A Thrilling Road Trip To The Stunning Hill Station - Ooty
A road trip to Ooty the Queen of Hill Stations with rolling hills, stunning blue skies, air-conditioned breeze, perfect a family vacation.
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The Road Trip To Ooty Is Filled With Scenic Views
The view to the Queen of Hill Stations begins with rolling green hills and steps that lead straight to heaven. Narrow roads snake through hills twisting sharply to form the 36 hairpin bends. This route is familiar to anyone arriving through Masinagudi. The alternative is a longer route from Bandipur, Gudalur, Naduvattam, Pykara to Ooty.
Accessible by road, through cars or buses, Ooty can also be reached by train or flight. Ooty or Udhagamandalam is a hill station in South India, in Tamil Nadu. They were founded by the Collector of Coimbatore John Sullivan in 1817. The word Udhagamandalam is derived from Ottakkalmandu, which means Village of a Single Stone. It is fondly called Ooty today.
Winding through the 36 hairpin bends is an experience itself. Vehicles pass so closely. It makes me hold my breath even while I sit in the back seat. The edge of the road is a sheer drop with low walls to serve as indicators to cars. As we got closer to the town, the air became lighter, filled with the earthy smell of mud, eucalyptus, and natural air conditioning. Quaint houses, shops, bakeries, tea houses line the side of the road as we made our way to the center of the town.
When Entering Ooty
The signs all read in Tamil and English, so you have little trouble getting around the town. The streets are swept clean, and now and then, there’s a light shower of raindrops. It’s easy to tell the locals apart. They manage the chill with just a sweater while the rest of us wear three layers of clothing.
We are visiting in October, so light showers are expected. It’s pleasant to see year-round, the summer is warmer, but the winters can get very cold.
We made our way to our hotel first thing. We were staying at the Derby Green, courtesy of a friend. There are plenty of places you can visit, like Fern Hill, Danish Villa Resort. MakeMyTrip, Trivago, and Ohio are great places to compare prices and hotels beforehand.
Food and is available at hotels, but my family and I usually eat out. Behind Commercial Road, overlooking the lake, is one of the best places to find a good meal at affordable rates. Restaurants serving every type of food and cuisine are packed together. The smell of grilled meat, gravy, freshly made Indian bread, and spices fill the air. They mingled with the cold and set my senses tingling. Tiny drops of rain settled on our clothes and hair.
The Andhra Restaurant we ate at set our tongues on fire. We headed to Commercial road to cool it down with Ooty’s famous homemade chocolate. Ooty homemade chocolate is my favorite, coming in varieties of dark, milk, and white chocolate. Some have delicious butterscotch crisps or granola. Chocolate filled with dry fruit, cashew, almond, walnuts, and raisins is just a few types. You get them in bakeries or tea shops all over Ooty.
Your Road Trip To Ooty Is Incomplete Without Shopping
We always buy some, every time we visit. Shops sell an assortment of tea, coffee, pepper, and other spices grown from the plantations. They also sell bottles of Nilgiris Eucalyptus oil in varying sizes. Since the trees grow abundantly, they’re available everywhere. I prefer the bottle from Ooty because they are more effective. We also purchased a bottle of herbs to store any hair oil you might use. The extracts from the herbs nourish your hair.
Part of our trip was spent shopping for leather clothing and footwear on Commercial Road.
Ooty has a charm of its own. It’s easy to find directions because locals speak a lot of languages and can guide you in English if you’re not fluent in other languages. The atmosphere is calm and surreal. Every turn presents you with more hillside steps, cottages with terra-cotta tiles, and vines. A practiced eye spot the various tea, coffee, and pepper plantations as you zip through the countryside.
If you love tea, you won’t be disappointed. Every shop sells a variety of tea, from black, green, ginger, honey lemon, cinnamon, cardamom, and spiced tea, to chocolate flavored tea. Ooty’s Tea factory is a must-visit. They give you a grand tour of the factory, with an educational talk about the history of tea. You can visit the factory and museum for an entry fee of ₹10 per person. Fit it into your itinerary because they’re open every day of the week from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm.
A Few Other Places To Stop By During Your Road Trip To Ooty
We visited the Botanical Gardens the next day. It was the most beautiful collection of plants and flowers I had ever seen, carefully cataloged and planned with the sculptor’s grace to give a picturesque feel at every corner. Visiting hours are from 7.00 am to 6.30 pm every day of the week. The entry fee for children is ₹15 and ₹30 for an adult. If you plan on taking pictures, be sure to pay the extra ₹50 fees for photography and ₹100 for videography.
The walk through the gardens is quite long, but the rest stop is another tea shop with signature Ooty style tea.
My grandmother wanted to see the Rose Gardens, so that’s where we went next. It’s open from 9.00 am to 6.pm every day, so we made it in time before lunch. It was sweet with the smell of roses. Now and then, strong gusts of wind would blow my hair into my face or ruffle my clothes. Yellow, purple, pink, red, lilac, white, salmon, peach, taffy, magenta, coral, and so many more colors of roses littered the entire rose garden. Granite pathways through the garden helped us navigate. Magical is the best word to describe it. Deeper into the garden was a gazebo with benches to sit and admire the roses in the backdrop of a stunning hillside view of green and brown steps. The sun’s warmth lightly illuminated the blue-grey sky. The clouds were so close it felt like I could reach over and touch it.
Our evening was even more fun. We took a trip to the Ooty Boathouse, rented a four-seater pedal boat into the massive blue-green lake. We giggled and laughed as we worked to keep the boat moving. Trees grow over the bank of the lake, forming canopies. You can almost see the shy fish in the murky water as they break the surface for air and quickly dive down. We went around the lake and returned the boat. Opposite the lake was a game house with bumper cars and a series of arcade games.
We returned to the hotel after getting dinner. Ready to leave the following day. On the way back, I noticed a lot of stray horses on the road. They grazed lazily, unfazed by passing cars. We began our descent from the hill.
My favorite thing about Ooty is the view from the hillside, the peaceful atmosphere, and the fresh air. It feels removed from the rest of the world’s chaos. In many ways, it’s worth a visit to experience it as a place of transformation and harmony.
Road Trip To Ooty – Rose Garden Fee’s
Children below 5
Children Below 10
Road Trip To Ooty – Boat House Fees
2 Seater Pedal Boat
4 Seater Pedal Boat
2 Seater Row Boat
8 Seater Motor Boat