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About Nilgiris

A brief history of Nilgiri

The word Nilgiris means Blue Mountain in Sanskrit; possibly derived from the Strobilanthes Kunthiana or Neelakurinji flowers growing here that bloom every 12 years, spreading a blue hue across the hills.


These hills are situated in the western part of Tamil Nadu and are a part of the Western Ghats range running along the coast of peninsula India from Maharashtra to Kerala. There are 24 peaks above 2,000 m (6,600 ft) making up the southwestern edge of the Deccan plateau.

In 1819 the British East India Company asked John Sullivan, the Collector of Coimbatore to explore the Nilgiris hills. Climbing up he discovered a region with cool temperatures and virgin forests abounding with elephants at the lower levels while bison and leopards roamed freely amidst the Shola trees and blooming flowers at higher levels. Looking for cooler places to retreat to during the harsh summers of South India, the British found the Nilgiri hills perfect for their needs.


The climate and acidic soil of the Nilgiris, they soon discovered were ideal for growing tea. Along with summer homes and churches, the hills were soon dotted with tea plantations, which continue to thrive along with the vegetable and floriculture farms. They are the largest employers in the hills.

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which includes the Nilgiri Hills, forms a part of the protected bio reserves in India and is a part of UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has started evaluating the Western Ghats, and Nilgiri Sub-Cluster for selection as a World Heritage Site.

 

Kotagiri

Kotagiri, or “Mountain of the Kotas”, is home to a tribe

Although Kotagiri was the first town to be discovered in the Nilgiris it has remained a quintessential tea garden town overshadowed by its more socially prominent sisters, Ooty, Coonoor and Wellington.

The town’s importance fell when the ghat road from Mettupalayam at the foothills to Coonoor was built. Before that those traveling to Ooty had to go through Kotagiri.

The tea estates and lush green landscapes of Kotagiri offer plenty of opportunities for trekking and rock climbing. For those looking to switch off from the world the homes in the area are a perfect hideout.

 

The Kota Tribe

The Kotas after who Kotagiri is named are an indigenous artisan tribe belonging to the Nilgiris. Their primary occupations are agriculture, pottery, carpentry, metals and other crafts. They have their own unique language derived from the Dravidian language family. They rarely mingle with outsiders and their numbers are unfortunately dwindling.

The Todas

Another indigenous tribe in the Nilgiris are the Todas. They are a small community and are primarily engaged in agriculture and dairy with buffalo. The tribe has been included in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve focused on retaining the biodiversity of the region. There is a Toda village at Ellada in the Kotagiri panchayat area.

The Badaga Community

The badagas or badugas are the largest indigenous community in the Nilgiris who traditionally practice agriculture and speak their own language Baduga. Most worship Hindu deities and their main deity is Hethai Amma and a temple dedicated to her is in the Kotagiri panchayat.

About Kotagiri

Kotagiri is a panchayat town in The Nilgiris District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Kotagiri is situated at an elevation of around 1793m above sea level and is one of the three popular hill stations located in the Nilgiris.


Kotagiri is located at 11.43°N 76.88°E. It has an average elevation of 1793 metres (5882 ft). The region is famous for its evergreen vegetation. Tea, eucalyptus and wintergreen grow well in this area. The soil is also ideal for the cultivation of temperate fruits and vegetable with a lot of local farmers turning to brussels sprout, cabbages, carrots and mushroom cultivation among other crops.

Places of Visit

Kodanad View Point

Kodanad View point is a tourist spot near Kotagiri town, Nilgiri District, Tamil Nadu state, South India.[1] It is located about 18 km east of Kotagiri on the eastern edges of Nilgiris at 11°31′29″N 76°54′57″E. Due to the location it is also called the Terminus Country.


