15 Incredibly Glorious Places To Visit In Ooty!
Ooty also is known as Udagamandalam, is a popular holiday destination nestled in the beautiful Nilgiri Hills in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. This ‘Queen of Hill Station’ is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level and has a favourable climate all-round the year, making it a mountain-lovers’ dream destination. Ooty with its delightful mountain trails, lush green scenery, never-ending meadows, crystal clear lakes that stretch for miles, and cascading waterfalls that suddenly appear as you take a hairpin bend, holds a charm like no other hill station.
Ooty is one tourist destination that you cannot rush through just so you can move on to the next place on your itinerary. This lovely destination stands tall and can hypnotize anyone with its cool peaceful landscape, awe-inspiring hills, winding country lanes, aromatic tea gardens, tasty bakery goods, and a joyful ride on the miniature toy train that infuses fresh air into the souls of the weary travelers.
Ooty is a fundamental part of the Western Ghats and is one of the most bio-diverse regions of the world. Monsoon is the best time to visit this pleasant hill station. In this season, you will be greeted by forests laden with rare blooming flowers and hill slopes covered with colourful species of plants not likely to be traced anywhere else in India. You can also spot a plethora of exotic wild animals and reptiles, few of which are the elusive panther, the rock python, majestic cobra, and the big cats. A variety of rich pharmaceutical plants and herbs with medicinal qualities can also be found here.
15 Best Places To Visit In Ooty
- Botanical Garden
- Ooty Lake
- Needle View Hillpoint
- Nilgiri Mountain Railway
- Rose Garden
- Emerald Lake
- Wenlock Downs
- Kalhatti Falls
- Tiger Hill
- Dolphin’s Nose
- Kamraj Sagar Lake
- Kotagiri in Coonoor
- Doddabetta Peak
- Droog Fort
- Upper Bhavani Lake and Avalanche Lake
1. Botanical Garden
Located right in the heart of this beautiful scenic hill station is the famous Ooty Botanical Garden. It is one of the top places to visit in Ooty. Sprawling over 55 acres of land, the gardens house hundreds of different varieties of plants and flower species. Built-in 1847, this beautifully landscaped garden is split into various sections, namely Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace, and Nurseries, and encompasses large varieties of both indigenous and exotic plants, shrubs, ferns, herbal, orchids, and bonsai species all of which present a natural colourful endearing sight. The garden has a temperate climate ideal for a variety of plants, shrubs, ferns, and bonsai. During the summer month of May, a special two-day exhibition of flowers is held here with various flower-related activities and prizes given to the best display. All these account for a charmingly scenic delight to the senses and makes it among the best places to visit in Ooty.
Location: Vannarapettai, Ooty
Timings: 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Entry fees: INR 30 for adults and INR 15 for children
Activities/Attractions: Cork Tree (only one species in India), Paper Bark tree and Monkey Puzzle tree (even the monkeys cannot climb it)
2. Ooty Lake
This manmade lake was artificially constructed just for the fishing purpose but is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ooty. This lake is very popular for its boating and the boathouse here provides paddle boats, motorboats, and rowing boats. A graceful and refreshing ride on the calm waters is a very popular activity enjoyed by family and honeymoon couples. Cycling and horse riding around the lake is another favourite amongst tourists. For a quick tour around the lake, there is even a mini-train for the kids. The beautiful lake spread over an area of 65 acres is surrounded by Eucalyptus trees and one can also see small streams flowing down the hills around it and is brimmed with shops selling local products as well as beautiful shawls and stoles.
While visiting Ooty Lake, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Wax Museum right next to the lake. A visit to this museum is not only informative but also thrilling especially for kids who are left in awe by the beautiful wax statues stationed inside the 130-year old Colonial Mansion in Ooty. One can see numerous look-alike wax statues of eminent personalities of Indian history and culture.
