Ooty is situated in the Nilgiri hills. The name meaning the Blue Mountains in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Badaga and most other Indian languages might have arisen from the blue smoky haze given off by the eucalyptus trees that cover the area or from the Kurunji flower, which blooms every twelve years and gives the slopes a bluish tinge. Because of the beautiful mountains and green valleys, Ooty became known as the Queen of Hill Stations. Ooty was originally a tribal land occupied by the Toda along with other hill tribes who coexisted through specialisation and trade. The old Tamil work Silappadikaram states that the Chera king Senguttuvan, who ruled during the 2nd century CE, on his way to the Himalayas in the north, stayed in the Nilgiris and witnessed the dance of the Kannadigas. Tipu Sultan captured Nilgiris in the eighteenth century and extended the border by constructing a hideout cave like structure. The Nilgiris came into possession of British East India Company as part of the ceded lands, held by Tipu Sultan, by the treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1799. In 1818, J. C. Wish and N. W. Kindersley, assistants to John Sullivan, then Collector of Coimbatore, visited Ooty and submitted a report to him. Sullivan camped at Dimbhatti, north of Kotagiri in January 1819 and was enthralled by the beauty of the place. He wrote to Thomas Munro, “it resembles Switzerland, more than any country in Europe, the hills beautifully wooded and fine strong spring with running water in every valley.” The Toda ceded that part of the town to Sullivan and in May 1819, he began to build his bungalow at Dimbhatti. He also started work on a road from Sirumugai to Dimbhatti that year. The road was completed in May 1823 and extended up to Coonoor by 1830-32. Ooty served as the summer capital of the Madras Presidency, it was visited by British officials during the colonial days as a popular summer resort. Soldiers were sent to nearby Wellington to recuperate. Wellington After Independence developed into a popular hill resort. Ooty features a subtropical highland climate, despite its location in the tropics, in stark contrast with most of South India, Ooty generally features pleasantly mild conditions throughout the year. However, night time in the months of January and February is typically cold. Generally, the town appears to be eternally stuck in the spring season. Temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year; with average high temperatures ranging from about 17–20 °C (63–68 °F) and average low temperatures between approximately 5–12 °C (41–54 °F). The highest temperature ever recorded in Ooty was 25 °C (77 °F), which by South Asian standards is uncharacteristically low for an all-time record high temperature. The rainy season in Ooty is generally very cool and windy with high humidity. The wind chill may fall to as low as 5 °C (41 °F) during the daytime. The Wind is always high throughout the year. The lowest temperature was −2 °C (28 °F). The city sees on average about 125 cm (49 in) of precipitation annually, with a marked drier season from December through March.

Ooty Botanical Gardens William Graham McIvor was the architect of this large garden. This garden on the lower slopes Doddabetta was laid out in 1848, in an area spreading to 22 hectares ascending the slopes of the hill at an elevation of 2400 – 2500 meter above sea level. The gardens were established by European residents for the purpose of supplying vegetables at a reasonable cost too. The garden is divided into six different sections 1.Lower Garden 2.New Garden 3.Italian garden 4.Conservatory 5.Fountain terrace 6.Nurseries. A well maintained lush green lawns , exotic and rare species of flora are special features of the park: The Cork tree which is probably the only one of its kind in India, the paper bark tree, monkey puzzle tree, and a 20 million year old fossilized tree [presented by the Geological Survey of India, from the National Fossil Park, Tiruvakkarai, of South Arcot District, Tamil Nadu] Italian style garden bordering a clear pool, a vast variety of flowering bushes and plants myriad hues [exotic and ornamental] Fern house with vast range of ferns and orchids speaks about the gardens rich and exotic flora occupants. A Flower Show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is being held every year in the month of May at this Garden. This garden is maintained by Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department.

Rose Garden This garden was established to commemorate the Centenary Flower Festival in 1995, at Vijayanagaram in Udhagamandalam in an area of 4 hectares, in five terraces set up. The Rose Garden is situated on the lower slopes of the Elk Hill on the North-Western side, facing the Udhagamandalam Town. It is about 1 Km from the Udhagamandalam Railway Junction and Bus Terminus, accessible with roads from both sides of the garden. Initially, the Park which had 17256 rose plants from 1919 varieties, expanded to nearly 20,000 plants from 2241 varieties. This garden is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department. There is a viewpoint in the park called Nila Madam, which gives the wholesome view of the entire park.

