Ooty Hill Station, Tamil Nadu, India: A Travel Guide

Ooty, also known as Udhagamandalam, is a hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India. Surrounded by trees, central Ooty Lake is a huge artificial expanse of water with pleasure boats. On the slopes of nearby Elk Hill, the Rose Garden is home to over 2,000 varieties of roses. The Government Botanical Garden, created in the 19th century, features ferns, orchids and a prehistoric, fossilized tree.The town was a popular summer retreat during British colonial rule, and the Stone House, in the east, is a Raj-era bungalow that now forms part of the Government Arts College. Close by is St. Stephen’s Church, known for its stained-glass windows. The single-track Nilgiri Mountain Railway, completed in 1908, travels over bridges and through tunnels to Mettupalayam, in the southeast. In the eastern outskirts of Ooty, towering Doddabetta Peak offers sweeping views of the town and the Nilgiri Hills. To the southwest, Avalanche Lake is framed by thick forests inhabited by birds. Tranquil Emerald Lake is surrounded by tea plantations.

The Blue Mountains have always been shrouded in mysticism, and Ooty is no exception to that. For every mountain lover, the very idea of travelling to the city known as the Queen of the Hills holds an allure like no other. Once regarded as the summer headquarters of the East India Company (and for a very good reason), Ooty, also known as Udagamandalam, is a hill station in Tamil Nadu which serves as a very popular tourist destination for anyone looking for a picturesque place to relax and unwind. Ooty is nestled amidst the Nilgiri hills at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level and enjoys a favourable climate all year round. 

Ooty oozes simplicity, devoid of any boundaries, so anyone who visits the place can feel at one with the local culture. The journey to Ooty itself is dotted with magnificent sights of the awe-inspiring Nilgiri hills, tea gardens, and serene waterfalls. The cool, peaceful landscape of Ooty is almost movie-like – winding country lanes that you can spend hours simply walking on, and the charm of old-world colonial architecture infuses fresh air into the souls of travellers. For anyone looking for a respite from the mind-boggling humidity and the scorching Indian sun, Ooty is the place to be.

Ooty is a very popular destination for couples and honeymooners, and there’s no better way to fully take in all that this city has to offer than to take a trip on the Toy Train, which lets you enjoy panoramic views of this beautiful hill station right from your seat. The Nilgiri Mountain Railways has the steepest track in all of Asia, and it is one of the best train rides you will ever have the chance of experiencing. Remember the hit song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ where Shahrukh Khan and Malaika Arora were seen matching steps on top of a train? Remember the breathtaking locales as the train chugged its way across lush greenery? Yes, that was the Nilgiri Mountain Railways, and the Nilgiri Mountains all along.

Best time to visit Ooty

The place has a beautiful climate all round the year because of its perfect location. The winters in Ooty are colder than rest of the south India. The best time to visit this beautiful hill station is from October to June. In these months, the temperature remains somewhere around 25°C which offers a pleasant weather. It is the best time for traveling and sightseeing. During these months, nights are also comfortable.

Where to Visit in Ooty & When

Ooty in summer – From March till May

Summers in Ooty are not on an extreme hot and humid side like the rest of south India. The temperature in summers, on an average remains between 20°C and 30°C. Days are a little hot but the heat is bearable. One can go out for sightseeing at Avalanche Lake, Botanical Garden and Ooty Lake in the evenings. The nights are cooler and pleasant.

Ooty in Monsoon – From June till September

With the coming of monsoon, the temperature in Ooty drops down to 20°C. The heavy rainfalls bring along a lot of freshness and give a greener look to the place. During this season, you can visit attractions such as Dodabetta, Glenmorgan and Pykara Lake. All these attractions offer amazing locations where you can spend some time amid tranquility. The weather remains pleasant which further adds to the beauty of the place.

Ooty in Winter- From October till February

Winters in Ooty come with a cold and dry weather. As the winds are strong, travelers must carry warm clothes with them. The temperature during winters drops down to 5°C at night. The days remain a little sunny, so it is the best time to visit places attractions such as Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Toy Train. In the evening, you can go for shopping and along with that you can enjoy tea and snacks from roadside joints.

Activities In Ooty

When you are on a tour of Ooty, relaxing in the hotel room should be the last thing on your mind because there is a plethora of activities to do. From exploring the bounties of nature and paying homage at shrines to learning about the history of Ooty at museums and trying adventure sports, the list of choices goes on. Keep reading to know about the different ways to make your holiday in Ooty simply unforgettable.
Boating on Ooty Lake


One experience, which you just cannot afford to miss in the hill station, is boating on the mesmerising Ooty Lake. The artificial waterbody, sprawling over 65 acres, was built in 1824. There is a boat house, from where you can rent a row, paddle or motor boat. Adjacent to the waterbody, you will find Lake Park, a favourite picnic spot among tourists as well as the people of Ooty. There are many more charming lakes near the town like Pykara, Emerald and Avalanche that you can explore. Learning the Art of Making Tea

immensely aromatic, dark and flavourful. If you are a connoisseur of the delicious beverage, then you must take a tour of the tea plantations that carpet the rolling hills here. In case you want to see the journey of the leaves from gardens to a cup, you can head to the Tea Factory. The 1-acre property is situated at the foot of Doddabetta, the highest peak in the Nilgiri Hills.
A tour of the site will tell you everything about the origin of tea as a beverage, its evolution in the world and its history in the Nilgiris. You will also learn how tea as a trade commodity and beverage influenced societies, economies and cultures all across the globe.


