Ooty popualrly known as the "Queen of Hill Stations", is located about 90kms from Coimbatore, which is also the nearest airport, one of the big cities in Tamilnadu. With a beautiful, breath-taking lake and lush green scenery with Silver Oak and Teak trees bordering the skyline. Nearby destinations are Coonoor , Dhodda Betta and Kotha Giri . Ooty can be visited during any time of the year, but the best time is between Mar-July.
Just about anything available in the cities can be had at Ooty with the added attraction of leisurely shopping. Exclusive Nilgiri products including Nilgiri tea, fruits, natural oils like Eucalyptas, Toda embroideries, plant nurseries are easily available in the town. Co-operative Super Market and Municipal Market are some of the best places for shopping fruits and general groceries. Kairali of Kerala Handicrafts and Poompuhar of Tamil Nadu Handicrafts have their showrooms near to Super Market Buildings on Charring Cross.
Ooty is a picturesque hill station that is pleasant all through the year, so there is no 'wrong time' to visit this place. Though many consider that the best time is from 'February to May' or else from 'September to November'. If you prefer summers, you can simply pack all your cotton clothing, along with a light jacket, just in case there is a shower or drizzle. The winters are somewhat cold, so it would be a good idea to carry your winter wear or woolen clothing with you on tours to Ooty India.
Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary: The Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 67kms from Ooty. If you are in town for a couple of days, then a visit to the Wildlife sanctuary would be a great way to spend a day. The Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of very rich flora and fauna, and is home to many endangered species. Though tigers and Leopards are only seen by the fortunate few, elephants, giant squirrels, sambhar, chital, barking deer and flying squirrels are a common sight. The Sanctuary is also a great place to see many kinds of birds, including colorful parakeets, black woodpecker, Malabar trogon and crested hawk eagle. If you have children with you or you yourself are simply fond of the majestic elephants then, you might like to visit the elephant camp within the sanctuary, Theppakkadu.
Kotagiri: East of Ooty, is a little village of kotagiri, which is about 28km from the popular hill station. Kotagiri is the oldest one of the three hill stations in the Nilgiris. It is not as popular as the other two, Ooty and Coonoor, yet it is said that it probably has the most pleasant weather among the three of them. It is a beautiful hill resort that has wonderful tea estates and is definitely worth a visit.
View from Dodabetta Peak -
Botanical Gardens - Ooty
Kalhatty Waterfalls: The beautiful Kolhatty waterfalls are about 100 feet in height and are located on the kalhatty slopes. The falls are about 13kms from the city, so anyone on a tour of Ooty can easily check out the falls and the beautiful area surrounding it. Besides, obviously looking at the waterfalls, you can explore the kalhatty-Masinagudi slopes, that are home to many wild species, including panthers, sambhar, bison and wild buffaloes.
Sim's park: The Sim's Park is spread over an area of 12 hectares and is situated in Upper Coonoor. The park it is believed has more than 1000 plant species, including many flowering plants, pines, ferns and shrubs. If you are visiting in May, then you can attend the fruit and vegetable show, which is a tradition and is held annually.
Dolphin's Nose: If the name is not amusing enough for you, you can come down to this very Dolphin's nose and have a good time, enjoying games and an outdoor picnic. The Dolphin's nose is a great vantage point that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas. If it is clear day, you can even see the Catherine falls from here. Mukurthi
Avalanche: Avalanche lies 28 km from Ooty. Unlike it's name, which conjures up images of destruction and devastation, the place is a nature lover's paradise. It is a lake, which is ideal for fishing, though one has to obtain permission before hand. It is also the perfect place to enjoy bird watching and a quiet afternoon.
Coonnoor: Coonoor is a famous hill station that is 17 kms from ooty. It is probably the second most popular hill station in the Nilgiris. The hill station stands at a height of 1839 meters and is known for its great picnic spots and picturesque surroundings.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Ooty
Botanical Gardens: If you are on a sightseeing tour to Ooty, you might want to visit the Government Botanical gardens, which were laid out in 1847.The picturesque gardens that are maintained by the Horticulture department of the state, cover an area of about 22 hectares. The Gardens have well over 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree, which is believed to be more than 20 million years old. The garden is very popular with nature lovers and those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close. If you are in Ooty in the month of May, then you can also be a part of the summer festival, which is held here annually. The festival holds flower shows and various cultural programs showcasing the talent of the locals and the renowned artists.
Ooty Lake: If you love the outdoors, Ooty lake is a must see for you. It was built in 1825 and is about 2.5 km long. Visitors to this lake can go for boating on the lake or enjoy their favorite outdoor activity of fishing. If the latter really appeals to you then remember to get fishing permission before you head to buy baits!
Dodabetta Peak: The Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is merely 10kms from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of he valley below. Many say that on a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore.
Lamb's Rock: Lamb's Rock is another vantage point that is ideal for taking pictures and is a wonderful picnic spot. It is merely 9kms. From Coonoor and is known for the splendid views it offers of the plains of Coimbatore and the tea states in the surrounding areas.
Kodanadu's View Point: Kodanadu is about 16kms from Kotagiri, and is situated on the eastern edge of the Nilgiri range. It is a great vantage point that offers a breathtaking view of the Moyar river and the tea estates. There is a watchtower here that offers a view of the Rangasamy peak.
How to Reach Ooty
Air: The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, which has daily flights to and from Madras, Bangalore, Cochin and Trivandrum.
Train: For a magnificent view of the hillside covered with forests, a train journey is recommended. The Nilgiri Express leaves
Madras at night, reaching Coimbatore in the morning, and continues to the small town of Mettupalyam, at the foots of the mountains. From Mettupalyam, it connects to the Nilgiri Passenger which takes you to Ooty.
Road: There is a regular bus service from Bangalore (300 km), Mysore (170 km), Coimbatore (105 km), Calicut (187 km) and Cochin (281 km).