The Ultimate Ooty Travel Guide for the Best Holiday
Ootacamand, or Ooty, is one of India’s foremost tourist spots. It has long been regarded as the ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’ in India. It is a spot of breath taking natural beauty and lush forest cover. With its salubrious climate, the Nilgiri Mountains in the backdrop and many other tourist places, Ooty is a wonderful place to relax and unwind. Every person, regardless of age, is bound to enjoy this spot to the fullest.
This article is an Ooty travel guide to help you book your holiday here. It lists background information about Ooty, how to get there, the best time to get there as per the season, and what to do in Ooty once you arrive. Read on…
Any Ooty travel guide would be incomplete without starting off with the history of the place. Many of India’s hill stations were originally discovered or created by the British. Always on the lookout for places that offered a respite from the oppressive heat, the British would set up camps and homes in hilly areas with a higher altitude. The term ‘hill station’ was also coined during this time, based on the ‘stations’ for rest, military depots, storage of supplies, and housing that the British rulers set up all over the country.
They were perfectly content to spend their summer in hill stations like Ooty, Mussoorie and Dehradun, to name just a few. Ooty was developed as a hill station in the early 1800s. It appears that the District Collector of Coimbatore sent two Englishmen to survey the area in 1812 – the duo climbed the Nilgiris right up to the Kallati hills, which are now recognised as the lower plains in North Ooty. But in the year 1818, two others NW Kindersley and JC Whish visited the area and realised the geographical and tourism possibilities of Ooty.
Accordingly, a proper road was laid from other areas leading to Ooty in the year 1819. The earliest long route was completed in 1821, joining Nilgiri and Coimbatore. Similar pathways continued to be laid, until 1872, when the first semi-concrete road was laid between Kallar and Coonoor over a distance of 25 km.
The first house in the hill station was also built by an Englishman, John Sullivan. More British families followed suit thereafter, creating the first charming cottages and bungalows here. As its fame spread, Ooty continued to attract more and more Englishmen and even Indian tourists. Today, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in India.
There are three modes to travel to Ooty, though most people prefer to make the journey by road. Consider how to reach using your preferred route:
* By Air: Ooty does not have its own airport or air strip. The nearest airport is at Coimbatore. You can take a flight to Coimbatore and drive to Ooty which is located about 86 km away. There are private taxis on hire just outside the airport or you can ask your resort to send you a car. You can arrive from Bangalore Airport (265 km away) also. Of the two airports, Bangalore Airport services more flights from around the country.
* By Road: Most people love the drive to Ooty, filled as it is with gorgeous vistas and a well-maintained road. There are many options in both State and private buses to Ooty, from cities like Chennai, Mysore and Bangalore. There are overnight journeys by bus, too. Try the special State transport bus from Calicut, leaving at 5 pm and reaching Ooty in 6 hours. You can also drive to Ooty from Bangalore, via Chamarajanagar or Mysore.
* By Railway: Ooty does not have its own railway station, so you will have to alight from your train at the nearest rail head at Mettupalyam. It is about 40 km far from Ooty, and has regular trains from Mysore, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Chennai.
The next item in our Ooty travel guide is knowing the right time to visit Ooty. We break up the ideal times to visit per season:
* Visiting Ooty in the summer: Summer season in Ooty spans the months of March to early June. Since it is a hill station, the summer heat is never oppressive here. But don’t expect cool days either. The day time temperatures are bearable and mostly pleasant, and you can wear light cotton clothing. Some nights in March and April may be cool, but not overly cold. However, many of the tourist spots are open during this season, and sightseeing is possible all day. This season is ideal for late night campfires and sitting around talking and having hot chocolate.
* Visiting Ooty in the monsoon: The monsoon season descends on Ooty from the months of July to September. Both day time and night time temperatures drop sharply during this season. Though the rainfall is not torrential in nature, the rain showers can be quite heavy. Visibility on the roads is also poor when it rains, especially since it brings a dense mist in the valley. You might have to modify your sightseeing plans quite a lot, or wait till the showers abate before you step out. Do carry mosquito and bug repellent cream or spray with you, because the little critters come out in droves during this time.
* Visiting Ooty in the winter: The winter season is often considered the best one to visit Ooty. Winter falls between the months of late October to February here. The climate is cold but not unbearable. The sunlight is also not harsh, and visibility is excellent. You will love exploring Ooty during this dreamy season, and honeymooning couples definitely will. You can even camp out under the stars during this season, or go on treks and long walks. We definitely recommend visiting during this time because there are many places to visit in Ooty and many things to shop and eat. However, this is the peak tourist season here so do book your flights and accommodation well in advance.