Location: Ooty Lake, Ooty, The Nilgiris
Timings: 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Entry fees: INR 10 for Indians and INR 560 for foreigners
Activities/Attractions: Wax museum, boating, sightseeing, photography, shopping, and walking
3. Needle View Hillpoint
Away from the hustle and bustle of city-life, Needle View Hill Point also known as Oosi Malai is as an ideal place to calm your soul and spend quality time in the lap of nature with your dear ones. One can climb up the rocks and get a panoramic view of the splendid scenery all around. The cool breeze, the setting sun and the 360-degree view of the surrounding terrain make the whole experience more pleasant and romantic.
Needle View Hillpoint derives its name from a cone-shaped rock-inhabiting it and is much more than just a viewpoint. Leagues apart from a usual sunrise and sunset point, it’s a gorgeous place and is quite different from other sunrise and sunset points. The drive from Ooty all the way to this spot is another major draw, which offers tourists breathtaking views of grasslands and the valley of the Nilgiris. Nature enthusiasts find it thoroughly enchanting and such surroundings transport them to an entirely different world.
Tip: Make sure to carry some warm clothes with you as the temperatures can stoop down during the end of the day even during monsoon.
Location: Gudalur, Ooty Main Road, National Highway 67, Ooty
Timings: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fees: N/A
Activities/Attractions: Sightseeing, nature photography, and walking
4. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
A trip to Ooty is incomplete without embarking on a ride in the Toy Train run by the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, which gives its passengers a lifetime experience as it chugs its way through captivating landscapes, dense forests, and sparkling river with the sun shining brightly over them. It is one of the places to visit in Ooty in one day. The Toy Train was built by the Britishers and is said to be the steepest track in Asia. As the train climbs to higher altitudes one can witness how treasured Nilgiri is, and from your seat, you can have a panoramic view of the sparkling blue waterfalls, lush green forests, steep hills, plunging ravines, fragrant tea plantations, and breathtaking locales. At the end of the journey, you will not regret spending 5 hours on this 46 kilometers track as it is a never to be forgotten experience.
The journey commences from Mettupalayam up till Udagamandalam and crosses 250 bridges and 16 tunnels while passing through a number of other stations on the way including Coonoor, Kellar, Wellington, Lovedale, and Ootacamund. The hit song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ staring Shahrukh Khan and Malaika Arora Khan dancing on top of a train was shot on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway with the Nilgiri Mountains in the background. Nature enthusiasts and photography buffs would love to be in such surroundings that transport them to an entirely different world.
Location: The one-way journey starts from Metupalaiyam at 7:10 AM and arrives in Ooty at 12:00 PM and from Ooty, it starts again at 3:00 PM
Entry fees: The ticket costs INR 205 and can be booked from IRCTC website.
Activities/ Attractions: Train ride, sightseeing, nature photography
5. Rose Garden
Lying in the heart of Ooty on the slopes of the Elk Hills, this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in ooty, this mesmerizing garden will not fail in taking your heart away. Called by multiple names like the Centenary Rose Park, the Jayalalithaa Rose Garden, and the Nootranju Roja Poonga, it is a true paradise for nature lovers who are captivated by its lush gardens with areas dedicated to captivating perfumed roses. As you walk around the garden you feel like you have entered a different world altogether. Built-in 1995 to commemorate the Centenary Flower Show, this is one of the famous botanical gardens maintained by the Horticulture Department of Tamil Nadu, covering a vast expanse of over four hectares on the hill slopes. One can spot a variety of roses in different colours, sizes, local, non-local, and hybrid. Families with kids as well as couples can be seen having a joyful time here. The annual flower show is the time the garden has the highest production of colourful and fragrant roses and visitors can purchase saplings or beautiful bouquets for their loved ones. The layout of the garden consists of bowers with rose creepers, Pergolas, and Rose Tunnels, and there is an observation center called the Nila Maadam, from where tourists can get a beautiful view of the whole garden. With an assortment of about 20,000 roses and 2,800 plants, it has one of India’s largest collections of roses.
