The Hills Have Eyes - Things To Explore In Nilgiris
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Planning on holidaying South of India? Nilgiris mountains work for a perfect choice. A cluster of mountain ranges, Nilgiris has several hills gushing with beautiful falls, streams, and various trekking options. Commonly called as Nilgiri, the Blue Mountains of India are a visual treat for the tourists. Located in the western Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala, the Nilgiri hills have at least twenty-four mountain peaks above 2,000 meters. The name Blue Mountains attributes to the omnipresence of Kurunji flowers that is known to bloom every twelve years.
Image Source: David Brossard/Flickr
Apart from the bounteous natural beauty, Nilgiris plays a significant role in the history of India.
The place has many a remarkable connotation from the British rule which adds to the beauty of the city. If geography and botany do not interest you, then perhaps the history of the hills could intrigue your wanderlust.
- "Beat the heat” - Former summer capital of Madras Presidency
Image Source: Dibesh Thakuri/Flickr
With temperatures increasing in Tamil Nadu during summer, the British officers turn to Ooty for ‘English climate.' The soothing climate allowed them to reminisce and enjoy the city while governing the Madras Presidency which extended to Northern Kerala, present day Tamil Nadu, parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
- Name: Snooker; Birthplace: Ooty
Image Source: Łukasz Lech/Flickr
The commonly resorted game of today, Snooker was invented over a century ago at the Ootacamund Club. The first official set of rules for the game was developed in 1882 by Colonel Sir Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain. Won’t you want to rack ‘em up for a game of Snooker?
- Ooty Lake - Made in India
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
When the Collector of Coimbatore Mr. John Sullivan settled in Ooty, he created a lake that spread across 65 acres. Built between 1823 and 1825, the lake was a source for fishing and irrigation. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation turned the lake into a tourist attraction in the year 1973.
- Journey with history
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Bridging the distance between Coonoor and Mettupalayam, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway officially opened to be the steepest in Asia on 11 August 1898. Conceptualized by Swiss Engineer, Mr. Nilkaus Riggenback, the Railway has rack pinion arrangement with a close connection to the Swiss Railway. It also holds the record to be the slowest train in India at an average speed of 10km/hr. The Nilgiri Railways became ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ in July 2005 as an extension of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
- Trek up to the peaks of Tamil Nadu
Image Source: Ramkumar/Flickr
The highest peak of Nilgiri, Doddabetta peak which located 9kms from Ooty, is also the highest peak in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in the region with the view of the Coimbatore and Mysore. Along with the picturesque view, the peak also is a great trekking spot for adventure seekers.
- Endangered Tahr
Image Source: Sakeeb Sabakka/Flickr
Commonly known as Nilgiri Tahr, the endangered mountain ungulate is present in the tropical rainforest of the Western Ghats. It is also considered the state animal of Tamil Nadu. Owing to continuous poaching and Eucalyptus cultivation, the total population of Tahr has been documented to be around 3,000. Spotted along the hills of Nilgiri, the animal is poached for horns and fur.
Hills of Nilgiri
The Nilgiri mountains have several peaks that allow tourists to explore. Thanks to the serene locales and soothing climate, they have become a holiday spot not just for the tourists but also the British. Explore the hills and their beautiful landscapes to serendipity.
Image Source: Raj/Flickr
One of the most popular hills of Nilgiri, Ooty is known to be the ‘Queen of Hill Station.' A few kilometers from Ooty is Doddabetta, the highest peak of Nilgiri. Some of the other attractions in Ooty include
- Botanical Garden
- Ooty Lake
- Nilgiri Mountain Railway
- Government Museum
- Raj Bhawan
- Rose Garden
At an altitude of 2000 ft, Coonoor is a small town in the Eastern Nilgiri hills. Largely known for the tea plantations, Coonoor’s economy depends on tea trade. Some of the main attractions of this place include
- Sim’s Park
- Lamb’s Rock
- Dolphin’s Nose
- Law’s Falls
- Hidden Valley
- Catherine Falls
Image Source: Jeff Peterson/Flickr
A 27km drive from Ooty, Red Hills is the land is filled with lakes. With pure and crisp air, Red Hills is an epitome of nature’s beauty. An experience that rejuvenates the mind and soul, this place is the perfect option to unwind. The serene place has many attractions including
- Red Hills Lake
- Parson’s Valley Lake
Most of the hotels are in Ooty, but thanks to the efficient road system, the tourist spots could be easily accessed in half hour drive. Some of the best recommended 3- star hotels Nilgiri hills include
Hotel Darshan (Rs. 1,500 - Rs. 3,500)
Hotel Darshan is the perfect place to stay if you would like to explore Ooty for all its beauty. Situated at a walking distance from the Ooty lake, the hotel also offers a breath-taking view of the landscape.
Welbeck Residency (Rs. 3,500 - Rs 6,000)
If your plan is to stay close to the beauty of mother nature, Welbeck is the right choice. Ten minutes from the hotel leads you to the famous Ooty Botanical Garden. However, if you are in the mood for a drive, take a car to the Parsons Valley Lake of Red Hill and unwind.
Accord Highland Hotel, Ooty (Rs. 4,000 - Rs. 11,000)
Located on the Ooty - Thuneri Road, Accord Highland is one of the prominent hotels in Ooty. At 40-min driving distance to Coonoor, tourists can cover several attractions on the way including Doddabetta.
Ooty and the rest of Nilgiri mountains have been one of the most sort after hill stations of South India. The crisp air, tranquil locals, and numerous destinations allow tourists to get engulfed with serendipity. Travel for the weekend or a week, Nilgiri mountains always have something to offer.
*fb cover pic: wikimedia.commons