Last Updated: November 14, 2019 Sudip Dey
Emerald grassy slopes, eucalyptus-studded pathways and the misty clouds enhance the canvas of Ooty with immense beauty. A perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, this South Indian hill station has enough exciting elements to impress any traveller dramatically. Being impressed with its scenic opulence and salubrious weather, the colonial rulers of India first decided to beautify Ooty. That is why today’s Ooty is found dotted with remarkable remnants of British India. From Stone House to Botanical Garden and Ooty Lake to Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the vintage feel is alive in Ooty till date. In order to plan a day outing or simply a weekend break, these destinations are must see in Ooty. To know which are the best among them keep reading this guide to sightseeing tour in Ooty.
If you are fond of nature photography and want to capture the best possible views of the valleys below, Doddabetta Peak should be your first pick without any second thought. Approx 10 km from Ooty, this mountain peak is one of the best tourist attractions in Ooty. If you are climbing the peak on a clear day, you can have distant views of Mysore or even Coimbatore.
Located at the lower slopes of Doddabetta Peak in Udhagamandalam, Government Botanical Garden is a delight for the nature worshippers. Brought out with a terraced layout, the garden houses a precious collection of flowers along with other exotic species of plants in different layers. The foundation stone of the park was laid down during the British rule in 1848 and was further extended and beautified by the British as well as the Indian government. The garden is divided into 6 separate sections called Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace and Nurseries.
Around 3 to 4 km from Doddabetta Peak, Rose Garden of Ooty is an ideal pick to pamper the nature lover in you. Entirely dedicated to the cultivation of exclusive varieties of roses the garden takes care of around 2000 species of pure-bred as well hybrid species. Blooming with burning colours, this magnificent garden presents an opportunity of spotting all exclusive colours of roses which are hardly seen anywhere else in the country.
Looking for a lot of amusements to make your Saturday evening cheerful? Simply head to Ooty Lake where you will get the best scenic view ever to make your evening colourful. The lake which covers an area of around 65 acres was constructed by John Sullivan in 1824. The highlight of Ooty Lake is the opportunity of boating in and walking through the lakeside surrounded by Eucalyptus trees. The boat house located next to the lake allows you to enjoy different types of boating like paddle boats, motor boats and row boats. In case you are with your young ones, let them enjoy a ride in the adjacent mini train and amusement park.
I won’t rate this park as something out of the box but still it is worth visiting without any doubt. It is counted among the few high altitude zoos in India. If one has a fascination for deers and wants to know about their different species in details, the park is an ideal pick without any doubt. The park is very close to the Ooty Lake, so in case you are in Ooty Lake in a weekend afternoon, you can explore both together. For those who are on a family vacation in Ooty can educate their kids about the Nilgiri’s wildlife in brief spending some time in this park.
Upper Bhavani Lake
It would not be wrong if I say Upper Bhavani Lake is the most tranquil tourist spot of Ooty and I would suggest you to be here at least once if you are spending your holidays in Ooty. Located in Snowdown Road of Ooty, this lake is much different from the other commercial highlights of Ooty where you can have unlimited fun but can’t enjoy solitude. The water of Upper Bhavani is greenish blue and unpolluted. Spend an evening roaming around the greenery enriched lake side or simply sit idle to feel the romanticism of solitude.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Travelling on a train route with elevations ranging from 1069 feet to 7228 feet is bound to generate abundant amusement, and the ride on a vintage train then excitement only gets multiplied manifold. To enjoy the same feel in Ooty, you must travel once in Nilgiri Mountain Railway which runs from Mettupalayam to Ootacamund or Ooty. You can either go for the entire 5 hours journey to get the most enchanting views of the nearby greenery enriched mountains or simply board the train from Coonoor to Ooty. The train that runs between Coonoor and Ooty is operated by a diesel locomotive and compliments your vintage train ride perfectly.
If you are looking for day trip options from Ooty avoiding sound and crowd, simply head to Avalanche Lake which is around 28km from the centre of the city. It is said that the lake got its name from a major landslide that took place in 1800s. The lake vicinity is also famous among the tourists for its undisturbed locale. For those who want some activities to enjoy during their break, trout fishing is an ideal option.
St. Stephen’s Church
An Anglican cathedral founded in the year 1829 St. Stephen’s Church is counted amongst the oldest churches in Nilgiris. Located on the road to Mysore in Ooty, this church depicts several religious scenes through glass painting and wooden works. The church vicinity is a treat to the eyes as you will get to see enough of greenery around the church. The stained glasses and the wooden beams add to the graceful beauty of this church.
