Udhagamandalam, better known as Ooty, is a beautiful hill station replete with forested mountains, misty valleys, pretty gardens, verdant tea and spice plantations, rushing streams and waterfalls, placid lakes, and many other natural attractions. Tucked away in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, Ooty is also called the Queen of the Nilgiris. This is also a place known for its colonial charm and its heritage buildings are among the best places to visit in Ooty. As one of the most beautiful hill stations in South India, it attracts a large number of travelers, from honeymooners to families.
What is the Best Time to Visit Ooty?
This hill station settled at an altitude of 2,240 m above sea level experiences pleasant weather throughout the year. However, the summer months from March to June are the best to enjoy a refreshing vacation here, escaping the scorching summer heat in most parts of the country. It is also the best time for trekking and other adventure activities. If you love rain and don’t mind chilly weather (especially at night), then you would greatly enjoy Ooty’s beauty in the monsoon and winter seasons.
How to Reach Ooty?
By Air: Coimbatore International Airport is the nearest airport to Ooty, located nearly 90 km away. Coimbatore Airport is well-connected to other popular international airports in India such as Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Delhi airports. So, if you are traveling from abroad, you can easily get a connecting flight to Coimbatore. Planning an Ooty trip? Get the best deals on flights to India from Seattle and other US destinations at Indian Eagle.
By Train: Ooty has a railway station – Udagamandalam railway station. It is linked with the main cities in Tamil Nadu as well as other Indian cities like Coimbatore, Chennai, Kanyakumari, Kochi, Bangalore, Mysore, Lucknow, Delhi, Puri, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur. Another nearest railway station is located in Mettupalayam, at a distance of 40 km from Ooty.
By Bus: Ooty is well-connected to the surrounding South Indian cities by road. The Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation (TNSRTC) operates public buses to Ooty from Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, and other cities. Private buses are available too.
What are the Best Places to Visit in Ooty?
There are a lot of places to see and things to do in Ooty. Some of the top tourist attractions of this hill station are:
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Fondly called the toy train, Nilgiri Mountain Railway is one of the highlights of Ooty. Built by the British in the early 20th century, this 46-km long railway line takes you through steep hills, lush valleys, deep gorges, dark tunnels, and long bridges; offering gorgeous views of Ooty’s scenic landscapes. A journey on this heritage toy train is something that you shouldn’t miss out on when you are here. It was also featured in the popular Bollywood Song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ (it is on this train that Shahrukh Khan and Malaika Arora dance to this energetic song).
Situated at a distance of 17 km from Ooty, Emerald Lake is a serene lake surrounded by lush tea plantations on all sides with beautiful Nilgiri ranges in the backdrop. It forms a part of the Silent Valley National Park in the Nilgiri District. The lake captivates the viewers with its clear blue waters and stunning scenery. Hence, you’ll see many nature photography enthusiasts flocking to this place. It is also a great spot to go picnicking and spend some quality time with loved ones. You can go canoeing on the clear waters of Emerald Lake. Several hotels and eco-resorts are also situated near the lake.
At 2637 m above mean sea level, Doddabetta Peak is the highest point in the Nilgiri Mountains. Needless to say, it is one of the best places to visit in Ooty for the best views of the entire Nilgiri Hill Ranges surrounding the city. There is also a telescope installed at the viewpoint of the summit. Tourists can access this telescope for clearer and more spectacular views of the surrounding greenery. One can either hike to the top of the mountain or take a vehicle to the viewpoint of the peak.
Ooty Rose Garden
Located in the heart of the city, Government Rose Garden is a popular tourist attraction in Ooty. It is maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu and has other names like Centenary Rose Park, Jayalalithaa Rose Garden, and the Nootrandu Roja Poonga. Sprawled across an area of 4 hectares on the Elk Hill slopes, this beautiful floral garden boasts of more than 20 thousand varieties of roses, including tea roses, cactus roses, miniature roses, black roses, and green roses. The colors of this garden are a sight to behold and the sweet fragrances of various roses enchant your senses.