Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ooty Botanical Garden

One of the must visit place in Ooty is the botanical garden. It is the most famous among the tourists visiting Ooty and this can easily be understood from the fact that the botanical remain crowded through out the day and through out the year. I prefer to visit this place during winters as the crowd is still less in winters compared to that in summers. Spread over 55 acres this botanical garden was built in the year 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale. Every year in the month of May, the flower show is organized at the Ooty botanical garden that exhibits various flowers along with rare plant species. The botanical Garden is maintained by the Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu. Click here for list of tourist place in Ooty

Ooty Centenary Rose Garden - Photos from the Rose Garden

The Ooty Centenary Rose Garden has more than 1000 varieties of roses in it. Probably the maximum number of varieties in a single garden. The Rose Garden is situated in the heart of Ooty town and it is located around one km from the Charring Cross. It covers close to 10acres of land and is maintained by Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department. The Rose Garden is situated on the Elk Hill. This garden was awarded the best rose garden in entire south Asia from the International Rose society in 2006.
I have put some of the photos that I took at the Rose Garden in this post. Click here to read more about the tourist places to visit in Ooty.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dolphin's nose Ooty - Coonoor

Dolphin's nose is one of the most scenic view point near Coonoor ( and Ooty). Click here to know more about the tourist places in Ooty and Coonoor . The road to Dolphin's nose is not in a very good shape. When I went there last cementing of the road was in progress and due to that there were traffic jams at a couple of places and we spent close to 2 hours stuck in traffic jams. I made good use of these traffic jams and clicked some of the best picture ever. Dolphin's nose was covered with clouds and the lush green tea gardens in the white clouds were worth enjoying and capturing. I did my best and below are some of them.. Enjoy...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ooty Honeymoon

For many many years Ooty has been one of the most preferred place for honeymooners from not only in South India but from North India as well. If you visit any travel website or a travel agent he will definitely have one or two Ooty Honeymoon packages. There are various websites these days that are offering good Ooty Honeymoon packages like MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Yatra, eezeego1 and many more. What I would suggest is that one should book the resort/hotel away from the hustle and bustle of the Ooty town and can come for lunch/dinner to the town. You will find mainly South Indian cuisine inside the town. I could find few good eateries. I really liked the Thai Green curry at Nahar Restaurant. It is located at the Charring Cross. Another one that serves good Punjabi food is Dhaba Lahori. The food at the Sinclairs Hotel is also good but mind you the kitchen at almost all the places close at 3 so try to reach these places before that.

menu @ dhaba Lahori
If you are travelling during summers a light woolen would do but if you are there during winters don't forget to carry good woolen jacket as it tends to be really cold at night. The main means of transport are Auto-rickshaw. You might have to bargain at every point while hiring the auto. There are various activities that one can get involved when in Ooty. There are a lot of options of sight seeing and photography (visit the Ooty picture gallery ) in and around Ooty. Another activity in one can engage oneself is walking on the main Ooty road in the evening when the sun has gone down. One can buy homemade chocolates in Ooty at almost every shop. Do the chocolates and evening walk with the loved one excite you. Go ahead book an Ooty package or just drive down to Ooty ( I prefer driving :) ). I hate visiting places in tour packages. I would suggest including Coonoor, Kotagiri, Wellington and the ride on Nilgiri toy train in your visit to Ooty. Few things to read before going to Ooty. - About Ooty - Ooty routes - Tourist places in Ooty - Ooty hotels and resort If you are adventurous kind of couple I would definitely suggest visiting Madumalai Forest and Pykara Lake. You will have to contact the resorts much in advance as they run full most of the time. Also if you know someone in defense you can get permission to use their facilities in Pykara Lake. You can enjoy most of the water sports like water scooter and speed boats.

