Ooty Blue Mountain Hill Station

Ooty Blue Mountain Hill Station

Ooty Lake Boat House.

Ooty or Blue Mountain, is one of the most beautiful and famous hill stations in India. Ooty alias Udhagamandalam or Udhagai is at a distance of 86 kilometers from Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu state.

Ootacamund, is part of Nilgiri mountains or Blue mountains.

In 1818, the then Collector of Coimbatore, John Sullivan, wrote that it Nilgiri resembles Switzerland. He constructed a bungalow near Kotagiri near Coonoor (at 18 kilometers distance) in 1819 and worked with the local tribes to ensure than they get their land rights and keep their cultural identity.

It was John Sullivan who started the construction of the road from Sirumugai near to Mattupalayam to Dimbhatti in the same year and was completed in 4 years. The work for the road route to Coonoor was started in 1830 and was completed in around two years.

Nilgiri Railway work was started after much delays in 1891 by “Nilgiri Railway Company”. Mettupalayam-Coonoor section was completed in 1899 and trains were introduced in this section. Coonoor-Udhagamandalam line was completed in 1908 by the “South Indian Railways” which acquired the railway line from “Nilgiri Railway Company” and trains started operating from Mettupalaym to Udhagamandalam in 1908.

Udhagamandalam was the summer capital of Madras regiment during British rule in India. “StoneHouse”, constructed by John Sullivan was the first building in this hill station, which was constructed in the year 1822.

The 65 acre Ooty lake and the boat house was also constructed by John Sullivan, who was the first collector of the district. Ooty lake is one of the main tourist attractions with its Eucalyptus trees and toy train railway line. An adventure water theme park (water park) was opened at the entrance to the lake a few years ago, which is a major attraction for kids. Water zorbing is available here.

The 22 acre Ooty Botanical Gardens another major tourist spot. There is an annual flower show in May every year, which attracts lacks of visitors. There is a 20 million year old fossilized tree inside the botanical garden.

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Pykara lake

Doddabetta, the highest peak at 2,623 meters altitude in the Nilgiris mountains is at 10 kilometers distance and is among the must-see places in Udhagamandalam. Pykara river, Pykara lake, Pykara boat house run by TTDC and Pykara dam are some of the other places to visit in the Blue Mountain Hills. Pykara river is very sacred for the local Toda tribes.

There are numerous other places to visit in and around Udhagamandalam, Coonoor and Kotagiri. There are regular sight seeing trips from Hotel Tamilmadu (TTDC Hotel) premises in Ooty to all these tourist places at affordable rates.

Mudumalai is a nearby Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park, which is a little away from Ooty, on the Ooty – Mysore road.

How Do I Go to Ooty Hill Station?

Ooty is well connected to the rest of India by road. Coimbatore is just 86 kilometers away which takes around 3 hours drive through Coimbatore – Mettupalayam – Ooty road.

Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu state is at 535 km distance. Mysore is at 155 kilometers away. Kodaikanal, another major hill station is at around 135 kilometers away from Ooty.

Udhagamandalam is connected by train to Mettupalayam by the the UNESCO Heritage train service, Nilgiiri Mountain Raiilway NMR. The railway station codes for Mettupalam, Udhagamandalam and Coimbatore are MTP,UAM and CBE respectively.

Coimbatore is the nearest airport for those who wish to go to Ooty by air.

Ooty Hotels and Resorts

There are many hotels and resorts at Udhagamandalam and surrounding areas.

Wild Planet Nilgiris is a jungle resort situated at Devala, on the Wyanad – Mudumali route. This resort is spread over 100 acres of land. It is at around 60 kilometers from Calicut or Kozhikode. Hotel Lakeview is a hotel with fireplace (They seems to charge for the fireplace consumables).

Indian Rock-Cut Temples in Sea of Oman; Elephanta Caves Island or Gharapuri Island

Elephanta Caves Islands, is a network of 7 sculpted caves dating back to 5th to 8th centuries. Elephanta Caves are regarded as the abode of Lord Shiva. Gharapuri Island or Elephanta Caves Island is also known as the ‘city of Caves’. It spans an area of 16 square kilometers. Gharapuri Island is at a distance of 9 nautical miles in the sea of Oman, from the Gateway of India, Mumbai in India.

Elephanta Caves Island alias Gharapuri Island Elephanta Caves Island alias Gharapuri Island

Indian rock-cut art at Elephanta Island has found one of its most perfect expressions in the seven caves here. Especially, the huge high reliefs in the main cave needs special  mention.

The island owes its name to the huge stone statue of an elephant found there by Portuguese navigators, which they tried to take it in a ship.  Portuguese abandoned the plan, because the chains were not strong enough to hold the giant statue through the rough seas. The statue was later moved to a museum in Mumbai by the British.

Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Island  is famous for the Elephenta Cave temples of seventh century dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Maheshamurti panel in which God Shiva is shown as the creator, the protector and the destroyer, is a rare sight to the eyes, which will make you spellbound. You should visit this place at least ones in your lifetime.

Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Caves Island has a toy train, intended for the kids. It takes kids to  the steps at the bottom of the caves. There are Street vendors selling snacks and food packets at  Gharapuri island. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, MTDC, runs a restaurant in the island.

A word of caution, beware of the monkeys that snatch food or snacks from you.

How Do I Go to Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Caves Island?

Elephanta Island caves are at a distance of 10 kilometers from Mumbai. Regular ferry services to Elephanta island caves are available. It is an hour’s journey from Gateway of India, Mumbai.

What are the Elephanta Caves Timings?

Ferry services to Elephanta caves are available from 9 am to 2 pm. Tickets for the ferry services are available at the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation office at Gateway of India, Mumbai. Gharapuri Island is closed for tourists on Mondays.

Overnight stay is not allowed at the island for tourists. However, Local residents numbering around 12 hundred, reside at Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Caves Island .