If you are planning for a family trip in South India, I’m sure Ooty will be among the top options in your list. I know a few people who have visited Ooty more than 5 times with their family. The place is so beautiful and welcoming, that you would want to go there every summer vacation.

If you are a first time traveller to Ooty, it is best you have a travel guide and a proper plan with you. The climate is so cool all through the year especially for people from the dry and humid places of India and even for a few South Indian people from cities like Chennai, Vellore, Hyderabad etc. The cold climate will make you/kids have an extended sleep time during your trip and there are chances that you skip a few places in your your plan because of this. 🙂

Here, I’ve tried to list down the top 10 places to visit in Udhagai

1. Ooty Botanical Gardens

If you are on a sightseeing tour to Ooty, you might want to visit the Government Botanical gardens, which were laid out in 1847.The picturesque gardens that are maintained by the Horticulture department of the state, cover an area of about 22 hectares. The Gardens have well over 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree, which is believed to be more than 20 million years old. The garden is very popular with nature lovers and those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close. If you are in Ooty in the month of May, then you can also be a part of the summer festival, which is held here annually. The festival holds flower shows and various cultural programs showcasing the talent of the locals and the renowned artists.
2. Doddabetta peak
The Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is merely 10km from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of he valley below. Many say that on a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore.
3. Annamalai Temple
Annamalai Temple is a situated about 20 km distance from Ooty. This place has grown as a famous temple of Lord Muruga, known as 7th Hill house of the lord. The view from the Temple is really awesome. There is an observatory at the top of hill for the public to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view.
4. Ooty Rose gardens
its an amazing and very large area garden. You can enjoy varieties of roses there. The roses bloom only for 2-3 months a year (not sure when), so going there off-season is not very interesting. If interested can buy the seeds and plants also.
5. Wax World – (Wax Museum)
Its a private investment not supported by Govt. Don’t expect much like other foreign wax museum which are helped by tourism authorities for advertisements and promotions. But for sight seeing its good. more attraction is the very old house, where the museum is set up. Candles are available. But it is suffering from funds for expansion so they request tourists to visit so that they can get help from them, which is the only form of support.
6. Sims Park (Coonoor)
similar to ooty botanical garden. Very rare plants and trees are there.
7. The Tea Factory
several tree gardens and factories are there. On the way you will get lots of them. They will approach you with free tea taste and offer some tea packets to buy. But be cautious if you don’t have much knowledge about tea, better not to buy from them as the packet tea has not the same taste as they gave you to taste.The spices quality is not so good.
8. Boating at Pykara
it’s an awesome experience. Though the rate of boating is little bit high but still it is worthy. Fresh air, good feeling and good view
Falls at Pykara
Historical Dam with Power station at Pykara
Hidden Valley
9. Echo Rock
Some called it as ‘Lambs rock” naturally took the shape of a lamb. Go through a very small forest and then you can see the rock.
10. Shooting point
This is a very nice place to visit. The view is so pleasant here and is popular for photoshoots. These days you’ll find more kids with photographers here than the number of animals or trees 🙂
11. Pine forest
Its a natural beauty. After the end of the forest a lake is there. Be careful while walking as the path has slope.
12. Dolphin’s Nose
 Dolphin’s nose is another popular joint. It’s a very small location that attracts a large crown because of the view from the edge of the mountain (called as Dolphin’s nose due to it’s shape – Check pic for reference).
13. Try the toy train
Popularly called as the “Toy Train”, the rail service runs between Ooty and Mettupalayam. The train with it’s unique design and structure is so legendary and you would have seen this in many Indian movies.
The train goes through the mountain forests and the entire journey of around 45 mins would be filled with beautiful views and sceneries. Kids would enjoy the spectacular toy train ride for sure. If you are going there with a large group of family or friends, the train journey is an excellent place to play group games to bond together.
Mode of travelling to Ooty
By plane:
The Coimbatore airport is the closest to the hills at 3-1/2 hours by road. There are flights into Coimbatore from Singapore, Sharjah, Colombo and most parts of India including Mumbai (Kingfisher, Indian Airlines,Jet and Go Air), Chennai ( Kingfisher, Spicejet, Air India, Indigo and Jet) and Bangalore. The Mysore airport is about 4 hours away from Ooty by road and is serviced by an daily ATR service by Kingfisher Airlines and lies to the North of Ooty. The road trip is quite scenic from either airport.
