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Tamil Nadu: Ooty or Ootacamund
Ooty or Ootacamund
Udhagamandalam, the village with scattered stones, is also famous with the name Utkamanda. According to the Gada tribes, the village experiences a lot of rain throughout the year. The very old city, built on the Nil hills, covering 2500 square km of area, has rocks which are more than 3000 million years old. The petite hill city, the queen of the hills, looks mesmerizing with its prolonged hills. The magical city is popularly known all over the world as Ooty. City dwellers are amused for its ever green springs. The temperate weather of Ooty has always been a prime attraction for the holiday makers. The best time to visit the city is during April- June and September- October. Even though it is suggested to avoid the monsoon but the city looks different in monsoon as it is covered with fog. However, the tourists who love to witness the vistas of the city when it is covered with ice, they will be disheartened because the city, located at a height of 2285 meters, doesn’t experience any snow fall during winters (November- March).
Light woolen garments are sufficient in Ooty. The temperature varies from 5 to 21 degree Celsius in winters where as the temperature varies from 10 to 25 degree Celsius in summers. Nevertheless, the temperature in monsoons even gets down to 0 degree Celsius. The small but striking hillock is different from any other cities of South India. South Indian cultures are not that prominent in the city lifestyles due to the presence of different types of people who belong to dissimilar cultures and traditions. The place has more of a cosmopolitan culture.
Toda, Kota, Kurumba, Irula, Pania are the tribal communities who live in the city of Ooty. Portuguese in 1602 came into the city with the desire of spreading Christian religion but they were highly unsuccessful due to the unwillingness of the Toda tribes.
John Sulivan, the British collector of Coimbatore, was attracted towards the scenic beauty of the Nilgiri hills. He visited Ooty and had built St. Stephen Church in 1820. The church depicts the Gothic architectural style and panache. The roof of the church was built by the teak wood which was brought from the Lalbaug palace of Tipu Sultan. The church showcases the striking and stunning glass architectures as well. The clock tower and gallery are the latest attractions of the church.
The name of Ootacamund had come into the picture when Chennai Gadget had decided to publish this name in 1821. A tract connects Ootacamund to Kotagiri. Sulivan was fascinated by the wonderful cosmos and salubrious climate. He had built the Stone House which is a prime allurement of Ootacamund. The principle of Art College stays in the Stone House presently. This house, amidst the captivating natural background, is popularly known as Kal Bangla (Stone Bungalow). Now, Ootacamund is a city with multiple clubs, hotels, Church Missionary Society School and Coffee Estate.
The awe inspiring city, in the middle of serenity, looks even more astonishing as it is hidden in the shades of pine and eucalyptus trees. The city life is built around the beautiful Racecourse. The hillock attracts holiday makers for its captivating and colorful fruits and flowers. The city looks like a picture on the canvas as multiple cottage like homes with red roofs are dotted around the hilly land of Ootacamund. The city is primarily divided into two different sectors. Racecourse of the hill town is its sustenance. Railway and bus stand are located at the southern side of the Racecourse. If you are lucky and decide to visit the hillock during monsoon then you can see the horses on the racing track.
Located at a distance of 2 km away from the Racecourse, the Charring cross or Ooty botanical garden, is a must visit place for the tourists and nature lovers. A number of shops, hotels and restaurants are scattered around the botanical garden. If tourists face any problem regarding anything then they can always ask for the help of the tourists’ office which is situated in Charring cross, at the opposite side of the tourist home.
The mind blowing summer festival, organized in the primeval assembly room, during the month of May, is the riveting and newest attraction of Ooty. People who love to watch the sight of the beautiful roses should visit the rose garden, located at a distance of 1 km towards the lake. The natural vista of the 2500 species of roses would absorb everyone. The rose garden is formed on the five different slopes of the towering hill and is covering a sprawling area of 12 acres.
The Botanical Garden, built in 1847, at an elevation of 2250 meters, situated at a distance of 2 km towards the eastern side of the railway station, showcases the richness and variety of various common and uncommon vegetation and flowers of Nilgiri hill. Apart from 35 species of Eucalyptus trees, more than 100 types of colorful roses, 650 species of plants pull the crowds towards the garden which is covering a rambling land of 51 acres. During the month of May many flock to the garden to get fascinated with the flower show. Nature lovers are interested by the old and charming tree, age of which is 20 million years. The Raj Bhawan can be seen in the vicinity. In 1877, the Raj Bhawan, was built by Buckingham Duke on the acclivity of the Doddabetta hill.
Othakkalmanthu village, located at a higher altitude, is the residential place of the Toda, the backward tribes. The name of Wotokymund has been derived from the one stone village, Othakkalmanthu. But the origin of the tribes and their cultures are still unidentified. Their cultures and traditions of the Toda community are quite similar to the mores of the Eskimos. The structures of their homes are like the homes of the Eskimos. Their simple and carefree lifestyles are noteworthy. Boa or their temples look like domes and are located in the shades of dry leaves. A woman can marry many men in their society. However, they are now slowly using new technologies and are adapting to the modern lifestyles. People of the Toda community stay on the slopes of the Nilgiri hills. They use cement to build their homes instead of soil nowadays. The social lifestyles and traditions of the Toda tribes can be witnessed in the Government museum, located at a distance of 2 km from Ooty, on the way to Mysore.
