Ooty | India
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Ooty, short for Ootacamund (an anglicized name for Udhagamandalam), is a popular hill resort in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. The name Udhagamandalam is derived from the Toda word "othakal-mund" which means "house in mountains". Ooty stands at 2,240 m (7,347) feet above sea level in the Nilgiri mountain range. It was founded in the 19th century by the British, and served as the summer headquarters of the Madras Presidency.


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Planning a Trip

1 Get in 1.1 By plane 1.2 By train 1.2.1 The Mountain Railway 1.3 By bus 1.4 By car By plane The Coimbatore airport is the closest to the hills at 3½ hours by road. There are flights into Coimbatore from Singapore, Sharjah, Colombo and most parts of India including Mumbai (Air India, Jet Airways and Indigo), Chennai (Spicejet, Air India, Indigo and Jet Airways) and Bangalore. The Mysore airport is about 4 hours away from Ooty by road. The road trip is quite scenic from either airport. By train The hills are connected to by a nightly train. The Nilgiri Express (Train No. 2671) leaves from Chennai at night, and reaches Mettupalayam (which Indian Rail spells Metupalaiyam), a small town at the foothills of the Nilgiris early the next morning. Most people prefer to travel the 51 km distance from Mettupalayam to Ooty by taxi or bus because those who have travelled by the mountain railway option know how uncomfortable and slow it can be. Even worse is the fact that two thirds of the jouney doesn't go through scenic hills. The beautiful hills start only after Ketty or Lovedale. The 51 km distance can be covered in two hours by road whereas the toy train takes about six hours. That is why the locals avoid the mountain train like the plague. The Mountain Railway If you have lots and lots of patience, theNilgiri Mountain Railway train leaves Mettupalayam at 7:10 am pushed by a small steam powered historic locomotive that is a remnant of Swiss-engineered trains imported in the late 1800s. The steam train is much smaller, and can only accommodate a portion of the passengers that disembark at Mettupalayam.You have to book separate ticket for this journey. Tickets can be booked through [http:/www.irctc.co.in IRCTC] like any other rail ticket booking. The steam train takes a very boring route and there are constant stops and repair sessions on the way. At some stations, the engine has to take on water. The train uses a rack and pinion system to haul itself up steep slopes, and also to prevent the train from sliding down when stopping. The train is pushed from behind. There are brakesmen at the rear of every carriage who will apply and release hand powered brakes individually for that carriage. The train often travels at 5-10 km/h, allowing some adventurous passengers to disembark from the train and walk along the train. This practice is not recommended and can be dangerous, besides there is a good chance that the train will speed up, and you will be unable to get back on board. If you don't have a confirmed ticket of that toy train then you would not get the chance to board in it as railways issue limited say only 30 tickets on the spot at Mettupalayam starting at 5 am, and at 1 pm at Ooty for the entire journey from Mettupalayam to Ooty, and make sure that you have gained proximity to the ticket window before it opens. This is because of unexpected rushes when the ticket counter opens for business. It is no use trying for a ticket at Mettuppalayam because of the heavy rush in the morning. But tickets are easier at Ketty and Lovedale stations up the hill. You can go there by bus. By bus There are buses and shared taxi vans that can be boarded from most parts of India to Ooty. If you don't want wake up early to take the train from Coimbatore, plenty of buses are also going to Ooty. The Coimbatore "new bus station" has frequent bus service to Ooty via Mettupalayam, and it takes around 3½ hours to get there. However buses are not every comfortable and often crowded. The lack of air conditioning in the buses hurts till it reaches the hills. One can also avail taxi from the same "new bus stand". On the way back in morning, some buses make a 10-15 minute stop over at Mettupalayam for breakfast. From the "new bus station" it takes about 25 minutes by (another) bus to reach the Coimbatore railway station. From Kozhikode (Calicut) there are two government buses daily, leaving 05:00 and 07:00, travel time is about 6 hours. Mysore is served few times a day, too. From Kannur there is a KSRTC bus starting at 7:30AM everyday and a Tamil Nadu bus at 10PM everyday reaching ooty at 4PM and 7AM next day respectively. By car The Nilgiris are in Tamil Nadu, but it is quite near the borders of neighboring states Karnataka and Kerala. The hills consequently can be reached from within Tamil Nadu by travelling up a heavily forested winding road, with many sharp hair-pin bends. The road trip from any state is quite scenic, although the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam-Coonoor-Ooty road (i.e. the Tamil Nadu route) is the most travelled and well maintained. All roads to the Nilgiri hills are toll roads, although the tolls are quite nominal. One can also avail taxi from the Coimbatore "new bus stand", they agree to go for ₹2500/- (negotiable) when reserved and ₹600/- each on sharing basis, four people share an Omni (Maruti Van). In case a hotel has been per-booked, they often have contracts will taxis to provide pick-ups to and from Coimbatore for ₹2000/-. Ooty is 284 km from Bangalore by road. The journey takes about 8 hours, depending on the condition of the road. One can take a shorter route for which a diversion has to be taken at Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary. This route will take you past the small towns of Masinagudi and Kalhatti. This route will curtail the distance to Ooty by about 50 km. This road is closed at night as it passes through the jungle, so you may actually have to spend a few hours at the check post which is closed invariably at night. Only good drivers should take on this road as it is very narrow and steep.You'll find some eateries and a fuel station in the town of Masinagudi. There are some wonderful resorts around Masinagudi town where one can rent a cottage. These places are a good weekend getaway for rest and relaxation. There are eating places between Bangalore and Mysore, and within Mysore, but from Mysore to Ooty one should carry some food, as there are very few restaurants. Start early if you can so that the drive through Bandipur and Mudumalai forest can be done leisurely taking in the occasional animal sightings. Distance from Ooty to various cities:


