Videos Of Ooty

Botanical Garden Of Ooty Part 1:

The Botanical Garden is situated 2 km east of the Ooty Railway and Bus Stations and is maintained by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu by its Horticultural Dept.

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Botanical Garden Of Ooty Part 2:

A variety of exotic and ornamental plants can be seen here. They are well maintained.

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Pykara Lake:

This is a short video showing the Pykara Lake.

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Thread Garden Of Ooty:

An artificial embroidery garden bearing natural models of plants and flowers fully developed of embroidery threads using our self developed technology of hand wound embroidery without needles or machineries taking 12 years with the effort of 50 lady artists.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Journey to Shimla

Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh as it stands today. Prior to the Independence, Shimla was the most important hill station. It was the summer capital of India during the hot season. Although Shimla was first discovered in 1819, it wasn’t until 1822 that the first permanent house was constructed here. It was many years later that Shimla came to be known as the summer capital. The bridge parties, balls and parades in Shimla were legendary.

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Shimla is at an altitude of 2130 meters. Shimla is a sprawling locale whose suburbs adhere to the slopes. The Mall runs along a ridge. The Mall is lined with majestic English style houses. You find some panoramic views of the valley overlooking the Mall and mountain crests adorning both sides. Steep streets lead away from the ridge where you will find colorful local bazaars on the southern slope.

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There are plenty of theories with regards to the source of the name. If the natives are to be believed, the name came from Shyamali Devi who was the re-incarnation of Goddess Kali. The natives of Himachal Pradesh are called Pahadis.  The languages spoken in Shimla are Pahadi, Punjabi, Hindi and English.

Several modes of transport are available to travel to Shimla. You could get there either by air, train or road. The Jubbarbatti airport is at a distance of 23 kilometers from Shimla. Shimla is connected by air with several major cities making it very accessible. Some of these cities are Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Jammu. Traveling from Delhi is a four hour journey up to Kalka by train. From Kalka one needs to change to the narrow gauge track and take the mountain train to Shimla. There are a total of 103 tunnels en route to Shimla. The incredible view this journey offers while cruising and chugging up the mountain at a leisurely pace is out of this world. There are two types of toy trains plying up to Shimla, one of them is a single car which has a glass roof presenting an enchanting outlook and the regular multi coach train. Conversely you could take the road and travel by bus or taxi. One could avail of AC coaches, deluxe and semi deluxe buses from cities such as Chandigarh, Kalka, Amritsar, Jammu, Delhi and other adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

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One could enjoy all sorts of activities in Shimla. Leisurely walks in the evenings are the trend here. In addition to the aesthetic value of the Victorian architecture you inevitably wind up making new friends or even bumping into people you know. The Mall is a seven kilometer stretch of road and the highest point here is called Scandal point where you will find the statue of Lala Lajpatrai.

You also have the option of playing golf at the Naldhera Golf Course. Lord Curzon designed this 9-hole golf course in the 19th century. For people who would like to experience ice skating, there is an ice skating rink, which operates from November to March. Kufri, which is situated at a height of 2501 meters above sea level, has been acknowledged for skiing, but due to the irregularity of snowfall in recent years, Himachal Pradesh tourism has ceased operations now.

Some of the most stimulating and testing mountaineering opportunities in the world are offered by the Himalayas. Camping, Horse riding, Safaris, Trekking, Bungee Jumping, Yak riding, and Para Gliding are some of the sports you can enjoy in Shimla.

The best season to visit would be from May to July or from September to November. If you are interested in catching the snowfall, then you the ideal time to travel there is between the months of December and March.

During the months of March and April you will find clear skies with occasional rain and thunderstorms. The temperature ranges from 10 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius. During summer, which is the month of May and June, the weather is usually clear but the atmosphere could be smoky thanks to the forest fires. The temperature ranges between 16 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius. The monsoons arrive in the months of July, August and September. The temperature is between 13 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius and it is cool and humid with nonstop showers. Autumn comes around in the months of October and November. The days are generally bright while the evenings are cold. The temperature ranges between 10 degrees Celsius to 23 degrees Celsius. The winter season falls in the months of December, January and February. There is frequent snowfall and the weather is normally dull. The temperature could range from -7 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius.

