Ooty is a beautiful hill resort and the capital of the Nilgiris district in the state of Tamil Nadu. This serene place offers several landscaped vistas and picturesque views of the blue mountains of Nilgiri. History of this place is much intriguing as it once used to be the summer capital of the Madras Province – administrative sub-headquarters of the British India in colonial days. Several Britishers resided in the area in those days and were also responsible for constructing some magnificent edifices over here. Post-independence, they left the hill station, but left behind the glimpse of Victorian era that attracts a lot of tourists to this place. Travelers from all over the world come on Ooty tour to explore the splendours of this region.
St Stephen Church
St Stephen Church, Ooty
This cathedral is considered to be one of the oldest in the town. It is situated on the pathway to Mysore and its origin dates back to the 19th century when Stephen Rumbold Lushington, the then Governor of Madras, decided to make a church for his fellow people. Foundation of the building was laid on 23rd April, 1829 by him while John James Underwood was designated as the in-charge of its architecture. This cathedral was consecrated on 5th November, 1830 by the Bishop of Calcutta, John Matthias Turner. The auspicious day of Easter Sunday on 3rd April, 1831 was chosen to make the building open for public.
The church is constructed using timber and is considered an architecture marvel of the region. Legends suggest that the wood used in the building arrived from the mansion of Tipu Sultan, who was the ruler of Mysore Kingdom in the 18th century. Structure of this building flaunts impeccable design on the outside and has an impressive interior. Murals of Jesus along with his disciples and painting of the Last Supper adorn the walls and mirrors inside. Other sketches depict Mother Mary holding infant Jesus and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This quaint cathedral is regularly visited by locals and specially on festivities when it is decorated with flowers and incandescents.
Stone House, Ooty
Another architectural landmark of the Victorian epoch in this hill station is Stone House, which is supposed to be the first mansion built here. The building is also called Kal Bangala and its construction was initiated in 1822 by John Sullivan. At present, Stone House serves as the residence of the Principal of Government College in Ooty. The area on which this complex stands is surrounded by lush greenery along with a grove of pine trees. A prominent attraction of this structure is an oak tree, known as Sullivan Oak, which was planted over 150 years ago.
A number of such finely-laid buildings along with other breathtaking sites can be witnessed at this hill resort, which makes it among the most sought-after destinations of holidays packages in India. This place is serene and offers numerous exciting activities for tourists to indulge in, including trekking on the hills, strolling in the local markets and relishing mouth-watering cuisine of the area. Photo enthusiasts can capture the panoramic view of this hill resort from several spots, which are ideal to behold the beauty of this destination.
One of the most favoured tourist destinations not only in South India, but also in the Indian subcontinent is Udhagamandalam, which is more commonly known as Ooty. The scenic beauty of this location is so mesmerising that it has earned the sobriquet of Queen of Hill Stations. Located in the Nilgiri Hills, it is connected with cities of both, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In spite of being situated in the tropics, the climate of this place is mild and pleasant mainly due to its altitude. Ooty tour packages are organised by regional as well as national tour organisers, which take enthusiasts through a trip across this scenic hill station.
Among the number of vacation spots at this place, one of the most visited is Ooty Lake (map: https://www.google.com/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d6885!2d76.6868582!3d11.4035511), which starts right from behind the main bus stand. It is an artificial lake that was constructed by John Sullivan by building dams around the snaky mountain streams that flowed down the ranges. This water body is L-shaped and extends to about two kilometres in length. The spot surrounding this lake has emerged as a major tourist attraction for people coming to this place.
The far end of the water body has a Boat House, where boats are available for rent from morning till evening for trips. A number of boat pageantry as well as races are organised during the summer season, which are major crowd-pulling events here. With the passage of time, this spot has become the major hub for tourist entertainment. There is also a children park nearby that houses a toy-train. This is a major source of recreation, especially for children, as it takes them through the green surroundings. Also present nearby, is a deer park, which showcases a variety of flora and fauna. A paved path surrounds the entire lake, where visitors can go for a walk during the evenings to enjoy the cool breeze.
This place is considered as one of the must-visit locations by most travel planners when offering India vacation packages. The most attractive thing to see here is the change in vegetation pattern. This place has historically been famous for its amazing and unending tea gardens, which span all over the gradients of the hills in this region. The lingering fragrance of tea leaves fills the atmosphere and visitors can sense it as soon as they enter this hill station.
Travellers looking for a vacation at this destination can opt for a number of packages available on leading travel portals. These tours are organised for varying number of days and enthusiasts can go through the itineraries for opting for the one that suits them the best. Discounts are offered during festive seasons as well as in case there is a popular event coming up. Often, trips, which span over a week take visitors for a tour across the chief attractions of South India. For a complete, systematic and refreshing tour of the vacation hotspots, consult popular travel websites in India.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The mesmerizing natural beauty of Ooty, which was popularly known as Ootacamund, has attracted tourists from world over since decades. Dense forests, majestic mountains, miles of eucalyptus plants and tea plantations greet holidaymakers. Ooty packages are included in the itineraries of most travel planners in this area. Due to the immense beauty of this region, it has been a site for several regional as well as Bollywood movies. The spectacular charm of this landscape has allured many directors to situate their plots of drama and romance in and around this location.
Several song sequences have been shot with expertise amidst the picture-perfect locations of this place. Among these, there is hardly any one as popular as the A R Rahman composed song Chaiyya Chaiyya for the Mani Ratnam film Dil Se. The train ride from Mettupalayam to this hill station played host to the entire song sequence. Generally having a blue colour, the coaches were painted brown and yellow, just for this purpose. After shooting, the coaches were repainted to its original hue. Jostling through the dense vegetation cover of Nilgiri Hills, this is part of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), which has been declared a UNESCO heritage facility.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The fine videography for this song had a major impact on its popularity even though A R Rahman induced a foot-tapping rhythm, which took the crowd by a storm. Shooting over a period of 8 days, the song was deftly choreographed by Farah Khan, with Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora Khan shaking their leg to its tunes atop the train. This sequence was shot exactly in the same manner as it appears on the silver screen. The train runs at low speeds on ratchet and pinion tracks and in its journeys crosses several curves and hairpin bends. The presence of dark tunnels, which has been portrayed in the number, adds spice to the journey by this rail.
Though the train speed is considerably low, shooting atop was an extremely difficult task. The steam-engine is a delight to watch, and it lends mystic environs to the rhythmic Sufi number. Apart from the two leading actors on the train, a number of dancers match their footsteps in sync. This iconic track, which still echoes in the ears of thousands, was probably the most popular to be shot atop a moving train. In 2002, a global survey conducted by BBC ranked it among the top ten most popular songs of all time.
Apart from becoming lip-synced with the global population, this song has immensely the zone covered by this train. A trip by this rail is mandatory if travellers are coming to this place. Globetrotters coming to spend holidays in India have made it a must to avail a journey by NMR. Travelers can even capture some beautiful snaps while taking this journey.