Tourist attractions at Ooty
The Botanical garden was more than 150 years old. But it attracts old and young with all its colorful plants, flowers, the vast sprawling and well groomed lawn. It was laid out in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale, the then Governor of Madras Presidency. He called for the help of Mr.W.G McIvor who was in Royal Botanical garden in Kew. He took ten years to develop it into present shape.
Perhaps this is the best maintained Botanical garden in India. It houses the cork tree-believed to be the only one in India, the monkey puzzle tree- the tree avoided by monkeys, the paper bark tree, 20 million old fossil tree- stone tree, groomed bushes, fern trees, orchids, glass house garden, ponds, Italian garden, and thousands of rare protected plants.The Italian garden was the work of prisoners of war from Italy.The garden has a vast 22 hectares of - green and lush area. It has five sections- Lower garden, new garden, Italian Garden, conservatory and Nurseries. The nurseries have eight glass houses and terraces. The annual Flower Show in the month of May attracts Thousands and thousands of people from all corners of India and abroad.The garden is well maintained by Horticulture department. Nature is preserved and beautified with the aesthetic sense of man in this garden. To believe this, justMake a visit and then you will understand the meaning of ‘a thing of beauty is joy for ever’.
The artificially formed lake is the gift of the then collector of Combatore John Sullivan. The lake is 65 acres in area. The lake is about 2.75 Kms long and 100 to 140 meters breadth. The Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation has rowing, pedaling and motor boats for hire. The lake has a boat house. People enjoy boating. The children’s park on the banks with its toy train going around the lake is a memorable experience for all children. Horse riding also is available for children and adults.
If anybody asks you that whether the plains of Coimbatore could be seen from Ooty which is 105 Kms away, your reply may be negative. But we can have a look at the distant Coimbatore plains from a height of 2623 meters. Yes! We can trek or go by any vehicle to Doddapetta which is 10 Kms from Ooty. Doddapetta means- that clouds often meet and rest at this peak of the mountains. The peak hides itself amidst the friendly clouds or fog. If the sky is clear, you are sure to have a sight of long distant plains of Mysore and Coimbatore; let luck favors you. Even otherwise we are blessed with breathtaking views with lofty and green mountains around us. Tamilnadu Tourism Corporation has fixed telescopes and allows people to look at the distant beauties like hills, valley, buildings, greens and forests.The path to peak is dotted with dense green reserve forests and tea gardens; a grand colorful buffet to eyes!
As a part of Centenary celebrations of Ooty Flower Show, Rose garden was formed in four hectres of land on the slopes of Elk Hill. The terrace farming was implemented. It has got five terraces. Various varieties of Roses were collected. Today the varieties available have crossed 2800 species. Rose is always a Rose. But to your amazement you can see black rose, green rose, tiny rose and large roses here. The ‘Nilamaadam’ is a view point within the garden to have a bird’s eye view of garden and feel its entirety. The varieties are innumerable. Department of Horticulture maintains the garden well. The World Federation of Rose societies has beautified the garden with its ‘Garden of Excellence’ certificate in year 2006. This honor has so far been awarded only to 15 gardens allover the world. The garden is the best one in South Asia.
Dolphin’s Nose View Point
This point is located 10 Kms away from Coonoor. It is approachable from Ooty as well.The shape of this rocky point looks like a Dolphine’s Nose. One can have magnificent views of Catherine water Falls and Kotagiri Hills from here. May be one needs a thousand eyes to enjoy the panoramic feast in front of your eyes. A nice picnic spot!
Lamb’s Rock is another View point surrounded by the lush, green, vast and endless Tea estates; we can have look at the distant Coimbatore plains on clear days. This is approachable from Ooty and Coonoor. Just nine Kms away from Coonoor.
Ooty Lake Children’s Park
Children cannot enjoy the bounty of nature if they are just 10 years or below. Ooty has some specials for them. The children’s park adjacent to lake is a charming place of joy for them. The horse riding and the toy train, which circles the Lake, attract evenly the children and the elders.
As the word denotes, an avalanche had occurred in this place. The name still stands while the avalanche was a history of year 1832. It is located at a distance of 25 kms from Ooty. The place is filled with coolness and scenic beauty. It offers a riotous shola forest famous for biodiversity and a Canada funded dam. It is a place of conservation for Trout Fish and Government maintains this fish farm.
