The Blue Mountains have always been shrouded in mysticism, and Ooty is no exception to that. For every mountain lover, the very idea of travelling to the city known as the Queen of the Hills holds an allure like no other. Once regarded as the summer headquarters of the East India Company (and for a very good reason), Ooty, also known as Udagamandalam, is a hill station in Tamil Nadu which serves as a very popular tourist destination for anyone looking for a picturesque place to relax and unwind. Ooty is nestled amidst the Nilgiri hills at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level and enjoys a favourable climate all year round.
Ooty oozes simplicity, devoid of any boundaries, so anyone who visits the place can feel at one with the local culture. The journey to Ooty itself is dotted with magnificent sights of the awe-inspiring Nilgiri hills, tea gardens, and serene waterfalls. The cool, peaceful landscape of Ooty is almost movie-like ? winding country lanes that you can spend hours simply walking on, and the charm of old-world colonial architecture infuses fresh air into the souls of travellers. For anyone looking for a respite from the mind-boggling humidity and the scorching Indian sun, Ooty is the place to be.
Ooty is a very popular destination for couples and honeymooners, and there's no better way to fully take in all that this city has to offer than to take a trip on the Toy Train, which lets you enjoy panoramic views of this beautiful hill station right from your seat. The whole city is tinged with beautiful hues of green, with oases of sparkling blue waterfalls popping up here and there. The Nilgiri Mountain Railways has the steepest track in all of Asia, and it is one of the best train rides you will ever have the chance of experiencing. Remember the hit song 'Chaiyya Chaiyya' where Shahrukh Khan and Malaika Arora were seen matching steps on top of a train? Remember the breathtaking locales as the train chugged its way across lush greenery? Yes, that was the Nilgiri Mountain Railways, and the Nilgiri Mountains all along.
As every traveller who has ever gone to Ooty knows, once you're in the city, a visit to the famous Doddabetta Peak is a must. Standing tall at 8,606 feet as the highest point of South India, the Dodabetta Peak trail is flanked by towering Eucaplytus trees, offering you uninterrupted views of the luxuriant valley.
I visited Ooty with my family ( bunch of 12 people) in end of June 2016. Frankly speaking, the only best time to visit Ooty according to Indian weather is mid June to mid September. There were many good places to visit but few of my fam-jam favourites were 'The Ooty Boat House', 'The Botanical Gardens', 'The Pine Forest' and every train freaks cutest dream i.e 'The Nilgiri Toy Train'. Personally speaking visiting Ooty either with family or friends will give one a memorable and unforgettable hill station trip experience.
Ooty generally features mild conditions throughout the year, therefore can be visited throughout the year. Visit the Government Rose Garden, the largest Rose garden in India. It is situated on the slopes of the Elk Hill in Vijayanagaram of Ooty town at an altitude of 2200 meters. Today this garden has one of the largest collection of roses in the country with more than 20,000 varieties of roses of 2,800 cultivars. The collection includes hybrid tea roses, Miniature Roses, Polyanthas, Papagena, Floribunda, Ramblers, Yakimour and roses of unusual colours like black and green. Go boating on the Ooty lake. There are also horse-riding facilities. Carry warm clothes and beware of touts and fake guides.
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Beautiful Mountain ranges with enjoyable weather conditions throughout the year. Hand gliding, Trekking and mountain biking available for adventure enthusiasts.
Not so easily accessible by rail or air. Ooty, being a very popular hill-station of the south, it also gets crowded in peak seasons.
For couples and people who wish to spend time with loved ones. Photography enthusiasts. Nature loving and adventure seeking people.
Ooty is as much about mountain trails and lush green scenery as it is about lakes that stretch for miles and waterfalls that suddenly come into view as you take a hairpin bend. The city is abundant of crystal clear lakes surrounded by hills, creating the perfect ambience for the cool wind to hit your face and pull you into the exhilaration of being one with nature. Adventure seekers need not fret, as certain lakes offer speedboat rides as well if that's what you're looking for.
Since Ooty is mostly about nature, another beautifully scenic location that the city has to offer are the Ooty Botanical Gardens, located right in the heart of the city. Spread out over acres and acres of land, these gardens house hundreds of different varieties of plant and flower species, and it makes for a charmingly scenic delight for the senses.
If you're a foodie with a sweet tooth, Ooty's bakeries will make your mouth water like no other. Trying out traditional Ooty biscuits and homemade chocolates in dozens of flavours have now become synonymous with a trip to Ooty.