Catherine Falls

Catherine Falls is a double-cascaded waterfall located in Kotagiri, The Nilgiris District, Tamil nadu and it is also a major tourist spot in Kotagiri, located on the Mettupalayam road branching off at Aravenu. The upper fall drops to the floor, and is the second highest in the Nilgiri mountains. The waters from the upper stream of the Kallar river are crossed by the invisible Mettupalyam-Ooty road beyond the mountains in the south-west. The height of water falls is about 250 ft.Catherine Falls is named after the wife of M.D. Cockburn, believed to have introduced the coffee plantation to Kotagiri. The native name of the Catherine Falls is Geddhehaada Halla, meaning "Foothills Dale River". It can clearly been seen from the top of Dolphin's Nose if seeing the entire waterfall as one total impression is what you are looking for. It is also possible to take a road to the top of the falls.


Sullivan Bungalow

Sullivan Bungalow or Pethakal Bungalow as the local Badaga community refers to it was built in 1919 as a residence for John Sullivan during his visits to the Nilgiris. Located in Kotagiri it is maintained as a museum and memorial to John Sullivan. For history lovers it is a great place to study the development of the Nilgiris. For more information visit the website of Sullivan Memorial : www.sullivanmemorial.org


Keystone Foundation

Keystone Foundation, founded in 1993, has been working with the indigenous tribes of the Nilgiris to promote sustainable and ecological safe development, growth and to uplift the communities that have lived in the hills for many generations. The website of the foundation is: www.keystone-foundation.org


Longwood Shola Forest

The reclusive Longwood Shola Forest is situated 3 Kms from the main town of Kotagiri. This Shola Forest is a pristine, stunted and tropical evergreen forest that remains secluded from the urbanization of other regions in Kotagiri. This Forest offers a solitary refuge to many tourists looking for peaceful and quiet environment and is home to the rarely wildlife species including a rich growth of a variety of flora species as well.


Elk Falls / Uyilatty Falls

Elk Falls is one of the major Tourist attractions in Kotagiri near Ooty. Also known as the Uyilatty Falls, the Elk Falls is famous for its beauty and is aptly placed below Uyilatty village from where it derives its name. Situated at a trekking distance of 7 Kms from Kotagiri, the Elk Waterfalls offers one of the most scintillating sights to behold and capture in your cameras.


The Nehru Park

The Nehru Park is used as a venue for cultural events and various indoor game activities. This Park features a Flower Show, every summer, from March to June that showcases a variety of Roses, a must-visit and a two-day Vegetable Show that showcases a variety of fresh produce that Kotagiri has to offer. Sales are also organized for tourists to be able to take a few back home. The Nehru Park has been raised to a popular status because of the Flower Show and Vegetable Show making it a prestigious site where the Department of Horticulture has been organizing both the events since 2008 in order to complement each other and lure in more tourists to Kotagiri as well apart from Ooty.


About Coonoor

Coonoor is a Taluk and a municipality in the Nilgiris district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for its production of Nilgiri tea. Coonoor is located at an altitude of 1,850 m above sea level, and is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri hills after Ooty. It is an ideal base for a number of trekking expeditions leading into the Nilgiris. The Nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport about 79 km from Coonoor town. As of 2011, the town had a population of 45,494.

Places of Visit

Sim's Park

Sim's Park is in Coonoor, The Nilgiris Tamil Nadu. It is an important tourist place to visit in Coonoor, at a height of 1780 meters above mean sea level. Here the maximum temperature goes up to 30 degree Celsius and the minimum falls to 5°C. The average rain fall of this garden is 150 cm. It extends over an area of 12 hectares of undulating land and possesses a number of natural advantages.

This is an unusual park-cum-botanical garden was developed around the natural contours of the land more than a hundred years ago and this is developed by Mr. J.D. Sims and Major Murray in the year of 1874.Naturally occurring trees, shrubs and creepers, are in the park as are many unusual species of plants that have been brought in from a variety of places around the world. The main event in this park is an annual fruit show and vegetable show held in May.

