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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.
History of this beautiful hill resort
This Nilgiri territory came into possession of the East India Company as part of the ceded lands, held by Tipu Sultan, by the treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1799. Rev. Jacome Forico, a priest was the first European who visited Nilgiris in 1603 and released his notes about the place and people of Nilgiris. In 1812 surveyor William Keys and Macmohan visited the top of the plateau.
In 1818, Wishand Kindersley, Assistant and Second Assistant to Collector of Coimbatore visited this spot and submitted their experience report to the Collector of Coimbatore Mr. John Sullivan. Settlement in Udhagamandalam began in 1822 with the construction of the Stone House by John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. The bungalow, which is locally called "Kal Bangla", is one of the landmarks of Udhagamandalam and is now the Chamber of the Principal of the Government Arts College.
Botanical gardens are a major tourist attraction for those who visit Ooty, one of the most popular hill stations of India. They sprawl over 50-acre and lie on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak, which is the highest point in Ooty. Marquis of Tweeddale established these gardens in the year 1848.
The gardens are formally laid out with lily ponds, and there are clipped bushes in the form of elephants, with raised trunks. One can find a thousand different species of plants including some thirty types of eucalyptus in these gardens. There is also a fossilised tree trunk, which is said to be 20 million years old. Towards the eastern part of the garden there is a wooden house made of logs known as "Toda Mund", which provides an excellent view.
Rose Garden is situated about 3 to 4-km away from Charring Cross. They are spread over an area of 10 acres of land with 2000 variety of roses. Rose Gardens lie on the way to the boathouse.
Mini garden is also situated on the way to the boathouse where the children amusement park is housed. A snack bar is also available. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Limited maintains these gardens.
St Stephens Church
Situated in the hilly area on Club Road, St Stephens Church is said to be the oldest in the Nilgiris. The church was built in 1829 and consecrated in 1830. The beam of the church was taken from the palace of Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatnam. The cemetery close by houses the grave of John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty.
Doddabetta is the highest peak (2623 meters) in the Nilgiris, which is about 10-km from Ooty. It is a beautiful place lying between the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats and offers a beautiful view of the Nilgiri hill ranges. It is surrounded by dense Sholas.
At a distance of 1-km from the Lake there is a Deer Park, which is worth visiting.
The government museum, Mysore Road, Ooty has items of tribal objects, district's ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1989, with a view to provide education benefits to the residing and visiting population of Nilgiris district.
Hindustan Photo Films
The Hindustan Photo Films, one of the major industrial units of the district, is located about 5-km away from Ooty railway station over a sprawling area of over 300 acres, near the Ooty golf-links on the Ooty- Mysore road.
The Mukkurthi Peak and National Park
About 40-km from Ooty, is a beautiful peak called "Mukkurthi". The Mukkurthi National Park is located on the Southern corner of the Nilgiri Plateau. The Kollaribetta and Nilgiris Peak are other major peaks around. A number of little perennial streams flow between these peaks, which fall into Bhavani Puzha. Silent Vally is located on the Western side in the Western Ghat, which is a feast to the visitor's eye.
Pykara is situated about 21-km from Ooty. Some of the tourist attractions of this place are well-protected fenced sholas, Toda settlements, undisturbed grassy meadows and also a good wildlife habitat. The Pykara Dam, Pykara falls and the reservoir attracts many tourists. A boathouse with restaurant and a rest house are available at Pykara.