Places to visit in Shimla

There are lots of lovely places to visit in Shimla. Jakhu temple is dedicated to Hanuman. This temple is situated at an altitude of 2455 meters. It offers a superb panorama over the surrounding valleys right up to the snow capped peaks. It takes about 45 minutes to walk from the Mall to the temple. The temple is aptly surrounded by a huge number of monkeys. There are many interesting trails in Shimla besides the promenade along the Mall and the walk to the Jakhu temple. Some of the other scenic spots are summer hill (1893 meters) is 5 kilometers away and the walk there is pleasant and offers plenty of shade. Chadwick Falls stand at a height of 1586 meters but its true beauty only shows during the monsoons. Chadwick falls is 7 kilometers away from Shimla. Prospect hill is much higher up at a height of 2145 meters. It is 5 kilometers away from Shimla. This hill is all the rage for picnics. You will come across a temple over here called Kamna devi temple.

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Sankat Mochan (1875 meters) is yet another temple devoted to Hanuman and offers you a splendid view of Shimla. Tara devi (1851 meters) is a temple sitting on top of a hill. One could get there by rail or by road. It is at a distance of 7 kilometers from Shimla. Wildflower Hall at a height of 2593 meters is at a distance of 13 kilometers en route to Kufri. This used to be the residence of the Indian commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener. The colossal mansion you see standing there today is not the original one. It was damaged in a fire in 1994, and it has now been reconstructed as a luxury hotel. A spectacular vista of Shimla and the mountain peaks of Pir Panja and Badrinath ranges greet you here. Mashobra (2149 meters) is great place for a picnic. Here you could go for a nice walk in the forest. It is 14 kilometers away from Shimla.

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About 1 kilometer west of the center of Shimla you will find the Rashtrapati Niwas on observatory hill. This was previously known as the residence of the British Viceroy. This large building has six floors and an opulent reception and dining halls. Scenic gardens surround this building. Another place to visit is the Himachal State Museum. If you walk down from the church on the Mall, it would take you an hour to get to this quaint museum which houses an unassuming collection of stone statues from other parts of Himachal Pradesh. Take note that the museum is closed on Mondays not Sundays as one might presume.

The world’s highest cricket ground is in Shimla. You will find hot water springs in Tattapani. You could go on a picnic to Craignano, which has a rest house on a hilltop.

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While Shimla does not manufacture much of anything for the tourists they do sell handicrafts from the other parts of the state. Garments and textiles are freely available at the Mall. These woolens come from places such as Ludhiana and other places around. If you are looking for something in wood, the best place to visit would be Lakkar Bazaar. The soft wood common to this region is the source for the wooden items on sale here. The shops here also have natural herbs with medicinal properties on sale here. In conclusion, Shimla is best for those wanting to unwind or to get a taste of the outdoors and nature’s wonders rather than a shopping paradise.

Fairs and Festivals in Shimla.

Another attraction here is the festivals that are held every year. The Renuka Lake fair is held at Sirmaur, which is to the south of Shimla. This fair is celebrated to honor the immortality of Renuka and her son on the shores of the lake, which is shaped in the form of a sleeping woman. People from the surrounding villages arrive in droves for this celebration. Part of the ceremony is taking dips in the lake to cleanse oneself of impurities. Shivratri too is celebrated with great zeal at Mandi in February/March.

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The Shimlaites also celebrate the “Shimla Summer Festival” which is held every year during the peak tourist season, which lasts for 3 to 4 days only. Popular singers from all around the country gather and perform on the Ridge. In fact, some government functions and other local celebrations are also celebrated on the Ridge during New Year’s Eve.

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Other than the town of Shimla there are several places of interest around Shimla. All the roads leading out of Shimla are lined with orchards. The hills are covered in pine and cedar forests, contributing to the fantastic sights of wide floored valleys and the Himalayas in all their majestic glory. Some of these places around Shimla that one could visit are Chail, Craignano, Kandaghat, Hatkoi, Narkanda, Bihargaon, Kasauli, Chadwick Falls, Prospect Hill, Tattapani Chuddoil, Shiharo, Sanjauli, Kharal, Kotgarh, Rampur and Barog.

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Videos Of Shimla

Toy Train Ride On The Shimla Kalka Lane:

This video shows the first few and the last few boogies of the train as it chugs away. You can also see nice greenery as it passes the valley when crossing the bridge.