Location: Horticulture House, Elk Hill Rd, Bombay Castel, Ooty
Timings: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fees: INR 20 per person
Activities/Attractions: Flower show, bowers, fountains, Nilamaadam, variety of roses, view points, and Gazebos
6. Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake situated in Emerald Village at a short distance from the main city of Ooty, is a part of the Silent Valley National Park in the Nilgiri District. Away from the maddening crowd, this serene lake with its picturesque surroundings, green Nilgiri slopes, and beautiful tea plantations offers a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely time in the lap of nature and tranquillity. It is not overcrowded by tourists and is one of the unexplored and virgin places of this South Indian hill station. For families, it’s a perfect picnic spot and for nature photography enthusiasts, bird lovers, ornithologists, and landscape artists, the delightful place provides a perfect subject and composition. The azure blue water of this charming lake and the woods around it are home to a number of colourful native birds. For a better experience of the region, one can indulge in trekking and mountain biking around the lake or just sit and chill with a book or a fishing rod and enjoy the breathtaking view. Strolling around the Tea Gardens near the lake is another experience, which is a must for city dwellers and tourists. Nilgiri tea is famous for its strong flavourful taste and easily available in shops near the lake and one can be sure of the quality and authenticity when purchasing it from here.
Location: Emerald Village
Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fees: N/A
Activities/Attractions: Trekking, mountain biking, bird-watching, photography, sightseeing, and fishing
7. Wenlock Downs
Have you ever seen those vast open expanses where the hero and heroine often dance in Bollywood films? Chances are that the scene was shot in Wenlock Downs. The downs are a popular picnic spot in the outskirts of Ooty. There is vast expanse of lush green meadows and depending on the season one is visiting in, one can also enjoy horse riding here. The name of the place is derived from a British soldier Baron Wenlock and the downs presently cover 8000 hectares between Ooty and the region of Pykara. The area also served as a hunting ground for the British back then and the area is still known as Shooting Point as many blockbuster Hindi movies have been shot here. The meadows are still used for event photography.
It is a great place to get away from the chaos of the city to enjoy some peace and quiet. The climate here is pleasant round the year and the temperatures can dip considerably at night. The foggy and misty mornings create a romantic mood. Nature lovers and photographers come here in dozens during the weekend.
Location: Outskirts of Ooty
Timings: 9 am to 6:30 pm
Entry Fees: INR 10
Attraction: Lush meadows and vast expanse of vegetation / popular shooting spot
8. Kalhatti Falls
Kalhatti Falls in Bellikal is known as Bird Watcher’s Paradise and it is located just about 1.5 hours away from Ooty. The Kalhatti Falls in Bellikal is located in the Sigur Plateau and the falls itself is about 400 feet high. The magnificent Falls are the main attraction here and the lush greenery all around as the falls make its way through the hills is a breathtaking sight. It is one of the best spots in India to watch some endemic birds and their way of life. The flora and fauna is as diverse as it can get.
The weather here is almost always calm and pleasant and a truly dreamy atmosphere is created when it rains. The falls are also a source of fresh drinking water for the surrounding area. The most exciting part of the trip, especially if there are children with you, is the visiting elephants which often come to the falls to enjoy a drink. The area is a walker’s paradise and there are many trails that one can follow through the greenery. The falls provide a wonderful view of the Nilgiri Mountains from an elevation and also play a crucial role in nature conservation here.
Location: Bellikal, about 1.5 km away from Ooty
Timings: Any time
Entry Fees: Fees
Attraction: The Falls/ Elephants/ Migratory Birds
9. Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill is located merely 6 km away from Ooty City Center and is located in the lower region of the Doddabetta Peak, near its foothills. It is one of the most popular and beautiful vantage points in entire Ooty and tourists mostly come here early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise and the sunset. The spot is wonderful to take some great pictures and there are flower meadows all around. There is an ancient cave atop the Tiger Hill which explorers often like to explore. There are a number of local legends and myths around this cave. Trekking to Tiger Hill from Ooty is a major activity here and the trail will mesmerize you with its sights at every turn. There is also a fresh water reservoir here. There is also a British era cemetery here that many tourists visit to pay their respects or to know about the history of the region. The marble statues in the premises are especially noteworthy.
