Ooty is located in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. It’s a destination with endless possibilities for the curious traveler. Head over to the Blue Mountains and find yourself some unique activities to enjoy! From anthropological pleasures to scenic colonial railroads, there is an unforgettable quintessential Ooty experience waiting for you off the beaten path.
Visit the Home of the Todas
Ooty is home to the Todas, one of the most studied indigenous communities of India. The touristy town shows very little signs of its original citizens, but toward the Toda Hill, there’s much to be learned about the fascinating customs and way of life of this tribe. The most striking features of a Toda habitation are the low huts or dongles with oval roofs — completely different from the more mainstream designs you find in the Nilgiris. The doorways of these traditional houses are so low that you have to crawl to enter one.
Ride the Mountain Trains
The railways of the high Nilgiris are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These were built by the British in the early 20th century. Today they provide a charming ride for those who want to soak in the scenery of the deep valleys and the forested mountains. For most of the route, steam engines are still used. Catch the train from Runnymede and hang around till the last stop at Ooty for the best sights. Some of the highlights of the steepest rail tracks in Asia include more than a dozen tunnels and 200 bridges. The old-school tickets are great souvenirs to take back home and remember the experience by.
Climb a Mountain
At more than 2600 meters, the Doddabetta Peak is the highest in Southern India. A trek to the summit is recommended for nature enthusiasts as this is one way you can experience the pristine environs up front. You will enjoy a climb up through different ecosystems and vegetation types as the dense forests give way to alpine grasslands. There’s a telescope installed at the top of the mountain so you can view the surrounding areas. You can also visit some of the waterfalls around the mountain. Katherine Falls and Elk Falls are two popular sites.
With an Ooty taxi at your disposal, you will be able to explore the different outskirts attractions of this town. Emerald Lake is an excellent spot to sit back and soak in some tranquil mountain air. Carry a picnic basket with you and laze away all afternoon. Avalanche Lake is another secluded lake which requires a bit of off-road driving to get to. Pykara Lake is another great option.
Into the Wild
Ooty falls in the midst of one of India’s largest wilderness areas, the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The town is a perfect base to explore Mudumalai National Park. This stretch of rugged forests and hills is home to a large population of tigers and other endemic species. Bird watchers will enjoy a safari into these jungles. Some of the birds they will encounter include the Malabar Whistling Thrush, the white-rumped vulture, Rufous-bellied Eagle, the fairy bluebird, hornbills, and parakeets.
Ooty is a gift that keeps on giving and with the kind of research you can have an experience that is different and unique. Find reliable Coimbatore to Ooty cabs to enjoy the picturesque climb and keep your eyes wide open as the mountains unfold.
All images courtesy Wikimedia Commons.