(Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri
district, is popularly known as the "Queen of hill stations"
among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 kilometres
from Coimbatore. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies
between 2,280 and 2,290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a
height of 2,623 metres.
About one km from Ooty, an artificial lake can be seen with a charming look, which was formed in 1824 by Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. Boating facilities are also available.
Doddabetta, meaning the big mountain, is the highest peak (2,623 meters) in the Nilgiris and the second tallest peak south of the Vindhyas and overlooks the Ooty town from the east. Speculation has it that Sullivan first set eyes on the Ooty valley from this peak and the view down the valley was so breath taking that he decided immediately to establish a township there.
On clear days one can get a panoramic view of Ooty and its environs, the various mountain angles that make up the Nilgiris and even the distant Coimbatore plains and Mysore plateau. A telescope has been installed for public viewing.
The peak is about 10-km from Ooty town of the Ooty-Kotagiri road. The winding and steep drive to the peak through natural forests is thrilling. Walking up, by road or bridle path, is also not too difficult. Frequent town bus services are available right upto the peak.
The Mukkurthi Peak And National Park
Mukkurthi Peak is about 40-km from Ooty. The Mukkurthi National Park is located on the Southern corner of the Nilgiris Plateau. The area contains a viable population of Nilgiri Thar (Hamitragus hilocrius). The Kollaribetta and Nilgiris Peak are other major peaks around. The area is chained by innumerable beautiful and perennial little streams, which fall into Bhavani Puzha.
The Silent Valley in the Western Ghats is located on the western side of these ranges. A fascinating feature of the Mukkurthi Sanctuary is its endemism and relationship with Himalayan flora and fauna.
Situated at about 3-km on the road to Avalache, Cairn hill is one of the surviving original walks. Dense cypress trees flank the entire road circling the hill. The clearings underneath them make good picnic spots. The stillness and silence of the cypress woods broken only by the sounds of birds in the surrounding shrubs can be unforgettable experience.
Coimbatore, 105-km from
Ooty, is the
Rail: Ooty is on the narrow gauge railway connected to Mettupalayam (47-km), which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai. The famous toy train connects Ooty with Mettupalayam and Coonoor.
Road: A good network of roads and national highways connect Ooty with all major towns and cities. There are regular bus services to and from Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Palghat, Calicut, Tirupati and other important destinations in South India. Ooty is also well connected with major cities of Kerala and Karnataka . For local transportation,auto rickshaws are preferred and there are buses to nearby places of interest. Taxis can be hired for sightseeing.
Varied accommodation options ranging from star to economy class hotels, lodges and youth hostels are available in Ooty.