The name Ooty derived from 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 (local language) word othakal-mund which means house in mountains. Ooty stands at 7,347 feet above the sea level in the Nilgiris mountain range. It was founded by British in 19th Century and it served as the summer headquarters of the Madras Presidency.
The Coimbatore airport (IATA: CJB, ICAO: VOCB) is the closest airport and roughly it takes 3 and half hours to reach Ooty. There are flights into Coimbatore from Sharjah, Singapore and most parts of India including Mumbai (Air India, Indigo, Jet lite & Spice Jet), Chennai (Indigo, Jet Airways, Jet Lite & Spice jet) and Bangalore (Jet Airways & jet Lite).
Ooty is connected by a nightly train from Chennai. The Nilgiris Express or Blue Mountain Express (Train No. 2671) leaves from Chennai and reaches Mettupalayam (which Indian Rail spells Metupalaiyam), a town at the foothills of the Nilgiris early the next morning. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway train leaves Mettupalayam at 7.10 pushed by a small steam powered historic locomotive that is a remnant of Swiss engineered trains imported in the late 1800s. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway [NMR] also better known as the Toy Train of the Nilgiris is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Status and a must try for heritage enthusiasts. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway offer travelers with a welcome change from the usual taxi cab rides and bus transportation services. The train is much smaller in size, and can only accommodate a portion of the passengers that disembark at Mettupalayam. Book a separate ticket for this journey (www.irctc.co.in) like any other rail ticket booking, although many prefer the faster route of taking a cab or a bus from Mettupalayam.
This train takes a very scenic route, and the pace of travel will let you take in the beautiful scenery at leisure with stops at stations for the engine to take on water (the journey takes about 5-1/2 hours compared to 2 hours by road). 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 brakemen at the rear of every carriage who will apply and release hand powered brakes individually for that carriage. The train often travels only at 5 – 10 Kmph, allowing some adventurous passengers to disembark from the train and walk along the train.
There are buses and shared taxi vans that can be boarded from Coimbatore to Ooty. The Coimbatore (Mettupalayam bus station) has frequent bus service to Ooty via Mettupalayam, and it takes around 3-1/2 hours to get there.
Ooty is not far to the borders of neighboring Karnataka and Kerala. The hills consequently can be reached both from Tamil Nadu and by Karnataka by traveling up a heavily forest winding road, with many sharp hair pin bends. The road trip from any state is quite scenic, although the Coimbatore-Ooty road is the most & frequently travelled and well maintained.
Distance from Ooty to various cities:
- Coonoor (17 km)
- Kotagiri (28 km)
- Coimbatore (89 km)
- Coorg (225 km)
- Kodaikanal (236 km)
- Munnar (282 km)
- Bangalore (297 km)
- Calicut (187 km)
- Chennai (542 km)
Travel within Ooty
Once in Ooty, everyone will obviously have plans to roam around and explore the beautiful landscapes. And for that, everyone should have an idea about what are all the available means of transport.
The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Board as well as many private tour operators organize sight-seeing trips on buses. A day-trip by bus is likely to cost you anywhere between INR 125 to INR 150 (subjected to change). It is an efficient and fast means of transport within the city.
Anyone can find a taxi as soon as you set foot on this hill station. From the railway station to all the other places in the town, taxis are a very convenient mode if anyone is looking to travel for a faster and comfortable mode.
In Ooty, most of the tourist attractions are located nearby and hence renting bicycles may be an exciting way to roam around. A cycle will cost approximately INR 20 (subjected to change) for an hour they are available in plenty to be hired.
If anyone intends to visit nearby places, then rickshaws are a good option to roam around. Rickshaws might be slow but if you have time, you may just as well enjoy the cool breeze and the local flavors of this wonderful place.
Best Time to Visit
Ooty is a place that can be visited all through the year. Summers are pleasant, winters are cool and monsoons are beautiful. However the best time frame to visit Ooty is from October to June.
- Summers (Mar to May) Ooty’s average temperature would be around 15°C to 20°C around this time frame. This time is ideal for sightseeing activities and other tourist activities like trekking and wild life photography.
- Monsoon (Jun to Sep) offers rainfall and it may interrupt outdoor activities but scenic lovers can enjoy the green fresh look and the more picturesque side of the Nilgiris
- Winters (Nov to Jan) are very pleasant in terms of weather and cool with the minimum touching 5°C. Nov is the peak tourist season and winter months are good for indulging all types of sightseeing activities.
