The 'Queen of Hill Stations' Udhagamandalam, better known as Ooty, is the most popular hill station in South India. Located in the Western Ghats at a height of 2240 metres, Udhagamandalam is the headquarters of the Nilgiri district. The Toda tribe has been living here since time immemorial, but the credit for 'discovering' Ooty, making it accessible and developing it, surely goes to the British. In 1822, John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore, constructed the 'Stone House', which is now the Chamber of the Principal of the Government Arts College and one of Ooty's better known landmarks. Ooty was the summer capital of the Madras Presidency, in the days of the British Raj.
Ooty is connected by narrow gauge railway from Mettupalayam, which is linked to Coimbatore and Chennai. A ride in this in this 100-year - old railway system is a scintillating experience. The nearest airport is 100 Km away in Coimbatore, which is connected to Chennai, Bombay and Bangalore. Udhagamandalam is well connected by good roads to Coimbatore, Chennai and other closer places.
Location & Attractions
The Rose Garden located just 3-4 km from Charing Cross encompasses 10 acres of flowerbeds and exhibits over 2400 varieties of roses!
Maintained by the Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Botanical Garden has a wide variety of plants that include different types of roses, imported shrubs, rare flowering plants, eucalyptus trees, several old trees and even a fossilised tree trunk that is 20 million years old. There is also a beautiful Italian floral garden.
The Dodabetta Peak
At a height of 2623 metres, Dodabetta Peak is the highest point in South India. On a clear day, one can see the plains of Coimbatore and the Mysore plateau.
This is a 100-foot high waterfall, located on the slopes of the Kalhatty Ghat, about 13km from the town on the Udhagamandalam - Mysore road (Seasonal).
The slopes of the Masinagudi hill are rich in wildlife and one can spot Panther, Bison, Wild Buffaloes, Wild Dogs, Spotted Deer, Sambhar and different types of hill birds, if you're lucky.
The Wenlock Downs is a vast expanse of undulating land, offering views of the valley below. One can also take a pleasant stroll on these quiet roads.
Situated about 21 Km on the Ooty-Mysore Road, Pykara is home to well-protected Sholas (dense forests), Toda settlements, undistributed grassy meadows and also a good natural habitat for wildlife. The Pykara Dam, Pykara Falls and the reservoir attracts many tourists. A boat-house with Restaurant is another attraction here.
Kotagiri is located at 6503 feet above sea level and is 31 km from Udhagamandalam. The climate is very salubrious and milder than that of Udhamandalam. The drive from Udhamandalam to Kotagiri is a delight as the road is flanked by green tea beds on either side and offers spectacular views of the valley below.
Flower and Fruit Shows conducted by the state government are part of the Summer Festival.