Lake Park Is located on the banks of Ooty Lake, Opposite to the Railway station and very near to the Bus terminus. Funded by the Tourism Department, under the Hill Area Development Program, the reclaimed area of the lake was used to form an exotic garden in the year 1977. The park is illuminated during the dark hours, which adds more colours to it. A fiberglass dome was constructed in the year 1978.

Ooty Lake The Lake is the pride of the Blue Hills and centre of attraction. This artificial lake was formed by Mr.John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore in the year 1824. This is located in an area of 65 acres. Fishing was the major activity in this lake. In the year 1973, Tourism Development Corporation, Government of Tamilnadu, on behalf of the Tourism Department took possession of the lake for Boating Activity, which provides another thrilling entertainment for the tourists.

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Deer Park Located on the fringes of the Ooty Lake, in an area of 22 acres landscape, was inaugurated in the year 1986 and is being maintained by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. It is one of the high altitudes Animal Park in India. This offers a unique opportunity to observe and study the wildlife in their natural habitat. 6 acres of the lake area has been used to develop a park and it is open to Public.

Government Museum The Government Museum set up in 1989 is situated on the Ooty – Mysore Road. The exhibits of Tribal Reminiscence, District Ecological details and sculptural arts and crafts displays of Tamil Nadu are the special attraction in this museum. The admission to this museum is free. The timings are between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm & between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm. It is closed on Fridays, Second Saturdays and National Holidays.

Doddabetta This means a Big Mountain, is the highest peak located at 2634 meters in the Nilgiris. It is 10 Kms drive from Udhagamandalam Bus Terminus. It is at the meeting point of Western and Eastern Ghats and offers beautiful Vistas of the Nilgiri Hill ranges. It is surrounded by dense Sholas. The Telescope house set up by the Tourism Department helps the visitors to view the entire district from this point.

Pykara Lake And Water Falls is 21kms from Udhagamandalam on Mysore Road Fenced Sholas, Toda settlement, undisturbed grassy meadows, good Wildlife habitat, The Pykara Dam, Waterfalls and Boat House are the big attraction to the visitors.

Kalhatty falls is 100 ft high waterfalls, located on Kalhatty Slopes and 13 Kms drive on the Udhagamandalam – Mysore Kalhatty Ghat Road. Panthers, Bison’s, Wild Dogs, Spotted Deer’s, Sambar Deer’s and different varieties of Birds are found on the Kalhatty – Masinagudi slopes.

Wenlock Downs Vast landscape of this area has the Gymkhana Club, the Government Sheep Farm and the Hindustan Photo Films Company and provides great pleasure for a long walk on quiet roads.

Western Catchment It is 20 Kms from Parsons Valley. The rolling hills interspersed with temperate shoals together with the lush green carpet of vegetation, gushing streams and beautiful lake-like reservoirs surrounded by hills makes this place a paradise on the earth.

Glenmorgan It is located at a distance of 17 Kms from Udhagamandalam, is ecologically dense forest zone. Power House Singara operated by the State Electricity Board is located nearby. The winch that transports the power house staff passes through the Sholas and wildlife habitats. Permission to enter this view point should be obtained from the Electricity Board.

Upper Bhavani 10 Kms from Korokundah and 20 Kms from Avalanche Rich and undisturbed Wild Life habitat and the Setting of this area is amazingly tranquil and a quiet family getaway. Trekking is possible from Bangithapal via Sispara to the Silent Valley and permission to enter this zone, from the Forest Department is mandatory.

Avalanche is 28 Kms from Udhagamandalam. The thick foliage prevents the sunlight to penetrate which proves this as a highly dense forests area, abundant with a wide variety of avifauna. This can certainly be called as nature’s paradise.

A couple once went to Palani seeking child boon.  After realising their wish, they could not go to Palani for some reason or other.  Lord Muruga appeared in their dream and asked them to raise a temple for Him in this hill.  The couple was happy, raised the temple and worshipped Him as their prayer commitment.  It later became famous in the region.  As the Elk family deer were large in number in the area, the place came to be known as Elk Hills.

