“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight
of the shore.”– Andre Gide
My family and I visited Ooty (Udagamandalam/ Ootacamund) and Coonor in October, 2014.
This was our 1st road trip after buying our new car – Honda Amaze and one of the most memorable road trips that we had from Bangalore. This is again one of the best suitable long weekend road trip option from Bangalore. The only thing to be kept in mind is to start a little early from Bangalore so that you can avoid the heavy traffic in Bangalore-Mysore stretch. Also ensure to book your accommodation well in advance. Stay options gets filled up very fast in Ooty – Coonoor region especially during long weekend and vacation time.
Ooty is one of the most preferred hills station in South India. It is also locally known as the Queen of hill stations.
The road through Bandipur- Masinagudi Forest range is amazing with scenic views. The deer and the monkeys made their customary appearance once in a while.The greenery of the forest, chirping of the birds, touch of the cold wind will add different flavours to this road trip.
After the forest range, the actual ghat session starts and its all about 36 Hair Pin bends. If you are not an expert driver, my personal recommendation will be to avoid this route.
A manmade lake commenced in 1824 by the British Governor John Sullivan, the lake is a recreational hub for locals and tourists alike. It is situated near the centre of the town and has lots of activities around for kids and adults alike. Boating facility is also available in this lake. You can also try Horse riding near the lake.
Ooty Botanical /Rose Garden:
Right at the bustling centre of the town are the Ooty Botanical Gardens. Spread out over a vast area, these century-old gardens are filled with colours and have hundreds of plant and flower species.
The Botanical Garden is maintained by the Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu and has a very wide variety of plants that include different types of roses, imported shrubs, rare flowering plants, eucalyptus trees, several old trees.
Due to some restriction, the main thing that we missed was the toy train trip (Heritage Nilgiri train- One of the oldest running train in India) from Metuapalayam to Ooty via Coonoor(46 Kms). This was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The train pass through numerous bridges and tunnels. It was indeed a great miss for us. I would personally suggest you not to miss this trip. The tickets can be booked in IRCTC website.
Some other attractions in Ooty (within 25 Kms):
Pykara waterfalls (22.7 Kms)
Avalanche Lake (Another Must see place) (21.3 Kms)(There are time restrictions here)
Ooty Forest walk
Emerald Lake (19 Kms)
Fernhill Royal Palace (3.6 Kms)
This is the second largest hill-station located in Tamil Nadu, in south India in the Nilgiri Hills and is also the second-most visited after Ooty. Located close to Ooty, this picturesque hill station has lush, velvety tea estates and is famous for producing delicious Nilgiri tea.
Some other attractions in Coonoor:
There are many accommodation options like Resorts, hotels and Homestays in both Ooty and Coonoor region.
How to Reach:
By Air: The nearest airport to Ooty is in Coimbatore, which is under 100 kilometres . The drive from Coimbatore Airport to Ooty’s city centre approximately takes up to four hours.
By Road: Ooty is accessible by road and makes for a great drive from Bengaluru (295 kilometres), Kozikhode (185 kilometres) and other nearby towns like Coonoor and Kotagiri. Public state buses and private taxis ply from nearby towns and cities in Karnataka and Kerala.
By Train: The charming Nilgiris Mountain Railway runs between Mettupayalam and Ooty. The ascend takes about four hours with picture postcard views accompanying you throughout.
Don’t forget to buy some Home made chocolates while you come back!