Ooty Tourist Attractions in and around - Tamil Nadu, India: The Complete Guide of Ooty Tourist Visiting Places

Udagamandalam or Ootacamund sometimes abbreviated as Udaghai (the original name in Tamil for Ooty). Some says that the name Ootaca comes from the local language where “Otha-Cal” means single stone. Ootacamund where “mund” refers to the Toda in tamil. This (Otha-cal) may be a reference to a sanctified stone revered by the local Toda people. The name Udagamandalam probably changed under the British rule from Udhagamandalam to Ootacamund, later shortened to Ooty. Ooty is a town, municipality and district capital of the Nilgiris district. Our beloved prime minister rightly described it as “Queen of Hill Stations”.

The first inhabitants of this place are Todas. They have been living here long before the Britishers came in the early Ninteenth Century. The todas is a small pastoral community (the community which grazes sheep’s and cattle). Todas traditionally live in settlements in small thatched houses around three to seven constructed in half barrel shapes. Traditionally they trade dairy products.
In brief if we look at, the history says that the Nilgiri hills were part of the Chera empire, later it went into the hands of Ganga and came under Hoysala Dynasty in the 12th century. Before coming into the British rule it was ruled by Tipu Sultan under the kingdom of Mysore.

The British governor of the neighboring Coimbatore province, John Sullivan liked the climate of Udhagamandalam and occupied the lands from the native tribes (Toda, Irumba, and Badaga). British citizens bought many square kilometers in a day for a few price of few meals to these tribes. The hills were developed so rapidly as they owned almost entire hill and made it as a summer capital of Madras Presidency. They played a vital role in developing of this beautiful place. The world famous nilgiri toy train was built by Britishers only The plan to lay the track for the Asia’s steepest railway track was made in 1854 and it took close to 40 years before the actual work begin. Riggenback the swiss inventor worked on it and built up the initial line up to Coonoor by the year 1899. Later the track was extend up to Ooty and Fernhill in 1908.

Tourist spots In and around Ooty
Ooty draws large number of tourists every year. High mountains, lakes, thick forest. Tea garden and eucalyptus trees which is stretched over miles greets the visitors to en route to Ooty.

1. Botanical Gardens:
This garden is laid around 1847 by Marquis of Tweedale and spread around 55 acres. Well maintained greenery lawns, rare tree species (cork tree, paper bark tree, the monkey puzzle tree (where monkeys hate climbing this tree and they never climb)), a 20 million year old fossil of a tree . Italian styled garden bordering a clear pool, large variety of flowering bushes and plants, fern house, orchids. A flower show is held along with exhibition of rare plants which is held in the month of May in this garden. This Garden is maintained by Horticulture Department of Government of Tamil Nadu with vide variety of Plants which include different types of roses, imported shrubs, rare flowering plants etc. This garden is crowded throughout the day and throughout the year.

Some of my photography snaps at Botanical Gardens:
(Click on the below images to see large version)

My Self - Akbar MD (Web Designer/Photographer)


2. Nilgri
The place with its natural atmosphere and pleasant climate and a special attraction for tourist and nature lovers. It contains larger mountain chain range known as Wester Ghats. “Nilgiris” means Blue Hills where neelam –blue and the giri Hill believed that the words came form Silappadikaram the violet blossoms of Kunnji flower in nilgiris enveloping. The Nilgiri Hills are a range of mountains with 24 peaks above 2000 meters in the western

The height of the hills in the Blue Mountain range consists of 2280 to 2290 meters and Doddabetta being the highest peak with a height of 2623 meters. The most amazing thing to note is that its vide varieties of plants from Europe and South Africa. The climate of Nilgiri attracts the visitors all over the world

My Self - Akbar MD (Web Designer/Photographer)

3. Doddabeta Peak
Speaking very short about Doddabetta With a height of 2523 meters above sea level, considered to be the highest peak of Nilgiri hills and in total South India , Doddabeta means Big mountain in the native language. There is a observatory at the top of Doddabetta with telescopes available for public to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of the whole district.

Some of my photography snaps at Doddabeta Peak
(Click on the below images to see large version)

4. Government Museum - Ooty
The Government Museum in Ooty located in Mysore road was set up in 1989, with a view to provide education benefits to the residing and visiting population of the Nilgiris district. It is the perfect place to know the ecological details, about nature of the region, and how this tribal community lived. This is one of the most loved tourist spot as they get to know many things in the hill station. Apart for natures beauty of the place Government Museum is the major attraction for the tourist.

As Todas are native tribe in the hill station of Ooty and if we to observe only a few thousands we get to see them now. To know their life, culture and the society of them is a major attraction. To preserve their culture and lifestyle the Government Museum in Ooty has taken up responsibility of preserving and displaying the collection of different tribal objects. This museum gives a detailed idea as to how the Todas live and lead their life. We can say that this Museum was set up

The Government Museum in Ooty is open to public on all days from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm expect Fridays, Second Saturdays and on National Holidays and they wont charge any admission fee at the museum

Government Museum - Ooty

5. Charring Cross – Ooty
Charring Cross is the most significant place of the most popular hill station Ooty. The Charring Cross is actually a junction of important roads with developed market around. This is one place shopping and we can get all kind of cosmetics, fashion, jewelry, bags perfume, clothes etc. And the fresh vegetables available in the Vegetable market.

