Top 10 Attractions in Ooty That No One Should Miss
Ooty or Udhagamandalam or Ootacamund, is also called the Queen of Hills. It is the most popular tourist destination in the south of India (Tamil Nadu), located in the Western Ghats at a height of 2240m.
Ooty is famous for its tea and coffee plantations, but apart from that, trees like pine, conifers, eucalyptus, and wattle also feature prominently on the hillsides.
It is the capital of the Nilgiris district. Thanks to its abundant natural splendor, Ooty was a popular summer/weekend getaway destination for the British during the colonial era in India.
Even today, Ooty radiates a mystical charm all year round as it offers something to everyone. Tourists who visit here enjoy the climate and the unique biodiversity of this quaint but lovely hill station, because of which it has been declared one of the 14 hotspots of the world.
The Niligiris, or Blue Mountains, make for a pleasing phantasmagoria of sensual treats and soul-stirring experiences.
You can’t go to Ooty and not visit the following places –
1. The Botanical Gardens
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You can start your Ooty sojourn with a visit to the Botanical Gardens, which I’m sure your family will love. Not only are the surroundings here breathtaking, the weather is also pleasant, which is why this is the ideal picnic spot.
The expansive and well-maintained lawns will enable you to take long strolls, while the variety of exotic flora present here will enthrall your senses. You can look forward to spotting some rare and unique shrubs, flowers (particularly roses), and eucalyptus here.
And that’s not all. If you’re a Bollywood fan, you can have a song-dance routine of your own at the site which is home to a 20 million-year-old fossilized tree trunk. It has featured in several Hindi movie songs. If you visit here in the month of May, do make sure you attend the Summer Festival, the highlights of which are the flower show and other cultural programs.
2. Ooty Lake
Whether you’re in the mood for some boating, or plain old-fashioned sightseeing, you should visit the Ooty Lake with friends or family. Several entertainment activities take place here, so you’re sure to lose track of time.
Apart from the fun activities, you will also find a lot of great dining options here in the form of restaurants and kiosks. You might want to give them a try as these eating joints are pretty famous for their local fare.
3. Pykara Lake and Falls
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For those looking for a surreal boating experience, head to the vast Pykara Lake, located around 20 km from Ooty. This makes it a comparatively less crowded and a more pristine tourist spot. Try your hand at paddle-boating or unleash your adventurous side by giving speed boating a shot. The lake is clean and beautiful.
Pykara Falls (dam and reservoir) are a huge tourist draw as people from all over southern India come here to get drenched. Head to the forest rest house to rest and enjoy the local cuisine at the boat house with a restaurant.
4. Glass Temple
The Glass Temple in Kalapetta is a must-visit tourist attraction. Located about 2 hours from Ooty, it is a beautiful and distinctive Jain temple known for its interior mirror work that reflects the temple’s religious imagery and icons.
The temple is dedicated to Pasvanatha Swami, the third Jain Thirthankara. The main chamber houses the idols of Parsvanatha Swami and Padmavathi Devi.
The green Masinagudi falls between Mysore and Ooty. Most tourists traveling by road make a detour here and spend some time trekking in the jungles, watching birds, taking wildlife safaris, and exploring the landscape and streams.
Masinagudi is 30 km from Ooty. Tourists especially come here to enjoy the 45-minute jungle safari, which can be scheduled as per your convenience. This is a great place for wildlife fanatics, adventurers, as well photography enthusiasts.
6. Kalhatti Falls
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Kalhatti Falls make for a great location for a family picnic. Located 13 km from Ooty, on the Sigur Ghat Road, these falls are 120 feet deep.
This is a great place for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts as they can look forward to some trekking, hiking, bird and (wild) animal watching when they come here to drink water.
7. The Nilgiris Toy Train Ride
You cannot miss the toy train ride from Ooty to Mettupalayam via Coonoor. Do remember to check the train timing as it runs daily (except in the monsoons) but not all day. The cost of the ride is reasonable and the experience is worth every buck spent.
The train ride will take you through the plains, valleys, hills, forest, tunnels and bridges, and tea and coffee plantations along the way.
8. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
As the name suggests, this is a wildlife sanctuary. It is located at a distance of 68 kms from Ooty. Interested tourists often hire a taxi or book their own tours at the tourist office in the town center.
You can book a 4-hour trip, or a full-day trip. With the latter, you can also visit the adjoining Bandipur National Park.
9. Doddabetta Peak
The famed Doddabetta peak lies just 10 km from Ooty and is the highest point in the Nilgiris district, standing 2,623m tall. Don’t forget to visit the Telescope House when you visit here. Absorb the picturesque view of the surrounding hills and waterfalls and you’re sure to feel rejuvenated instantly.
10. Glen Morgan Tea Estate
Who hasn’t heard of the famous tea estates of Ooty! The Glen Morgan tea estate, littered with eucalyptus and wattle plantations, is a particularly gorgeous tea garden, located 25 km from Ooty. Tea lovers can find the Toda tribe establishments as well as a lake here.
The Pykara Power House, which is 3 km down the hill, can be reached with the help of a 1-hour ride via a mechanical rope way, while looking at the plains of Mysore and the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary below.
Natural beauty, adventure, entertainment, and some great food – Ooty offers immense scope for soul-satisfying experiences. So if you haven’t already made a trip here, make sure you visit Ooty in your next holidays.