OOTY (Tamil Nadu)

Things to do - general


Ootacamund officially, Udhagamandalam sometimes abbreviated to Udhagai or Ooty is a town, a municipality and the district capital of the Nilgiris district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Ootacamund is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills. Originally occupied by the Todas, the area came under the rule of the East India Company at the end of the 18th century. Today the town's economy is based on tourism and agriculture, with manufacturing of medicines and photographic film also present. The town is connected to the rest of India by road and rail, and its Ooty, which is deep within the Nilgiri hills, is also known as The Blue Mountains.

It is unknown whether this name comes from the blue smoky haze given off by the eucalyptus trees that cover the area, or because of the kurunji flower, which blooms every twelve years giving the slopes a bluish tinge. Unlike any other region in the country, no historical proof is found to state that Ooty was a part of any kingdoms or empires. Tippu Sultan was the first to extend his border by constructing a hideout cave like structure. It was originally a tribal land and was occupied by the Todas along with other tribes who coexisted through specialisation and trade. Frederick price in his book Ootacamund, A History states that the area which is now called as the 'Old Ooty' was originally occupied by the Todas

. The Todas then handed over that part of the town to John Sullivan, the then Governor of Coimbatore. He later developed the town, and encouraged the establishment of tea, chinchona, and teak trees. Like many of the settlers, Sullivan was highly impressed by the way the tribes cooperated, and sought to maintain this balance. He later campaigned tirelessly to ensure land rights and cultural recognition for these tribes and was financially and socially punished for this by the British Government. The Nilgiri territory came into possession of East India Company as part of the ceded lands, held by Tipu Sultan, by the treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1799. Rev. Jacome Forico, a priest, was the first European who visited Nilgiris in 1603 and released his notes about the place and the people of Nilgiris. In 1812 surveyor William Keys and Macmohan visited the top of the plateau. In 1818, Wish and Kindersley, Assistant and Second Assistant to Collector of Coimbatore visited this spot and submitted their experience report to the Collector of Coimbatore John Sullivan. John Sullivan with his party proceeded to Nilgiri Mountain and camped at Dimbhatti, just north of Kotagiri in January 1819.

Again in May 1819 he came to the Hill of Ooty and began the construction of his bungalow at Dimbhatti (near Kotagiri), the first European dwelling on the hills. John Sullivan laid the path from Sirumugai (near-Mattupalayam) to Dimbhatti in 1829 and the work was completed in May 1823. The route up to Coonoor was laid in 1830-32.Ooty served as the summer capital of the Madras Presidency and other small kingdoms, much visited by British during the colonial days, and as today, a popular summer and weekend resort. Soldiers were also sent here and to nearby Wellington (The home of the Madras regiment to this day) to recuperate. Its stunning beauty and splendid green deep valleys inspired the British to name it Queen of Hill Stations. It is reached via winding hill roads or a complicated rack railway system, known as the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, built in 1908 by impassioned and enterprising British citizens with venture capital from the Madras government.

Climate Ooty features a subtropical highland climate under Kppen’s climate classification. Despite its location in the tropics, in stark contrast with most of South India, Ooty generally features pleasantly mild conditions throughout the year. However, nighttime in the months of January and February is typically chilly. Generally, the town appears to be eternally stuck in the spring season. Temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year; with average high temperatures ranging from about 17-20 degrees Celsius and average low temperatures between approximately 5-12 degrees Celsius.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Ooty is 25 degrees Celsius, which by South Asian standards is uncharacteristically low for an all-time record high temperature. The lowest temperature was being -2 degree Celsius.[8] The city sees on average about 1250 mm of precipitation annuTourist and historical landmarks The Government Botanical Garden Fernhills palace Ooty Lake Toda Hut Located in the Blue Mountains of the Western Ghats, Ooty draws a large number of tourists every year. Lofty mountains, great lakes, dense forests, sprawling grasslands, miles of tea gardens and eucalyptus trees greet the visitors en route to Ooty. The hill station itself is a land of picturesque picnic spots. It used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the British during the colonial days, later it was made into a summer administrative town. It is situated at an altitude of 2,286 meters above sea level.

