The Queen Of Hills Stations:OOTY
Ooty, dubbed as the ‘Queen on Hill Stations’, is the most widespread hill station in South India. Capital to the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, it is located at a height of 7,350 ft. Nature has always been generous on this hill station located in the Blue Mountains. The area is remarkably blessed with tea and coffee plantations, and covered with conifers, eucalyptus, pines and wattle. The lanes could easily be mistaken for an English countryside. Ooty is a mixture of Indian and British cultures with Hindu temples prevailing alongside beautiful parks and British style bungalows. The town excitingly labeled as ‘Snooty Ooty’, was established by the Britishers in early 19th century as the summer capital of the Madras government.
The town has a subtropical highland climate. In stark contrast of most of the southern part of India, Ooty has a pleasant climate throughout the year. The town always seems to be stuck in spring season, though the temperature could fall in the months of January and February. Maximum average temperature throughout the year remains between 17-20°C, and the average minimum temperature usually remains between 5-12°C. The town sees an annual rainfall of 121 cm. the best time to visit Ooty is from April to June, and September to November.
OOTY’S FOOD GUIDE
Ooty is food lover’s delight, the flawless residence to excite your taste buds. It is an ecstasy for chocolate lovers, walk into any bakery and you’ll walk away with varieties of chocolates ranging from dark bitter chocolate to strawberry flavored chocolate and nutty fruit flavored chocolates. It is very difficult to resist the cakes, buns, cookies and tarts available in almost every bakery in the town. The fruit and nut chocolate is most popular throughout the town. With tea plantations all around the town, one can find tea stalls in every corner of Ooty. For a more delicate experience head to any tea plantation and enjoy a session of tea tasting. People who prefer wine can visit the local vineyards and experience the delights of wine tasting.
Ooty houses a number of tourist attractions, making it one of the favourite hill station in South India. It offers a phantasmagoria of visual delicacies.
Botanical Garden Ooty
Enticing tourists from all over the world, the garden was built in 1847 by Marquis of Teedale. It houses an exquisite collection of flowering trees and beautiful shrubs. One can also see a rare tree species of 20 million year old fossil tree, a monkey’s puzzle tree, enormous variety of flowering bushes and plants. Rare colored lilies are a common sight in the garden. It is a favourite destination for botany lovers.
Ooty Lake & Boat House
A man-made lake formed in 1823-25 by tapping the streams flowing down Ooty valley. It was designed by John Sullivan, also the founder Ooty itself. The lake has since shrunk in size and accommodating a racecourse, bus stand and a mini garden.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread across an area of 32,155 hectares, the sanctuary is a mix of flat land, open grassland, swamp, and valleys. The sanctuary is situated at a height of 1000m. Situated in an ecological hotspot, one can find a wide variety of flora and fauna. Animals like bonnet, mouse deer, Indian muntjac, wild boar and flying squirrel are part of the wildlife present in Mudumalai.
Located at a distance of 10 Kms from Ooty, it is the highest peak in the Nilgiri district. The word ‘Doddabetta’ literally means Big Mountain, the peak is located at the junction of Western and Eastern Ghats. One can have a magnificent panoramic view of landscape and the whole of the District and even beyond.
Situated in the Kalhatty Ghats (which are located at 2,000m above sea level), the picturesque waterfalls are a popular spot for picnics and treks. The height of the falls is 40m, and can only be seen during September to November.
Centenary Rose Park
Located in the heart of the town, the garden is laid out on a stretch of 10 acres of land. The garden is gorgeously ornamented by rose tunnels, pergolas, bowers and rose creepers. The garden has the largest collection of roses in the country, with around 3600 varieties which can be found in the garden. Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department maintains the garden, and it also received the ‘Garden of Excellence’ by the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS) in 2006.