The Nilgiris mountain range is home to some of the best hill-stations in Tamil Nadu. We all know the popular ones like Ooty, Kodaikanal, and even the somewhat famous Coonoor. But, did you know that the Nilgiris’ oldest and prettiest hill-station is none of these, but a gorgeous little town 33km from Ooty? Have you heard of the beautiful Kotagiri? The third-largest hill station in the Nilgiris hills, it is believed to have the second-best climate in the world! While Ooty is overrun with commercialism, Kotagiri is peaceful quiet and perfectly gorgeous – an ideal day trip from Ooty!
Tea Gardens, British Heritage and more
The hill-station is surrounded by beautiful picturesque tea gardens that make for beautiful selfie points. Kotagiri has a lot of leftover British architecture in the form of bungalows and historical buildings. Explore the town and take in the colonial history of the town. One must-visit spot is John Sullivan‘s bungalow, the one he built during his stay, has been renovated and is open to the public. It is located in Kannerimukku, about 20 minutes from the main town.
Waterfalls, viewpoints and forests
In the vicinity of Kotagiri town, one can visit the St. Catherine waterfalls and Uyilatty falls – both beautiful sights to behold and great trekking trails. One can also visit the Kodanad View Point where one can get a splendid view of the great Mysore Plateau to one side and the picturesque 500-acre farming cooperative called Thengu mara haada, which seems like a green mosaic amidst the shrubland.
Another popular place to visit is the Longwood Forest. A pristine tropical evergreen forest, it is a secluded refuge for those seeking peace and quiet. It is home to the flying fox/Malabar Squirrel, that is rarely seen. There is also a resident family of about 20 bison which can be seen grazing in the evenings just outside the forest on Milidhane road.
Tap in to the Nilgiris’ Spiritual Side
One cannot visit Kotagiri and miss seeing the Rangasamy Peak. A conical peak and the most sacred hill of the Nilgiris, it is home to the shrine of Lord Rangasamy – the holy deity of the Nilgiris. According to Hindu Legend, Lord Rangaswamy used to live at Karamadai in Coimbatore district on the plains but quarrelled with his wife and came to live alone here. Two-foot prints on the rock not far from Arakadu village below the peak, are stated to be the proof for this event. Northwest of the Rangasamy peak is the Rangaswamy Pillar, which is an extraordinary isolated rocky pillar rising in solitary grandeur to a height of some 400 feet narrow and has sheer sides, which are quite unclimbable.
Visiting Kotagiri and where to stay
While Kotagiri is heaven on earth, accommodation options are not always budget friendly. Which is why we recommend you stay at Sterling – Ooty Fern Hill or Sterling – Ooty Elk Hill, the best resorts in Nilgiris, and make a day trip of Kotagiri to explore the prettiest hill station in the Nilgiris.