Ooty (Udagamandalam) the ‘Queen of Hills’ is perched at an altitude of 7500 feet above sea level, amidst the verdant Nilgiris or Blue Mountains. It is one of the oldest mountain ranges, older than the Himalayas, located at the tri junction of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Ooty is a part of the Western Ghats. It was originally tribal land and was occupied by the Todas around what is now the Ooty area and by Kotas round what is now the Kotagiri area. The Badagas appeared here much later from the Mysore Plateau, the unconfirmed date being 1550. Although the Nilgiri hills are mentioned in the Ramyayana of Valmiki estimated by Western scholars to have been recorded in the second century B.C. They remained all but undiscovered by Europeans until 1602. It is endowed with extraordinary scenic beauty and is the most popular hill station of the South and also one of the best known hill resorts of India. The salubrious climate of Udagamandalam makes it a resort for all seasons, although the tourist season is said to be from April to June.
The beautiful resort resembling an English country town was first discovered in 1819, by John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. It was later named as Ootacamund or Ootty derived from the word Ottakkalmandu, which means the ‘village of a single stone’. Udagamandalam is the Tamil name proposed by the government, but the town is still more popular by its British name, Ooty and is the ‘Pride of Tamil Nadu’. The entire region was previously inhabited by the Toda tribal’s and was never subjugated directly under any dynastic rule. By the end of the 19th century, the Nilgiri hills were completely accessible with the laying of roads and the railway line. This delightful land up in the cool, nestling in the green heights of cloud kissing mountains is reached by a thrill - a - minute ghat road winding its way through the hills with picturesque vistas at every bend. Or one can take up a joy ride in a toy train “choo-chooing’ up the mountains and providing one of the most unique experience. The ambient beauty of Ooty lies in its peaceful ranges surrounded by a misty blue haze, which gives them the name Nilgiris or Blue Mountains. The colonial legacy of this British developed hill resort is still reflected in its terraced Botanical Garden, private schools, Ooty club and churches. The charming resort is ideally suited for a truly enchanting holiday, hunting the forests, fishing the streams, boating on the lake, hiking on the downs, meandering through lovely gardens, playing a game of golf or tennis, or visiting tribal settlements.
Ooty Tourism Information
Ooty is also famous for its fine golf course. The Golf Club here was started in 1889, by Col. Ross Thompson. The 18 holed world famous courses is unique and playing on it is a great experience.
It is located about 21 km on Udagamandalam Mysore road. It is considered very sacred by the Todas. The Pykara river rises at Mukurti peak. It passes through hilly tract, generally keeping to North and turns to West after reaching the Plateau’s edge. It gets down majestically in a series of cascades and the last two falls of 55 meters and 61 meters and 61 meters are known as Pykara falls. They are at about 20 km from Ootty. A wonderful boat house is maintained at Pykara Dam by the TTDC. The Pykara dam and reservoir attracts many tourists especially in the month of July.
Ooty Lake Boat House
This lake known famously as “Ooty Lake’. The lake was constructed in 1823 to 1825 by Mr. John Sullivan, the first collector of Ooty. A wide range of Boats like Pedal Boat, Row Boat, Aqua Bike etc. are available. Dancing cars, Mini Train are added attractions here. This Boat house is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. Entrance Fees Rs. 5 Camera Rs. 10, Video Camera Rs. 100.
Government Museum Udhagamandalam
The museum located on the Mysore Road exhibits various tribal objects, representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu and the ecological details of the Nilgiri district. Timings: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm Closed on Fridays, Second Saturdays and Government holidays.
Horse Racing Udhagamandalam
The Race Course is situated in the heart of the city. Running area about 2.4 km along and is one of the famous race courses in India. It is a very popular sport during the summer months of April, May and June. . Through bred horses racing for top honors is a sight to behold.
Children’s Park Udhagamandalam
A lovely Children’s park is in the Eastern end of the lake. The lawn and the budding flowers overlooking the lake water and grass filled ground will tempt ever child to enjoy the atmosphere and make them play joyfully. The view of St. Thomas Church, the moving mountain railway from the railway station, the boating and rowing, the rare horse race etc. are the unique scenes in this garden.
Avalanche is located 28 km from Ooty. The spectacular area around the Avalanche or Canada Dam is endowed with great natural beauty. The beautiful lake here is surrounded by thick Shola vegetation. It is on the way to Upper-Bhavani from Ooty via Emerald Camp. The gorgeous scenery at every turn is an experience of wonder and delight. The rivers from the top of the hill at Avalanche give a magnificent sight of the Avalanche Valley and reservoir. One can undertake hiking and fishing activities over here with prior permissions from the wildlife or forest departments.
It was established in 1989 and has a fine collection of artefacts related to the Nilgiri district. The exhibits include timber, Kurinji flower, insects, butterflies, rocks and wood carving. Stone sculptures, bronze works, model of Toda hut and coins can also be seen here. The museum is under the control of a Curator of Museums.
Ketti Valley View
Located on the road to Coonoor, which is considered to be the second largest Valley in the World. This idyllic spot is a cluster of tiny villages that extended to the plains of Coimbatore and Mysore plateau.
This stretch of about 20,000 acres of grassland with Sholas or ‘gallery forest’ on the Gudalur road is about 8 km from the station. It is the most popular picnic spot of Ooty. The undulating landscape is blessed splendid scenic beauty and rich vegetation. The Gymkhana Club, the Govt. Sheep Farm and Hindustan Photo Films Company are located here.
This is the first bungalow constructed in Ooty. It was built by John Sullivan and was called as ‘Kal Bangala’ by the tribals (Kal means stone in Tamil). Today, it is the official residence for the principal of the Govt. Art College.