Ooty travel to blue mountain queen of hill stations
In this Article your fill find:
- Chaiya Chaiya! Ride Blue Mountain Train
- Doddabetta Peak
- Government Botanical Garden
- Mukurthi National Park
- Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
- Ooty Lake
- Ooty well connected
After my marriage several years ago (I have stopped calculating number of years I am married), we travelled to Ooty for our honeymoon. Since then, Ooty has a special place in my heart.
Welcome to the Nilgiris, the Blue Mountain or Udagamandalam or Ootacamund or Ooty for short, is located 250 KM from Bangalore. Pandit Jawharlal Nehru described Ooty as “Queen of Hill Stations”. The oldest Hill Station is situated at 2,240 meters above sea level. The Blue Mountain was first brought to notice of general public way back in 1819 by then Collector of Coimbatore. Later bride and roads were laid at various stages by the Collector Coimbatore. Astounding task of laying railway link from Mettupalayam, the foot of the Hills to Coonoor was taken up in 1886 and completed in 1899. They have to undergo lot hurdles in building that stupendous project to connection the foot hills to Coonoor. Later in 1908 the rail link was extended up to Ooty.
Chaiya Chaiya! Ride Blue Mountain Train
The travel by train from Mettupalayam to Ooty is the most attractive reason for visiting Ooty. The rail runs on ratchet & pinion track, passes through several hair-pen bends and curves; dark tunnels bring freight & enjoyment. Runs between narrow valleys of green vegetation and tea gardens! The railway between Mettupalayam and Ooty is now run by Nilgiri Mountain Railways. UNESCO added Nilgiri Mountain Railways in its World Heritage Site, a plaque of the same is displayed in Coonoor Railway Station.
It is one of pleasant sights to travel by this stream engine rail. The famous Dil Se song “Chaiya Chaiya” was shot atop this train over a period of 8-days, making it one of the best train songs ever shot for an Indian Movie.
While travelling to Ooty, make sure you at least take a journey through this train – specially the on the up-ward direction! Train service is available only once daily (one upward in the morning and one downwards in the evening. Check the timing before you travel).
The railway distance between Mettupalayam to Ooty is 46 Kilometers. The journey takes four and an half hours, you are going enjoy every minute of it. Remember to keep your camera ready for some breath-taking photographs. It will highly memorable train journey.
The highest peak of the Nilgiri Hill is at the altitude of 2623 meters above sea level. It is 10 Kilometers from the main down-town Ooty. Eastern and Western Ghats meets at Doddabetta.
View atop this peak is breath taking and it gives a bird eye view of the Nilgiri Hill ranges. Nearby this rocky peak there is located a place called suicide point. You will guide tell you that from this point several persons have committed suicide.
Government Botanical Garden
A visit to this Government Botanical Garden is a must in your itinerary of trip to Ooty. The Government Botanical Garden was first laid out in the year 1847. It was originally concept was created by John Sullivan, then Collector of Coimbatore district in 1819. The initial layout was done in late 1840s by Marquis of Tweedale. The garden is divided into various sections. There thousands of exotic and indigenous species. Sprawling lawns is spread like green carpet, punctuated with ponds with lilies, decorated with flowers and ferns. The largest collection of rose in India can be found here in Ooty! You will be tempted to carry home some of the plants and fern available for sale outside the garden gate. If you are visiting during the month of May, make sure to adjust your tour dates to match with annual flowers show.
Mukurthi National Park
Another important place to visit and enjoy is Mukurthi National Park. It is home to several endangered wildlife that includes Asian Elephant, Royal Bengal Tiger and more importantly Nilgiri Thar. Earlier it was named as Nilgiri Thar National Park.
(for photo of Nilgiri Thar please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nilgiri_Tahr.jpg)
Mukurthi National Park is located about 40 KM from downtown Ooty.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
The first wildlife sanctuary in southern India was created in year 1940. The area covered then was only 60 square kilometers. Later the sanctuary was extended in 1956 to nearly 300 square kilometers. At present total area for the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is 321 square kilometers. Wolrd Heritage Committee of UNESCO is considering Mudumalai National Park to be included in World Heritage Site.
My most wonderful experience of Mudumalai is the night stay in a cottage. You may need to book the cottage in advance at Ooty itself. We had problem in convincing the cottage caretaker to allow us for night stay. But the stay was wonderful, specially the early morning in the middle of jungle surrounded by greenery and trees were so wonderful and eye catching! We took early trip inside the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is home to various species that includes Sambar, spotted Deer, Panther etc. We did not have an opportunity to see all those animals in their natural habitat, except for some elephants and deers.
Ooty Lake - Tourist Attraction!
Another popular tourist attraction in Ooty is the Lake. Ooty Lake is located very close to Main Bus Station and Railway Station. It is about 2-kilometers in length. It was first built in 1923-25 as irrigation tank. At one end of the lake is Boat House where varieties of boats are available to use. On the sides of the lake is a mini garden and amusement park for kids. Also make sure to have horse ride nearby – actually it is ponies jolly rides that everyone will enjoy – from kids, ladies and all.
This place has become an import central point of tourist activities.
Ooty is well connected
Coimbatore is nearest airport which is about 100 Kilometers from Ooty. Coimbatore is well connected by air from Chennai, Bangalore & Mumbai.
My preference would be to go by trains. Nearest broad gauge railway head is Mettupalayam (46 kms). Major broad gauge railway junction is Coimbatore. It is connected with all major cities – like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kochi etc.
Ooty is well- connected by roads. There are number regular bus services from Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Calicut, Tirupati, Cochin, Chennai. From Bangalore, you can travel via Mysore. It is only 155 KMS from Mysore.
Because of commercial exploitation of Ooty, the charm of visiting Ooty is diminishing. The blue haze is disappearing and soon the Blue Mountain tag will not suit the Nilgiri. I wonder, if Panditji was around now, by what name he would call this mystics Queen of Hills!