This is a natural garden. Inside the park there are some beautiful terrace with colorful flower beds,also there are some Naturally occurring trees, shrubs, creepers and many unusual species of plants that have been brought from a variety of places around the world. The garden has some rare economic trees like Rudraksh - bead tree, Queensland karry pine, a handsome ornamental tree and graceful trees like Araucaria, Quercus, Phoenix, Magnolia, Pine, Turpentine, Tree ferns, Camellia this is all are as many attractions in this park. There is a glass house housing different ornamental plants and flowers. On the other side of the park rose garden are maintained. This park has more than 1000 species of 255 genres belonging to 85 families widely covering different group of plants.


Dolphon's Nose

Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint is a tourist spot in Coonoor, The Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu. Dolphin's Nose is well over 1,000 feet above sea level, 10 km from Coonoor and is a spectacular spot to visit.[1][2][3] The tip of the peak resembles a dolphin's nose, hence the name Dolphin's Nose. It is an enormous rock formation that is entirely unique. There are gigantic ravines found both to the left and right of Dolphin's Nose and there is a view of inspiring Catherine Falls with its continuing stream several thousand metres below which is located a relatively short distance away opposite of the Dolphin's Nose. Best part of spot are the hairpin turns and tea plantations on the way.


Law's Falls

At a distance of 10 kms from Coonoor (on the road way to Mettupalayam) & 26 Kms from Ooty, the beautiful Law's falls is set inside the Coonoor forest range with vast stretches of undisturbed nature around.Named after Col. Law, who constructed the new Coonoor ghat, this waterfall is formed by Coonoor river near its junction with the Mettupalayam ghat road. This small & pretty wafterfall attracts huge crowd, especiall during post monsoons. Since this place is close to main road, it does not need much walk/trek. One can enjoy the force of the water at bottom of the falls. The place is rocky and slippery. Height of the falls is about 30 feet through multiple cascades.


Lamb's Rock

Lamb's Rock is a tourist spot in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India, on the slopes of the Nilgiri Hills. It is located at a distance of 8 kilometers from Coonoor. It has a view of the Coimbatore plains, tea estates and coffee estates.


The Wellington Golf Course

Cantonment of Wellington is located in the near vicinity of Coonoor. It is in Wellington that the well-respected Defense Services Staff College is located. The Wellington Golf Course is a popular place to stop and enjoy a civilized round of golf. In the midst of the exotic landscape, the touch of normalcy surrounded with the unusual location makes golfing at Wellington's an attractive possibility for many people. This golf course is especially popular with film crews who film in the area. During the filming of a movie, the relaxing motion necessary for golf can counteract the stress that occurs in the filmmaking process. No wonder Wellington's Golf Course is a popular place to visit.


The Hidden Valley

The Hidden Valley is in the region that surrounds Coonoor. This valley is known for being both impressive and beautiful. Access to this valley is not readily available. Instead, it is necessary to trek to this particular valley. The green, lush landscape combined with the breathtaking mountain views make this trek worth all of the physical exertion. The valley is fantastic when you get there, but half of the fun and enjoyment come from the actual trekking experience. Fabulous views abound as you make your way toward the Hidden Valley


Droog Fort

Droog Fort is located in the area surrounding Coonoor. Getting to this fort does take some physical exertion since trekking must be undertaken to get there, but the hard work is definitely worth it. This old and worn out fort is located 6,000 ft above the plains. Today, only a wall remains of this military outpost. Tradition says that this fort was used by Tippu Sultan as an outpost. With such an impressive location that allowed the fort to command impressive views in all directions, no wonder it was used as an outpost. In order to get to this site, you must travel through the Nonsuch Tea Estate. Droog Fort is also referred to as Bakasura Malai. This name links it to the legend of a local demon, Bakasura.


St. George's Church

A beautiful relic of the British past, St. George's Church was a cantonment Church that was constructed in 1826 A.D. The deep ochre stucco with white offsets the beauty of the church while the entrance is through a vestibule that has niches. The vaulted roof is supported by ionic columns and decorated with Gothic sculptures. The beautiful altar is of pure marble inlay work while the Church surrounded with trees radiates a feeling of serenity and peace.


