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Home >> BMTimes >> Destinations in India
Friday, September 30, 2016  Don't Miss Next BM Times Article! Subscribe

Ooty: In the Lap of the Nilgiris

ootrain_396366209028210_1.jpgSituated at an altitude 7,347 feet above sea-level, Ooty or Ootacamund is a popular hill resort of Southern India. The place derives its name from the Toda word “othakal-mund”, which literally means “house in mountains”. Founded in the 19th century by the British, Ooty was originally designed to serve as the summer capital of the Madras Presidency. Today, it is one of the most popular travel destinations of India, attracting thousands of tourists from all over the country and abroad.

Major Attractions

With a mean temperature of 15-20°C, Ooty enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. The lush green hills, the rolling tea gardens, the cascading waterfalls and the sparkling brooks – all contribute to make Ooty a traveller's haven. Soak in the tranquility and solace of the open hills, camp in the greenery of the neighbouring forests, or take a tour to the nearby falls and the tea gardens, you will never have a dull moment here. For sightseeing, there are a number of places to visit, such as the Botanical Gardens, the Ooty Lake, the Dodabetta Peak, Lamb's Rock, Kaodanadu's View Point, the Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and the nearby towns of Coonoor and Kotagiri. A number of seasonal shows and festivals are held in Ooty, of which the most well known are the Tea and tourism Festival, Makar Pongal and the Flower Show.

How to Reach

Ooty is easily accessible by road, rail and air. The nearest airport at Coimbatore is only three and a half hour's journey by road. Flights from Coimbatore connect Ooty to major metro cities of India like Chennai, Kozhikode, Bangalore and Mumbai.

In order to reach Ooty by train, one needs to travel to Mettupalayam, the nearest broad gauge railway head which lies at a distance of about 46 kilometers from the city. From Mettupalayam, a toy train operated by the Nilgiri Mountain Railway connects Ooty in about 4 hours time. The scenic journey through the lush green hills, the tea plantations, the tunnels and the viaducts make it a visual feast for any traveller.

Ooty is also well-connected by good roads. Regular bus services connect Ooty to places like Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Calicut, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur, Tirupathi and Cochin.

Where to Stay

There are a number of hotels in Ooty that offer accommodation to tourists. Ranging from places of luxury accommodation to budget lodging, one may surely find a place in Ooty to suit one's pocket. Some of the most well known hotels of Ooty are Taj Savoy Hotel, Club Mahindra Resort, Fortune Sullivan Court, Hill Country Resort, Holiday Inn Gem Park, Hotel Sinclairs etc. If you are looking to beat the crowd, you may also opt to stay in Coonoor and Kotagiri, which are less than one hour from the city. The prices here are a lot cheaper too.

Ooty can be visited at any time during the year and is an ideal gateaway for those looking to beat the monotony of city life. If you are tired and looking for a break, you may as well pack your bags for a quick trip to Ooty. A few days in the lap of the Nilgiris will provide you with the much needed change!

Avik Roy
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