The Queen of hills

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

– Frank Llyod Wright

Guarded by four majestic hills, in the district of the Nilgiris, lies a magnificent beauty. She’s the Queen of Nilgiris, watched over by Snowdon, Elk Hill, Doddabetta and Club Hill. From a height of around two thousand and two hundred meters from  sea level, she looks down upon you lovingly, like she were a silver mirror reflecting your inner self. She is an unfathomable splendor, yet so unassuming, so still and so quiet. She’s a haven for a plethora of flora and fauna. Those awed by this angelic beauty call her Ooty.

The original inhabitants of Ooty were the Todas, but the credit for modernization of Udagamandalam goes to the British. Today Ooty is a small settlement in itself. It is famous for its tea factory and coffee plantations. Trees like conifers, eucalyptus, pine and wattle line the hillside. The horse races in Ooty are a major attraction. The Race Course is situated in the heart of the city. Ooty is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India.

Sky high!

Those visiting Ooty never leave without visiting Doddabetta, 10Km from there. It is the highest peak in the Nilgiris. With a height of 2623m above the sea level, it regally towers over the rest of the district. If you are lucky enough, you can live the dream of millions- you can touch the clouds from here! On a clear day, one can see as far as the plains of Coimbatore and the Mysore plateau.

A bed of roses

Imagine being amidst nearly two thousand varieties of roses, all in different shapes sizes and colours, the sweet fragrance transporting you to a whole new world! Welcome to Rose garden, a carpet 10 acres wide, less than a kilometre from Charring Cross!

May Queen

Every year in the month of May an annual flower show is held at the Botanical Gardens, lying in the slopes of Doddabetta. There are no words to describe the vista when so many trees, plants, flowers and bushes decide to flaunt their beauty. Established in 1848, the garden is home to a thousand different species of flora.

Row a boat!

An artificial lake was constructed in Udhagamandalam in 1824. With railway tracks running along one bank, this lake is a hub for boating enthusiasts. It has the tallest memorial of Ooty, a huge pillar surmounted by a cross, over the grave of William Patrick Adam, the Governor of Madras Presidency. The lake garden too attracts a lot of tourists.

Other Places to visit

The Pykara is the largest river in the District. It is located 21Km from Ooty and is also a good wildlife habitat. It gracefully makes its way through the hilly tract and descends splendidly. The last two falls of 55 meters and 61 meters are known as Pykara falls. East of Ooty town on the lower lap of Doddabetta peak lies the picturesque Tiger Hill. About 26 km from Ooty is Avalanche, a fishing spot. Other tourist attractions around Ooty include Mukurthi National Park and Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctury .

Food and shelter

Savoy Hotel and the Fernhill Palace owned by the Maharaja of Mysore and managed by the Taj Group are some luxury options. The hill, being a sought after tourist destination, has no dearth of hotels and restaurants. Lawley Institute, Sinclairs Ooty Hotel, Hotel Darshan, The Savoy Hotel, Hotel Maneck, and Lakeview Hotel are a few others to name.

Ooty… here we come!

Ooty has a well established network of roads, connecting it to the neighbouring hill stations and cities. The nearest airport is from Coimbatore, about 89Km from Ooty. Taking a train would require one to first reach Mettupalayam . The Nilgiri Express leaves Madras at night, reaching Coimbatore in the morning, and continues to the small town of Mettupalyam. From Mettupalyam, it connects to the Nilgiri Passenger, which takes you to Ooty.

For all those who wish to reunite with themselves, Ooty is a must visit.

Deepashri Varadarajan

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