Ooty, ‘The Queen of seven Hills’
Udhagamandalam better known as Ooty is the most popular hill station in the Southern part of India, Tamil Nadu. Located in the Western ghats at a height of 2240m, Ooty is the headquarters of the Nilgiris district where the two ghats ranges meet. Nature is at it’s prime in this place which is also called as ‘the queen of seven hills’. Apart from coffee and tea plantations, trees like confiers, eucalptus, pine and wattle dot the hillside in Udhagamandalam and its environs. The ideal time to visit the place would be summer when the temperature is rarely higher than 25°c with a minimum of 10°c. The first inhabitants of this land is a tribe called ‘Todas’ and they’ve been there since time immemorial.
Nilgiri is India’s first biosphere. It has been declared as one of the 14 ‘hotspots’ of the world because of its unique bio-diversity. Nilgiri presents a truly breath taking kaleidoscope of visual treats and soul stirring experience and there are various things that one could do here like:
1. Take the Nilgiri mountain railway built by the British in 1908 and is now a World Heritage Site.
2. Go paddle boating in the scenic Ooty lake.
3. Visit the botanical garden with over 650 species of flowers and trees.
4. Visit the Stone House, the first bungalow of Ooty built by John Sullivan in 1822.
5. Fernhill palace built by the Maharaja of Mysore in 1844.
6. The beautiful St Stephens church built in 1829.
7. Enjoy the breath taking beauty of Nilgiri from the Doddabetta peak at an altitude of 8,606 feet.
8. Take long walks at the scenic Pykara waterfalls.
9. The sacred Murugan temple at Elk Hill.
10. Learn the history of ancient India at the Government musuem.
11. Visit the tea musuem and learn the three broad sections on the history of tea – Origins of World Tea, Tea History in India and Evolution of Tea in the Nilgiris. Also visit the souvenir shop where you can buy a variety of tea leaves, souvenir cups, plates and more.
12. See unusual species of plants at the Sim’s park developed in 1874 by JD Sims and Major Murray.
13. Enjoy peace and tranquility at the scenic Pine forest.
14. Get some permission and shoot at the 6th mile which is a famous shooting spot.
15. Eat some nice home made chocolates
There are also various other things that you could do like go golfing at MRC Golf club, sit at Kamaraj Sagar lake, enjoy Catherine waterfalls etc. Ooty is easily accessible through road, rail and air. The nearest airport is Coimbatore (96kms).