Known as Queen of Hill stations, Ooty offers a lot many things for a traveler to explore. Situated at a stretch of 105 kilometers from Coimbatore, the city plays host to Tea and Tourism Festival and woos tourists from across the world. As the city is blessed with streams, lakes and waterways, one can enjoy angling here. If you are eager to explore more of the nature, you can also go for trekking. The amazing natural scenes will definitely take your breath away. Flower shows and boat races are organized here during summer festivals in May. The best time to visit Ooty is during May and June.
The tea estates sprawling on large areas as well as tea gardens spreading on for miles’ appeal to the tourists from different corners. Now let’s figure out the top 10 attractions of this place:
1. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
A World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 2005, it has a rail system which is known to be the most unique and steepest in Asia. It has been the charm of Nilgiri since the year 1899. Another unique aspect of this railway is that its X Class loco is the youngest and over 50 years old, while the oldest is known to be 80 years old.
It’s been a century since it started running on tracks through dense forests, different time lanes, passing through the valleys as well as dark tunnels. It whistles, chugs, steal-clacks, and moves into a dream gorge. It’s a treat for kids as well as elders.
2. Botanical Garden
Ooty Botanical Garden is a paradise for nature lovers. There is a Rose Garden with small terrace on the top of a hill aside the Etienne Road. You should visit here in April as a thousand varieties of flowers bloom here. The garden spreads over 22 hectares of area and was established in the year 1847 with the hard work of renowned architect, William Graham McIvor. Situated on the slopes of Doddabetta peak, these gardens are more of a terrace type in their layout which adds more to the charm.
There are meadows of different colors comprising shrubs, herbs, flowers, ferns etc.
3. Pykara lake
Situated 21 km from the Ooty-Mysore road, the lake is surrounded by dense forest. Pykara is one of the largest rivers here which can be seen falling down from two ends. Locals as well as tourists visit here quite frequently for picnic purpose. Tamil Nadu Tourism runs a boat house, a rest house and a restaurant here. Motorboat and speedboat are available for a fun-filled ride.
4. Upper Bhavani Lake
A place rich with dense fauna, this lake also offers an opportunity for trekking. Situated at 10-km stretch from Korakundah, one can start trekking right from Bangithapal via Sispara to reach to their final destination, that is the Silent Valley. You need to get permission from forest department for trekking in this region which is surrounded by sholas trees.
The other attraction adding beauty to this place is a big dam which serves as a source of water for nearby locations. It’s 60 km from Ooty and is the best route to visit the Mukurthi National Park. A wildlife sanctuary exists at this place covering an area of 70 sq. km which plays host to Nilgiri Tahr. There are many species here which include Jungle Cats, Jackals, Giant Squirrels, Nilgiri Tahr etc.
It is the best location for walking, trekking and hiking holidays.
5. Avalanche Lake
Situated 28-km away from Ooty in Nilgiris, Avalanche Lake emerged naturally in 1823 after massive landslides and hence was called as Avalanche lake. You can see small waterfalls sliding down from mountains creating an amazing ambiance. It is surrounded by dense forests and hence even sunlight can’t enter these forests. The best time to visit here is after monsoons. Trekking and camping are popular activities here. However prior permission is required from forest office for such activities as the lake is located inside the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve.
6. Doddabetta Peak
Enjoying the credit of being at the highest vantage point, Doddabetta Peak is located at a height of around 2,623 m. It’s one of the highest peaks in South India, lying at the combing junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats.
The views seen from here are a pristine valley, Coimbatore plains and Mysore’s flat highlands. There is a Telescope House managed by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation here enabling visitors to see the distant locations better. It gives a holistic view of the surrounding landscape. Trekking can be taken up by tourists at Doddabetta Peak.
7. Pykara Falls
Pykara Falls are formed when Pykara river divides into two parts and slides down, one from 55 meters and the other from a height of 61 meters. They finally become the Pykara falls which are situated 1.5 kilometers away from the Pykara lake.
8. Rose Garden
If you want to have look at different varieties of roses, you should visit the Rose Garden here which has undoubtedly a beautiful collection of roses. These roses have been collected from different parts of the world and are spread over 22 acres. A few of the rare varieties seen here include Black Rose, Miniature Rose, Hybrid Tea Roses, Ramblers, Polyanthus, Yakimour etc.
An angel’s statue is also seen here. There are over five terraces spreading on four hectares which carry rose hedges.
9. Shooting Point
Situated 9 miles from Ooty, Shooting Point is a green and lengthy shooting spot surrounded by forest & mountains. It is also called as “Shooting Medu” which is serene and calm and can be a good option for picnics.
10. Ooty Lake
The Ooty Lake forms an irregular ‘L’ shape from behind the central bus stand. It was constructed artificially by John Sullivar, who founded Ooty. In recent years, it has shrunk in size giving way to bus stand, mini garden and a racecourse. There is a boat house at another end where all kinds of boats are available on rent. Summers see many festivals such as boat races and boat pageantry. A kids’ park is also there at the end of boat house which has a toy train. You can also enjoy jolly rides as there are many local ponies outside.
A deer park is located in the adjacent area.
The mountains, flora, fauna and lakes continue capturing tourists’ imagination. It still maintains its colonial charm and enjoys a tribal culture as well and hence should be visited once to see this rare blend of its kind which exists nowhere else but in Ooty.