Top Attractions

Annamalai Temple (about 20 km from Ooty). This place has grown as a famous temple of Lord Muruga, and is known as 7th Hill house of the lord. The view from the temple is great. There is an observatory at the top of hill for the public to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view. (updated Oct 2015) Boating at Pykara. It's an awesome experience. Though the rate of boating is little bit high (minimum is ₹400) but still it is worthy. Fresh air, good feeling and good view.  11.4007376.735821 Doddabetta Peak. The Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 m. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is 10 km from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of the 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. You can get there by catching a bus from ooty bus stand which will charge you ₹10, but will have to walk about 3 km. from the stop where the bus will drop you. You will enjoy the way up the peak, if you love walking.  Dolphin's Nose. The Dolphin's Nose View point is 10 km from Coonoor Central. You can enjoy the views of the roads and tea farms.  Echo Rock. Some call it the "Lamb's Rock", as it naturally took the shape of a lamb. Go through a very small forest and then you can see the rock.  11.4720276.604662 Falls at Pykara (Pykara Waterfalls). This is an interesting place near the Pykara village. Bathing is not advisable here as there is a danger of drowning when there is water. However, there is not always water in the waterfalls, so check current conditions before you go.  Fernhills palace 11.4176.73 Fern Hills Palace. Be sure to visit this palace-turned-hotel of the Mysore Maharaja. Extremely beautiful place and quite affordable tea-snacks and slightly expensive buffet dinner. The palace and its estate are beautiful and are open to guests. The locals often will call it Mysore Palace to avoid confusion with the Fern Hill Hotel.  Hidden Valley.  Historical dam with power station at Pykara.  The Government Botanical Garden 11.4188876.711394 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 ha. 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.  11.4053876.708075 Ooty Rose gardens. It is an amazing and very large area garden. You can enjoy varieties of roses there. The roses bloom only for 2-3 months a year (not sure when), so going there off-season is not very interesting. If interested can buy the seeds and plants also.  Pine forest. It's a natural beauty. After the end of the forest a lake is there. Be careful while walking as the path has slope. Down the slope lies the waters of Kamaraj-sagar Dam.  Shooting Point. One very nice place is that. Don't miss it. The view is very pleasant.  11.3577476.797856 Sims Park, Coonoor. Similar to Ooty Botanical Garden, very rare plants and trees are present. The park is famous for the fruit show it hosts annually during summer festivals.  The Tea Factory. Several tree gardens and factories are there. On the way you will get lots of them. They will approach you with free tea taste and offer some tea packets to buy. But be cautious if you don't have much knowledge about tea, better not to buy from them as the packet tea has not the same taste as they gave you to taste. The spices' quality is not so good.  Wax World (Wax Museum). Its a private investment not supported by Govt. Don't expect much like other foreign wax museum which are helped by tourism authorities for advertisements and promotions. But for sight seeing its good. More attraction is the very old house, where the museum is set up. Candles are available. But it is suffering from funds for expansion so they request tourists to visit so that they can get help from them, which is the only form of support.