The places around the Ooty Lake are specially adorned for the holiday makers with video game parlor and toy train track. Tourists who want to entertain themselves can enjoy the horse ride in the pleasant afternoon in the proximity. 2.5 km long lake with its blue and clear water allures holiday makers for rowing and yachting. The barrage, built by John Sulivan on the lake in 1824, is a lifeline for the farm lands around the lake. The prolonged green land in between the lake and the bus stand showcases the astonishing musical light in the children’s park. The aquarium and museum, at the right hand side of the bus stand, are the places of interests in the hinterland as well. To enjoy numerous games, visit the Anna indoor stadium.
The festival, called “the feast of the cross”, celebrated on 3rd May every year, is renowned in the close proximity. The burial ground, Ooty club and Nilgiri library are the nearby destinations for the tourists. The famous candle church, situated at a distance of 3 km from the railway station, deserves a visit.
Besides 65 factories, 20,000 plantations of tea and coffee are scattered on the undulating land of the Nilgiri hills. Kardayte factory and Hindusthan Photo Films factory are the other places of interests.
Nature lovers who come to Ooty to witness the mind blowing natural backdrop should visit Kalhatti water fall at a distance of 13 km from the city of Ooty. However, the holiday makers are more interested in Charring Cross.
Tourists who want to buy something for them which would help them to remember the dreamland and its wonderful cosmos for long time have to visit Co-operative super market, municipal market, Pushpahar, Toda showroom and Cheralam departmental store. Buy and carry eucalyptus oil along with you on the way back home. Interested people can also buy tea and cardamom from the markets of Ooty.
Nature lovers who plan their trip to Ooty for watching the astounding natural sight have to visit Doddabetta hill, located at an elevation of 2623 meters, at a distance of 10 km towards the eastern side of the city. A number of tourists flock to the Pykara water fall and water power plant as well.
The panoramic view of Kunnur, Mettupalayam and Coimbatore from the crest of the Doddabetta hill, at the meeting point of Purbaghat and Paschimghat hills will definitely amuse you. If it is a bright and sunny day then lucky tourists can even get a glimpse of Mysore. Telescopes or field glasses will help you to enjoy a closer view. Buses from Ooty bus stand connect Botanical garden and Doddabetta. However, take a walk around the city after seeing Botanical garden.
Glen Morgan is popularly known for its captivating surrounds. Don’t forget to visit Hindustan Photo Films and Wenlock down on the way to the astonishing Glen Morgan. This is the mesmerizing homeland of Toda tribes.
The power house in Singarat, about 4 km away from the city, is a nice place. However, you must have the permission of the Electricity Board if you want to visit the power house. The barrage in Pykara and the water power plant, situated at a distance of 23 km from Ooty, towards Mysore, are helping the inhabitants of the city in many ways.
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve forest offers a dark and serene shade in the propinquity. The native soil of Sola and Toda tribes would impress the holiday makers with its beauty and charm. The narrow tract, amidst the dark and opaque manor, thorough the green carpet of tea gardens will take you to Pykara, the village of the tribes. Rhododendrons, Magnolia and orchid orchards look magnificent. Deer, Tigers, Panther and many more natural denizens stroll in and around the green forest. Take a bus from the city to visit Pykara, the village of wonder and bewilderment. The Avalanche River will be there alongside.
Visit the Upper Bhabani, about 20 km from Pykara, on the banks of the Bhabani River, at the congregating point of Tamilnadu and Kerala. The awe inspiring natural beauty will definitely amuse you. Trekking lovers can enjoy a trek to the silent valley from the Bhabani hill through the wonderful swelling hilly land.
The Mukurthi peak, or Mukurthi national park, about 40 km away from Ooty, is the native land of Nilgiri thar. You can stay at the Forest Bungalow in Mukurthi. But, it is recommended to come back to Ooty on the same day.
Tourists who are do not want to take long walks can hire a jeep and visit the nearby coveted destinations like Kalhatti Waterfalls, Frog Hill, Cairn Hill, Snowdown and Elk Hill.
How to reach: Coimbatore is the nearest broad gauge railway station which is connected to innumerable prime cities of India. Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Kochi and many more cities are directly connected to Coimbatore by railways. Hire a private vehicle to visit Ooty from Coimbatore. Ooty railway station is connected to Mettupalayam railway station by narrow gauge train which crosses 16 tunnels and 250 bridges on its way. Direct Buses also ply from Bengaluru or Bangalore to Ooty. You can also hire a private car. So you can also take a train or fly to Bangalore and reach Ooty from there. Check our Transport links below.
Where to stay: Hotel Monarch (5 star) is the best hotel of Ooty. You can also try Raj Lodge, Hotel Srikrishna, Apsara Lodge, Geetha Lodge, Hotel City Palace, Hotel Garden View, Hotel Green Valley, Sri Annapurna Lodge, Holiday Inn Gem Park and Hotel Siddharth. Check our hotel booking links below to compare rates, view photos and videos, check services and to book online at best possible rates.
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