Ooty tourism is all about visiting the different attractions, eating out at the best restaurants in Ooty, staying out late to explore the night skies, and even shopping. However, you can get a little confused about where to go first! This Ooty travel guide was compiled to help you out on this front. Please read on to know how to travel safe in Ooty:
Ooty is a safe place for every visitor. You are not likely to be harassed or stared at. Solo women travellers, groups of collegians and even backpackers report feeling quite safe in this hill station.
However, it always helps to be on your guard in public places, temples, restaurants, cafes, etc. Women, especially, must be wary of overfriendly strangers (local residents or other tourists) and of allowing people they just meet to drive them around or escort them back to their rooms.
You can hire a car or bike in Ooty, but make sure you have some original identification to show while booking. Your Ooty resort can help you with this.
There are mixed opinions about being out and about in Ooty in the night hours. There have been some stray cases of tourists being mugged at night, or solo travellers being accosted. Also, be careful on the drive from Coimbatore to Ooty at night – the road is completely deserted and you don’t want any untoward incidents happening when it’s just you on the road.
Make a comprehensive list of the things to do in Ooty and the places to visit. This way, you won’t miss out on any of them. Some of our recommended spots to visit in Ooty include Dodabetta Peak, Avalanche Lake, Ooty Botanical Gardens, Kalhatty Waterfalls, Madumalai National Park, Kamraj Sagar Dam, Mukurthi National Park, Needle View Hill Point, Ooty Rose Garden, Parsons Valley Reservoir, Pykara Waterfalls and Toda Huts, among many others. You should ideally hire all-day transport to be able to cover all the important points in Ooty. Your resort or hotel can help you compile a list of places to visit in Ooty.
Ooty is known for its street food. Try the best kebabs, Chinese food, pizzas and South Indian fare at many famous restaurants in Ooty, as also the street side stalls.
Shopping is another excellent activity in Ooty. Look for handmade chocolates, candles, fresh Indian spices, shawls and other winter wear, locally produced aromatic oils, Toda traditional jewellery, clothing, etc. The best markets to check out are Chamraj Tea Shop, Ooty Municipal Market, Upper Bazaar Road, Tibetan Market, and Higginbothams, among many others.
Don’t forget to take a ride in the world famous Nilgiri Toy Train in Ooty. The tracks over which the train is laid is a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site, and for a small price, you can enjoy a wonderful ride in the lap of nature. Also don’t forget to visit the famous Honey and Bee Museum. You can get information about how honey is made and processed before being packed, how honey is collected using traditional methods, what bee keeping entails, and so on. The Museum is a veritable storehouse of knowledge on the subject of bees and honey, which is educational for young children as well.
When in Ooty, book your stay at the Club Mahindra Ooty Resort in Tamil Nadu and celebrate the most memorable holiday in this wonderful hill station. Club Mahindra has two resorts in Ooty: The Debry Green and the Danish Villa. Both are premium properties that you must certainly check yourself into for a great vacation.
The Derby Green Resort by Club Mahindra in Ooty is surrounded by lush greenery, with the resort itself located right in the middle of the Nilgiris. Tranquil environment and pristine surroundings await you and your family at Ooty, along with superb amenities and warm hospitality. The Nilgiris are a part of the Western Ghats and the forest comprises rich flora and fauna. The resort spans more than five and a half acres of meadows, and from here, you can enjoy beautiful views of the race course. This resort is consistently rated one of the best resorts to stay in by past visitors.
Meanwhile, the Club Mahindra Danish Villa Resort is located right in the centre of Ooty city, and it is easy to reach by all modes of transport. It has cosy rooms, and the resort is built in a colonial style to add to its charm. It gives a stunning view of the neighbourhood and offers numerous fun-filled activities for both adults and children to keep the family occupied during the trip.
Both these Club Mahindra properties have well-appointed, luxurious rooms with many modern amenities. You will love exploring the property on a morning when you don’t want to step out right away. Or you can build up an appetite for breakfast by splashing in the pool, or soothe the aches and pains from your body by going to the spa for a massage. The resorts also have in-house restaurants where you can relish various local cuisines of Tamil Nadu with family.
Your Club Mahindra membership entitles you to a stay at these stunning resorts in Ooty, and you must make the most of this golden opportunity to gift yourself and your loved ones the best holiday of a lifetime. Don’t delay, book today!
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Resort Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership the other brands offered by the company are – Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at www.clubmahindra.com