Lake View Ooty

Some beautiful view of the Ooty Lake. Another very picturesque tourist spot of Ooty. This man made lake is more than 150 Years old and has been a major tourist attraction in Ooty. Near to this lake are many more tourist spots like - children park, toy train, 3D shows, fun rides etc. There is option of double seater and 4 seater pedal boats for tourists. Speed boats are also available for those not willing to sweat out. Click here for info on - Tourist attractions in Ooty - List of Hotels in Ooty - Children park Ooty

Hotel Sinclairs Ooty

Hotel Sinclairs Ooty

I stayed for 3 nights and 4 days are Hotel Sinclairs - Ooty. It is a 3 star hotel located close to Ooty town. I think it would be around 5 KMs from the Charring Cross. I got a good deal from Makemytrip.com . I got the entire package including tea, lunch and dinner for 10K. The room that we got was not up to the standard of a 3 star hotel. The room was damp but later I figured out that most of the hotels in Ooty are like that. Few things that I really liked about the hotel Sinclairs. - Hotel Sinclairs Ooty is the only hotel in Ooty that has central heating system in place. - Food is really good at Hotel Sinclairs Ooty - Beautiful view of the town Below are some of the pictures that I clicked there. Click here to read about
tourist places in Ooty
hotels in Ooty

Ooty Tea

Ooty is known for its tea. I really wanted to taste the Nilgiri Tea when I went there. Only there I realized that tea is actually not grown in Ooty but in Kotagiri and Coonoor. Though, there are few Tea factories in Ooty but that is just to attract tourists. I went to one of them (Near Hotel Sinclairs). It is good to understand how the tea is processed and to know the steps through which the tea leaves undergo before it reaches us but one thing that you should be aware of before going to this place. The tea that is served here is not the same that are in the packets meant for Sale. The tea that they serve is really good and I got few of them and all the flavors are horrible. To read more about place to visit in Ooty

Doddabetta Peak - Ooty

Some of the picture that I clicked at the Doddabetta Peak. This place is ideal for photography. Best time to visit Doddabetta Peak would be early morning for view of sunrise and then in the evening for the view of sunset. During day time it tends to be quite hot if there is no cloud cover. You can view the entire town from this peak. Click here to read more about Doddabetta Peak and other tourist places in Ooty.

Thursday, June 12, 2008



Coonoor is the second largest hill station in Nilgiris. There are a lot of tourist attractions in Coonoor as well. Famous among them are Sim's Park, Dolphin's nose, Lamb's rock.
Coonoor is about 19kms from Ooty by road but the direct road that connects Ooty with Coonoor is in very bad shape (I went there last in December'07). I would suggest taking a different route. From Ooty take the road for Doddabetta Peak and instead of taking a turn towards the peak from the main road continue on the same road. This road goes to Kotagiri and also to Coonoor. The road is in a very good shape and the views on this road are amazing.
Coonoor is also accessible by the Nilgiri Toy Train. It lies in the route of the Nilgiri Toy train from Mettupalayam and Ooty.
There are a lot of good hotels in Coonoor. Taj is one of the best in that area. I had lunch buffet there and it was pretty good.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

All about Ooty - Ooty history


'Queen of the Hill Stations' - Ootacamund, popularly known as Ooty is Situated at the state of Tamil Nadu near the borders of Kerala and Karnataka. Tea and coffee plantations covers the most part of this 36 sq KMs of town. Ooty lies in the hills of Nilgiris at an altitude of 2240 metres and this is the point where the western and eastern ghats meet. Nilgirs - which mean Blue mountains, are probably the oldest mountains in India.

Todas' hut

The first inhabitants of this place were a tribe called Todas. These inhabitants had been living here long before the Britishers came in the early nineteenth century. The British made OOty the summer capital of the Madras Presidency and played a big role in the development of this beautiful place. The world famous nilgiri toy train was built by the Britishers only. The plan to lay the track for the asia's steepest railway track was made in 1854 and it took close to 40 years before the actual work begin. A Swiss inventor, Riggenback, worked on it and built up the initial line up to Coonoor by the year 1899. The track was later extended up to Ooty and Fernhill in 1908.

There are a lot of beatiful place to see in and around Ooty - Botanical garden, Ooty Lake, Dodabetta Peak, Rose garden and many more place. One definitely need 2-3 days to enjoy all the places. There are a lot of hotels in Ooty and of wide range of budget. It is advisable to book a room well in advance especially during peak season - summer holidays. One can take home made chocolates, spices, Nilgiri tea, and a lot of good photographs and memories back home as soveniors from Ooty.

On the whole a very relaxing place and a must visit.