The Government rose garden (formerly known as the Jayalalithaa Rose Garden, Centerary Rose Park and Nootrandu Roja Poonga) is the largest rose garden in India. It is situated on the slopes of the Elk Hill in Vijayanagaram of Ooty town in Tamil Nadu, India[ at an altitude of 2200 meters. Today this garden has one of the largest collection of roses in the country with more than 20,000 varieties of roses of 2,800 cultivars. The collection include Hybrid Tea Roses, Miniature Roses, Polyanthas, Papagena, Floribunda, Ramblers, Yakimour and roses of unusual colours like black and green. Ooty Botanical Gardens The 22-acre (89,000 m2) Ooty Botanical Gardens was laid out in 1847 and is maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The Botanical Garden is lush, green, and well-maintained. A flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held every May. The Gardens have around a thousand species, both exotic and indigenous, of plants, shrubs, ferns, trees, herbal and bonsai plants .The garden has a 20-million-year-old fossilized tree.]Ooty Lake Ooty lake covers an area of 65 acres. The Boat house established alongside the lake, which offers boating facilities to tourists, is a major tourist attraction in Ooty.

It was constructed in 1824 by John Sullivan, the first collector of Ooty. The lake was formed by damming the mountain streams flowing down Ooty valley.The lake is set among groves of Eucalyptus trees with a railway line line running along one bank. During summer season in May, boat races and boat pageantry are organised for two days at the lake. Stone House Stone House is the first bungalow constructed in Ooty. It was built by John Sullivan and was called as Kal Bangala by the tribals (Kal means stone in Tamil). John Sullivan started building Stonehouse in 1822, acquiring land from the Todas at one rupee an acre. Today, it is the official residence for the principal of the Government Arts College, Ooty Toda huts There are a few Toda huts on the hills above Botanical Garden, where Todas still dwell. There are other Toda settlements in the area, notably Kandal Mund near Old Ooty. Although many Toda have abandoned their traditional distinctive huts for concrete houses, a movement is now afoot to build tradition barrel-vaulted huts and during the last decade forty new huts have been built and many Toda sacred dairies renovated.Ooty Mountain Railway The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British in 1908,[35] and was initially operated by the Madras Railway Company.

The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives. NMR comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Salem Division. In July 2005, UNESCO added the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the site then became known as "Mountain Railways of India."after it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcing abandonment of the modernisation plans. For the past several years diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Local people and tourists have led a demand for steam locos to once again haul this section. St. Stephen's Church St. Stephen's Church is located on the road to Mysore in Ooty,in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the oldest churches in the Nilgiris district. The church dates back to the 19th century. Stephen Rumbold Lushington, the then Governor of Madras, who keenly felt the need for a cathedral exclusively for the British, in Ooty, laid the foundation for the church on April 23, 1829, to coincide with the birthday of King George IV. St. Stephen's Church was consecrated by John Matthias Turner, Bishop of Calcutta, on November 5, 1830. It was thrown open to public communion on Easter Sunday April 3, 1831. It came under the Church of South India in 1947.

The architect incharge was John James Underwood, Captain, Madras Regiment. Wax World, Ooty A wax museum that houses life-size look-alike wax statues of personalities of Indian history, culture and heritage housed in a 142-year-old bungalow. Ooty Golf Course is located in Ooty town.The golf course is set at an altitude of 7600 feet it is owned by the Gymkhana club in Ooty. The course extends over 193.56 acres and comprises 18 holes. Tribal Museum The Tribal Museum is part of the campus of Tribal Research Centre which is in Muthorai Palada (10 km from Ooty town). It is home to rare artifacts and photographs of tribal groups of Tamil Nadu as well as Andaman and Nicobar Islands and anthropological and archaeological primitive human culture and heritage. The Tribal Museum also displays houses belongs to Toda, Kota, Paniya, Kurumba and Kanikaran. Tourist spots around Ooty Ooty is situated in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Many of the forested areas and water bodies are off-limits to most visitors to protect th

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