For charring cross one can be called a self sufficient place with all kinds of available facilities and services.

The most important tourist places near to Charring Cross are Charming Rose Garden and the Gothic-style St. Stephen’s Church.

For tourist Charring Cross is a place which must be visited. The main shopping street with delicious available home made chocolates, vegetable market is located here.

Charring Cross – Ooty

6. Rose Garden –Ooty
The Government rose garden (formerly known as Jayalalaitha Rose Garen, Centenary Rose park and Nootrandu Roja Poonga) is the largest rose garden in India. This garden was established on May 20th, 1995 to remember the Centenary of Udagamandalam Oooty flower show (1895-96). Situated on the slopes of Elk hill in Viayanangaram from Ooty town. This garden lies at an elevation extended between 2200 meters to 2400 meters above sea level.

With one of the largest collection of roses in the country with 20,000 vide variety of roses and around 2,800 cultivars (variety produced in cultivation by selective breeding) The collection include five walkways in an area of 4.0 hectares with rose burrow, pergolas. The rose varieties planted in this park were collected from different sources. This collection include Hybrid Tea roses, miniature roses, polyanthas, papagena, Floribunda, Ramblers, and unusual colored roses like black and green

This Rose Garden received the “Garden of Excellence” award from World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS) held at Osaka in Japan in the year 2006. So far only 15 rose garden in the different parts of the world received this word and Ooty is one of them. This credit goes to the Horticulture Department and members of the Nilgiris Rose Society(NRS). This garden was inspected in the year 2005 by a team of members from WFRS and submitted its report to the Federation. The Angel statue in Rose Garden is also another attraction in the Rose Garden.
Rose Garden –Ooty

7. Wax Museum –Ooty
Ooty’s wax museum has been poor man’s Madame Tussads for years, this private wax museum is a tourist puller in hill resort of the Udhagamandalam (ooty), is on the verge of “melting down” due to indifferent attitude of local authorities.

Housed in 130-year old bunglow in Udhagamandalam, about 90 km from here, it displays 20 life size look-alike wax statues of famous personalties such as Mahtma Gandhi, Subhash Chandrabose, APJ Abdul Kalam, Chatrapathi Shivaji but it this museum has been hit by lower number of visitors, says the officials of the museum

The museum used to attract a large number of tourist thronging the hill station particularly during summer season. However, pulling down of signboards and advertisement boards had made this Museum little bit handicapped.
Wax Museum –Ooty

8. Kandal Cross
Kandal Cross is a holy shrine of Roman Catholics in Ooty. The people of Nilgiri call it as “Calvary of Tamil Nadu”. This is considered as a Jerusalem of the East, located on the west of Railway Station of Ooty. Pilgrims and devotees come on here every Friday to attend the special Novena Prayers and Holly Masses.

The Holy Cross brought by the delegate of Apostles and considered Holy by Roman Catholics as it showers heavenly blessings who visit the shrine. Faith of the people is that it posses magical powers which can even cure the sick and ailing people.
Kandal Cross

9. Pine Forest
The most important point to note here is that the pine trees are arranged in a natural orderly fashion that is indeed spectacular to look at. On getting downhill, a beautiful green lake opens up. Truly an amazing place, if you have not been there already.
The greenery and resinous collection of trees that grows between 3 to 80 meters tall while a majority of them between 15 and 45 meters tall. Among many species of pine trees, the smallest one are the Siberian Dwarf pin and Potosi Pinyon and the tallest one is around 81.79 of the famed species Ponderosa Pine mostly found at Rogue River in southern Oregon amidst the Siskiyou National Forest . The shoots of the Pine trees are often referred as “candles” covered in off white and brownish bud scales. These buds initially point upward but later transform into green leaves and spreads outward from bark of Pine Trees. These pine forest is long-lived with almost all trees.

Some of my photography snaps at Pine Forest :
(Click on the below image to see large version)

My Self - Akbar MD (Web Designer/Photographer)

10. 6th mile
After pine forest in the same route the 6th mile is present. It is a small green hill like place. A very beautiful place to look with full of greenery and a place every one must see when you go to Ooty and in the same road leads to pykara lake. It is also known as Wenlock Downs. The is famous spot for film shooting and many films shot here with the hero with the leading lady, singing and dancing on the grassy meadows or walking downhill in between the pine trees.

Some of my photography snaps at 6th Mile:
(Click on the below images to see large version)

My Self - Akbar MD (Web Designer/Photographer)

11. Pykara Lake
Pykara lake is the name of the village and and river located 19 km from Ooty. It is considered to be one the sacred rivers by Todas. It rises at Mukurthi peak and flows northwards and then turns to west after reaching the edge of the plateau. The river which flows through Murkurti, Pykara and Glen Morgan dams which forms an important hydr-electric power project
The river flows over a series of waterfalls the last two of 55 meters and 61 meters being known as Pykara lake. The pykara dam, Falls and reservoir attract many tourist and apart from this a boat house on pyakara reservoir is an added attraction for tourist.

