Ooty is a land where green mountains and azure sky roll down to embrace quivering beds of crimson roses below. Known as Udagamandalam, Ooty is a popular hill station in Tamil Nadu and one of the best places in India, where travelers can recline in nature’s lap. Tucked away amidst the towering Nilgiri Mountains, the hill resort, with its veritable pleasures, beckons many tired urban tourists every year. Sparkling brooks, meandering waterfalls, green-cloaked valleys, mysterious gorges, colonial mansions and acres of tea plantations are a few enchantment traps laid by Ooty on its travelers. With the help of this article, explore some of the major tourist attractions of Ooty.
Image: By Amol.Gaitonde (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Places to See in Ooty
Set up in 1847, by the Marquis of Tweedale, the Botanical Garden of Ooty is a repository of a wide variety of rare trees, shrubs and flowers. Sprawled across an area of 55 acres, it is framed by luxuriant lawns, crowned with varicolored flowering bushes and plants. The cork tree, monkey-puzzle tree, fossilized tree and the Italian-style garden are some of its most prominent highlights.
John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty, formed this artificial lake in 1824. Today, the place forms a major attraction of Ooty with its host of recreational pleasures. The sparkling lake extends for a length of 2 km and snakes its way in an 'L' shape. Boats, in varying shapes, are available for waddling around the lake. There is also a children amusement park, with a miniature toy train, inside its premises.
With a height of 2623 m, Dodabetta Peak claims distinction for being the highest lookout point in the hill station. One can soak in the entire landscape of green valleys below from here. The peak derives its name from the two Kannada words ‘Dodda’ and ‘Betta’, literally translating to ‘Big Mountain’. Girdled by rhododendrons and flowering sub-elphine shrubs, the place is very popular amongst Ooty travelers.
Located at a distance of about 1 km from Ooty Lake, Deer Park is a frequented tourist spot of Ooty. It is probably one of the few high-altitude wildlife sanctuaries in India. Sprawled across an area of 22 acres, the place is home to a wide variety of animal species, including hare, chital and sambar. There is also a good collection of aquatic birds in the park.
Centenary Rose Park
The Centenary Rose Park stretches for an area of 4 hectares and is located in the main town of Ooty. Established in 1995, the garden is a treat to the senses, with its rose terraces, rose tunnels, marquees and rose creepers. In fact, with more than 3,000 varieties, it holds the largest collection of roses in the entire country. Popular species include Hybrid Tea Roses, Floribunda and Ramblers.
St Stephens Church
Consecrated on November 5, 1830, St Stephens Church is one of the oldest churches in the Nilgiri ranges. The colonial structure rests amidst the green hills and poses a majestic stance. The interior of the church is equally striking, with stained-glass painting adorning the eastern side as well as the area behind the chancel. Moreover, the area above the paneled doorways of the western wall displays a large painting of the Last Supper.
Another tourist hot spot of Ooty is the Government Museum located on the Mysore road. Established in 1989, it houses a large collection of tribal objects, ecological details of Ooty and various arts and artifacts of Tamil Nadu. Its exhibits go a long way in presenting vivid details of the lives of Todas of Tamil Nadu.
Ooty is a place that not only provides natural splendors, but also gives you a taste of its various man-made wonders, in the form of its many hotels and resorts. The various luxury hotels in Ooty constantly endeavor to furnish visitors with all the extravagance possible. The lone four-star hotel in the hill resort is Club Mahindra Danish Villa. However, Ooty does have heritage hotels, like King’s Cliff and Kluney Manor. Some other landmark hotels (3-star) of Ooty include Hotel Lakeview, Hotel Sinclairs, Sagar Holiday Resort, Sterling Holiday Resorts Fernhill and The Willow Hill. Besides, Ooty has a string of economy hotels that assure a value for your money. In case you are looking for the same, Glanton Manor, Hotel Khems and Hotel Silver Oak are amongst the best options.
How to Reach
The nearest airhead is located in Coimbatore, at a distance of about 88 km from Ooty. Indian Airlines haul flights to Coimbatore, Bangalore, Cochin and Chennai.
Ooty has a railway station of its own, located 2 km from the main city center. Another railhead is located 46 km away, at Mettupalayam.
The well-maintained and well-connected roads and highways of Tamil Nadu easily connect Ooty with all the major places in and around the state.