OOTY BOTANICAL GARDENS
Lush and well-maintained, these gardens have a diversity of flora with over 650 species of plants including rare trees (cork, paper bark, monkey puzzle), flowering plants, ferns, orchids, and a 20-million-year-old fossilized tree. These gardens are also a haven for birds and the Italian-style garden bordering a pool is a major attraction.
OOTY LAKE AND BOAT HOUSE
Surrounded by extensive groves of eucalyptus trees, the lake offers boating facilities that gives visitors a chance to enjoy the scenic beauty of Ooty at a leisurely pace. Close to the lake is a mini garden with a toy train and an amusement park for children.
Built by John Sullivan on land bought from the Todas, this is reportedly the first “pucca” (concrete) house in Ooty. Today, it is located within the Government Arts College.
10 kilometres from Ooty town is the Doddabetta peak (8,652 feet), the highest point in the Nilgiri Hills. The peak offers spectacular views of the town and district and is ensconced within a reserved forest area.
The half-barrel shaped Toda huts are specimens of a vanishing culture and are of immense anthropological interest. Several Toda huts can be seen near the botanical gardens.
TEA AND COFFEE PLANTATIONS
Vast slopes covered with tea and coffee plantations, and men and women picking leaves with baskets on their backs, are a beautiful sight to behold. You can also visit the tea factory to see the tea being processed.
This wax museum has life-size wax statues of people like Dr. Abdul Kalam, Mother Teresa, and other personalities from Indian history housed in a 142-year-old heritage bungalow.
EXCURSIONS FROM OOTY
MUDUMALAI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
The thickly forested Mudumalai is a continuation of Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and borders the Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala. The 321 sq Km reserve, hosts a wide range of flora and plentiful fauna such as spotted deer, gaur, mouse deer, elephants, bonnet macaques, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, hyenas, jackals, sloth bears and peacocks, which look wonderful in their natural habitat rather than in a zoo! The drive to Mudumalai is especially scenic and the elephant training camp outside the reserve is an added attraction.
This is another forest reserve near Ooty that offers exciting Government-organised camping and trekking activities. You can go on elephant back into the unspoilt sanctuary to see spotted deer, bears, boars, etc. At the Elephant Camp, you can watch the cleaning and caring of around 30 elephants.
13 km from Ooty, the 100-feet-high Kalhatty Falls amid the lush Kalhatty-Masinagudi slopes is a picturesque picnic spot.
17 km from Ooty, Coonoor is a cool and cosy tea garden town at an altitude of 6,000 feet in the Nilgiris. It’s an excellent place to do some bird-watching because of the sheer variety of birds there. The main attraction here is Sim's Park, a small well-maintained botanical garden with several interesting plant varieties.