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The 'Queen' of the southern hills, Ooty or Ootacamund or Udhagamandalam, is situated in the Nilgiri hills. Located at the junction of the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, this hillstation was earlier inhabited by the Todas, a tribe of South India.
Today there are only 3000 of these tribals in Ooty. The best time to visit Ooty is between April and September. A flower show is held here every year in May, which is a major attraction. For the residents of the south it is a delightful place to escape from the summer heat and in winters for the North Indians to avoid the cold.
The best time to visit is April to September. April to June is the local tourist season, so it is somewhat crowded. A major tourist attraction is the flower show which takes place in the first week of May every year.
Places to see
The Ooty Lake
One of the two most important tourist centres of the city, the Ooty lake spans an area of one and a half miles. A large graveyard of St. Thomas' church overlooks the beautiful lake. Paddle boats and rowing boats are available here for tourists.
The Botanical Gardens
The second most important tourist attraction of Ooty, the Botanical Gardens lie on the slopes of the Dodabetta peak, the highest point of Ooty. Sculptured bushes, lily ponds and an innumerable variety of plants make the Botanical Gardens an important tourist destination. The Roman Catholic Cathedral can be seen in close vicinity from these gardens.
The Ootacmund Club still retains its old British charm. Golf and tracking jackals with hounds are the most famous activities of this exclusive club.
Also, the Ooty races are very famous for their racy action. The Ootacmund Derby attracts top Indian jockeys and is a passion among locals.
This oldest hillstation is 29 kms from Ooty. It is noted for its favourable climate and natural scenery. Ragaswami Rock and Pillar, Kodanand view point, St Catherine Falls and Elk Falls are worth seeing.
This lovely picnic spot is 13 kms from Ooty.
Mukurthi park & Mukurthi National Park
Mukurthi peak is 40 kms from Ooty. The Mukurthi National Park is located on the south earstern corner of the Nilgiri plateau. The Kollaribetta and the Nilgiri Peaks are the major peaks. The Silent Valley in the Western ghat is located on the Western side of these ranges.
21 kms from Ooty on the Ooty Mysore road. Well protected fenced sholas, toda settlements, grassy meadows and a good wildlife habitat. Pykara dam and the reservoir attracts many tourists. There is a Forest Rest House at Pykara.
17 kms from Ooty and an ecologically rich forestery spot. An electricity board winch trolley carries people from Glenmorgan view point to power house at Singara. All 4 kms of the winch track passes through the wildlife habitat. Prior permission of authorities needed to enter the viewpoint zone. There are ten Toda settlements.
28 kms from ooty a lake sorrounded by forest cover.
Charing Cross is a road junction with markets around it. A short walk from Charing Cross is the Spencers.
By Air - The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, which has daily flights to and from Madras, Bangalore, Cochin and Trivandrum.
By Train - The Nilgiri Express leaves Madras at night, reaching Coimbatore in the morning, and continues to the small town of Mettupalyam, at the foothills. From Mettupalyam, it connects to the Nilgiri Passenger which takes you to Ooty.
By Road - There is a regular bus service from Bangalore (300 km), Mysore (170 km), Coimbatore (105 km), Calicut (187 km) and Cochin (281 km).
A large part of the state being on the coastal edge of the country, the weather is tropical and sultry for most part of the year. The summer months of April, May, June are hottest where temperature ranges to 40 degrees.
December and January are the peak months for Chennai. The temp ranges from 20-22 degrees. To avoid peak rush October is better. The weather in these months is pleasant and easy to bear the humidity.