Living according to me is travelling to the ends of the world, experiencing exotic adventures, eating the amazing and then travelling more. The cycle repeats! And if you are anything like that then Ooty is one of the places you must visit!! Once you’re there, here are a few things you’d wanna do in the beautiful hill station.
12 Things to do in Ooty
THE DODABETTA LOOK OUT
This is it! The highest point in the beautiful Nilgiri Mountains. Once you’re there on topmost point, feeling on top of the world, its the most amazing view you’d ever see (assuming it’s a clear day). This place is ideal for photography. Best time to visit Doddabetta Peak would be early morning for view of sun coming up from its hiding place, from behind the luscious green forests. Also in the evening for the view of the huge red ball of light going down. You can view the entire town from this peak. Isn’t that awesome?! That’s one thing you shouldn’t miss!
THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
If you are a nature person, interested in seeing thousands of little flowery beauties poking up their heads at you, then yes homies, Botanical Gardens is the right place for you! Established in 1848, these lovely gardens are a living gallery of the natural flora of the Nilgiris. Look out for a fossilized tree trunk believed to be around 20 million years old. What a sight it would be, looking at those tiny, colorful, happy little flowers, swaying in the air, giving their best smiles just for you. Trust me, it’s worth all the time you spend there!
St. STEPHEN’S CHURCH
Perched above the town center, the immaculate St.Stephen’s built in 1829, is the oldest church in the Nilgiris. It has lovely stained glass, huge wooden beams hauled by elephant from the palace of Tipu Sultan. Sometimes kitschy and sometimes touching, slabs and plaques donated by the colonial era church-goers. On the whole it has a pleasant atmosphere and a blissful feeling of peace that encompasses the house of God. It has to be present in the “must see in Ooty” list.
If you are a foodie and travel to various places just to eat, then Kabab corner is one corner that you must sit in. Though it isn’t much of a looker from the outside, the most amazing kababs in Ooty are prepared here. Once you’re there, you get to tear into those perfectly grilled and spiced chunks of lamb and chicken. If you are a vegetarian then don’t get discouraged by my description! This place also provides delicious paneer, sopping up the juices with fluffy triangles of naan. Just for the record, I ate my first piece of paneer here and people, I fell in love! I hope you do too.
This boat tour is on an artificial lake created by John Sullivan, in 1824. The water flowing down mountain streams in the Ooty valley was dammed to form the lake. The lake became empty on three occasions when it breached its bund. The lake was originally intended to be used for fishing with ferries being used to travel across the lake. It gradually shrunk from its original size giving place to the current bus stand, race course and the lake park. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation on behalf of the Tourism Department took the possession of the lake in 1973, for providing boating facilities as a tourist attraction. Even if you are scared of water, this boat trip is worth all the courage you can get, to overcome your fear!
NILGIRI TOY TRAIN
I personally have this weird fascination for trains. I think it’s the rhythmic chug chug of those wheels, it just gives me a thrill! The uniqueness of this rail line lies in it being the steepest one in Asia. Covering a distance of 46 km in around 5 hours, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway takes tourists from Mettupalayam to Ootacamund or Ooty. This is a truly amazing journey that takes tourists from a height of 1069 feet to 7228 feet. And not to forget the fact that it’s the best train ride you’ll ever experience!!
This place is the perfect place for history buffs! Stone House is the first bungalow of Ooty built by John Sullivan in 1822. Today, it is the Government Arts College of Ooty and displays amazing architecture and some great relics. Its beautiful architecture makes you fall in love with the stone age all over again!
A famous tourist spot, Pine Forest is situated between Ooty and Thalakunda, and has been featured in a number of popular Hindi movies. The towering pine trees are arranged in a small downhill area and the forest makes for a delightful scenic view and offers an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The Kamaraj-Sagar Dam, a popular picnic spot, is also visible from the bottom of the hill. A real feast for the eyes of a tourist!
Ooty is the hub of bakery items. Relish homemade chocolate and bakery items and try traditional Ooty biscuits, locally called varkey. Kingstar Confectionery has been making delicious homemade chocolates since 1942. In Ooty, they are the pioneers in homemade chocolate and their speciality is fudge. Apart from regular plain chocolate you get interesting varieties like strawberry, fig, mango, and blackcurrant. For the health conscious and diabetes patients, they offer sugar free chocolates. It can’t get better than this. Buying chocolates from Kingstar is synonymous with a visit to Ooty.
Books are said to be man’s best buddies! No complaints and no demands. Finding such friend is pretty easy in Ooty. Higginbothams is a treat for book lovers. This is the oldest and most renowned book shop in Ooty. Set amidst the backdrop of the mountains, you can spend hours here browsing through books from all genres. The peace and quiet really helps a person to concentrate on what he’s reading.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast or simply love the challenge that mountains throw, then Ooty provides some excellent trekking locations. You can trek amidst the mountains and spot a Nilgiri langur, macaque, Nilgiri tahr or gaur. If you’re lucky, you might even see some predatory animals. The amazing cool breezes drifting pass you like a friendly guest, is simply mesmerizing.
If you are looking for authentic South Indian cuisine, then head to one of the oldest restaurants in Ooty, the Nahar Restaurant. The place is simple, clean and very well-known. Food served here is pure vegetarian and cooked in traditional South Indian style. And being a South Indian, I can proudly certify the excellence in South Indian dishes!
Well people! What are you waiting for? Its time to get your warm clothing on and get out of your place! Get ready to visit these exciting places! And don’t forget to click loads and loads of pictures of this little scenic beauty! Have fun!!
Added a few more as per suggestions by Trishna:
Earls Court : Not to miss this place for dinner, it’s so European and lively.
Sidewalk Cafe for coffee and the best wood fired garlic bread and pizzas.
Drive through Kotagiri for the breathtaking view of tea , coffee and blackpepper plantations.
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An easy going young lady filled with passion for travelling places and learning new things, sharing experiences and living a care-free life!