Ooty which is a part of Tamil Nadu, South India is by far one of the most sought after and beautiful hill stations of the south. It is no wonder why it is popularly also called as the ‘queen of hill stations’. Known to very few, Ooty was originally called Udhagamadalam and sometimes even Ootacamund. Ooty is only a short form for Ootacamund. Ooty is located at a height of about 8000 feet above sea level and is a part of the famous Nilgiri mountain ranges in south India. Just like many other hill stations in India, Ooty was also founded by the British in the beginning of the 19th century. The place had served as a summer retreat for the British in the old days. The weather is mostly pleasant all year round however it could drop to as low as aero degree Celsius in the winters. The place attracts tourists all year round and has always been a favourite hot spot to many. The beautiful landscapes, tea gardens, little huts and cottages surrounding the mountainous regions and the ever rising mist among the greens make Ooty a little paradise of the south.
It was the establishment of the tea gardens and estates that popularized Ooty as a famous holiday destination. The dense forests and huge acres and hectares of beautiful evergreen tea gardens adorn the lengths and breadths of Ooty. It is very unfortunate to know that apart from the natural beauty of the place, the hill towns today suffer from overcrowding, pollution, water shortage, bad roads and erosion. However, the places surrounding the town are still untouched. The virgin land has much to explore with its protected forests, stunning landscapes and picture perfect views from the majestic hills above.
Ooty is accessible to tourists by plane, rail and road. Whatever the means of travel may be, once you get there the fresh smell of the breeze and the cool air will freshen your senses as if the distance you travelled was barely anything at all.
By Air: The closest airport to Ooty is at Coimbatore which is approximately a 3 hour drive. There are frequent flights to Coimbatore from almost every part of the country. Air India, Jet Airways, Go air, Paramount and Air Deccan are a few airlines that can be named. You also have the option to fly to Bangalore and drive down to Ooty which is approximately a 6 hour drive. The road trip from any of these places is quite scenic as the roads that take you to Ooty are mostly through dense forests and good roads.
By Train: Train Number 2671, the Nilgiri Express leaves to Mettupalayam which is a little town on the foothills of the Nilgiris from Chennai. Since this is only a night journey, most of the scenic adventures are lost. However, a good nap before you reach there is always a good idea. From Mettupalayam one can either choose to drive to Ooty are take another diesel powered mini train which is over 200 years old and takes a longer time to reach its destination. During peak season cab drivers and other transport vendors charge tourists an exorbitant price to take them to Ooty. You also have the option to go to Coimbatore by rail and then drive down to Ooty which is again a 3 hour drive.
By Road: Though Ooty is located in Tamil Nadu, Ooty is very close to the Karnataka and Kerala border. From Bangalore Ooty is only about 280 kilometres away and the roads are very well maintained. The Bangalore-Mysore highway that was recently built is an excellent road and gets you to Mysore pretty fast. From Mysore one can travel through Bandipur which is protected forest before reaching Ooty. The winding roads and the scenic landscapes make this an excellent experience. If you are lucky you may spot some of the animals that live around this region like the spotted dear, elephants, tigers and monkeys. There are many Dhabas and restaurants on the way, so you can always stop on the way to grab a quick bite or relax. You also have the option to travel by bus or hire a cab or a mini bus that have frequent shuttles to Ooty and back. Travel by road is most preferred as the roads are good, the drive beautiful and the expense affordable.