Ooty is very attractive in all seasons and sometimes winters can be chilly. Flowers will start to blossom during Feb and from Mar onwards we can see many tourists in and around Nilgiris.
Places to Visit
Ooty Botanical Gardens
Type: Garden Entry: Paid
Botanical Garden is one of the best tourist attraction places which attract the tourist from all over the world. This garden was laid out in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale and is spread over 22 hectares ascending the slopes on the hill at an elevation of 2,400 meters above Main Sea Level. Once inside, be prepared for a very long walk. You may be able to recognise the “famous tree” out here where songs for many Indian films have been shot. It is an ideal place to relax in the lap of nature.
Type: View Point
Doddabetta is the highest mountain in the Nilgiri Hills, at 2637 metres (8650 feet). This peak is regarded as one of the highest peaks in South India, which lies at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats.It is 9 km from Ooty,on the Ooty-Kotagiri Road in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu, South India. There is an observatory at the top of Doddabetta with two telescopes available for the public to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of the whole district and it is managed by The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation.
Pykara Lake, a one of the popular getaway from Ooty. It is a placid lake located between the lush green valleys of Ooty. The Pykar lake is surrounded by dense forests and there is a forest rest house in that area. Also, Pykara lake is known for its boat house, which is near the falls. The pykara boat house also includes a restaurant and a rest house, where tourists can relax.
Avalanche is a nature lover’s paradise, which is 26 km away from Ooty. This valley is a great place for indulging in trekking and fishing. This is an ideal destination for excursion in Ooty and many tourists can stay in the local guest house of the forest department. This valley has been named after the landslide or avalanche in 1823. It is known for shola trees, orchids, magnolias and a trout stream. There is also an emerald camp in the valley, which provides a beautiful view of the surrounding village and dam.
Type: Garden Entry: Paid
Rose Park is situated in the heart of Ooty town and it is located less than a km from Charring Cross at Vijayanagaram, the rose garden is laid on 10 acres of land. This garden comprises terraces with pergolas, rose tunnels and bowers with rose creepers. There are around 3600 varieties of roses in this garden. Tourists can visit this garden for seeing Miniature roses, Hybrid Tea roses, Ramblers and Floribunda. Roses of unusual colours, including green and black, can also be seen in this garden. In 2006, this garden was recognised as the ‘Garden of Excellence’ by the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS).
Type: Garden Entry: Paid
Located by the side of North Lake Road, opposite the Boat House in Ooty, is a marvel of creation, the Artificial Plant Kingdom. A magnificent display of flowers, plants and lawns fabricated entirely from thread, canvas and wire awaits you here. A popular tourist spot and a haven for all those with creative fingers, this is an innovative and aesthetic creation of an artificial garden of plants and flowers all woven by thread. This unique art of creating natural looking plants and flowers makes use of self developed techniques under the “Hand-wound Embroidery system” without needles or machinery with specially selected and developed materials. This artificially embroidered garden bearing natural models of plants and flowers using self-developed technology of “hand wound embroidery” has taken 12 years with the effort of 50 lady artist.
Type: Park Entry Paid
Sim’s Park is in Coonoor, The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. It is an important tourist place to visit in Coonoor, at a height of 1780 meters above mean sea level. This park exhibits approximately 1000 species of plants and it is spread over 12 hectares of land and is located at the Northern side of Coonoor Railway Station. This is an unusual park-cum-botanical garden was developed around the natural contours of the land more than a hundred years ago. The park is replete with Eucalyptus, Acacia, Pinus and Cinnamomum. Sim’s Park also comprises lawns and terrace with colourful flower beds. The rare species of Rudraksh (bead tree) can also be sited in this park. Queensland karry pine, an ornamental tree, is another tourist attraction in this place.
Type: Lake Entry: Paid
From just behind the central Bus Stand (also near the Railway station) the famous Ooty Lake stretches, in an irregular ‘L’ shape, for about 2.75 kms in length and varying distances in width(100m – 140m). Ooty Lake is an artificial lake, formed by John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty, in 1824.The entire lake is surrounded by eucalyptus trees that add to its beauty.Tourists also visit the nearby Boat House, where they can hire different types of boats. In the month of May, boat pageantry and races are organised at this lake for two days, which attract numerous visitors.