Location: 6 km from Ooty city center
Timings: 5:30 am to 7 pm
Entry Fees: NA
Attraction: Sunrise and sunset view/ British era cemetery
10. Dolphin’s Nose
Dolphin’s Nose is located about 1500 m above sea level and is frequented by all who come to Ooty. It can be reached in about a couple of hours drive and the view of the Nilgiri Hills en route is a visual treat. The place gets its name because of the peak that resembles the nose of a dolphin. The region has gigantic rock formations and there are canyons and valleys on either side which are filled with greenery and are home to a large variety of flora and fauna. One can also get a clear view of the Catherine Falls from here. There are innumerable tea plantations here but the most exciting part of the ride is traversing the various hairpin bends that come along the way. Once up the peak, one can get a splendid view of the hill villages strewn around the valleys of the Blue Mountain. The region is breathtaking and the play of clouds and mist adds a new dimension to its beauty.
Location: Couple of hours drive from Ooty
Timings: Any time
Entry Fees: Free
Attraction: Tea plantations/ Dolphin’s Nose Peak, View of Catherine Falls
11. Kamraj Sagar Lake
This scenic lake in the suburbs of Ooty has a majestic dam over it and is a very popular picnic spot in the region. There is also a woodland close by which makes for some fun exploration. There are also a number of shrubs and wild herbs to be found here and the region provides some beautiful backdrops for the family vacation pictures. The region is also a very popular shooting spot and many Hindi as well as South Indian films have been shot here. The lake is also a great place to enjoy some quiet fishing. The fish industry here is very robust and once here, one can enjoy some good fish delicacies with local rice preparations.
Location: Suburbs of Ooty
Entry Fees: Free
Attraction: Fishing/ picnic spot/ shooting location
Located in Coonoor, this small Panchayat hill city is just a few hours’ drive from Ooty and is a splendid locale for relaxation. The hill city is famous for its tea plantations, which is among the most prominent ones in the Nilgiri Hills. The tea factories here are an added attraction and one can go for a tea tour as well and know all about how premium tea is made. The region is 1985 m above sea level and it is popular trekking destination as well. There are a number of boarding schools here and were established in the British era.
The tourist footfall has decreased here in recent times but that has only helped in maintaining the scenic beauty of the place and those who want to travel somewhere that has not been overpowered by commercialization will find this to be the ideal spot. Adventure enthusiasts come here frequently for rock climbing and hiking. The weather here is almost always pleasant through the monsoons see some heavy rainfall. Even then, the lush greenery lends extra beauty to the place.
Location: Few hours’ drive from Ooty
Entry Fees: Free
Attraction: Tea plantations, tea factories, rock climbing
13. Doddabetta Peak
Literally translating to the “Big Peak”, the Doddabetta is the highest peak in Ooty and reaches a height of 8650 feet. It is a great place for sightseeing and the 10 km trek to the hill draws trekkers from all over the country. The summit offers some splendid views and one can see as far as Mysore city when the day is clear. The entire Nilgiri range can be seen from here as the peak has a strategic location between the Eastern and the Western Ghats. The Doddabetta Peak can also be accessed by vehicles so there is no need to worry if your elderly parents are traveling with you. The scenic beauty around is mesmerizing and there are a number of lodges and hotels near the foothills of the peak where you can enjoy a few days of leisurely stay as you explore the region around.
Location: 10 km from Ooty
Entry Fees: free
Attraction: Trekking/ Hiking/ views of the surrounding hills in Nilgiri
14. Droog Fort
The Droog Fort is located about 15 km away from the foothills of the Nilgiri and according to the legends, it was said that the demon Bakasura resided here. The region also has a rich historical heritage as in the 18th century, Tipu Sultan used the fort here during his campaigns. The Fort is located about 1800 m above the sea level so one can enjoy some truly mesmerizing views of the surrounding region from the high watchtowers of the fort.
There are a number of coffee plantations and eucalyptus plantations here and the air is always aromatic because of them. Bird watchers also frequent the place because the woodlands around the fort are home to a large number of local and also migratory birds during the winters. The trekkers come here frequently to enjoy the hike up to the fort. Malabar squirrels and foxes are also to be seen here, especially in the late evenings. However, it is important to keep an eye out for bison that often come out of the forests. The Nonsuch tea estate and the Law Falls are other attractions here and wonderful scenic spots for daytrips.