The Mukurthi Peak & Mukurthi National Park is 40 Kms ride from Udhagamandalam. The silent valley is located on the western side of this range of mountain. Nilgiri Tahr [earlier called as ibex or Nilgiri ibex] is found in reasonably large numbers here. This peak is compared to the peaks of Himalayan ranges in terms of the presence of Flora and Fauna unique to a geographical location.

Kamaraj Sagar (Sandynullah Reservoir) can be reached via Kandal along the scenic ghat road through Hindustan Photo films on the Gudalur road. Apart from the rich and natural landscape, Favourite pass time is Fishing in Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Upper Bhavani and Avalanche, where the waters are very rich with trout.

Fishing in the Nilgiris Both fly fishing [where an artificial fly is attached] and Spin Fishing [angling technique where a spinning lure is attached to the Rod] provides a pleasant adventure for Fishing Lovers. Trout fishing [Fresh Water Fishing] facility is available at Avalanche lake[ created out of a Heavy Land Slide in the early 1800’s]. Permission from the Fisheries Department is required to go on fishing experience.

Snooker Is an indoor game imported from England before Indian Independence. This game of Snooker was first introduced in the Ooty Club at Nilgiris. Today, Coonoor Club, Gymkhana Club, the Lawley Institute and many Star Hotels to have Snooker Tables for their Guests. Apart from this, there are quite a number of Snooker Parlors in the town offering a peaceful indoor entertainment.

Golfing This brand of entertainment finds many takers among the tourists and locals. This is identified as sports and Social Identity for the Elites too. Ooty Golf Course is unique and playing on it is an enthralling experience. It is an 18 hole natural Golf Course located at a height of 1,400 ft and is spread over an area of 193 acres. Apart from Ooty Golf Club, there are few other private Golf Courses available in the nearby areas. Anyone who practices and plays here can play on any turf in the world.

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Horse Racing Is a very popular sport and the racing season is during the summer months of April, May and June. You can see the fancied thoroughbreds in action here. Many Industrialists have their stallions in the stable of this Race Club. This is a highland race course at an altitude of 2268 ft with a 2.4Km long race track in 55 acres land area and located in the heart of the Udhagamandalam Town adjacent to the Railway station. Ooty Race Club’s 125th year was celebrated in 2011-2012.  It is one of the best race courses in India.

Trekking There is excellent opportunities for trekking in the Nilgiris with a country rising from 300 metres in the North and South to 2600 metres in the West. It is possible to enjoy some of the most magnificent sceneries in the world; observe Wildlife in its many forms; study a great variety of tropical plants and trees; in a wide range of usually favourable climatic conditions. Trekking area is divided as per the geographical regions with very different climatic conditions like the Western area with a temperate climate consists of montane wet temperate forests, the North and Eastern region with a tropical climate consists of dry deciduous broad-leaved and scrub forest. Permission for trekking can be obtained from the District Forest Officer[s] North and South Division and wildlife warden – Udhagamandalam.

Coonoor Situated at an altitude of 200 ft above the sea level and 17 Km from Udhagamandalam, is the first of the popular Hill Stations. Coonoor is a small town with an equitable climate that has made it popular as a hill resort in its own right. The main attraction is the Sim’s Park, a small well-maintained Botanical Garden that houses several varieties of plants found missing in the other Hill Stations. Viewpoints and picnic spots around Coonoor include Lambs Rock, Lady Canning’s Seat, Dolphins Nose, St.Catherine Falls, Law’s Falls, Ralliah Dam and Droog.

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Sims Park, This garden was laid out in 1874 by Mr.J.D.Sim, the then Secretary to Government and Major Murray, acting Superintendent of the Nilgiris forests. Hence the park was named after J.D.Sim. Initially, it was aimed as a pleasure resort for the residents and visitors. Later, the park has been transformed into an exotic Garden Park. The Park is spread over 12 hectares of undulated land and possesses a number of natural advantages at an elevation of around 1798 meters. The park cum botanical Garden contains many species of trees and shrubs not found in Ooty. Annual Fruit and the Vegetable show is held every year in the month of May. It attracts tourists in large numbers.The Pomological research station that is located near Sim’s park conducts research on Horticulture and POMOLOGY. The Pasteur Institute, that produces the anti-rabi vaccine, DTP, DY and IT, is also located, just across Sim’s Park.