When you think of South India, you can't help thinking of temples that showcase the architectural dexterity of ancient India, and Ooty is no exception. The city houses quite a few temples situated on hilltops, and the views from the temple are no less ethereally beautiful than the temples themselves.
Ooty is one tourist destination that you cannot rush through just so you can move on to the next place on your itinerary. Lofty mountains, grasslands sprawling across miles, a miniature toy train, forest trails that abound in hues gathered from nature herself ? it doesn't take much for Ooty to win a traveller's heart. Once you have visited Ooty, the only thing you'll want to think of is how soon you can go back there again ? that's the magic of this quaint little hill station which, regardless of how many times you go back to, never gets old.
Ooty is a place which can be visited throughout the year. Each season in Ooty has something different to offer and none of the seasons is too harsh for its visitors. The Nilgiri mountain railway or the Ooty Toy Train is a marvel in itself. The views of the mountains with the touch of weather make the place more likeable. Various adventure sports like Mountain biking and Hand gliding keeps the adrenaline flowing inside you and makes you feel the thrill. There are various lakes and gardens in the town to keep you engaged. Apart from the natural sightseeing options, there are other interesting man-made places as well including the Wax World Museum, Tea Museum and the St. Stephen's Church.
Ooty is an integral part of the Western Ghats and is one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. To visit Ooty in the month of monsoon, you will find the forests laden with rare blooming flowers. The hill slopes covered with colourful species of plants not likely to be found anywhere else in India. A lot of pharmaceutical plants and herbs with medicinal qualities can also be found here. It also has never-ending tea gardens and grasslands. Another attraction of the hill station is its beautiful pine forests. This dense forest area is also the part where you can find a large number of exotic wild animals and reptiles, few of which are the elusive panther, the rock python, majestic cobra, and the big cats. Apart from these, a large variety of birds and insects are also found here including the flying squirrel. A quaint little toy town tucked away in the Nilgiris is a slice of a haven for a retreat in nature?s bliss. Ooty boasts of emerald hills, charming pathways, valleys blooming with flowers and the blue mountains at a distance. It also maintains its old world charm of serene grandeur and presents a picture-perfect canvas view.
Day 1: Reach Coimbatore early in the morning and get a bus or taxi to Ooty. There check into your hotel and gear up for the day. Head out straight to Avalanche lake, a natural reservoir surrounded by hills and a thin forest line, is a fun destination for trekking, camping and kayaking. It has amazing scenic beauty and natural touch. Head back to Doddabetta Peak, which presents most of the Ooty below with a marvellous sunset, which must be enjoyed with a cup of tea with your family and friends.
Day 2: Take a 2 hour govt. safari by the forest department to get to the amazing Upper Bhavani Lake, which is 20 km away from Ooty. Return to the city to visit the botanical garden, which is full of various species of plants and trees and a must visit for the nature lover and a photographer. Later visit the Wax World Museum and Dodabetta Tea Museum. Spend the evening at St. Stephen's church and the Ooty city market to know more of the culture.
Day 3: Visit the nearby Elk hill by a hired vehicle and enjoy the morning at the divine temple here. By noon be back in the city and reach the station. Cross check the Toy Train timings to Mettupalayam. If time is left, visit the nearby Murugan temple which is just at the walking distance from the station. Otherwise enjoy the 2 pm Toy Train to Mettupalayam. On the way, you would come across the most beautiful falls and bridges ever.
Ooty can be your trip through dream-like indulges of chocolate and all that's sweet. Lose yourself in the city's bakeries which serve temptations like white chocolate, strawberry chocolate, fudge, home made chocolates, buns and cakes. Equally popular here, are the tea plantations and hence a hot cup of local and exquisite varieties of tea. Another beverage to try here is the wine from the local vineyards.
Also relish North-Indian cuisines, Chinese cuisines, as well as sandwiches, pizzas and hot breads. one may also try the vegetarian South-Indian platter here with essentials like Idli, Dosa, Chutney, Vada, Sambhar, Rasam, Upma, Sweet Pongal, Payassam, Kesari.
My family and I are thinking of going on a road trip for a few days. How is Ooty and how are the roads up to there from bangalore?
The drive from Bangalore to Ooty-Coonoor is pretty decent. There are two routes: Bangalore-Mysore-Najungud-Gundlupet-Bandipur-Masinagudi-Ooty. At Masinagudi there is a choice of going via Gudalur which will be longer but easier drive. The shorter drive is through Masinagudi with sharp hairpin bends. The drive almost takes 7 hours time. Take care to not stop in the forest area after Bandipur.