The Wellington Boat House

Best place to spend your evening time with your family. The center of attraction is the lake. The boating is open till 7pm, at this lake one can enjoy boating at very little cost of Rs. 100 for 4 members. Since it is situated in Coonoor, the climate isn't too hard as compared to Ooty. Though the surrounding is very small it has children's park, hotel, shops and some even animals(caged). Evening fountains are also one of its attractions. They call it "The Lake Dance". Best spot to spend your evening - calm, clean, cheap.


About Lovedale

Lovedale is famous for The Lawrence School which is a premier educational institute established in 1858 and named after its founder Sir Henry Lawrence. The Lawrence School, Lovedale, has a campus of 750 acres (3.0 km2).

Lovedale is six kilometres (3.7 miles) from Ootacamund and is located at a height of 7200 feet above sea level, slightly lower than the Dodabetta peak (altitude: 8650 feet), the highest peak of the Nilgiris mountain range. The school campus is divided into Preparatory School (classes 4 - 6), Junior school (classes 7 and 8) and Senior School (classes 9 - 12).

Lawrence School, Lovedale

The Lawrence School, Lovedale is one of the premier residential public schools in the country.
It is an autonomous institution run under the aegis of The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India.​

About Ooty

Udhagamandalam and abbreviated as Udhagai and Ooty is a town and municipality in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 80 km north of Coimbatore and is the capital of the Nilgiris district. It is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills. Originally occupied by the Toda, the area came under the rule of the East India Company at the end of the 18th century. The economy is based on tourism and agriculture, along with manufacture of medicines and photographic film. The town is connected by the Nilgiri ghat roads and Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Its natural beauty attracts tourists and it is a popular summer destination. As of 2011, the town had a population of 88,430.

Places of Visit

Botanical Gardens

Out of all the tourist attractions in Ooty, the Botanical Gardens stand out as the leading site to visit. The surrounding and the freshness of these well maintained gardens, provide a deep sense of tranquility. This stretched green land showcases thousands of exotic and indigenous floras, making it an ideal place for the nature lovers. The visitors are allured by the vibrant flowers, extraordinary collection of trees, shrubs, ferns, herbs and more. Ooty Botanical Gardens are organized into six areas for better management, which includes: Lower Garden, New Garden, Conservatory Garden, Nurseries, Fountain Terrace and Italian Garden.

The Botanical Gardens, Ooty was established in the year 1847 by Marquis of Tweedale but was the brain child of the architect, McIvor. It is situated on the hill locks of Ooty and is home to the rare paper bark tree, 20 million old fossil tree, the monkey puzzle tree and more. The Gardens are now, under supervision of the Government and the Horticulture Department. One of the most exiting features of the Botanical Garden is the “Annual Flower Show” that takes place in the month of May. A large number of people from the country and abroad, visit the location to witness the striking assortment of plant life.


Ooty Lake

What else could spell magnificent more than a clean lake decked up with greenery around it, coos of rails beside it and breeze that strikes your hair strands and soul; Ooty Lake is the real magic. The magic needed to shrink the unpleasant tremors in the back of your mind.

This lake is Ooty’s most prized possession and cruising on it is an experience that will leave you in awe. The lake is L shaped and covers an area of sixty five acres. The water dribbling down from the hills was locked to form Ooty Lake, which now is a major attraction for the tourists. As the boat racing season arrives, an even more gigantic wave of tourists hit Ooty with cheers and bliss.


Doddabetta Peak

Your trip to Ooty could be a hollow phenomenon, if you let Doddabetta Peak slip away from your itinerary. This is the highest mountain peak of the popular Nilgiri Range, kissing the sky and standing tall with the height of 2637 meters. Getting to the highest point of the vicinity makes way for a perfect view. And for a better view, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation has placed a “Telescope house”. Doddabetta Peak is an ideal location for shootings, and off course the slow travelers, who would rather sit back and breathe in the aura, and praise the lord.

If you love adventure, then surely try trekking all to Doddabetta Peak. This will be a roller coaster ride, as you will come across forests and its quirky creatures. Don’t forget to grab your cameras, and load it with enough batteries and memory; because you will be eager to capture it all.


