Thursday, 14 July 2011

Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu

The Nilgiri district in Tamilnadu is home to the splendorous Nilgiri or Blue Mountains that are a part of a larger mountain chain known as the Western Ghats, sweeping across the states of Tamilnadu and Kerala. The elevation of this mountain range varies between 2,280 to 2,290 meters, with the highest peak being Doddabetta at 2,623 meters.

The Nilgiris are a trekker's paradise. Adventure and excitement are riveted to the Nilgiris. The tourists can get in their trekking gear and enjoy an adrenaline pumping scaling of the mountains. You could get information regarding trekking in these mountain ranges from Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Assocaition (NWEA). Guides are also available to assist you in trekking.

The Nilgiris have tea cultivation at the height of 1,000 to above 2,500 meters. This also produces eucalyptus oil and temperate zone vegetables. The Nilgiris have a cool and wet climate and the area is a popular summer retreat, with hordes of tourists from across the country flocking the heights in all excitement. The picturesque rolling hills of the Nilgiris remind one of the Downs in Southern England.

The main town in the region is Udagamandalam, which reflect a colonial aura with several buildings built on British style. The other major towns of the region are Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudalur and Aruvankadu. You can visit some of the famous tourist spots when in Coonoor. Plan your trip in summers when Coonoor holds fruit show at Sims Park, you can also visit Lamesrock. 

There are two national parks in the Nilgiris. Mudumalai National Park is in the northern part of the range at the junction of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu covering an area of 321 sq km. Mukurthi National Park lies in the Southwest of the range in Kerala, covering an area of 78.5 sq km The whole sweep of Western Ghats to the Northwest and Southwest come under the realm of India's first biosphere reserve, which is a home to number of bird species, including the Nilgiri Pipit, Nilgiri Woodpigeon and Nilgiri Blackbird.

Nilgiri is also home to Toda people a tribe that has been living there for ages. They weave red, black and white embroidered shawls and carve silver jewelry, which are quite popular among the tourists.

Places to See:

Botanical Garden

Lying on the lower slopes of Dodabetta peak, these gardens were established by Marquis of Tweeddale in the year 1848. Lush greenery and well-manicured lawns with some of the rare tree species make these gardens a joy hunt for nature lovers. 

Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

This 321-sq-km wide sanctuary has a National Park measuring an area of 103-sq-km. The sanctuary has terrain with hills, ravines, watercourses and swamps with rich repository of flora and fauna. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from February to June. You can enjoy elephant safari through this dense and verdant sanctuary. There are also vehicles on hire. 

The Mukkurthi Peak and National Park

Mukkurthi is a beautiful peak about 40 km from Ooty. There is also The Mukkurthi National Park, which is located on the Southern corner of the Nilgiri Plateau. The Kollaribetta and Nilgiris Peak are other tourist hotspots. The region has quite a few mesmerizing little perennial streams flowing between these peaks. Silent Valley is located on the Western side in the Western Ghat, which is a tourist's delight. 

Ooty Lake

Ooty Lake is another tourists' major attraction. Shaped in irregular L shaped spreading into 2 km, this artificial lake was constructed in 1824 by Mr. Sullivan. The lake has several boathouses where in you could enjoy the scenery around the lake in leisure. During summers there are boat races and boat pageantries that attract a host of tourists. 


As the highest peak in the Nilgiris, Doddabetta (2,623 m) offers beautiful panoramic view of the hill ranges, plateaus and plains around. It is 10-km from Ooty. There is a good motorable road to reach the peak. 

Dolphin's Nose

About 12 km from Coonoor, Dolphin's Nose is a unique rock of tremendous proportions, protruding from the face of the hillside that resembles the name it has. Adding to its vast panoramic spectacle, it is also home to the picturesque Catherine falls. 


With breathtaking scenery, Pykara lies about 21-km from Ooty. The place has several tourist attractions including well-protected fenced sholas, Toda settlements, undisturbed grassy meadows and also a good wildlife habitat. As a hot tourist spot, the Pykara Dam, Pykara falls and the reservoir has a boathouse with restaurant and a rest house. 

Kodanad Viewpoint

Located at a distance of 16-km from Kotagiri, this viewpoint has a hypnotic panoramic view of the plains and the eastern slopes of the Nilgiris. 

Laws Falls

Laws falls are a beautiful picnic spot, named after Lt. Colonel Law, who traced and mainly constructed the Coonoor Ghat. They are about 5-km below Coonoor on Mettupalayam road. The height of the falls is about 180 feet. There are vast stretches of undisturbed sholas and it is a paradise for naturalists............

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