Ooty is known India-wide as the Queen of Hill Stations. In fact, it is a paradise on earth. It is adorned with beautiful forests, gardens, lakes, mountains and hills, waterfalls, wildlife, and all kinds of scenery. Officially called Ootacamund, this tourist hub of South India attracts adventure seekers, families, honeymooners and film directors.
The fun of a trip to Ooty starts before entering the hill town. The famous Ooty Toy Train is a vehicle for much adventure and excitement as it crosses bridges, tunnels, step curves and offers spectacular views of the greenery around.
After you reach Ooty, you can see nature at its best. A delight for all nature lovers, Ooty has diverse flora and fauna, even rare species. For history lovers, there are remnants of colonial buildings.
Best Time to Visit Ooty
Being a hill station, Ooty has cool and pleasant weather throughout the year. But summer months are ideal, from mid-March to mid-June. To view the lush green landscape during the monsoon, visit from June to September. Winter months are cold but make for a special experience.
How to Reach Ooty
Ooty can be reached by air, railways and road. By air, Mysore is the nearest domestic airport and Bangalore is the nearest international airport.
By train, the Toy Train plying from Mettupalayam to Coonoor is the best bet. Chennai and Coimbatore have rail connections with Mettupalayam.
For road transport, there are daily buses plying from Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Cochin and Coimbatore. Coimbatore is closest for driving by road at 90 km away from Ooty by taking the National Highway (NH) 181.
Where to Stay
There are all kinds of options for accommodation catering to a wide variety of tourists from backpackers and couples to luxury travellers and family groups. There are plenty of budget and luxury hotels in choice of Ooty hotels.
Main Ooty Attractions
Ooty Botanical Garden and Rose Garden
Spread over 22 hectares, the Botanical Garden is located in the heart of the city. It was designed in 1847 by architect, William Graham McIvor under the guidance of George Hay, governor of Madras. This garden is home to over 650 species of trees and flowers. It also features exhibits related to Toda culture; Todas being the indigenous tribes of the Nilgiris. The Botanical Garden welcomes you with an array of beautiful trees and flowers like orchids, ferns, shrubs, herbs, etc.
The Rose Garden is a supreme attraction of Ooty, visited by thousands of travellers every year. Spread out over 10 acres, the garden features hundreds of rose species, collected from several parts of the world.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
It is located at a distance of 2 km from the city at a point where the Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats. It is also a tiger reserve spread over 32,000 hectares. It is home to fauna like panthers, tigers, elephants, wild boar and various kinds of deer. Birds like Malabar Whistling Thrush and Grey Jungle Fowl also abound. A part of the Mudumalai National Park, the sanctuary was first one in South India, set up in 1940.
At 2634 m, it is the highest peak in the Nilgiri Hills and is located only 10 km from Ooty. Doddappetta means high or big mountain in Kannada. Situated at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats, this peak offers gorgeous views of the Nilgiri Mountains and a magnificent sunset.
Pykara Lake and Waterfalls
Pykara River is a huge river around 20 km away from Ooty. The lake is surrounded by verdant forests. The river features waterfalls, one at 55m and the other at 61m, which are called as Pykara Waterfalls. The place is a popular picnic spot. Many Indian movies have been shot against this scenic backdrop.
St. Stephen’s Church
It is a prominent religious shrine in the city. It is renowned for its architectural grandeur. The shrine is flocked by thousands of travellers and devotees. It was built in the 19th century and embodies the marvel of British architecture of the period.
Nilgiri Mountain Railways
Launched in 1908, the Railways are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is 46 km long and passes through many tunnels and several bridges. The ride is simply amazing with views of forests, tea plantations, ravines and rocky terrains.
Emerald Lake and Avalanche Lake
Located 20 km from the city, Emerald Lake is a rare treasure and is part of the Silent Valley National Park. It is a welcome spot for those seeking respite from their dull, busy lives. The valley surrounding the lake is simply beautiful and has become a popular picnic spot.
Avalanche Lake is another scenic location in Nilgiri mountain ranges. Surrounding areas are great for camping, just a little away from the city centre. The valley looks beautiful with Magnolias and Rhododendrons.
You are welcomed with acres of picturesque pastures as you head towards Shooting Point, which is a major tourist attraction. The lovely green meadows surrounded by a forest of coniferous trees have been popular with film directors, even from Bollywood. The area provides for an easy trek. It is a popular getaway for small families and couples.
Ketty Valley View
This valley offers amazing sights of its surrounding vistas made of mighty mountains and verdant pastures. The view spans Coimbatore plains and Mysore Valleys. The valley is a favourite with adventurers and nature lovers.
It is a private amusement park. It is a popular destination in Ooty, attracting thousands of visitors, yearly. It is also called as Dinosaur Park as it features models of many Dinosaurs, which makes it a favourite with kids. The park uses attractive audio-visual technology for its exhibits.
Consecrated to Lord Murugan, the temple is located at Elk Hill. The most popular attraction of this temple is the 42 feet tall, golden coloured statue of Lord Murugan, which is simply amazing. The area also affords spectacular views of the scenery around Elk Hill.
It is one of the most popular water bodies in the city. This huge artificial lake was created in 1824 by John Sullivan, a European. Spanning 65 acres, the lake is popular for boating. The scenery is enhanced by Eucalyptus trees.
These are all some wonderful spots you can visit in the beautiful city of Ooty.