|Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the "Queen of hill stations' among the tourist circuits.
It is situated at a distance of 105 km away from Coimbatore. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies between 2280 and 2290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a height of 2623 metres.
Couched amidst those gorgeous blue mountains of southern India, there is something special about the erstwhile British township of Ooty. Year after year, it draws tourists, adventure enthusiasts, honeymooners and the film industry like bees to nectar. Sure, many wise travelers believe that Ooty is a dumpyard, a degraded, over-rated hill station, and so on. Nevertheless, the wiser one will see how Ooty can soothe strung-up nerves and become the backdrop for a wondrous holiday.
Ooty nestles in an amphitheatre created by four majestic hills. Doddabetta, Snowdon, Elk Hill and Club Hill. These hills are part of the Nilgiri ranges that are really the meeting point for the Western and the Eastern Ghats. But why the blue mountains one would naturally wonder at the name. Do rest assured, when the lavender-blue flowers of the famous Strobilanthes cover the hills in floral profusion, it would be time to stop wondering, for it is these funnel-shaped blossoms that are the reason for the name.
Although signboards all around scream and beg to make people call this 36-sq-km hill resort Udhagamandalam, their pleas obviously fell on deaf ears. Ooty will always be Ooty to everyone. As the blaze of the afternoon sun gives way to a nippy evening, one can make his way towards the nearby lake. This part of Ooty was once a huge bog with a west-flowing stream. In 1824, the lower part of the stream was converted into a lake. Though the lake seems ordinary enough, what really gets the tourists all excited is the warmth and buzz of activity in the vicinity.
How To Reach
There is a boathouse where rowboats and motorboats can be had on hire. A Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation venture, it remains open from 8 am to 6 pm. Sitting at the edge of the lake and watching the sun dipping down to herald darkness, is a soothing experience, to put it lightly.