In 1819 John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore, was enthralled by the beauty of the place which resembled Switzerland more than any other country in Europe. He bought a parcel of land from the local toda people for one rupee, and built himself a bungalow at Dhimbatti. The “Stone House” as it stands even today, is the oldest house in the town that he founded called Ootacamund – a word that originated from the tamil words Othakal (single stone) Mandu (the name of a toda village), as the place was referred to centuries ago.
Government Botanical Garden
The gardens are the pride of Ooty. They house around a thousand species of plants, shrubs, trees, ferns, herbs and bonsai. In the middle of the garden is a 20-million-year-old fossilised tree (gifted by the Archaeological Survey of India from its National Fossil Park in Thiruvakkarai).
The Botanical Garden has 6 sections. There’s a fern house with 127 species of ferns in its lower garden. The New Garden has three hundred varieties of roses, floribunda and agapanthus varieties.
The Italian garden was first laid out by Italian prisoners of World War 1, where an amazing bouquet of the most fascinating varieties are on show.
Located on the slopes of Elk Hill, at an altitude of 2200 meters this garden has five curving terraces set over 4 hectares. With more than 20,000 varieties of roses from 2800 cultivars, it is one of the largest collections of roses in India. It received the Garden of Excellence of Award for being the best rose garden in South Asia, from the World Federation of Rose Societies in May 2006 – one of 35 gardens worldwide to have received this award.
John Sullivan’s constructed this 65-acre artificial lake in 1824. Water flowing down mountain streams were channelized and a dam was built to hold the water. Originally intended for fishing and ferries, it was converted into a boating facility by Tamil Nadu Tourism in 1973, and has been a very attractive spot ever since.
Apart from boating, there are cycle tracks, horse riding facilities and mini-train rides for entertainment.
Other local tourist attractions
- Lake Park
- Deer Park
- Government Museum
- Art Gallery
A 10 km drive takes you to the highest peak in the Nilgiris with an elevation of 2634 meters. It has a telescope house to give you a closer glimpse of the entire district.
Pykara Lake & Waterfall
A 21 km drive away is this Toda settlement, where the Pykara Lake is considered very sacred. It flows over a series of waterfalls around 6 kms away. It is surrounded by grassy meadows and has boating facilities too.
This is a waterfall that’s abundant with wildlife in and around. Just 13 kms away, it’s a paradise for bird lovers.
Known as the 9th and 6th mile, it’s a pleasant walk with lovely natural sights.
Imagine a green carpet of vegetation, gushing streams and a beautiful lake-like reservoir with mountains around. Just 20 kms from Parsons Valley...come over!
This is an ecologically dense forest zone that’s 17 kms away. There are animals around these shoals, so permission is required for trekkers.
Perfect, for a picnic with your family; and it’s just 10 kms from Korakundah and 20 from Avalanche. You can trek from Bangithapal through Sispara to the Silent Valley, but permission from the Forest Department is mandatory.
Just 28 kms away, the forest is so dense that even the penetration of sunlight into this place is quite a task.
The English confused the Sambar deer which used to frequent this place with the Elk. Hence this place is called Elk hill.
This undisturbed environment has the silent valley to its west, and is compared with the Himalayas for its flora and fauna. The Nilgiri Ibex is present here in large numbers.
The perfect place for trout hunters.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
This evergreen, deciduous forest is home to Tigers, Elephants, Gaur, Mouse deer, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Blackbuck, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Four-horned Antelope, Wild Dogs, Striped Hyena, Small Indian Civet, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Slender Loris... and Leopards.
For accommodation and more details about the Theppakadu Camp, Contact: Reception Range Officer, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary- Phone No:0423-526235