Dolphins Nose Ideally visited in the morning, this viewpoint is just about 12 Kms from Coonoor near Tiger Hill. This is located amidst dense Sholas, criss-cross by winding road. You can get a beautiful view of the Catherine Falls from here. At 5000 ft above sea level, is a viewpoint that is located within a reserve forest about 8 km from the Coonoor bus stand. The rock is a cliff that drops down few hundred feet into the lush green jungle below. A phenomenal stretch of forests all the way to the Coimbatore plains can be viewed from here. The Trees become extremely colourful and beautiful between January and March. A Unique eco-system and wonderful Trekking Terrain into the wilderness lets you completely submit yourself into the arms of nature. This is the home for Endemic species like the rare Nilgiris Marten [dog like an arboreal animal] Nilgiris Black Buck, Mouse Deer, Nilgiris. Birds like the Nilgiris Pippen are a treat to watch for Bird lovers. The National park is closed between Mid-January to Mid-April. Apart from the above period, the national park can be visited any time during the year.

Lady Canning’s Seat Is 9 Km drive from Coonoor. This place is named after Countess Charlotte Canning, wife of Viceroy Count Charles Canning. That is because she was very fond of this area with numerous Tea Estates. It is perhaps the loveliest point in the heart of the woods. Lamb’s rock, the Droog, the Lampton’s Peak and even Mettupalayam is visible from here on clear sky days of the year.

Law’s Falls is situated on the Coonoor River, on the 7th Km from Coonoor, cascading down from a height of nearly 200 feet. This is a beautiful watercourse and a popular tourist location. It is named after a British, Col. Law, who traced the water path and constructed the Coonoor Ghat Road. The landscape here is extremely rocky and wild. This is set inside the Coonoor forest range with vast stretches of undisturbed Sholas and a paradise for naturalists.

Katery Falls has located at the 10th Km on Coonoor – Mettupalayam road and 1 Km from Kendala Village. This is one of the highest falls of the Nilgiri and the third largest waterfalls in Nilgiris. Two reservoirs built one on top of another is located here and is also the site of the India’s First, Katery Hydro Electric Plant.

Droog 15 Kms from Coonoor. The Peak stands at an elevation of 1918 meters and directly overlooks the plains. The Droog is approachable only by a 3-km trek path covered with tea plantations. Locals call it as Pakasuran Malai, linking it to the mythical demon Bakasura. In the Kannada language, it is known as the ‘Hulika Durg’ named after the neighbouring village Hulikal or Tiger stone where a Badaga killed a man-eater.The Diaz plated Droog Fort [just a wall remains there at present] was once a Military outpost of Tippu Sultan. One has to go up to Nonsuch Estate and then trek down 3Kms to reach the destination.

Kotagiri is 30 Kms east of Udhagamandalam and 19 Km Northeast of Coonoor, at 5885 feet above sea level with a healthy climate. It is the oldest and smallest of the three Nilgiri Hill Stations. Kotagiri is shielded by the Doddabeta ranges which receives much of its rain from the north-west monsoon. Kotagiri Is one of the three popular hill stations in the Nilgiris and primarily a plantation county. The name Kotagiri means “Mountain of Kotas”. Trekking and visiting the plantations/factories can be the only activity for the tourists in this region.

Kodanadu view point A small village, 18km from Kotagiri on the eastern edges of Nilgiris hills, with an unexplored scenic beauty, exotic flora and fauna and enjoyable good weather. A viewpoint structure at Kodanadu Viewpoint houses a telescope within. Kodanadu boasts of large Tea Plantations. Rangaswamy peak and isolated extraordinary rocky pillar called Rangasamy Pillar rising to a height of almost 400 feet can be viewed from here. Sheer like the side of the pillar prevents climbing to the top. Bus services are available from Kodanadu. Popular trekking trails in and around this area are Kotagiri – Kodanadu; Kotagiri – St. Catherine Falls and Kotagiri – Longwood Shola.

