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Ooty, Tamil Nadu

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In the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu’s southern state is Ooty—originally known as Udhagamandalam—a charming vacation destination. A former summer retreat of the British Raj, it is now a haven for nature lovers thanks to its abundance of greenery, serene blue mountains, clear lakes, alpine woods, and a climate resembling English summers. A quaint hill town, perched against the backdrop of Doddabetta, it is lined with traditional and colonial-style buildings, which make it the perfect fusion of the new and the old. Clear blue skies, lush green hills, deep verdant valleys and pleasant weather culminate to make this gem of the Nilgiris one of the most attractive tourist destinations in South India. It is dotted with coffee and tea plantations, eucalyptus, conifer, and pine forests; and a dense canopy of shola trees. Because of its famed beauty, it is also known as the “Switzerland of India” and the “Queen of Hill Stations.”

Nearby Places to See

Pykara Village
Pykara is a stunning village with a gushing river and a waterfall of the same name, located about 21 kilometres from Ootacamund. The Pykara is the district’s largest river. The river’s final two cascades, which are 55 m and 61 m in height, descend majestically in a series of waterfalls. These then combine to create the renowned Pykara Falls in the area, from which you can also take a number of daring trekking trails. The village’s lush sholas, verdant meadows, and abundant wildlife also draw visitors.
Doddabetta Peak
With a height of 2,637 metres, Doddabetta, which means “big mountain” in Sanskrit, is the highest peak in the Nilgiris. It offers expansive views of a lush landscape on clear days. Doddabetta mountain is densely forested with sholas, ferns, and eucalyptus plants. A Telescope House set up by the Tourism Department at the peak, which provides a bird’s eye view of the entire district, attracts throngs of tourists. It also provides an excellent view of the Hecuba, Kattadadu, and Kulkudi summits.
Mudumalai National Park
This park, which is situated along the banks of the River Moyar, is populated by animals like tigers, leopards, sloth bears, elephants, mouse deer, and sambar. Here, reptiles like crocodiles and snakes are common. The park is a paradise for birdwatchers, who can see endemic and migratory birds like falcons, hawk eagles, black woodpeckers, brown doves, and king vultures.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Beginning in 1899 from Mettupalayam to Coonoor, the Nilgiri Rail Line was eventually extended to Udhagamandalam in 1908. A ride on the toy train along this track will take you from an elevation of 1,069 feet to 7,228 feet. This railway system has some of the steepest gradients in all of Asia. Mettupalayam to Ootacamund is connected by this line, which travels the 48 kilometres in about five hours by way of Kellar, Coonoor, Wellington, and Lovedale. The route is breathtakingly beautiful and scenic, particularly picturesque owing to the surrounding rocky terrain, ravines and lush green hills that one passes by.
Avalanche Lake
On the route from Upper-Bhavani to Ooty lies the Avalanche Lake. The trip itself is worthwhile because the route itself is full of breathtaking sights. It is surrounded by a rolling landscape covered with blooming flowers. One can get a bird’s eye view of the entire region from the mountain’s summit. Due to the thick foliages, sunlight is a little difficult to come by and the forest area is mostly covered in shadows, inhabited by vast numbers of avifauna. Here, adventurers can partake in a wide range of activities like hiking, rafting, fishing, and camping.
Ooty Lake
It is the artificial Ooty Lake that draws visitors to this part of the Nilgiris. The boating facilities on this L-shaped lake make it a popular tourist destination. The lake is surrounded by eucalyptus trees and other lush vegetation, which adds to the area’s tranquillity. The lake makes for a stunning photography location with the exotic Nilgiris as a backdrop. The lake has appeal for birdwatchers as well, because it provides shelter for a variety of birds. Numerous boat races that take place throughout the year are held on the lake.