Ooty is a hill station in the Nilgiri Hills, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located between Mysore and Coimbatore, the region is connected by the Nilgiri ghat roads and Nilgiri Mountain Railway.
It is a popular summer destination as the temperatures are pleasant and being in the midst of nature makes it a very relaxing experience.
Ooty Travel Guide
The diverse landscape of Ooty offers an opportunity to explore a number of adventure sports and recreational activities, including hang gliding.
Located around 20 km from Ooty, Kalhatty in the mountain ranges of Nilgiris is a site for hang gliding. Kalhatty has a launch area that can be reached by jeep.
Most travel agents and hotels conduct guided tour packages that will bundle you into a bus, and tick off the most important and hence crowded “tourist” spots in the area. Some hotels also arrange for private cars like Indica, TATA Sumo.
Photo: The famous Toy Train of Ooty/ CCo
Things To Do In Ooty
The Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 m. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is 10 km from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of the valley below.
You can get there by catching a bus from Ooty, but you will have to walk about 3 km. from the stop where the bus will drop you. You will enjoy the way up the peak if you love walking.
The Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint is 10 km from Coonoor Central. You can enjoy the views of the roads and tea farms.
Photo: View from Dolphins Nose / CCo
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Travel through the heart of the forest on the train which takes you through some beautiful scenery. The charming Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), blue and cream with wooden coaches and large windows, is widely regarded as a marvel of engineering.
Photo: Go on the Toy Train without fail when in Ooty/ CCo
Fern Hills Palace
This is a palace-turned-hotel of the Mysore Maharaja. Extremely beautiful place and quite affordable tea-snacks and slightly expensive buffet dinner. The palace and its estate are beautiful and are open to guests. The locals often will call it Mysore Palace to avoid confusion with the Fern Hill Hotel.
Photo: The famous Fernhills Palace/ CCo
Some call it the “Lamb’s Rock”, as it naturally took the shape of a lamb. Go through a very small forest and then you can see the rock. The view is mesmerizing from here.
Photo: The small trail leading to the rock/ CCo
One very nice place is that. A walk up a small peak with a view. The view is very pleasant and if lucky you might catch some Kollywood celebs shooting!
Photo: View of the Shooting Point/ CCo
Pykara Falls is an interesting place near the Pykara village. Bathing is not advisable here as there is a danger of drowning when there is water. However, there is not always water in the waterfalls, so check current conditions before you go.
Photo: Pykara Waterfalls/ CCo
Boating at Pykara
It’s an awesome experience to boat the Pykara lake. Though the rate of boating is a little bit high (minimum is ₹400) but still it is worthy. Fresh air, good feeling, and good view.
Make sure to also check out the historical dam with the power station at Pykara.
Photo: Pedal Boats are very common at the lake/ CCo
Ooty Botanical Gardens
The picturesque gardens that are maintained by the Horticulture department of the state, cover an area of about 22 ha. The gardens have well over 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree, which is believed to be more than 20 million years old.
The garden is very popular with nature lovers and those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close.
Note: If you are in Ooty in the month of May, then you can also be a part of the summer festival, which is held here annually. The festival holds flower shows and various cultural programs showcasing the talent of the locals and the renowned artists.
Ooty Rose gardens
It is an amazing and very large area garden. You can enjoy varieties of roses there. The roses bloom only for few months a year (April-June and Oct- December), so going there off-season is not very interesting. If interested can buy the seeds and plants also.
It’s a natural beauty. After the end of the forest, a lake is there. Be careful while walking as the path has a slope. Down the slope lies the waters of Kamaraj-Sagar Dam.
Sims Park, Coonoor
Similar to Ooty Botanical Garden, very rare plants and trees are present. The park is famous for the fruit show it hosts annually during summer festivals. Maybe get a boat ride along its waterway.
Photo: The garden when it flowers are blooming/ CCo
The Tea Factory and Tea Museum
On the way, you will find many people trying to sell tea but be cautious of them and head towards the tea factory. Located at a distance of around 4 km from the city-center, it is a must visit place for all tea lovers.
It houses the Tea Museum as well where visitors can learn about the origin of different kinds of tea leaves that are used across the globe along with the history of tea in India and its evolution in the Nilgiris. While inside the factory, one can learn and appreciate the method of tea processing by the machines. Sip a hot cup of tea as you admire the beautiful surroundings of the place.
Photo: The actual Tea Factory building / CC Nadir Hashmi
Temples and Churches
About 20 km from Ooty, this place has grown as a famous temple of Lord Muruga and is known as 7th Hill house of the lord. The view from the temple is great. There is an observatory at the top of a hill for the public to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view.
Photo: The temple at the peak/ CCo
Saint Stephens Church
Perched above the town center, the immaculate St.Stephen’s built-in 1829, is the oldest church in the Nilgiris. It has lovely stained glass, huge wooden beams hauled by elephant from the palace of Tipu Sultan.