Location: 1 hour from Ooty
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Entry Fees: Free
Attraction: Nonsuch Tea Estate/ Law Falls/ Coffee plantations
15. Upper Bhavani Lake and Avalanche Lake
The two lakes in the Avalanche region are almost indescribable in their beauty. Located high on the hills, the waters of the lakes reflect the blue hills around. Avalanche Lake gets in name from a major landslide that occurred in the area in 1863 but the topography is steady now. The region is full of lovely flowers and lush meadows and one can enjoy horse riding and jeep safari by the lake. Boating in the lake is also allowed at specific times of the year. Upper Bhavani Lake is also well known for its beauty but the lake is situated in a niche of the hills and was overlooked for a long time. It has gradually drawn the attraction of the tourists and a lot of new activities have been introduced here recently, though tourists are requested to maintain the ecological balance of the lakes.
Location: Avalanche area in Nilgiri Hills
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Entry Fees: Free
Attraction: Boating, horse riding, bird watching, open jeep safari
Where to Stay in Ooty
Ooty provides scores of options when it comes to accommodation and there are both high end luxury hotels as well as budget hotels to choose from. Due to the pleasant climactic conditions of Ooty, it is a popular tourist destination throughout the year so it is prudent to make the bookings sometime in advance. Oyo App has a number of hotel booking options and you can choose hotels depending on their location, access to transportation or other facilities. Ooty hotels are mostly situated in the foothills of the Nilgiri and hill view rooms are the most preferred here.
Where to Shop in Ooty
Shopping in Ooty is definitely a pleasurable experience and it is quite possible that you will end up emptying your wallet before long. It is the perfect location to buy light woolens and trendy jackets and hiking shoes. Charring Cross is the shopping street here which is lined by local markets and they sell souvenirs and especially handmade chocolates. On the other hand, if you want to buy fresh spices, then head to Upper Bazaar Road and you can whole spices like cardamom, cinnamon, peppers and cumin seeds for your kitchen. Commercial Street in Ooty is especially famous for the tourists who want to buy shawls and stoles, junk jewelry and fresh cakes and chocolates. Local coffee and tea are also to be found in the food stores here.
What to Eat in Ooty
Ooty is great place to indulge in some mouthwatering food and because tourists come here from all parts of the country, there is something to suit every taste bud. One of course, has to try the traditional South Indian fare here which is served in many South Indian restaurants that line the streets. Nahar Restaurant is one of the places for it and the food is completely vegetarian. For some authentic and inexpensive Chinese food, head to Hinkow’s on Commercial Street and you are sure to taste some of the best pork in your life. Kingstar Confectionary is a great place to find authentic homemade chocolates and they are one of the first family owned chocolate makers in the city.
How to Reach Ooty
Ooty can be reached by flight and you will be landing at Coimbatore Airport, which is about 85 km away from the Ooty city. You can get cabs to the city from here, or even bus. There are many direct and connecting flights to Coimbatore from most Indian cities.
One can reach Ooty by road by taking the NH 209 and NH 275. There are frequent buses from Bangalore and the Tamil Nadu state transport corporation has maintained the roads here very well.
If one is traveling by train, then they would have to take a train to Mettupalyam, which is about 40 km away from Ooty. Once there, one can avail a cab or arrange for transport from one’s hotel to travel to Ooty. There are also buses to be taken. The ride is mostly through tunnels as one travels uphill and it is definitely the experience of a lifetime.
Revive yourself along with your family and friends with an eventful vacation by rushing to the heart-winning tourist places to see in Ooty. This southern gem will take your breath away with its bountiful greenery and awe-inspiring scenery, allowing you to relish the nuances of nature at its best. The spellbinding magic of this quaint little hill station never gets old, regardless of how many times you visit. Each season in Ooty presents the town in a new form and none of the seasons is too harsh for its visitors. The ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ looks forward to serving you a delightful treat away from home, in the lap of nature. Be it the heritage toy train or the pristine waters of the Emerald Lake, the tourist attractions here leave no stone unturned to make you crave for more. Ooty is an ideal destination for you to revive yourself along with your friends and family.