Ootacamund better known as Ooty is one of the most romantic hill stations of South India. It is also called Udhagamandalam by Tamil people. The name Ootacamund came from “Ottekalmunde” which means a Toda village.
Ooty is situated in Nilgiri hills. It used to be called Blue Mountains by the local people. The smoky haze that used to develop in Niligiri hills used to give a blue appearance. In the book “Ootacomand, A History” it is written that old Ooty area was occupied by Todas. The Todas then handed over the Ooty town to John Sullivan, the Governor of Coimbatore, who developed the city.
The town of Ooty in its present form had been made by the British Government, as it was used as summer capital for the Madras Presidency. Ooty is famous for growing fruits like peaches, plums, pears and strawberries, and vegetables like potato, carrot, cauliflower and cabbage. A wholesale auction is held of these products regularly in Ooty Municipal Market. Ooty is also famous for dairy products like cheese and skimmed milk. Sericulture and floriculture is done in Ooty and lot of mushroom is also grown. A number of manufacturing industries are grown in Ooty including Ketti (manufacture of needles), Arunvankadu (manufacture of cordite), Coonor (manufacture of rabies vaccine). Ooty is known for cottage industries as well including chocolate, pickle and carpentry.
Coonoor and Kotagiri near Ooty is famous for cultivation of tea. Ooty is connected to Chennai by nightly connecting train service including the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR). In July 2005, NMR Meter Gauge service was declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Ooty is connected by air with Coimbatore and also Calicut. Ooty is connected by roadways with Bangalore, Mysore and Chennai.
The 22 acre long botanical garden in Ooty is a very romantic spot. A flower show and exhibition of rare plant species is held every year in the month of May at this garden. The garden is filled with cork trees, paper bark trees, flowering bushes and plants. There is an artificial lake built by John Sullivan in the vicinity. The lake is fringed with eucalyptus trees.
Stone house and Toda huts show the rural culture of Ooty. St. Stephen’s Church and a Wax museum full of wax statues of Indian historical personalities are the other attractions of Ooty. Doddabetta Peak is the highest peak of Ooty. There is a telescope point from where the colourful ranges of the mountains are visible. There is a tea museum, close to Doddabeta Peak where it is shown in details the manner of growing tea. It is a learning experience and tourists regularly buy fine species of green tea, chocolate tea, cardamom tea and also products of eucalyptus tree like oil, medicinal products, etc. There is a picturesque valley in the vicinity called the Ketty valley which is considered to be Switzerland of South India. Ooty lake is famous for boating facilities. There are both motor boats and paddle boats, but they are expensive. There is a toy train facility with a small tunnel for children. Pykara Lake and Pykara Falls is very famous for its geographical location. There is a pine forest where a lot of film shootings were held in the vicinity including bollywood films like Karz, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai and Saajan.
Being a hillspot, tourists flock at different times of the year, but October to December and May June are the best seasons. Tourists after visiting Ooty will themselves realize the reason why it is called the Queen of the Mountains.
Tags: Ooty , Coonor
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