Rose Garden

Formerly known as the Jayalalitha Rose Garden, Centerary Rose Garden and Nootrandu Roja Poonga, The Government Rose Garden is the largest rose garden in India. It is situated on the slopes of the Elk Hill in Vijayanagaram of Ooty town in Tamil Nadu. The Rose Park was established at Vijayanagaram in Ooty town to commemorate the centenary Flower Show in Government Botanical Gardens, Ooty. The flowers are arranged in five curving terraces covering 4 hectares.

It is a huge garden that has more than hundreds of varieties of roses and is quite popular among the tourists. You can also buy plants or seeds here. It is spread across 10 acres of land and houses some of the largest collections of roses in the country which include miniature roses, hybrid tea roses, ramblers, floribunda and black & green roses. The Rose Garden is not a delight for the eyes and the senses but also a must-visit for those interested in horticulture. The garden is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department. In 2006, this garden was recognized as the ‘Garden of Excellence’ by the World Federation Rose Society.

The opening and closing time of the Government Rose Garden is 8.30 AM to 6.00 PM daily. The entrance fee is Rs. 20 per person. If you want to carry a still or video camera, you’ll have to pay Rs. 30 or Rs. 75 respectively


Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Ooty is one of the most exciting hill stations in the South. One of the most enjoyable attractions of Ooty is the ride on The Nilgiri Mountain Railway or ‘the Nilgiri Toy Train’ connecting Mettupalayam to Ooty. The ride in the slow train takes you from uphill Ooty to a picturesque beautiful town at foothills, Mettupalayam. In service since 1899, this joy ride has thrilled tourists with a view of the beautiful sceneries of Ooty. At a speed of 33 km per hour, the ride covers a distance of 46 km. The journey up on the steep mountains is a pure delight to all the tourists from any part of the world.


Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake is a paradise on Earth for all the nature enthusiasts and nature lovers. Located at a distance of 28 km from Ooty, Avalanche Lake is one of the most preferred tourist destinations in India. The lake is a wonderful place for all the tourists who wish to be a part of activities such as trout fishing and the nearby valley offers tourist to indulge in mountain trekking.

The lake receives its name from a massive landslide that occurred in the regions in 1823. Avalance Lake is the perfect destination for destination for all those who are on an adventure trip in Ooty. Tourists, from all over the world, can reside in the local guest houses, under the control of the forest department. The lake is well known for orchids, shola trees, a trout stream and magnolias. The magnificent surroundings of the Avalanche Lake are a spectacle in itself, with an emerald camp in the valley.

Avalanche Lake is a paradise on Earth for all the nature enthusiasts and nature lovers. Located at a distance of 28 km from Ooty, Avalanche Lake is one of the most preferred tourist destinations in India. The lake is a wonderful place for all the tourists who wish to be a part of activities such as trout fishing and the nearby valley offers tourist to indulge in mountain trekking.

The lake receives its name from a massive landslide that occurred in the regions in 1823. Avalance Lake is the perfect destination for destination for all those who are on an adventure trip in Ooty. Tourists, from all over the world, can reside in the local guest houses, under the control of the forest department. The lake is well known for orchids, shola trees, a trout stream and magnolias. The magnificent surroundings of the Avalanche Lake are a spectacle in itself, with an emerald camp in the valley.

The pristine Avalanche Lake constitutes a perfect view during a hazy morning. Covered with dense fog and thick mist, the clouds appear to be merged with the lake, and the whole sight appears magical. The morning view of the Avalanche Lake is a treat for all the nature lovers!

The tourists visiting Avalanche Lake often indulge in trout fishing, which is the most famous activity of the Lake. Completely surrounded by the Lake, you can see thousands of tourists sitting around with their fishing nets and other equipment to catch trout fishes. Trout fishes, which breed in unpolluted water, can be found in the popular Trout Farm, nearby Avalanche Lake. Tourists can also indulge in various other activities including mountain trekking on the hilly areas like Upper Bhavani covered with dense forests and unaffected wild habitats and rafting across the Avalanche lake.


