Ooty or Udagamandalam is a beautiful hillstation in south India. It is carpeted by lush greenery and fairly untouched landscapes. Often referred to as the Queen of Hillstations, Ooty draws a large number of tourists every year, attracted by it’s natural beauty and perfect picnic spots. We discover some of the best places to visit in Ooty.
Less than 20 kilometers from Ooty, Coonoor makes a great day trip. Coonoor is a very laid back place where most activities are centered around nature and its appreciation. This is the ideal place to feel one with Mother Nature and indulge in some rest and relaxation.
2. Niligiri Toy Train Ride
Nilgiri’s famous Toy Train is a great way to reach Coonoor. The charming train started operating over a century ago and considering the terrain of the region it is rightfully considered an engineering marvel. The blue-cream train oozes old world charm with delightful wooden coaches and large windows that provide enchanting views. It’s called a toy train because it’s so slow that you can high-five the children outside. It stops every hour and so you can easily hop in and out for a short photo session. A ride of the usually crowded train should be considered as a rare experience as well as a functional mode of transport.
3. History of Nature
Ooty is a feast for those interested in horticulture. Many varieties of fruits and flowers are grown at the Government Botanical gardens, which were opened in 1847. 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.
4. Lake Ooty
If you like the outdoors you will love the Ooty lake. It was built in 1825 and is almost 3 kms long. Boating, angling, strolling around the perimeter are popular activities here. This is one of the best places to visit in Ooty for families who want to spend time together. Fishing permission is required ahead of time.
5. The Dodabetta Peak
Perched at an altitude of 2,623 meters, this is the highest point in the district, and the best place to visit in Ooty for a spectacular vantage point. It is located 10kms from Ooty and is a great place for photographers and nature lovers. On a clear day you can see as far as Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore.
6. Lamb’s Rock
This is another vantage point that’s shared by Coonoor and Ooty in terms of distance. It serves as a lovely picnic spot and offers splendid vistas of the plains of Coimbatore and the region’s tea states.
16kms from Kotagiri is Kodanadu. It is situated on the eastern edge of the Nilgiris. This is also a good viewpoint, which offers enchanting views of the Moyar river and endless tea estates. The Rangasamy peak is visible from the watchtower here.
In January, you can enjoy a Tea and Tourism Festival. But other important regional festivals are Thaipoosam in Elk Hill Murugan Temple (February), Bookkapuram Mariamman Annual Festival (February), Ooty Mariamman Temple Festival (April), Coonoor Mariamman Temple Festival (April), Boat Races and Boat Pageantry in Ooty (May), Flower show in Ooty (May) and Fruit show in Coonoor (May).
- The nearest airport is in Coimbatore, 100 km away. You can catch a direct flight to Coimbatore from Chennai, Kozhikode, Bangalore and Mumbai. Ooty is a 3 to 4 hour drive from Coimbatore, depending upon traffic and weather conditions.
- Nearest broad gauge railway head is Mettupalayam (46 kms). The major broad gauge railway junction is Coimbatore. It is connected with all major cities.
- Mettupalayam to Ooty is connected by a Mountain Railway which is a scenic 4 hour journey. The ‘Nilgiri toy train’ connects these two destinations, at the foot of the Nilgiris.
- Ooty is well connected by good roads. It is 535 km from Chennai (via Salem), 89 km from Coimbatore, 18 km from Coonoor (via Gudalur), 155 km from Mysore, 187 km from Calicut, 290 km from Bangalore, 281 km from Kochi (via Coimbatore and Palakkad), 236 km from Kodaikanal (via Coimbatore and Palani).
- Ooty enjoys superb weather all year round. December and January are its winter months. The temperature in winter hovers around 5C. In summer, the temperature can go up to 25C.
- A homestay offers the perfect accommodation for a trip to Ooty. A mere five minute drive from the main Ooty town Aarani Cottage makes an ideal base to stay.
- Many visitors opt to stay in Coonoor and take day trips to Ooty. Check out our wide range of Coonoor homestays.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.