Officially known as Udhagamandalam, situated in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Ooty is town and the district capital of Nilgiri District. It is a well known tourist destination in the Nilgiri hills. In terms of elevation it reaches up to a height of 7500 feet above sea level.
Temperatures during the summers range from 10ºC to 25ºC. Tamil is the local language besides bagada and paniya. Other languages like English, Hindi, Kannada & Malayalam are also spoken to an extent. Boarding schools also contribute to the local economy.
The Nilgiri Hills were part of Chera Empire in ancient times. In the 12th Century it became a part of Hoysala empire under king Vishnuvardhana ,then a part of the Kingdom of Mysore of Tipu Sultan and finally fell into the hands of the British in the 18th century. During the British rule a trend of owning lands by Britishers was noticed. The hills were also a place of vacation for the Britishers during the British occupation. Some of the railway tracks were personally designed by influential Britishers. The Beauty of the place made the Britishers call it “Queen of Hills”.
Some of the tourist attractions includes Botanical Garden, Government Museum – Ooty, Kalhatty Falls, Kandal Cross Shrine, Mini Garden and Rose Garden, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Ooty Lake, the hills which become even more tourist friendly during the Summer Festival, Tea and Tourism Festival, St. Stephen’s Church, Wax World & the Ooty Golf Links are some of the tourist attractions. Agriculture & boarding schools contribute to the local economy apart from tourism.
How to reach Ooty
By train Ooty is connected to Mettupalayam which is eventually connected to Coimbatore and Chennai. There is also toy train route connecting Ooty with Mettupalayam and Coonoor.
Bus services are available to and from Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Palghat, Calicut, Tirupati and some other areas of south India. National highways connect Ooty to all important town and cities.
Nearest airport is at Coimbatore which 105 km from Ooty.
Transportation Within Ooty
Transportation within Ooty includes taxis, tourist cabs & auto rickshaws. Town buses are also available.
Places of Accommodation
Hotels ranging from economy to luxury classes are available besides lodges and resorts which includes both Indian & Western style food. Advance booking is highly recommended during the tourist season.
Some of the names includes Blue hills Chandan Vihar ,Tandoor Mahal, Ooty Coffee House, Chinkos Chinese Restaurant & Hills Palace.
Ooty is an exciting place for trekkers. The hilly surrounding of the place makes it extremely trekker friendly. There are numerous spots for trekking. The natural beauty of the area makes it even more pleasurable.
During March to May every year Hand-gliding courses are arranged with collaboration with the Department of Tourism.
Some specialties of the area includes Eucalyptus oil, Nilgiri tea & Toda embroideries. On Charring Cross there are showrooms of Kerala Handicrafts and Poompuhar of Tamil Nadu Handicrafts and there is also a Super Market. The Super Market & the Municipal Market are the best places for buying fruits and vegetables.
Therefore as you can see Ooty is the place to visit if you are a hill station lover. Both in terms of afford-ability & comfort it is one of the best places that India has to offer.
This article has been contributed by my friend Priyojit Chatterjee, who has been to the place recently