Some of my photography snaps at Pykara Lake:
(Click on the below images to see large version)

My Self - Akbar MD (Web Designer/Photographer)

12. Mudumalai National Park
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, is at a distance of 67 kms from Ooty and stands at a height of 1,140m in the nilgiri hills. This is renamed after the Jayalalitha Wildlife Sanctuary, covers a forestland area of 322 sq and continuation of Bandipur Nattional Park.

Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary was the first wildlife reserve in South of India with remarkable features like terrain, hills, ravines, valleys and swamps. And with vide range of vetation. There are blooming trees like Indian Labumusum, Solanancea, bambooms, natural teak and others.

With its largest elephant populations in the country other animals to be found here are tigers, leapords, chital, dhole panther gaur, common langur, sloth bear, phtyon, crocodiles, barking deers, four horned antilopes, gaint flying squirrel, sambar, wild boar, mouse deer, spotted deer, porcupine and mangoose
The birds that can be seen in here are peacock, gray jungle fowl, the shama, the red spur fowl, gray partridge quails, Malabar grey hornbill, bulbuls, goggle eyed plover, small green barbet, green pigeons, brown dove, mynahs etc.

February to June will be the best time to visit the Park. One can get to this Sanctuary either by road or rail.
Mudumalai National Park

13. Mukurthi National Park
Several endangered species including Nilgiri Tahr, Indian Elephant, Bengal tiger, Nilgiri Langur. Mukurthi is near the northern end of the range of the Nilgiri Tahr. An estimation of 200 Tahrs in the prak including the 60 young ones sighted. Apart from thi Leopard, Bonnet Macaque, Sambar deer, Barking deer, mouse deer, otter, jungle cat, black named hare, etc., to name the few

Mukurthi national with its vide variety of Avifauna mostly of ill birds including the threatened Laughing thrush, Whitling Thrush, Woodcock, wood pigeon, blackbulbul, whit eye bird, black eagle may be seen in the grasslands.

Many reptiles made this grass land as their home which includes Geckos, Dwarf Geco, snakes like horseshoe pit viper, amphibians like common Indian toad, buffo beddommii and many other species of red eye tree frogs.

Butterflies with Himalayan affinity like blue admiral, Indian red admiral etc can be seen widely here.

Mukurthi National Park

14. Ooty Golf Club
The Ooty Golf Club was founded in 1896 but was redesigned in 1929 by Ross Thompson by turning the browns into green. At an altitude of 7600 this golf club is open the year round. 18 hole PAR 70 Course is very challenging. The entire club is surrounded by an avalanche range which contains thick woods. This Golf club contains aromatic eucalyptus , oak, rhododendron and fir which provide very scenic atmosphere.

This has a bar and restaurant where one can enjoy a great meal after a day on the course. Other recreational activities such as table tens, a card room, and billiards and other facilities are available at the club house.

Ooty Golf Club

15. Toy Train
The toy train first started between coonoor to Metupalayam during 1899, but later extended during the year 1908. The passenger service started on 15.10.1908 fromOoty to Coonoor The only heritage train runs in an elevated place in Southern India. Travelling at a maximum speed of 33 km per hour covering around 16 tunnels and tall girder bridges on the way with breathtaking view of the sight makes your journey to Ooty a memorable one.

Ooty Toy Train

16. Hindustan Photo Film
The HPF the major industrial units in Ooty. Located about 5 km away frm Ooty railway station over a sprawling area of over 300 acres. It was inaugurated by Mrs. Indra Gandhi, Prime Minister of India in the year 1967.

Currently producing the most famous brand Indu roll films which are used for taking photographs, Indu X-ray films, the quality of which is widely accepted and best among the world. Indu bromide paper on which phogotraphs are printed and Induaerographic for geological and defence mapping, industrial X-ray film, laser recording film, CAT Film and range of chemicals for the film processing.
Hindustan Photo Film - HPF

17. Parson Valley Reservoir Ooty
Full lushy green jungle can only be said no place for the weak and the scared. In one word it can be rightly said WILD. But needs permission from the Forest Department to visit Parsons Valley as it is a reserved forest. Can be entered in two direction either Mysore or Ooty, but Ooty is the preferred direction for safety. The dam and the store house will give a look of a Ghost house to make you scare more. The place is excellent and is thorough enjoyment for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With uninhibited trees, creepers and chirping of strange birds and growl of a tiger will give you good imagination of sending a shiver down in your spine. One of the common sight is seeing a bison.
Parson Valley Reservoir Ooty

Best Time to Visit Ooty

Ooty is a year round destination except monsoon season that starts from the month of July and August. The best time to visit is during the peak tourist season when the schools have vacation and the plains get stifling hot in May and June. You can also enjoy the summer festival is in May when there are flower shows and boat races.

It gets quite cold in the winter months from December to February, but beautiful and worth going if you enjoy the clouds and the mist floating into your face. Weather wise it is still great from September to November. The Mudumalai National Park is best in September-October and January-March when the foliage thins out.

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