TOP HANDPICKED PLACES TO VISIT IN OOTY – a complete ooty guide!
Going up the hills of Udhagamangalam, popularly known as Ooty, one gets to realise why she was crowned as the “Queen of Hills”- one of the most popular holiday getaways among tourists.
Set amidst the lush hills of Nilgiris, Ooty is known to be one of the most sought after hill stations. The colonised buildings scattered around the place, the old churches, the lakes, and even the verdant forest, stands ready to unfold stories and heritage to those who seek it!
Main attractions include:
Set in 1824 by the Coimbatore collector, John Sullivan is the artificial lake of Ooty, covering an area of 65acres- situated around 3km from Ooty. This picturesque lake, adorned with tall Eucalyptus trees is just the place for photography enthusiasts.
Row, paddle, as well as motor boats are available for hire.
Even though the garden along with the roadside stalls stand to be a cool picnic spot, I would not recommend it to those going in search for a reposeful evening, as the lake area would be crow crowded, especially during the peak seasons and weekends.
Opening : 9am
Closing : 6pm
Entry fee : Rs.12/-
Still camera : Rs.25/-
Video cam : Rs.145/-
You can also have some fun riding a horse here.
NILGIRIS MOUNTAIN RAILWAYS
The toy train, with its first and second class seating facilities, running from Mettupalayam to Ooty and back via Coonoor (about 46km) is one major attraction for tourists. Pulling it’s blue “toy bogies” in and out of various tunnels and over many bridges give a complete peep into heart of the hills.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railways was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in the year 2005.
The various stations include Mettupalayam, Ooty, Lovedale, Wellington, Coonoor, Ketty.
Planning to get some shots from pretty high up? Well then, do not forget to add Doddabetta peak to your list. Being the highest peak people pour in for the view, so the place might be packed, unless you plan your trip during off seasons!
Opening : 9am
Closing : 6pm
Entrance fee : Rs.6/- for adults
Though it has lost its old charm, the Government Botanical Garden at Ooty still remains a favourite spot for excursions. The garden is known to house about a thousand different varieties of plants, both exotic as well as indigenous.
Opening : 9am
Closing : 6pm
Entry fee : Rs.30/-
Those in search of composure and peace or those looking for heritage with a bit of adventure in Ooty might like :
Todas are one among the ancient tribal groups found nestled in the wooded hills of Ooty. A chat with these people about their culture and lifestyle would certainly add on for the heritage hunters!- there are a few different places where you can find Toda settlements, but I would suggest you find the temple en route via the Marimund lake as it is less crowded and the view is great and maybe post the visit to the temple there, you can find your way to the Nawanagar palace(which is of course closed, but the trails you find there are quite known for cycling)
Situated at about 20km from Ooty, one can expect a dilute crowd here than that seen at the Botanical Garden or the Ooty lake. The view en route to the lake revives the actual Ooty spirit – with trees on either side, one can enjoy the melody of the forest than that of horns!
These waterfalls are on the road to Nilambur, so those of you returning from Ooty might as well take this route!
You’d have to park your car over at the top and walk about 500m to reach the lake. You can also opt for battery car services. Also, there are fruit stalls nearby which can provide you with fresh juice and knick-knacks. (Please make sure not to litter the place though!)
Opening : 8:30am
Closing : 5:30am
Entry fee : 10/-
Battery car fee: 10/-
It even has a small park for keeping children engaged!
The Pykara boat house is close by which might also interest you!
If you’ve visited all these places and you still have space for a few more :
TEA FACTORY & PLANTATIONS :
You can always go on a tea plantation tour, see how the processing is being done, may be talk to a few workers and get to know about their lifestyle.
WAX WORLD MUSEUM : Going around the museum with the wax figures staring at you is indeed an alternative once you find yourself done with the tea estates and the mountainous treks!
Entry fee : 40/-
Camera : 10/-
CHOCOLATE FACTORY : Who comes to Ooty and not buy Ooty special chocolates! You can even spend some time at the factory and see how the chocolates being prepared. It is just a small house turned into a working unit. Photography is not usually allowed inside.
You can also take run vacations to Ooty with your family- go on fun runs (marathon) organised by Go Heritage Run. Find more details at http://www.goheritagerun.com/
HOW COLD CAN IT GET IN OOTY & WHAT TO PACK?
Ooty being at an elevation of 2,240m experiences a gratifying cool climate during most part of the year. Even the summer months, I.e, from May to September one can expect a slightly cold weather. Winter is from October to around February. It is said that the Mudumalai National Park should be given a visit sometime during Sept-Oct.
You would want to pack your woollies even for the summer months as the nights can get cold!
Throw in an umbrella or a raincoat just to be prepared for unannounced drizzles.
Not to forget some road sickness medicines in case you are not accustomed to winding roads ( there are 14 hairpin turns before you reach Ooty! )
WHERE TO STAY AND WHERE TO DINE IN OOTY?
One can easily find accommodations in Ooty, budget rooms to luxury resorts like Taj Savoy and Club Mahindra (just be careful and double check with sources before you actually book a hotel!).
There are plenty of options for eating out in Ooty. I would recommend Hyderabad Biriyani House situated in the Ooty-Mysore main road- reasonable price, tasty food along with good service and ambience.
PS: the above mentioned entry fee are as of date, they are applicable to variations in the future!