If you are a religious soul and love taking blessings of the mother deity you should pay a visit to the Mariamman Temple of Ooty which is very close to the market. She is the local Hindu deity and worshipped as the Goddess of Rain. Some people also worship her as the incarnation of Goddess Kali. Tuesday is considered as an auspicious day to worship Goddess Mariamman. In case you are in Ooty in April, try to look up the dates of Ooty Mariamman Temple Festival so that you can fix an appointment.
Mukurthi National Park
Located at a distance of around 34km from Ooty, This park can be counted among the best weekend getaways from Ooty. The highlights of this reserve are the sizable population of Nilgiri Tahr along with exclusive varieties of orchids, ferns and rhododendron. The Mukurthi National Park can be accessed through various short trekking routes which makes your visit quite adventurous. People fond of birding should always keep their eyes open while trekking as they might get to see birds like Black Eagles, Kestrel, Grey jungle fowls, wood cock and Thrushes.
Ooty Golf Course
No matter if you are an avid Golf enthusiast or not, but spending an evening at Golf Course of Ooty won’t be a bad deal. Located at a height of 7200 ft, this golf ground is one of the oldest golf clubs of the country. Spread over an area of around 193.56 acres the club comprises 18 holes. Playing golf in this ground is easy and full of excitement as the air is thinner at this high altitude ground. The golf course is enclosed with thick forest coverings where trees like rhododendron, oak, aromatic eucalyptus, and fir enhance the scenic beauty.
Only 13 km from Ooty on the Ooty-Mysore route, Kalhatty Waterfalls is a must see attraction in Ooty. An ideal pick for enjoying a refreshing holiday, this waterfall is located at a height of around 2000m and attached with varied rivulets. Cascading through lush green mountains, this waterfall presents a breath-taking view which you would want to capture in your digital camera.
Ketti Valley View
The excitement of witnessing a valley sitting at the edge of a hill hardly has any other rival in this world and if you feel the same way then Ketti Valley won’t let you down at any cost. Only you need to keep the battery of your camera fully charged and I bet you would end up clicking a hell lot of shots. To reach this place, you need to drive along the Ooty-Coonoor road (NH67) for around 4 km. Reaching this spot you can witness the enchanting views of Ketti Valley which is further extended from the Mysore plateau to the Coimbatore plains.
Tribal Research Centre
If you are interested to know about the tribal culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu in minute detail, perhaps TRC (Tribal Research Centre) of Ooty is the best option. The uniqueness of tribal lifestyle and their association with the Indian mainstream is an exciting element to study here. The centre has an open air tribal museum along Audio-video system where you can enjoy tribal dance and song.
Lamb’s Rock is a popular tourist spot in Coonoor where you should travel only if you know to respect the relationship between solitude and the beauty of nature. If you can reach here in the morning at around 8 or so you get to see the valley at her best. Placid, coated with the layers of cloud and decked with abundant greenery, this view point lets you witness the beauty of Coimbatore Plains along with the coffee estates and tea estates growing on the slopes of the Nilgiri Hills.
Perhaps just like me, you also count Ooty among the best hill stations of India to see the charisma of abundant greenery and small hillocks. So, it is obvious that you can’t stop yourself finding the best greenery enriched view of this part of South India. To tell you honestly, Glenmorgan is the ideal place to satiate the hunger of your greenery-loving eyes. It is a village at a distance of around 25 km from Ooty where you can see the oldest tea estate of this region. It has a small ropeway running from a power house in Singara to Glenmorgan.
Claimed to be the second highest waterfall in Nilgiris, Catherine Waterfalls is a double-cascaded mountain stream in Kotagiri. It can be seen from another attraction of Ooti- Dolphin’s Nose. Catherine Falls is around 250 ft high and one can reach the top of the fall walking. The fall is the source of Kallar River. It is around 22 km from Ooty.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are holidaying in Ooty and have ample time in your hands you should not miss to explore Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary which is around 31km from Ooty. Mudumalai is a popular tiger sanctuary on the northwestern part of the Nilgiri Hills and shares boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala. The park houses around 266 species of birds along with critically endangered Indian white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture. Among the mammals, Indian leopard, Bengal Tiger and Gaur are the major attractions of this park.
I won’t say it’s a heritage building but yes vintage residence no doubt. To see the remnants of British colonials in Ooty, this is a perfect pick. It is believed to the first ever British bungalow constructed in Ooty by John Sullivan. The bungalow was called Kal Bangla by the tribals. Today, the house is converted into Government Arts College of Ooty. The nightview of the house is superb and you should explore the collection of relics inside the house.
Published: 11 Mar, 2015