Animals at Mudumalai National Park - Ooty

The Mudumalai national park lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills (Nilgiri - Blue Mountains). The sanctuary is contiguous with Bandipur National Park in Karnataka , Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerela , Sigur and Singara reserve forests. It is on the way from Bangalore - Myosre - Ooty route. Just after crossing the Bandipur forest you will enter the Mudumalai National Park. The road through the forest is not wide and not smooth. Below are few of the animals that can easily be seen in the forest. I didn't have time to camp or to go for safari :(

Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata)


Sambar Deer - (Cervus unicolor)

Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata)

Gray langurs - (Semnopithecus hypoleucos)
wild boar (Sus scrofa)
To read more about the place to visit in and around Ooty - Tourist Spots in Ooty

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ooty Hotels Resorts Homestay Plantation Stay

Ooty Hotels


Contact Info

YWCA Ettines RoAd, Phone : 0423 2442218
Tourist Lodge Walsham Road, Phone : 0423 2444357
Surya Holiday Inn Upper Bazaar, Phone : 0423 2442567
TTDC Youth Hostel Charing Cross, Phone : 0423 2443665
Hotel Madhuvana Vannerpet Road, Phone: 2444395
Lake View W Lake Road, Phone : 0423 2443904
Hotel Nahar Charing Cross, Phone : 0423 2445173
Nilgiri Woodlands Hotel Phone : 0423 2442551
The Willow Hill 58/1, Havelock Road
Hotel Silver Oak Near Alankar
Hotel Preethi Classic Towers Coonoor Road
Holiday Inn Gem Park, Sheddon Road Phone : 0423 2442955
Hotel Sinclairs Gorishala Rd, Phone :0423 2441376-80 Fax : 0423 2444229
Fernhill Palace Fernhill Rd, Phone : 0423 2443910
Taj Savoy Hotel 77 Sylkes Road, Phone : 0423 2444142

The information provided above was collected by me during my three visits to Ooty. I have stayed in Hotel Sinclair, Ratan Tata Guest house and Hotel Nahar.

I got a very good deal from MakeMyTrip for Sinclairs where I was given 3N/4D with Breakfast, Dinner and Tea for 10K. It was during the peak season of Summer holidays. The food is really good at Sinclairs. I suggest you to go for dinner there once even if you are not staying there. Another thing that I really liked about the hotel was the view from its garden. The rooms and the facilities inside the room really disappointed me. The shower was not working and the taps were broken and the room was damp. ( and that I later found out was the case with most of the hotels in Ooty). So I suggest that you should try directly to contact the Hotel and also contact travel agents such as makemytrip. Ask for good deals and you might land up with a DEAL. Also I suggest read up reviews in TripAdvisor before making booking.

If you are in the market and feel like eating, there are a lot of shops selling south indian food. If you want something more than that it would be a difficult to search one. We found 2 very good eateries - Punjabi Dhaba and Nahar Restaurant. Punjabi Dhaba is around 100m from the Charring cross and Nahar is at the Charring Cross. During summer time, Hint- Bangalore had set up its disc and it was a good place to have a beer and snacks.

One has to book Ratan Tata Guest house much in advance. The room rent is very low and rooms are also not great. But it has got a very good location. It is near the lake and main bus stand. The caretaker is a very nice old guy.

The concept of home stay and plantation stay has not yet picked up very much in Ooty but there are some quality home stay/plantation stay in Ooty. Few of them are Sangeetha - Fern Hill, The Tryst - Coonoor and Glendale Estate - Coonoor.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ooty - General Information

All about Ooty

District Area

36 Sq. Kms

Languages Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam and English
Altitude 2,240 mts above sea level

Summer Max. 25°C Min. 10°C
Winter Max 20°C Min 0°C
Rainfall 121 cms
STD Code 0423 ISD Code (IND)+91

Nilgiri toy train - Ooty

Nilgiri Toy train

@ wellington station

The world famous Nilgiri Toy Train covers a distance of 46KMs between Ooty and Mettupalayam in 4-5 Hours. Once you are in Ooty, taking a ride of this Nilgiri Toy train is must. There are close to 16 tunnels and bridges on this scenic route. It is the steepest railway track in the whole of Asia. Alternate Biting system (ABT), also called the rack and pinion system, i

s used to overcome this steep ascent. It is similar to the fashion in which we climb a ladder. Here the engine pushes the train from behind during this uphill climb and is present in the front while going down from Ooty to Mettupalayam. Not everybody has time to enjoy this entire ride. Also it is very inconvenient for people coming to Ooty from Bangalore and for people taking their own cars. I would suggest to take the train from Ooty to Coonoor and take the bus back from Coonoor to Ooty. You will have to book the tickets in advance. Tickets can also be purchased from the ticket counter at the platform.

