around the world. The best time to visit these places is the month of May when the flower show happens.
The lakes and all..
So Ooty is very famous for its water bodies. The Ooty Lake is a place where you can go on a short boat ride and not forget the fun activities like cycling and horse riding outside the Ooty Boat House. Pykara and Avalanche are two other water bodies to which you can travel within 30 minutes to an hour based on the traffic from the town. These places give you options from boat rides to trekking. Other than these a little farther from Ooty you can visit a few more beautiful reservoirs and dams.
Not to forget this peak!
Dodabetta is the highest peak in South India and visiting this peak is a must if you are travelling to Ooty. It is located on the way to Ooty from Kotagiri and gives you an amazing view of all the towns and villages around Ooty. 5 minutes away from this place is the Tea Factory that is again situated on the side of the road. This place gives you an insight into history of tea and how it is made and you can even take a sip of your favorite tea from their large variety of teas.
Do a little shopping
And finally, do a little shopping in Charring cross and Commercial Street. Ooty is super famous for it chocolates, oils, and handlooms. Do not forget to carry souvenirs before you leave this wonderful little town.
Well, enough said about Ooty we do not want you to judge this place based on what you know about Ooty and how it is very close to Coonoor. Honestly, Coonoor is almost the opposite of Ooty. This may be because Coonoor has been totally untouched or may be touched only in the last few years. Coonoor we would say is a lot smaller than Ooty. Unlike Ooty, Coonoor does not have big hotels or lodges in the city. Also not to forget, Coonoor is not open to any kind of shopping facility for tourists and also has very little places to be seen unlike those in Ooty. When you come for a vacation to Ooty, you can spend may be a maximum of 10 hours in Coonoor. That’s how much of Coonoor is open to tourism. But if you are a person who loves serene locations, out of the busy crowded town you can rent a cottage in Coonoor and we bet it would be a great experience for you!
Another famous botanical structure in the Nilgiris is the Sims Park. Sims park like the botanical garden is very famous for its diverse collection of flora. Do not miss out this tree that is 200 years old in this park! The park lights up in the summer with its flower, fruit and vegetable shows.
Dolphin Nose and Lamb’s Rock
These two spots situated parallel to each other are still the best of viewpoints in Coonoor. Located a few minutes away from the town, the two rock formations give you a very beautiful few of the valleys below.
Churches and Cemeteries
If you are a fan of old British buildings you are at the right places. Coonoor is the land of old and beautiful churches and definitely very eerie cemeteries. Try visiting the All Saints Church and the Tigerhill Cemetry in Coonoor.
There is no much shopping you can do here. Other than these places, you can travel in the toy train from Coonoor to Ooty or Coonoor to Mettupalayam.
Coonoor, as well as Ooty, are two great places to visit during your holidays. If you are looking forward to visiting places and travelling, Ooty is the best place for you. However, if you are a person more into I just want to be in a peaceful place and relax, we suggest you choose Coonoor!
Happy Travelling folks! 🙂