Think of hill stations in South India and you inevitably think of Ooty with its winding roads, steep climbs, gorgeous views and all-round beauty. This tourist haven is an extremely popular holidaying spot for honeymooners and young couples on the lookout for a romantic vacation. It’s also quite common to see families with children come here too. The air is fresh and clean, and the views are spectacular. What’s not to love? In summer, when most of South India starts heating up relentlessly before the rest of the country, it’s the perfect getaway for those who want to enjoy soft, cool breezes and snuggle under blankets, once it’s night.
Ooty tourism is an excellent option for those who don’t want to travel too far from cities like Chennai or Bangalore and still want to enjoy a lovely vacation. With its excellent road connectivity, people often choose to drive down here and with the amazing views along the way, it makes for quite a spectacular ride.
The hill station of Ooty is surrounded by hills like Elk Hill, Doddabetta Hill, Snowdon Hill and Club Hill. Located at an elevation of 2240 metres above sea level, Ooty has a serene vibe with the surrounding Nilgiris mountains and the lush forests. Ooty is an important part of Western Ghats and the steep climb to reach the town is quite exhilarating. For visitors who have come from cities, it’s always wonderful to breathe in the fresh air here and enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables that are often sold on the streets.
Despite the tropical forests surrounding the town, Ooty has a mild climate throughout the year which proceeds to become chilly as the year progresses. Summers are quite tolerable here with the temperature being a maximum of 25 degrees although winters can much colder, with minimum temperature going down to 4 degrees. It’s best to avoid the monsoon as the tricky turns and steep roads become even more problematic if you’re driving on your own.
Ooty is home to a number of people from different states in South India. So, although Ooty is in Tamil Nadu, you will most likely hear a number of different languages being spoken here. Since Ooty tourism is the main source of economy here, it won’t surprise you to see English and Hindi being spoken here too. Ooty celebrates most of the festivals that you would come across in South India and it has undergone quite a bit of modernisation. However, sadly this has come at a cost to the ecology of the region and people are belatedly realising the harm that this has done. There are steps being taken to remedy this especially when it comes to minimising the spread of plastic waste in the town. Ooty is also known for the excellent boarding schools which have been around since the time of the British.
One of the reasons why Ooty tourism is so popular is because of the many wonderful things to do here and beautiful sights to see. Combined with Ooty’s delightful weather, charming locales and gorgeous gardens, it’s no wonder why people are coming here all the time, even it’s just for a weekend.
The Rose Garden for instance is the largest rose garden in India. One of the reasons why Ooty has shot into fame is because of this beautiful garden where more than 20,000 varieties of roses are being cultivated. The air is redolent with the fragrance of tea roses and other famous varieties including unusual colours such as black and green.
Ooty tourism would be incomplete without a visit to the Botanical Gardens. These sprawling gardens are lush and aflame with beautiful flowers that will gladden your heart. If you happen to visit in May, you will be lucky to attend the flower show which is most excellent. There are more than a thousand species of plants here along with a 20-million-year-old fossilised tree.
Ooty Lake is huge and is in the centre of the town. You can see people paddling away on boats here or hiring boats to take them around the lake. Surrounded by mountains and trees, this is one of the major attractions for tourists who visit the town.
Not too far from Ooty is Doddabetta peak which translates into the highest peak. Reaching here in your own vehicle is exhilarating and daunting. The sights around you are simply stunning although do be prepared for crowds if you happen to visit during a weekend.
There are several historical buildings here as well, such as Stone House, the first bungalow that was constructed in Ooty or the elegant St. Stephen’s Church with its pretty stained-glass windows and beatific scenes of Mother Mary and Jesus. Another famous church here is St. Thomas Church whose graveyard achieved huge fame as it was featured in the movie, A Passage to India.
Lastly, it would be remiss to talk of Ooty without mentioning the famous toy train which is a part of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. While the fleet of steam locomotives might seem outdated to you, they have not lost any of their quaint charm. A ride on this train is quite iconic and memorable and should be included in your tour plans.
If you are making plans to visit Ooty, do take a moment to check the SOTC website. There are some excellent offers and deals on Ooty holiday packages here.