Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is the “Queen of hill stations” and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tamilnadu, India. Nilgiris means “Blue Mountains“. It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level. An added attraction for the tourists to Udagamandalam is the mountain train journey on a ratchet and pinion track which commences from Kallar, near Mettupalayam and wends its way through many hair-raising curves and fearful tunnels and chugs along beside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens.
How to reach Ooty
Coimbatore is the nearest airport located at a distance of 98 kilometers from Ooty. Daily flights ply to and from Chennai, Cochin, Bangalore and Trivandrum.
The Nilgiri express leaves Chennai at night and reaches Coimbatore in the morning. Mettepalyam is the last stop. To view the magnificent sights of the hillsides covered with forests, you should travel by train. The Nilgiri passenger, popularly known as the toy train takes you to Ooty from Mettepalyam.
Ooty is well connected by good roads. It is 535 km from Chennai (via Salem,Erode), 80 km from Coimbatore, 18 km from Coonoor, 155 km from Mysore (via Gudalur), 187 km from Calicut, 290 km from Bangalore, 281 km from Kochi (via Coimbatore and Palakkad), 236 km from Kodaikanal (via Coimbatore and Palani). Ooty is situated on National Highway 67. It is connected by road to travelers from the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka via the five main accepted Nilgiri Ghat Roads.
Major Attraction of Ooty
A must visit when you are on a sight seeing tour. Sprawled over an area of 50 acres, the garden lies on the lower slopes of Dodabetta peak. Botanical garden was laid out in 1847 and have around a thousand species, both exotic and indigenous, of plants, shrubs, ferns, trees, herbal and bonsai plants. The garden has a 20-million-year-old fossilized tree. The garden is a wonderful place for taking a walk among the greenery.
Set up in 1989, the museum is home to some tribal objects, sculptures, arts and crafts and ecological details of the district. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Ooty.
It was constructed in 1824 and covers an area of 65 acres. It is a favorite haunt for tourists. The Lake is an ideal place for boating, fishing and picnics. Paddle boats and rowing boats are also available here. It has the tallest memorial of Ooty, a pillar surmounted by a cross. It was constructed in 1824 and covers an area of 65 acres
With an altitude of 2623 meters, it is the highest peak in Tamil Nadu and the best vantage point in Ooty. A motor road takes you to the top of the peak.
Madumalai wildlife sanctuary:
The sanctuary is divided into 5 ranges – Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota. Here one can often spot herds ofendangered Indian elephants, vulnerable Gaur, and Chital. The park is home to some of the rarest animals some of them being tigers, leopards, sambhar, barking deer and flying squirrel. The sanctuary boasts of rich flora. Some birds commonly seen here are parakeets, crested hawk, Malabar trogon, eagle and black woodpecker.
Kalhatty waterfalls: The beautiful waterfalls are about 100 feet high and ideal for trekking.