Admiring Manicured Gardens
On the map of Ooty, you will see a number of aesthetic gardens that add to its already overwhelming beauty. A must-visit is the 55-acre Government Botanical Garden. Besides numerous species of flowers, there is a lot more to see here like a 20-million-year-old fossil. It also has a fern house, boasting a wide range of orchids and ferns. Among the numerous rare trees, you will see a monkey-puzzle tree that primates are unable to climb. Another such site, Government Rose Garden has more than 2000 varieties of the flower. The Nila Madam view point commands magnificent vistas of the entire park.
Trekking to Doddabetta and Mukurthi
One activity, which every thrill seeker must undertake in Ooty is trekking to Doddabetta. Its name translates into the Big Mountain in the language of Ooty. Situated at an altitude of more than 2600 metres above sea level, the peak draws hikers by the loads. Telescope House, built on the flat summit of the mountain, offers 360-degree views of the Nilgiris district.
Another scenic spot, offering trekking opportunities near Ooty, is Mukurthi Peak. The summit lies in the famous Mukurthi National Park, where you can come face to face with the flora and fauna of the Western Ghats. Some animals that can be spotted here are Nilgiri tahrs, jungle cats, elephants, barking deer and jackals. The bird species found here include the kestrel, black eagle, grey junglefowl, woodcock and thrush.
Riding on Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The 46-km Nilgiri Mountain Railway is one of the three high-altitude railway systems in India that have been inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. A treasure of South India, it will take you on more than 250 small and large bridges, and through 16 tunnels, all of which are in a great condition.


Feeling Dwarfed by a 40-feet Statue
There is one place in Ooty, which will make you feel like you have travelled to Malaysia; it is not a high-rise building but a temple. Elk Hill Murugan Temple, with its humongous statue of Lord Murugan, resembles the Batu Caves in Southeast Asia. In honour of the presiding deity, the festival of Thaipusam is celebrated here every year in the month of January or February.
Go on a Wildlife Safari in Mudumalai National Park
About 41 km from Ooty, Mudumalai National Park is home to tigers, sambars, panthers and sloth bears. If you want to give a touch of adventure to your Ooty vacation, then you can come here. Apart from animals, a host of birds can also be spotted in the park. This list includes the grey francolin, paradise flycatcher, racket-tailed drongo, emerald dove and streak-throated woodpecker.
Whatever you plan to do in the scenic hill station of Ooty, these are some experiences that will become a highlight of your trip.

Travel Options

By Air

Approximately 88 kilometres away, Coimbatore is the nearest domestic airport from Ooty which is well-connected with most of the Indian cities. You can also take a flight from Bangalore (which is 295 kilometres from Ooty) as Bangalore airport is connected with most of the cities across the globe. There are regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai connecting Bangalore and Coimbatore. Once you reach the airport, you can take a taxi or bus from there to reach Ooty.

By Train

The nearest railhead is Mettupalyam, 40 kilometres from Ooty. There are trains from Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore and Bangalore connecting Mettupalyam. Some of the popular trains are Ooty Udagamandalam Passenger train, Mettupalyam Udagamandalam Passenger train, Mangalore Mail and Mangalore Express. From here on, you can also board the heritage train known as the Nilgiri Mountain train which takes you uphill on an exciting journey. However, if you wish to reach faster, take a taxi from the railway junction.

By Bus

Ooty is a major tourist attraction of South India. You will get both government and luxury buses from Bangalore, Mysore and Chennai to Ooty. These are overnight buses and the journey is quite comfortable. Note that a special government bus leaves daily at 5pm and 7pm from Calicut and it takes just 6 hours to reach Ooty.

Weather – FAQs

FAQ

How much does it rain in Ooty?

Throughout the year, there are 75 rainfall days, and 1237.7mm (48.7″) of precipitation is accumulated.

What is the driest month in Ooty?

February is the month with the least rainfall in Ooty. Rain falls for 1 days and accumulates 10.2mm (0.4″) of precipitation.

What is the warmest month in Ooty?

The warmest month in Ooty is April, with an average high-temperature of 22.6°C (72.7°F) and an average low-temperature of 10.7°C (51.3°F).

What is the coldest month in Ooty?

July is the coldest month in Ooty, India, with an average high-temperature of 16.9°C (62.4°F) and an average low-temperature of 11°C (51.8°F).

What is the rainiest month in Ooty?

October is the month with the most rainfall in Ooty. Rain falls for 11 days and accumulates 189.2mm (7.4″) of precipitation.

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