Kodanadu view point A small village, 18km from Kotagiri on the eastern edges of Nilgiris hills, with an unexplored scenic beauty, exotic flora and fauna and enjoyable good weather. A viewpoint structure at Kodanadu Viewpoint houses a telescope within. Kodanadu boasts of large Tea Plantations. Rangaswamy peak and isolated extraordinary rocky pillar called Rangasamy Pillar rising to a height of almost 400 feet can be viewed from here. Sheer like the side of the pillar prevents climbing to the top. Bus services are available from Kodanadu. Popular trekking trails in and around this area are Kotagiri – Kodanadu; Kotagiri – St. Catherine Falls and Kotagiri – Longwood Shola.

Longwood Shola is just 3 Km from Kotagiri. It is the source of pure sparkling water for the people living in Kotagiri Town and an integral part of the fragile Nilgiri eco-system. Preservation of this Shola Forestry becomes vital. Microclimatic conditions here contributes to making Kotagiri one of the ideal climatic locations in the world. The picturesque trekking path adds serenity to this Shola.

Gudalur has located 51 km on the west of Udhagamandalam. According to 2011 census, Gudalur has a population of 49,535. Koodal [meeting] + Ooru [town] turned out to be called as Gudaluru or Gudalur, Is a picturesque green valley town in Tamilnadu, a Tripoint Gateway to the States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. It is at an equidistant point between Kerala and Karnataka towns. It is also 50 km from other nearby towns of Sulthan Bathery[sultan Battery], Gundalpet & Nilambur too. Regional Economy is largely dependent on Tea Industry. There is a rich presence of Flora and Fauna in this area. Hill Crops on the higher altitudes, Coconut and Rice in the lower valley are the highlight of the agricultural versatility of this region. Later in 1970’s, this was bifurcated into Gudalur and Pandalur Taluks.

Needle Rock Is about 8 km from Gudalur on the Gudalur-Ooty National Highway. It derives its name from its conical shape structure and it is also called a Soosi Malai / Oosi Malai (Oosi = Needle, Malai = Hill Rock). This viewpoint gives you a 360-degree view. Breathtaking Sunset view is possible on sky clear days. A panoramic view of Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary is a visual treat from this point.

Frog Hill View Point is 12 km drive from Gudulaur on the Gudalur –Udhagamandalam road. The hill, viewed from this point resembles like that of huge FROG sitting on its leg. Hence this viewpoint is called as the Frog Hill View Point.

Santhanamalai Murugan Temple This abode of Lord Murugan is about 20km from Gudalur. This temple is visited by the devotees in large numbers to seek Lord’s blessings. One passes through the lush green cardamom, clove, pepper, Tea and Coffee plantations on the way to the temple. It is Surrounded by green Valleys, gushing streams, rushing waterfalls and folding cascades.

Nilgiris District is one of the important tea producing Districts in India. Commercial TEA Production started from 1853 in Nilgiri District. ‘NILGIRI TEA’ finds a brand recognition in Indian as well in the markets of Neighbouring countries too. South Indian TEA has gained recognition in far and wide boundaries of the world. India is second only to China in TEA production. Nilgiris, Anamalais, other High Ranges of Tamil Nadu, Peermedu, Vandiperiyar and Wayanad regions of Kerala; and Chikmagalur, Coorg and Hassan in Karnataka are some major Tea Growing regions of South India.

Tea and Tourism Are inseparable twins of Nilgiris District. With the initiatives of the Tourism Department, Government of Tamil Nadu along with Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, the  Tea and Tourism Festival is being held annually. The tourism department arranges Cultural Programs, visits to Tea Estates and Factories, other entertainment events to add colour to this annual Festival. Tea lovers around the globe converge in Nilgiris during the festival period. Certainly, this is an occasion that should not be missed.

Mountain Train Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British in 1908. Mountain Train is another showcase of Heritage, connecting Udhagamndalam and Mettupalayam. The Journey is most Picturesque train ride that mesmerises all age group of travellers. This train covers a distance of 26 km, travels through 208 serpentine curves, 16 tunnels, 250 bridges, waterfall hood, cliff edges and Tea estates. The uphill journey takes almost 4 hours. In the year 2005, UNESCO declared the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Vintage Steam Locomotive is still relished as an exotic attraction to this train.