Coonoor is set at an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level in the
Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu. The hill station, which was discovered by the
British in the 19th century, was originally home to the Toda tribe.
However, once it was discovered that the area was ideal for growing tea, the
hills of Coonoor soon came to be occupied by sprawling tea estates. Today,
Coonoor is famous for the aromatic Nilgiri tea produced at its tea gardens and is a must visit destination for those taking up Tamil Nadu holidays.
The hill station is close (17 km) to Ooty, and it is also the
second largest hill station in the Nilgiris. One of the charms of visiting
Coonoor is the travel by the famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway. It was built by
the British and the construction work was completed in 1891. The meter gauge
railway line runs between Mettupalayam and Ooty and halts at Coonoor. A trip to Coonoor is incomplete without a holiday in Ooty.
See and do at Coonoor
Sim’s Park: A visit to this botanical park – which
has a 1000 plant species ‑ is one of the highlights of a Coonoor trip. The park
is spread over 12 hectares and located to the north of Coonoor railway station.
It is divided into eight sections and designed like a Japanese garden. Each has
a variety of flowers to ensure that there are blooms in the garden throughout
the year. The high point for local residents and tourists is the annual fruit
and vegetable show held in May.
Lamb’s Rock and Dolphin’s Nose: Both Lamb’s Rock and
Dolphin’s Nose are known for the scenic views that they offer. Lamb’s Rock lies
mid-way between Coonoor and Dolphin’s Nose. At a distance of 10 km from the
hill station, Dolphin’s Nose gives a panoramic view of the Nilgiri hills and
its waterfalls. Lamb’s Rock offers a beautiful glimpse of the vast expanse of
the tea and coffee plantations that dot the hill side.
Waterfalls: The Katary falls and the Law’s falls are
located close to Coonoor. A visit to the Katary falls would also give an
opportunity to explore the power station on your Coorg vacations in South India.
Droog Fort: The fort was built by Tipu Sultan in the
16th century. Reaching the fort would require a long and physically
exerting trek as it is located at a height of 6000 feet. Today, only an old
wall remains of the ancient structure, but it provides an amazing view.
Research Institutes: There are two research
institutes in Coonoor – the Pomological Station and the Pasteur Institute. The
Pomological Station conducts research into pomegranates and apricots. The
Pasteur Institute develops several vaccines. However, a visit here would
require special permission from the authorities.
Bird watching: Coonoor is a paradise for bird
watchers. The varieties of birds found here include vultures, eagles, song
birds, robins, larks, cuckoos, babblers and thrushes. There is also plenty of
wildlife to be explored during trekking expeditions in the Nilgiri hills.
How to Reach Coonoor
The Coimbatore Peelamdeau
airport is located 70 km from Coonoor. It is also well connected by train and
road and can be easily reached by taking tour packages from Bangalore or Chennai. The nearest broad gauge railway station is Mettupalayam, which is about
46 kilometers away. The Mettupalayam-Ooty meter gauge train halts at Coonoor. There
are also regular buses to Coonoor from major towns and cities in Tamil Nadu.