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Stone House, Ooty Overview

Stone House in Ooty is famous for being the first bungalow in the town. Also known as Kal Bangala in Tamil, it was built in the early 19th century by John Sullivan, an Englishman, the first Collector of Udhagamandalam and the founder of the British Settlement in Ooty. The land where the stone house stands once belonged to the Toda Tribe of Udhagamandalam. When the East India Company reached Ooty back in the late 18th century, they were introduced to the Toda Tribe. Later in the 19th century, with an intention of establishing the British Settlement, John Sullivan bought a piece of land from one of the Toda families and built the house. Ever since the house has been a famous landmark and a site of historical heritage in Ooty.

The Stone House in Ooty retains most of its picturesque charm. It is a well-maintained property, almost two centuries old now and yet stands strong. The building has sort of launched the modernization of the town because, since its creation, several more developments like more houses, roads etc. were built on the hill station. The population increased and marked the beginning of a new era in Udhagamandalam. Currently, the Principal of the Government Arts College resides in the house. So, it cannot be explored from the inside, but tourists can definitely check it out from outside the fence. 

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History

Ooty, then Udagamandalam, was occupied by several tribes including the Toda Tribe, which is a Dravidian Ethnic Group from the Nilgiri Mountains. The place where the historical Stone House now stands once belonged to this tribe. During the British Colonisation, in 1819, John Sullivan, the then first Collector of Udhagamandalam, stayed in a camp at Dimbhatti. He found the region resembling the natural landscapes of Switzerland. Mesmerized by the picturesque beauty, he decided to stay there longer. So, in May 1819, he bought an acre of land from a Toda Family at a cost of Re. 1. And began building the Stone House. The house was completely built in 1822 and has been a historical monument ever since.

Architecture

As the name suggests, the Stone House is a classic example of stone masonry from the early 1800s. The estate expands over an area of one acre amidst the beautiful natural surroundings of Ooty. It has the house sitting in the centre, a lawn in the front and a backyard. The entrance is an old iron gate fit to two cement posts and a wired fence running all around. A straight muddy pathway, with well-trimmed lush green lawns on either side, leads to the main door of the house. The building has sloping red clay roofs with rain catchers. The door frames, doors, windows and window frames are made of wood. Some portions of the house have recent brick and mortar additions to either support the existing building or to create more rooms. The open areas of the property have more trees, some of which belong to the late 19th century. The age-old Sullivan Oak Tree, for example, can be seen in the garden area.

Places to Visit Around Stone House

Tourists can explore some more attractions near the Stone House in Ooty. For example, St. Stephen’s Church, Government Botanical Garden, Ooty Lake, Doddabetta, Government Rose Garden, Mukurthi National Park etc. The Government Gardens, the Church and the lakes are located nearby and can be explored in a day. There are several restaurants around Stone House as well that serve delicious foods. The Fern – Sterling Ooty Fern Hill, MPM Pepper and Salt Multi Cuisine Restaurant, Domino’s Pizza, Picnic Cottage, Hyderabadi Biryani House are some of them. If shopping is on the mind, tourists can head to the Tibetan Market, which is only a kilometre away from the House or head to the Commercial Street where there are a lot of shops to buy artefacts and souvenirs.  

How To Reach Stone House Ooty

Stone House is located inside the premises of Government Arts College near Churchill Road in Ooty. It requires travelling a distance of 1.7 kilometres approximately to reach the attraction from the centre of the town. Rental cabs, self-driven vehicles, local buses or local trains are best to reach the Stone House and explore nearby attractions. The route to follow goes through Hospital Road - State Bank Road - NH 181 – Kottagiri Road/ SH 15.

Those travelling to Ooty from other cities can easily find a state transport bus to Ooty or a railway heading to Mettupalayam which is the closest railway station. The Bus stand is located 3.4 kilometres away from the Stone House. The route via NH 161 and Upper Bazar Road leads to the attraction. Mettupalayam Railway Station is located about 50 kilometres away from the Stone House. Rental cabs are best to travel this distance.

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