This place is under the Forest department’s control. Before going there one has to get the permission of the Officer-in-charge. The green grass hill is declared pollution free and protected. It is 20 Kms from Parson’s valley. Once it was a hot spot of shooting for Hindi, Telugu and Tamil cinemas.
Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary
It is a peaceful home for many verities of fauna like elephants, panther, deer, bison, wild boar, barking deer, porcupine; reptiles like king cobra, python and flying lizard; birds like mynahs, bulbuls, whistling thrush, fowls etc. It is spread over an area 321 sq. Kms and situated at north western part of Nilgiris.Mayar water falls, Theppakad Elephant camp are places not to be missed in you program when you go to Mudumalai.Get the right permission from Forest department in advance and join the trekking or Jeep safari or Elephant safari. Just go into the forest; enjoy the calm and secluded atmosphere; inhale the pure air full of oxygen; taste the natural and free flowing stream water.One can reach Mudumalai from Ooty by vehicles. It is in the junction of the three states Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. If you are lucky and you happen to meet the elephants or other animals try to have a hand shake with them. For Information Visit www.masinagudiindia.com
Mukurthy Water falls and national Park
It is situated adjacent to Kerala’s silent valley 40 Kms from Ooty. Cars Jeeps and other vehicles are available depending on your purse. The plants have some closeness with those of Himalayan species. It is point of wonder and subject of research for botanical experts. Further the area is abundant with Nilfiti Thar.
Kalhatty water falls
The Water falls is 13kms away from the town. One never gets tired of continuously watching the falls and the flow of water. You can reach Kalhatty by bus and walk the 2 kilometers or hire a vehicle from Ooty to reach this 100 feet high falls.
Pykara Lake and Water Falls
If we travel about 19 Kms from Ooty we will become awestruck at the sight of Pykara Lake and the dam surrounded by forests and high mountain ranges. There is a Hydro power Station. Boating is available. The atmosphere is cool and serene. If one has luck they can sight at Bison and herds of elephants coming from the distant forests for drinking water.
The water falls is down the river. The sloping mountains and thick forests form the banks of the river. We can enjoy the majestic looking and friendly falls. It is one of the main spots for cinema shooting and is famous among tourists.
It is one of the UN Heritage Sites in India. It has an interesting history. The stone was first laid by the then Governor of Madras Rajadhani in year 1891. However the railroad was proposed earlier in year 1880 by Mr.Riggen Back and major Morant . The initial estimate was 132,000 British Pounds. But the plan failed to fetch the capital. A private entrepreuner Mr. Wolley of Coonoor took up the contract voluntarily and again it failed.
Finally Madras Railways came into picture. The task was truly uphill. The terrain is mountainous, and crisscrossed with forests, streams, water falls, and differing climates. Above all it was treacherous. Swiss locomotive and Machine Works of Winterthur in Switzerland supplied specially designed locomotive engines. The work started and ended in year 1899. Now it is more than 100 years old. The route is now called NMR-NILGIRI MOUNTAIN RAIWAYS. It is still hauled by steam engines up to Coonoor. This heritage is kept protected by UN.
The journey starts from Mettupalayam a small town at the foot of the great Nilgiris. The train with long whistles and small blue wooden bogies crosses almost 250 bridges and 15 tunnels. The route is serpentine and tricky. The train crosses River Bhavani , rice fields and reaches Kallar. From here it starts running on Abt rack and pinion system to climb up the radiant and negotiate 208 curves ahead. It has the steepest track in Asia with maximum gradient of 8.33%.
As the train slowly moves up you can see the change in vegetation from dry forests at down hill to mid tropical forests and then green tea estates , pine trees, grass hills valleys and lastly after Coonoor – then Ooty Plateau. The climate slowly changes from hot to warm and then to an enjoyable cold. If you are lucky, you may have a sight of deer or elephants. Entire forty six kilometers of journey is joyful; and it lingers forever in us as a cherished memory to share with others for a long time.
The stations are Kallar, Burliyar, Adderly, Hillgrove, Runnymade, KatteriRoad, Coonoor and Ooty. There are five small stations between ooty and Coonoor. The distance is 46 Kms. The train takes 290 minutes to cover the distance but not a minute gets bored for us.