Jawaharlal Nehru, the man of roses, called it “The Queen of Hills”.A visit to this hill station fulfills ones soul . It has a cool climate; it has exotic Flora; it has rare Fauna. It is surrounded by the ever green forest and vast stretches of tea gardens. It is a place for rest. The healthy air and the blue mountains absolutely rejuvenates you. It has good hotels and guest houses. Yes, you are right; it is Ooty.
The age old but still beautiful botanical garden binds you with its creepers, trees, species of plants and colorful flowers so far unseen and unheard by a lot of us. The rose garden with its thousands of various types of roses leaves you open mouthed in wonder. Dodda Petta the highest peak in western Ghats, the sprawling blue lake, the natural Pykara falls with dense green forest sloping down on both sides, the grass hills, the herds of elephants, bison, deer and tribal villages kindle a strange desire in us to stay back forever in this heaven. They convey only one message “Live this moment” Ooty is in the southern part of India in Tamilnadu couched in Western Ghats. Some people call it Nilgiri-Blue Mountains. It is approachable from Coimbatore city which is well connected by air and Road with all major cities in India. The location of this heavenly valley is a junction point of three states – Tamilnadu, Kerala and Kannada. But it has got its own culture, tradition and living styles.
The height from sea level is about 2240 mtrs. The mercury in winter is max 21 and min 0 degrees. The summer is salubrious to the liking of national and international tourists.The district has other attractions as Coonoor-the tea capital of Nilgiri, Kotagiri and Gudalur.
Before the ascendance of British, the area was inhabited by the Padagas , Thodas and other tribals. Nilgiris as a whole region had been under Chera dynasty, Ganga dynasty, Hoysala and Tippu sultan during various periods in the same order. However it was the then collector of Coimbatore John Sullivan, under whose administration was Nilgiris, founded and nurtured it into this paradise on earth- The present Ooty. The presence of the valley came into map of British in 1819. On Sullivan’s guidance and instructions two expeditions were made to explore the area during 1812 and 1817. First development was a so called infrastructure in the form of a road up to Kotagiri from Sirumugai. It was laid with a mere Rs1100/= on the insistence of Collector Sullivan.
In 1832 Lord Lushington made another leap in development by laying a ghat road from Mettupalayam to Coonoor. In 1899 they laid a railway line up to Coonoor. Now it is one of UN Heritage Sites.When infrastructure develops, Economy flourishes. Sullivan knew this and so he did not stop after laying the roads. He personally continued to purchase lands from locals and slowly injected changes in agricultural pattern. Wheat, Barely, cabbage, carrot, turnip, peach, apple etc were introduced by him.He built the first stone house in Ooty, the then ‘Wotokymond’. Later he set forth his eyes on development of a water supply scheme. Thus came the construction of the famous Ooty Lake to collect water from hills around. Again the man on forefront was Sullivan. This time it was a long cherished dream of his own. Sullivan pressurized the Madras presidency to develop Wellington-as a sanatorium for European troops during British days. It has become a Training centre for Indian Army. Ooty became the summer capital of the then Madras Presidency. Thus the efforts of a single man slowly changed the face of Nilgiris in all spheres-economy, sociology, agriculture, education, religion, culture and tradition.Tea estates and factories have been started. Tourism industry and floriculture have been promoted. Now Ooty is world famous for the Shola forests, biodiversity, tea, vegetables and above all the climate; it remains as a household name and a dream for many people!