Ooty calling during the Indian Summer time. Undoubtedly, the Queen of South India, Ooty is an all-time favourite destination for all those looking for respite during the summer holidays
Bindiya Dhingra | Destinations | MICE INDIA | 8 May 2015
Queen named ‘Ooty’
Perched high in the Nilgiri hills, is Ooty, or Udhagamandalam, the queen of hills, located in Tamil Nadu, in southern India. Situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level, it used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial era. The first inhabitants of this land were a tribe called Todas who had lived there long before the British discovered it, and later they constructed the first railway line in the area and made it the summer capital of the Madras Presidency.
Ooty is a very popular holiday destination and is well known for its tea estates, picturesque picnic spots, majestic mountains, dense forest, and scenic meadows. The state government organises an annual tea and tourism festival that attracts tourists in hordes. A large part of Ooty is covered in eucalyptus, wattle and pine trees. Its unique biodiversity has earned Ooty, the tag of one of the few hotspots in the world. Being in the midst of the Western Ghats, there is huge variety of flora and fauna here. Plums and peaches abound in the orchards here. The forests are full of trees which are used to make medicines. Hence, the pharmaceutical industry thrives in Ooty.
Botanical Garden, Mini Garden, Rose Garden, Deer Park, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mukkurthi Peak and the National Park, Nilgiri Library, Ooty Lake, St Stephens Church, Doddabetta and Government Museum are some of the major attractions in Ooty.
The Government Botanical garden was built by Marquis of Tweedale, the then Governor of Madras in 1847. It covers an area of 22 acres. The major attraction of the garden is the fossil tree trunk 20 million years old preserved here. Many exotic tree species, grass carpet, ferns, flowering plants, house ferns and orchids are found here.
The Mukkurthi National Park is located near Ooty, on the Southern corner of the Nilgiris Plateau. The Kollaribetta and Nilgiris Peak are other major peaks around. There are many perennial streams, which fall into Bhavani Puzha. The Silent Valley in the Western Ghats is also worth visiting. Hindustan Photo Films is one of the major industrial units of the district. Built over of over 300 acres of land, it produces Indu camera roll films.
The Narrow Trail, train journey is something not to be missed. The toy train adventure starts at Mettupalayam, 46 km southeast of Ooty, where the Blue Mountain Express gets pushed by an engine instead of being pulled.
The best time to visit Ooty is between November to March when the weather is pleasant and the crowd is less. Average temperature ranges between 25°C in summer to 5°C in the winter.
Travel Information: Air: Coimbatore, 105 km from Ooty, is the nearest airport. Train: The Blue Mountain Express to Ooty is from Mettupalayam (47 km). Mettupalayam can be reached from Coimbatore by the Tea Garden Express. Road: All important towns of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka are well connected to Ooty.