Ooty is the most popular hill station in South India. At an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level, the town is connected by the Nilgiri Ghat roads and Nilgiri Mountain Railway. The average temperature throughout the year remain pleasant. (Between 12 degree -22 degree Celsius). However sometime in winter the temperature goes very low (2- 3 degree at night). We went in the month of April 2017, the temperature was 20-23 degree Celsius. Now a days the temperature is increasing for every place and Ooty is not an exception. So if you are planning to go in other than winter season, no need to carry much woolens.
Nearest Railway Station: Mettupalayam (47 Km from Ooty). However you can travel up to Coimbatore railway station and from there you will get Bus/ Cab to reach Ooty/ Coonoor.
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport (87 Km from Ooty). You can travel from Bangalore Airport/ Cochin airport (270 Km) as well.
Via Road: From Bangalore to Ooty distance is 270 Km and from Mysore the distance is 120 Km. The distance from Cochin to Ooty is also almost same (270 Km). From Bangalore/ Mysore, you can take the following route-
Bangalore –> Ramnagara –> Mandya –> SriRangapattna –> Mysore –> Nanjangud –> Gundlupet –> Bandipur–> Masinagudi — Ooty (Approx. 265 Kms).
We chose the Railway route up to Mettupalayam and then hired a Cab from there to reach Ooty.
The Biggest Doubt: For most of the tourist (who loves to do a lot of research before going to a place), the biggest doubt is which one to visit between Ooty and Coonoor? Which one is better? The distance between Coonoor to Ooty is 22 Km (Approx.) and the elevation is 1850 Meter (Coonoor) against 2240 meter (Ooty).
After visiting the place, I can tell you Ooty is better option if you would love to see other nearby places (Lakes, Garden etc). If you would love to just seat back and relax amidst the peaceful tea garden, then Coonoor is better option. As we went in April (which is summer in Tamil Nadu) so we preferred Ooty over Coonoor as the weather is better (cooler) in Ooty.
Places to See:
- Sim Park: While we started from Mettupalayam Station, this was our first halt in Coonoor. The park is named after Mr. J.D. Sim, former Secretary to Government and a pioneer whose efforts helped to set up this garden in 1874. This is a widespread (approx. 12 hectares) and very well maintained garden.
2. Dolphin Nose: This was the second place we visited while going from Coonoor to Ooty. It is almost 1000 feet above sea level and as the name suggest, we heard that there is some rock looks like Dolphin’s nose. Though we did not see any of that kind rock, we witnessed splendid view from there. The approaching road is also quite good as it has many turns. It reminds me the Song of “Kashmir Main, Tu Kanyakumari” from Chennai Express movie!! ( yes I agree, I am little filmy!!)
Before every turn you will see a notice board about the type of turn and the nomenclature of the turn. The road condition is also quite commendable.
3. Doddabetta Peak: This is the highest peak of Nilgiri Hills. It is approximately 10 Km away from Ooty. You can take Cab/Auto to the place. You have to walk nearly 50 Meter after the parking place.
There are lot of shops offering foods, kids playing things etc. There was one Government tea & essential oil shop, from where we bought tea and eucalyptus oil. As promised, I found the oil very helpful for my daughter’s cold.
4. Tea Museum: Ooty tour is incomplete without visiting this tea museum. Near Doddabetta Peak, this museum will give you the knowledge of the journey of those tea leaves from the beautiful green garden to our cup. We got to know how all the types of tea i.e. Green Tea, White tea, Oolong tea are made and what magic a cup of tea can do to our body & mind, if you make and drink it properly. I loved this experience. In the two storied building there are various tea, homemade chocolate & essential oil shops along with the tea factory. You will welcomed by a cup of tea (of your choice) and then the instructor will show you the total process of tea making.
5. Nilgiri Mountain Railway: The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) is a 1,000 mm meter gauge railway in Tamil Nadu, India, built by the British in 1908 and is operated by the Southern Railway. NMR is the only rack railway in India. The ‘Nilgiri Passenger’ train covers a distance of 26 km, travels through 208 curves, 16 tunnels, and across 250 bridges. The uphill journey takes around 290 minutes (4.8 hours), and the downhill journey takes 215 minutes (3.6 hours). It has the steepest track in Asia with a maximum gradient of 8.33%. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nilgiri_Mountain_Railway).
The train starts from Mettupalayam station and it has 11 stoppage in between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam (Ooty). Initially we thought to board the train from Coonoor or Mettupalayam, but later we booked a cab from Mettupalayam Station for the all the 3 days of our stay there. When you are travelling with kids, sometime you have to choose between your interest and ease of travelling with the super enthusiastic little one. So we satisfied ourselves by taking one photo in front of the train.
7. Ooty Lake: The artificial L shaped lake is a length of 2.75 km and a width varying from 100 m – 140 m. It was established between 1823 and 1825 by John Sullivan. Beside the lake, there is a big garden. Inside the area, many rides available for kids. That’s why the place is very crowded in weekend. Boating facility is also available there.
We took lot of photos of the various flowers of the park.
8.View Points: In Ooty, there are some awesome viewpoints. We told our driver about our interest to see the best view point in Ooty. The best View Point was near Toda House. Our driver informed that, the place is a very popular shooting place in Ooty. For reaching the top, we need to trek, which was little challenge for us. However thinking of the view from top me & my husband were so motivated that we carried Tanni (our daughter) alternatively and reached there. From top, the whole valley looks like it is a green cover molded in the earth.
9. Mudumalai, Masinagudi & Bandipur: From Ooty to Bandipur is approx. 50 Km and Mudumalai national Park is almost 43 Km in the same route. If you start at 9 in the morning from Ooty, you will reach Mudumalai by 11am.
After reaching the national park, you have to take Jungle Safari jeep or the forest department Bus. For taking 1 hour jeep tour the rate will vary between Rs.1000-1500. We decided to opt for Bus as it was cheap and at the same time we were having doubt that how much can be seen in the forest. We could see some Deer, Peacock, White Owl, lot of Monkeys etc. We were lucky to see the deer, crossing the road just in front of our car. My daughter Tanni was very excited to see the deer and peacock as those days she learned about those animal in her school. She was shouting “Look ma, D for Deer”. She repeated that many times happily. These are the moments you will cherish in any travel with kids.