Emerald Lake

Nestled in the Nilgiri hills, Emerald Lake is a breathtaking sight to behold and a favored spot for picnics. It is equally visited for the flora and fauna around it. It is situated in the upper plateau region and several birds & ducks are here to accompany you. It is a small village in the Silent Valley of Ooty, which is about 23 kilometers away from Ooty, en-route to Avalanche. It is a beautiful picnic spot one should never miss.

A perfect place for lovers, who look for some peace and seclusion, it is situated in a region often known as ‘Silent Valley’. It is surrounded by tea plantations and acres of Rolling Meadows and a great place for photography enthusiasts. The Red Hill Nature Resort is an accommodation facility for the visitors adjoining the lake. It is housed within a building constructed in the late 1800’s. The various facilities arranged by the resort for tourists include mountain biking, bird watching, fishing and trekking in the regions surrounding area.

You might also come across Ornithologists here, for the lake and adjoining area teems with exotic species of birds. The lake boasts of a humungous variety of fish. Here you can also go for trekking, bird watching, biking or a simple stroll by the lake.


Places to Shop

Planning a tour to Ooty? Any visit to this charming hill station will not be complete unless you indulge in some leisurely Shopping in Ooty. Stop by at some of the unique stores and shopping malls of Ooty for those perfect gifts for your loved ones back home. Great shopping in Ooty will just make every vacation all the more fun.

There are numerous options for shopping in Ooty. The Municipal Market and Co-operative Super Market and Upper and Lower Bazaar Roads are the main shopping centers of Ooty. In fact, almost everything that is available in the city can be found in the various shops and stores of Ooty.

Ooty is well-known for its antique Toda jewelry and embroidered Toda shawls which are easily available in the main bazaar. Other exclusive items found at Ooty include Nilgiri products such as garden-fresh Nilgiri tea, fresh fruits, aromatic and medicinal natural oils like Eucalyptus and essences extracted from forest herbs, vegetables and spices.

If you are looking for some local fruits and grocery items while shopping in Ooty, the co-operative Super Market and Municipal Market are the ideal venues to head for. Excellent handicraft materials and a variety of local fabrics are available at 'Kairali' of Kerala Handicrafts and 'Poompuhar' of Tamil Nadu Handicrafts.These outlets are located near the Super Market Buildings on Charring Cross.

Nilgiri Honey, Cinchona products, a large variety of Coffee and Tea are some other good buys while shopping in Ooty.

Shops in Nilgiris

 

1) Tea and Spices: Coonoor 0423-2232500


2) Honey and Organic Products: The Green Shop, Kamraj Circle, Kotagiri (also in Bedford, Coonoor and at the Bee Museum,Ooty

 

3) Designer fabric: Shoi (Pallav Chandra) Kotagiri +91-9488790773

4)Toda Embroidery: Kotagiri Women’s Cooperative, Ramchand, Kotagiri

5) Antiques - Tusli Mall, Coonoor - +91-9442616007


6) Mohan's Department Store, Ooty - 0423-2442376


7) Needlecraft ( Convent Embroidery)- Erin Villa Coonoor, 0423-22307888


8) Acres Wild Cheese - Baker’s Junction (Nilgiris) Coonoor


 


Restaurants

Despite its popularity with tourists, Ooty has few good stand-alone restaurants. Several hotels have excellent fine dining options, while there's fresh and spicy local fare to be found at the smaller local restaurants.

1) Culinarium (Bakery & Dining restaurant) – No. 7/75b, NH 67, Ooty Coonoor Main Road, Yellanahallie, 0423-2517293

2) King’s Cliff (Indian/Continental) Ooty – 0423-2452888

 

3) McIver 180 ( Continental) – Coonoor – 0423-223322

 

4) Hari Mess- (Kerala mainly non-veg, but obliges vegetarians) – Between Kamraj Circle and Dannington Kotagiri – 04266-272271

 

5) Nahar Hotel Restaurant (Vegetarian food) – 04266-273300

 

6) Shinkows Chinese Restaurant Ooty, - 0423-2442811