Sometimes kitschy and sometimes touching, slabs and plaques donated by the colonial era church-goers are present.
Photo: The St Stephens church/ CCo
This tiny hill station packs in more small malls per square mile than any other hill station in the country, making it the best shopping destinations in the country.
The Municipal Market and Co-operative Super Market and Upper and Lower Bazaar Roads are the main shopping centers of Ooty. In fact, almost everything that is available in the city can be found in the various shops and stores of Ooty.
Photo: Charing cross roads/ CCo
Charing Cross Road
Things to buy from Charring Cross Road Ooty are, Woolen clothes, Toda Embroidery and antiques, Horticulture Plants & Flower Seeds. For Woolen clothes ask for Tibetan market, which will have full access to all type of woolen cloths, though you will need to bargain to get the best discount. You will be blown away by the sheer size and variety of bazaars on offer.
Things to buy from Commerical Road are Homemade chocolates, Aromatics eucalyptus Oil, Ooty Varkey and Leather Products. Walk down the narrow roads and get into shops with the most aroma too, let your nose do your shopping!
Things to buy from Ooty Market include fresh fruits, Strawberry, Ooty plums (Seasonal), Ooty Apple (Seasonal). Don’t forget to drink a juice inside fruit market, you will find a delicious fruit juice inside Ooty Market.
Photo: Vegetable shopping/ CCo
Head here to shop for the tastiest homemade chocolate. You should go to the Homemade chocolate factory to see how these chocolates are prepared and buy some original homemade chocolates directly from this chocolate factory.
Some delicious homemade chocolates displayed in a shop
Ooty is one of those places where you get vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food of excellent quality.
You can walk into any normal restaurant and be presented with a wide variety of choices from the South Indian delights of Dosa (different types like ghee roast, masala dosa, egg dosa etc.), idli (something like a steam cake made from rice) vada chutney, Pongal etc.
Also, try the Kebabs at Kebab corner for the tastiest Kebabs in Ooty. Chicken Chettinad and “Kozhi Varutharachathu” are sure to be rated among your favorites if you like your chicken on the spicy side.
If you want to indulge yourself in some locally made pastries, loaves of bread and snacks please do go ahead, as the local bread and pastries have a flavor of their own. The coconut burfy which you get in the bakeries of Ooty is a must try.
Located on a hill there are no shortages of treks and adventure sport activities here.
- Trekking – Several land routes are available, varying in terms of distance, terrain, altitude, and difficulty. Wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty of work for their cameras, with Nilgiri langurs, the tahr or gaur, and the macaque running about. The guides are well-versed in the region and will keep you engaged with interesting tidbits about the trail.
- Angling – Start by acquiring a fishing license from the Fisheries Department near the Ooty bus stand. They will even provide you with useful information about fishing spots in the region, along with the kind of equipment you might need. Take a guide along if this is your first time and you’ll learn the basics of angling in no time.
- Horse Riding – Quite a few hotels and tour organizers provide guided horse tours in tea plantations and race courses. Of course, if you are a beginner at horseback riding, we recommend you give racing a backseat until you get the hang of things!
- Mountain Biking –Mountain biking is an excellent adventure sport offered in Ooty, with a special park dedicated to the activity. The bumpy trails are perfect to wheel along, and the minimal fee of Rs. 10 per lap.
- Jungle Safari Rides – There are numerous packages which take you on a safari and give you a ride to the heart of the jungle to experience spotting wildlife and enjoy nature first hand. Night Safaris are also available.
Experiences to have in Ooty
- Visit terrace farmed cabbage fields around Ooty.
- Visit the Mudumalai forest sanctuary (1-2 days minimum).
- Visit the Needle industries which is around 6km from main town Ooty in Ketti.
- Visit 9th mile and also the 6th mile where a lot of movies are shot.
- Visit the Municipal Market and shop for fresh local fruits.
Best Time to Visit
Being a hill station this happens to be one of the few places worth going to during summers in Tamil Nadu. March to June happens to the best time to avoid excess heat in the other parts of the state and relax here.
During winter the temperature goes down to 5 -10 degrees and not frequented by tourists.
The only airport close by is at Coimbatore which is 88km from Ooty. There are numerous taxi services available in the city which takes you to all the tourist locations for a fixed price. The toy train also helps you connect to Ooty. The nearest railway station is at Mettupalayam 40 km from Ooty.
You can get in touch with your hotel reception in most of the places to get you a taxi and arrange for means of transportations to where ever you wish to go to.
Photo: Ooty Railway station/ CCo
Where to stay
The city has numerous places to stay. It has places to suit all budgets, from 5-star hotels to budget hotels. Airbnb also is a good option in the city.
Depending on your budget you can check in on online sights like Make my trip or Yatra or Trivago to get the best deal.
South India is a literate part of the country. Thus, any average a local can speak with you in English, although the lingua franca is Tamil. They do not converse in Hindi or any other Indian Language usually.
May 25, 2018 1:08 pm
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