Situated in the very heart of the Nilgiri Hills in the Western Ghats, Ooty or Udhagamandalam is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Also, referred to as the ‘Queen of The Hills’, Ooty is one of the most serene hill stations you can ever visit. The word ‘Nilgiris’ literally translates to the ‘Blue Mountains’, which is a reference to the bluish haze from the eucalyptus trees and to the rare ‘Kurunji’ flowers that cover these mountains once in every 12 years making it a marvelous sight to behold.
Ooty was originally inhabited by the mountain dwelling Toda people and later came under the control of the British East India Company, which led to the transformation of the place into a majestic hill town. The town was established as a summer retreat for protection from the tropical climate of the lower regions of Tamil Nadu and served as the summer capital of the Madras Presidency. Today Ooty remains as one of the most favored hill stations in India and is situated at an average elevation of 2,240 meters above sea level. The town’s chief source of economy is tourism along with the manufacture of medicines and the production of the famous ‘Nilgiri Tea’
Despite of lying in the tropical regions of southern India, Ooty due to its elevation, enjoys one of the most pleasant and cool climate throughout the year. The temperature never goes beyond 20 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The average temperature during the summer months between March and August stays around 15 degrees and can get chilly during the nights between December and February. Ooty is famous for its perennial spring season which allows for tourists to visit the place throughout the year.
Best Time To Visit
While the perennially pleasant climate of Ooty allows the tourists to visit the town during any time of the year, one of the best times to visit Ooty would be between the summer months of May and August. Several exhibitions, boat races and cultural festivals are held during the month of May making it one of the best times to visit the hill town.
Attractions/Things to Do
Known for its serene surroundings in the picturesque Nilgiri Mountains, Ooty is one of the most visited hill stations in India. Gardens, meadows, viewpoints, wildlife reserves, temples, churches, colonial style buildings, ethnic centers, and several eateries, Ooty has everything that a tourist desires from a place he/she visits. Known as a popular summer retreat, the town enjoys one of the most pleasant all-year round climate found in India. Ooty is famous for its vast tea plantations and terraced farms that provide some breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Ooty is also famous for its chocolates and Gourmet Cheese that can be bought off the several stores located across the town.
Ooty Botanical Gardens, Doddabetta Peak, Government Rose Gardens, Pykara River, Ooty Lake, Mudumalai National Park, Emerald Lake, Stone House, Toda Huts, Ooty Mountain Railway, St. Stephens Church, Wax World, Tribal Museum, Deer Park and Mariamman Temple are few of the most important tourist attractions in the hill town of Ooty.
How To Reach
Ooty is well connected through roads and trains with the various cities in Tamil Nadu and Surrounding States. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site and trains are available from the various major railway stations in Tamil Nadu. The train follows a very scenic route and is a must try attraction. Alternatively, the town can also be reached via road as buses and taxis are available from all major towns in Tamil Nadu and neighboring states of Kerala and Karnataka. Like the train route, the road trip is equally scenic and is best travelled during the daytime when visitors can enjoy the views of the Nilgiris.
Distance From Major Cities
1. Coimbatore – 85 kilometers
2. Bangalore – 266 kilometers
3. Mysore – 125 kilometers
4. Mangalore – 373 kilometers
5. Cochin – 275 kilometers
6. Chennai – 546 kilometers
7. Hyderabad – 842 kilometers
8. Mumbai – 1158 kilometers
9. Panji – 722 kilometers
10. Ahmedabad – 1,666 kilometers
11. Jaipur – 2,328 kilometers
12. Delhi – 2,596 kilometers
13. Lucknow – 2,144 kilometers
14. Chandigarh – 2,821 kilometers
15. Kolkata – 2,172 kilometers
Accessibility and Accommodation
Being a popular tourist retreat since the time of the British Raj, Ooty is well connected with all the major towns in Tamil Nadu by roads and railways. The nearest international airport is located in the state capital Chennai. Taxis and auto rickshaws are available at fairly cheap prices to get around the city and the people are friendly and hospitable. Tourism being the major source of the town’s economy, there is no shortage of accommodation facilities that suit all types of tourist budgets.