Ooty is one hill station that should be on the list of every traveler wishing to visit a place marked by scenic beauty coupled with a soothing serenity that helps you unwind. Home to several bounties of nature and unique and world famous tourist attractions Ooty makes you fall in love it at first sight itself. This hilly destination has all the essentials for charming its way into the hearts of tourists and the best out of them is this toy train that dates back to 1899. Refresh your childhood memories when you hop onto the toy train known as Nilgiri Mountain Railway Toy Train, which is the highlight of Ooty. This little wonder covers a distance of forty-six km in a time span of five hours while taking you through a winding route adorned with picturesque views. The toy train was included in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2005 and some of its coaches are as old as eight years. This rail system is the steepest in Asia and you wouldn’t want to miss a ride on it for anything.
Ooty Lake is what epitomizes the serenity of the place and once you are at the lake, time almost seems to stand still as you take in the beauty of the landscape. Set amidst the Nilgiris, this sixty-five-acre lake is dotted all around with Eucalyptus trees that enhance the beauty of the streams spiraling out through the hills. The lake is home to several exotic birds, making it the favored destination of nature and wildlife photographers. There is a mini train here as well that takes kids for a tour around the lake and the joy of the little ones is evident by their squeals of delight as the train chugs along. Other lakes in the area that offer an equally breathtaking view are Emerald lake where you can enjoy some trekking and mountain biking and Kamraj Sagar Lake which is an amazing picnic spot.
If you are keen to unwind in the laps of nature and experience its soothing effect up close, then, the Botanical Garden is the perfect places for you. Home to some exotic and rare species of trees like the cork tree, the Paperbark tree and twenty million years old fossilized tree,Botanical Garden is truly a nature lover’s delight. While there, do not fail to spot the Monkey Puzzle tree which has even the monkeys stumped on how to climb it. The Rose Garden on Elk Hills is another masterpiece where you can witness the surreal beauty of roses in different colors and sizes. Families flock to this garden for a picnic on pleasant weather days and during the Rose Festival the gardens and all Ooty hotels are packed chock-a-block.
There is natural beauty and then there is artwork created by man which never ceases to amaze you with the skills displayed. One such place showcasing some fine craftsmanship is the Thread Gardenof Ooty which displays a collection of plant and flowers. The uniqueness of this garden is in the fact that all these plants and flowers have been crafted out of just the humble thread! The creator of this garden, Antony Joseph worked relentlessly along with several other artisans for twelve years to produce this wonder. You would be astounded to know that not a single needle stitch or machinery was employed in the making of this garden and the only materials used here were threads, cardboard, and steel and copper wires.
When in Ooty, the Annamalai Temple which is twenty km from Ooty should be on your list of places to visit for sure. Dedicated to Lord Muruga, this temple is one of the lesser known places of Ooty, and that is one reason for it still maintaining its pristine surroundings. There is an observatory too in the vicinity of the temple which makes for a good place to see. Ooty is home to many peaks, points and trekking trails like the Droog Fort that lets you do a fair amount of trekking before you can reach the ruins of the fort.
Another delightful tourist spot in Ooty that will give you your fill of amazing picture is Dolphin’s Nose, where a natural rock looks like a dolphin’s nose. This place gives you a spectacular view of the Catherine falls nearby. Bird watchers can plan some time out to visit the Bison valley which is frequented by several varieties of avifauna like woodpeckers, drongos, mourning doves, shrike, which get lured to the place by its lush greenery.A place like Ooty leaves you spoilt for choice when it comes to picking out only a handful of places to cover on your trip, for the list is endless. Once done with all your sightseeing, do not forget to shop for some artifacts and woolens at the Tibetan market and some refreshing tea leaves before heading back to pack your bags at one of comfortable hotels in Ooty.