By train:
The hills are connected to by a nightly train. The Nilagiri Express (Train No. 2671) leaves from Chennai at night, and reaches Mettupalayam (which Indian Rail spells Metupalaiyam), a small town at the foothills of the Nilgiris early the next morning. The train The Nilgiri Mountain Railway leaves Mettupalayam at 7.10 pushed by a small steam powered historic locomotive that is a remnant of Swiss engineered trains imported in the late 1800s. The steam train is much smaller, and can only accommodate a portion of the passengers that disembark at Mettupalayam.You have to book separate ticket for this journey (tickets can be booked through IRCTC(www.irctc.co.in) like any other rail ticket booking.), although many prefer the faster route of taking a cab or a bus from Mettupalayam.
The steam train takes a very scenic route, and the pace of travel will let you take in the beautiful scenery at leisure with stops at stations for the engine to take on water(the journey takes about 5-1/2 hours compared to 2 hours by road). The train uses a rack and pinion system to haul itself up steep slopes, and also to prevent the train from sliding down when stopping. The train is pushed from behind. There are brakesmen at the rear of every carriage who will apply and release hand powered brakes individually for that carriage. The train often travels only at 5 – 10 Kmph, allowing some adventerous passengers to disembark from the train and walk along the train. This practice is not recommended and can be dangerous, besides there is a good chance that the train will speed up, and you will be unable to get back on board.
If you don’t have a confirmed ticket of that toy train then you would not get the chance to board in it as railways issue limited say only 30 tickets on the spot at mettupalayam starting at 5:00 AM , and at 1:00 PM at ooty for the full stretch journey from mettupalayam to ooty, and make sure that you have gained nearer position to the ticket window before it opens.
By bus:
There are buses and shared taxi vans that can be boarded from most parts of India to Ooty. If you don’t want wake up early to take the train from Coimbatore, plenty of buses are also going to Ooty. The Coimbatore “new bus station” has frequent bus service to Ooty via Mettupalayam, and it takes around 3-1/2 hours to get there. On the way back in morning, some busses make a 10-15 minute stop over at Mettupalayam for breakfast. From the “new bus station” it takes about 25minutes by (another) bus to reach the Coimbatore railway station. From Kozhikode (Calicut) there are two government buses daily, leaving 05.00 and 07.00, travel time is about 6 hours. Mysore is served few times a day, too. From Kannur there is a KSRTC Bus starting at 7.30 am everyday and a Tamil Nadu Bus at 10PM everyday reaching ooty at 4PM and 7am next day respectively.
By car:
The Nilgiris are in Tamil Nadu, but it is quite near the borders of neighboring states Karnataka and Kerala. The hills consequently can be reached from within Tamil Nadu by travelling up a heavily forested winding road, with many sharp hair-pin beds. The road trip from any state is quite scenic, although the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam-Coonoor-Ooty road (i.e. the Tamil Nadu route) is the most travelled and well maintained. All roads to the Nilgiri hills are toll roads, although the tolls are quite nominal.
Ooty is 284 km from Bangalore by road. The journey takes about 8 hours, depending on the condition of the road. One can take a shorter route for which a diversion has to be taken at Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary. This route will take you past the small towns of Masinagudi and Kalhatti. This route will curtail the distance to Ooty by about 50 km. Keep in mind that this road is closed at night as it passes through the jungle, so you may actually have to spend a few hours at the check post which is closed invariably at night. Only good drivers should take on this road as it is very narrow and steep.You’ll find some eateries and a fuel station in the town of Masinagudi. There are some wonderful resorts around Masinagudi town where one can rent a cottage. These places are a good weekend getaway for rest and relaxation. There are eating places between Bangalore and Mysore, and within Mysore, but from Mysore to Ooty one should carry some food, as there are very few restaurants.Recently we did this trip and new small restaurant has opened just before Gundlupet. It is called THE DREAM CATCHERS.Serves burgers, pancakes ,sandwiches and lovely coffee and tea.Clean toilets and open all around.Start early if you can so that the drive through Bandipur and Mudumalai forest can be done leisurly taking in the occassional animal sightings.
Popular Eatable things in Ooty:
1. Ooty Varki
There are many varki sellers in the market now. Make sure you taste some samples before you purchase in bulk. And also, do not fall for the pressure these guys put on you. You can always say no and try the next shop.
2. Ooty Plums
3.Home-Made Chocolates
The quality of Ooty chocolates have gone down so much these days, mainly because there are too many new sellers trying to do a copy cat job trying to replicate the original sellers who have been making chocolates for generations together.
This is the same as Varki. Test the samples before you purchase in bulk.
4. Carrots
Have a lovely trip! 🙂