Kodanad View Point
Type: View Point
Kodanad View point is a tourist spot near Kotagiri town. It lies on the eastern edges of the Nilgiri hills and boasts of green tea estates. The river Moyar and the point where the Western and Eastern Ghats meet can be seen from this view point. Situated opposite to the Mysore plateau, visitors can also see the Bhavanisagar dam and Thengumarahada from Kodanad View Point.Furthermore, Kodanad View Point is the best destination for trekking as it offers several trekking routes, including the Moyar gorge, which is situated between the Nilgiri and Deccan Plateaus.
Type: view Point
It takes 9miles from the Ooty city you can reach this spot. This place is popularly called the Shooting Medu, as many of the Tamil and other Indian movies are shot here. Very calm place and very good for picnics.
Ketti Valley View
Ketti Valley View is located on the Ooty-Coonoor road, around 7 km away from the main city of Ooty. It is the second largest valley in the world, which comprises different villages that are part of Coimbatore and Mysore. The valley is home to several tribes, such as Todas and Badagas and these tribal people are experts in cultivating fresh vegetables and fruits in the valley. This valley is also known as the ‘Switzerland of Southern India’ and has a pleasant climate all around the year. In summers, the temperature is around 25° Celsius and in winters it drops down to 5° Celsius.
The Government Museum in Ooty is located on the Mysore road, Udhagamandalam and is a perfect place to learn the ecological details, nature of art of the region. It has items of tribal objects, districts ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1989, with a view to provide education benefits to the residing and visiting population of the Nilgiris district. The Government Museum in Ooty is open on all days, except Fridays, second Saturdays and on National Holidays. The timings are 10 a.m to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm and there is no admission fee at the Museum.
Address: Tribal Research Centre, Tribal Museum, Muthorai Palada, Ooty
Wax World Museum
The Wax World Museum in Ooty is not the regular place where you could visit and easily forget and it is a great alternative to sightseeing mountains and natural valleys of Ooty. It is located just 2 kilometers from the main town and this is a place that you would want to visit during your trip to Ooty. It makes for thoroughly enjoyable and informative experience especially for kids who get a visual treat of wax statues. The Wax World Museum is situated within a 130-year old Colonial Mansion in Ooty close to the Ooty Lake. This Museum was initially conceptualized and initiated by Shreeji Bhaskaran, who is an engineer in the field of Information Technology and a businessman. The Wax World Museum in Ooty houses exquisite wax statues of Indian Freedom Fighters and Political Leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi Ji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Bal Gangadhar Tilak amongst the many others. They also display stunning wax replicas of social figures such as Mother Teresa and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who is our former President of India.
Address: Wax World Museum, Coonoor Road, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India
Contact Numbers:+91 97903 43296 & +91 94866 32233
Mukerti National Park
Mukerti National Park is situated in the southern region of the Nilgiri and is spread across the whole eastern region too. Some of the animals that are spotted often are the Sambhar deer, Nilgiri marten, barking deer, otter, jackals and jungle cat.
Mudumalai National Park
The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, now it is declared as a one of the Tiger Reserve and lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills. The entire sanctuary covers a wide area of 32,155 hectares, comprising open grassland, valley, flat land, swamp and nullas. Here one can often spot herds of endangered Indian elephants, vulnerable Gaur, and Chital. The sanctuary is a haven for Bengal Tigers and Indian Leopards and other threatened species. There are at least 266 species of birds in the sanctuary, including endangered species like the Indian White-rumped Vulture and the long-billed vulture.
Important Ph. No.s
Ooty Tourism Office: +91-423-2443837
Ooty Tourism Officer: +91-423-2443977
Police Control Room: +91 423 2442200
Police Out Post: +91 423 2444065
Police Station: +91 423 2443941/+91 423 2443973/+91 423 2443942
Police Aid: +91 423 2223805, +91 423 2223806
Police S.P Office: +91 423 2223806, +91 423 2223839
Fire Service Station: +91 423 2442999
District Forest Officer-North: +91 423 2443968
District Forest Officer-South: +91 423 2444083
Govt. Automobile Workshop: +91 423 2444292
Highway Department: +91 423 2444018
Bus Stand: +91 423 2443970
Railway Station: +91 423 2442246
Government Hospital: +91 423 2442212
H.F.M.Sait Memorial Hospital: +91 423 2442240