On the highway running through the Bandipur forest connecting Mysore
with Ooty, one of the most popular hill stations of Tamil Nadu,
officially known as Udhagamandalam. Earlier when the British found
the place in the year 1819 they called it Ootacamund which is now
called Ooty the shortened version of Ootacamund. The hills are often
covered in a blue mist has given it another name the "Nilgiri"
or the blue hill.
The lush green hills though being denuded to accommodate the needs
of the tourists, one can still enjoy the serene charm of Ooty. The
nearby hills form an emerald ring, where twisting paths wind they
way through the deep forest and the eucalyptus avenue offers a refreshing
walk. Ooty was not known by the common man until John Sullivan laid
a road from Kotagiri to Coonoor to Ooty and when he built the first
house called the Stone House which served the government offices.
It was only after this that Ooty received some publicity. Before
Independence only the Englishmen used to visit this place, but post
independence they gave way to the Indian sahibs who have now given
way to cheerful visitors from all over the world.
The twin attractions of Ooty are the Lake and the Botanical Gardens.
The lake was laid out in 1824 by John Sullivan. During peak seasons
the lake is crowded by visitors. There is a boathouse with an attached
restaurant. Mainly the duck-shaped boats draw more attention for
those who come to boat in the lake. The Botanical Gardens was laid
out in 1848 by the Marquis of Tweeddale. It displays over 200 species
of plants, including rare trees, ornamental flowers, orchids, etc.
The Botanical Gardens host a grand flower Festival in summer. Another
worth seeing place is the Doddabetta Peak which is 2637 meters high.
Cars can go right to the top and a breathtaking view of the whole
place can been seen. There are many other picnic spots like the
Ketty Valley, the 18 hole golf course , the Gymkhana Club, the Elk
Hills and the Snowdon Peak. 21 kms away from Ooty is the Pykara
dam, a reservoir and an adjoining grassy meadow which is a shooting
spots for most of the South Indian and Bollywood films. Some tourist
guides take you to some of the lovely spots where shootings have