view of the coonoor town at night and if you look more deeply you will find the nilgiri toy train chugging its way

Ooty tourist spots- Places to visit in Ooty

Ooty Tourist Spots

Botanical Garden Ooty Lake Rose Garden Doddabetta Peak Pykara Lake Coonoor Dolphin's Nose Lamb's Rock Kotagiri Sim's Park Wellington Mudumalai Just like any other hill station there are a lot of scenic view points in Ooty and each one of them have been converted into a good tourist attraction. Below I'll put the list of all the tourist attractions in Ooty and around Ooty.You will need a atleast 2 days to visit the place inside Ooty. If you can venture out slightly, I would suggest you to visit Conoor, Wellington and Kotagiri.

Botanical Garden - Ooty

Located inside the limits of Ooty, it is the most famous tourist attraction in Ooty. This garden was laid out in 1848 and is currently maintained by the Horticulture department of Tamil Nadu. There is a beautiful green lawn where one can realx with friends and family. There are trees collected from different parts of the world. Shrubs and hedges are cut to resemble animals and look really beautiful. During the month of May, there is an annual summer festival inside the Garden where there are flower shows and various cultural programs that showcase the talent of the locals people. I have been to this place during summer and winter and I found the place beautiful in both the seasons but it was very crowded during summers and there was too much of noise inside the garden, which you hardly expect in such a place.

Ooty Lake

This 2 KMs long OOty lake has become another major tourist attraction. One can go for boat riding, both pedal and motor boats and it starts from morning 8 and is there till 6 in the evening. During the month of May there are boat races that have become a major crowd puller. Adjacent to lake there are a lot of the other places of interest for tourist that have come up. To mention few - Toy train ride, 3-D shows, Tora-tora ride, Car rides (something similar to go-carting). Outside lake there are ponnies available for rides. The Ooty Lake is located behind the railway station ( 1-2KMs from the station). Best thing to do would be park the car in the railway station, though parking is available near the lake) and walk to the lake ( along the lake) and enjoy the view and on the way back take a ponny ride till the parking.

Centenary Rose Garden

2KMs from the main crossing of the Ooty, the Charring Cross, is this 10acres of land on the hill slop that has been converted into Rose garden. It has more than 1000 varieties of roses ranging from Yellow to Pink to Red. Locals say that they have seen black rose also but I could not find one. May be because I went there during the off-season ( December).

Doddabetta Peak

At a height of 2623 meters above sea level, the Dodabetta Peak is the highest peak of Nilgiris hills. Doddabetta means the big mountain the native language and is the highest peak in the south India. It lies at the junction of Western adn Eastern Ghats. Some Details:- Height- 8640 Feets above sea level Rainfall - 125 cms/Year Temperature - Max- 19C / Min 0C Doddabetta is around 10KMs from Ooty and is on the Ooty Kotagiri route .

Pykara Lake, Pykara Falls

Pykara Lake and Pykara Falls are around 19KMs from the town but the road is in very bad shape. You can't drive at more than 10KMpH. I would suggest take a taxi or better take a bus to this place as I would not suggest you missing out on this another beautiful place. A word of caution :- Near the fall the rocks ar every slippery and be very careful there as I saw a major mishap happening in front of my eyes.


Second largest hill station in Nilgiris . There are a lot of view points around Coonoor as well. Read more about Coonoor


It is a hill station near Ooty. I find this place more beautiful and serene than Ooty. It is 31 KMs from Ooty. Doddabetta View point is present on the route from Ooty to Kotagiri. The same route also goes to Coonoor and the roads are in much better shape than the usual Ooty Coonoor route. Even the scenic beaty is much more on this route.

Lamb's Rock

Near Coonoor, Lamb's Rock is another lovely view point and is ideal for all type of photographers. It is around 9kms from Coonoor.

Dolphin's Nose

Another view point near Coonoor. The road is not is a very good shape but the construction was going on when I went last year so it must be good now. The view is breathtaking from this place. People say that the tip of the peak resembles like a Dolphin Nose and so the name. There will be telescopes over there and you can see the Catherine falls, Black Thunder in Mettupalayam, and tribal huts. Another place for people with love for photography.

