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Along the Hills of Coonoor

by Madhav Srinivasan 1947 days ago

The hills of Coonoor with their sprawling tea estates and natural beauty provide a perfect weekend getaway to help you unwind and de-stress. The little hill station is also the right place to stay if you want to explore the mysteries of the Nilgiris.

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

Things to 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. 

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