Sim's park

The Sim's Park is spread over an area of more than 13 hectares. It is on the way to Dolphin Nose from Coonoor. There are more than 1000 plant species. Every year in the month of May, the fruit and vegetable show is organized in this park.


Very few people visit this beautiful place near Coonoor as it is under Army. I was lucky last time that I got a chance to stay here. It is a very scenic and serene place. The golf course ( 18Hole gollf course) is one of the most beautiful golf course I have seen. ( I have not seen many though) . If you have more time with you, you can visit the Madumalai National forest and go for camping and safari. There are vast variety of animals and birds in this forest. Bandipur national forest and Madumalai National Forest are the same forest except that they are in different states.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

How to reach Ooty - Ooty route

Reach Ooty by Road

Ooty is very well connected by road with all major cities around it . Distance of Ooty From Kochi - 280KMs From Kodaikanal- 270KMs From Mettupalayam - 46 Kms From Coimbatore - 90 Kms From Mysore - 160 Kms From Bangalore - 250 - 290 KMs depending on the route/short cuts taken From Trichy – 300 Kms (My college :) )

Bangalore Ooty route

Drive from Bangalore to Ooty takes 5-6 hours and the Bangalore Ooty route is very good but for 20KMs after Gundlepet. The total distance from Bangalore to Ooty ranges from 250-290 Kms depending on the route taken. The route to Ooty from Bangalore is through Mysore. Though you can take the outer-ring road to bypass Mysore, you will end up driving around 20kms more. Both the roads are good but the route through Mysore city will have much more traffic. To take the bypass road you will have to take a right turn at the traffic signal just after the town of Sirangapatna, famous for the Ranganatha Temple. if you miss this turn you can go straight & you will enter Mysore and can take the route through Mysore city. mysore --40-- nanjungad --30-- gundelpet --20-- bandipur forest The road from Mysore till Gundelpet is decent and you can easily average around 60Kmph. However, from Gundlupet till Bandipur (distance of around 20km) the road is full of pot-holes. Though the construction of the road is on going but will easily take another year unless an MLA is selected from that region ;-) Once you are inside the forest don't honk and drive slowly so that you do not disturb the wildlife. You can find deer, wild boars, monkeys and Langurs and if you are lucky you can even spot elephants. I have not seen a single one in my three trips to Ooty. Once the Bandipur Forest boundary ends you will enter into the Madumalai forest. It is actually the same forest but falls in Tamil Nadu. There is an entry fees of around 20 rupees. After Madumalai there are two roads that lead to Ooty (I think the place is called Masinagudi), one with 36 hair pin bends and the other one is the older route that buses normally take. In the former route buses and heavy vehicles are not allowed and is around 30Km shorter than the latter one. I have never taken the older route as it is in a really bad condition. The shorter route with 36 hairpin bends is amazing and anyone passionate about driving will love it. You would however need to have a vehicle with good pickup. These routes meet around 8 Kms before Ooty and there is a police check post there. You might have to show your vehicle papers etc. They do not ask everyone to stop :).

Reach Ooty By Nilgiri Toy Train

Ooty is connected by a narrow gauge railway link to Mettupalayam. One can reach Mettupalayam by train from Coimbatore or by road. Mettupalayam is 46KMs from Ooty and 43KMs from Coimbatore. I would definitely suggest taking Nilgiri Toy train. The 4 hours journey is one of the most scenic train journey you will ever be on. There are close to 16 tunnels and bridges on this scenic route. It is the steepest railway track in the whole of Asia. Alternate Biting system (ABT), also called the rack and pinion system, is used to overcome this steep ascent. It is similar to the fashion in which we climb a ladder. Here the engine pushes the train from behind during this uphill climb and is present in the front while going down from Ooty to Mettupalayam.

Reach Ooty by Air

The Coimbatore Airport is the nearest airport. From Delhi to Coimbatore there are just 2 airlines, Jet Lite and Indian, operating a direct flight. All other flights are either through Hyderabad or Chennai. From Chennai, Bangaluru ( Bangalore) and Mumbai there are quite a lot direct flights. Coimbatore is around 90KMs from Ooty and you can book cabs/buses from the airport or through travel agencies( may be a better option if you are coming for the first time). One should definitely also consider the option of taking train to Ooty.