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Shimla covered with snow:

This one contains beautiful pics of places on Shimla completely covered with snow. Worth watching!

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Jakhu Hanuman Temple:

This video shows the Jakhu Temple and its surroundings, as well as an aarti performed live.

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Map Of Shimla

Below is the map of Shimla. Use the scroller to enlarge.
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Enchanting Munnar

Located in the Idduki district of Kerala is a town called Munnar. The entire tourist area is actually referred to Idduki district and the town is merely a minor fraction of it. The words Munu and aaru in Malayalam mean three and river respectively giving us the name Munnar. The town is developed close to the convergence of the three rivers called Muthirappuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Surrounded by a sprawling forest, Munnar hill station is for all intents and purposes a pass. There is a conflict between the Government of Kerala and the Poonjar royal family about the ownership. Munnar is a town right out of a book. The twisting streets and hiking paths are a dream for the adventurous. The expansive tea plantations are the highlight of this delightful town. Nilgiri Langurs and elephants roam free in over here.

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Munnar hill station is set on a height of 5400 feet above mean sea level. The temperature here dips down to a minimum 0 degrees Celsius and goes only as high as 25 degrees Celsius. That is the USP of this town as it is cool throughout the year. The best season to travel to Munnar hill station is from August to March.

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Munnar hill station has the distinction of being the region where the exotic Neelakurinji grows. This plant has blue flowers that blossom only once every twelve years. During this time the hillsides appear bluish in color. The last time it blossomed was in December 2006, therefore the next time it will only blossom in 2018. The highest peak in South India is in Munnar, called Anamudi. This peak stands at a height of 2695 meters.

The title of Kashmir of South India has been bestowed on Munnar for its immaculate beauty. The British Government in South India considered Munnar its Summer Capital. Munnar is a favorite of the Honeymooners in South India.

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To get to Munnar hill station, you must drive from Kochi, which is 140 kilometers away and takes about 4 to 5 hours to arrive at. The road is wonderful as it passes through a forest offering cool winds and lovely waterfalls from time to time lending aesthetic beauty. On the way you will come across Kothamangalam and then Adimali. You will see the tea plantations from almost 8 kilometers before you get into the town of Munnar. The best time to travel this portion is early morning as the panorama is enchanting. You can also approach Munnar from Kodai Road, Udumalpet and Madurai. The hairpin bends on this road are treacherous. Another approach to Munnar is from Coimbatore which is a much longer but more picturesque road.

The tea plantations for which Munnar hill station is famed were first cultivated by A.W. Turner in the vicinity of Devikulam in the year 1877. Initially they tried cultivating several crops such as cardamom, sisal, coffee and cinchona. Finally they discovered that tea grew very well in this region. A.H. Sharp was the first one to plant tea at Parvathi. Muir and Co. procured this area. Later it was called James Finlay and Co. until finally the Tata Group acquired all of Finlays shares.

Sight Seeing Places in Ooty

The most exciting part of visiting Ooty could well be your journey in the toy train. Ooty is connected to the lowlands by miniature railway just as in Darjeeling and Matheran. The toothed central rail onto which the locomotives lock on the sleeper slopes is a distinctive element of the railway line. Another unusual feature is that the locomotive pushes the carriages from the back instead of pulling it from the front. The railway journey commences at Mettupalayam and goes to Ooty via Coonoor. The journey offers you some breathtaking views. All things considered it is an amusing trip for the outdoor lover. The winding tracks up with its many spine chilling curves and terrifying tunnels as it passes the deep ravines and tea gardens. The landscape is incredible and overwhelming. The sights keep changing as the train wends its way up the mountain.

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A visit to the Botanical gardens is an absolute must. There is veritable cultivation of trees with a wealth of knowledge provided on each one, including scientific information. Ooty is an ideal place to visit if you wish to connect with nature. It is a good place to forget the hustle and bustle of city life, and enjoy the environment. Ooty is a wonderful place for outdoor activities. A good starting point for a trek would be the road to Kotagiri on the Kotagiri Pass. The highest peak in Tamil Nadu is 3 km’s east of this pass. It is called Doddabetta. It stands at a height of 2623 meters. Doddabetta is 10 km’s away from Ooty.

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There is plenty for those who enjoy the outdoors. You could hire horses to ride on. One could enjoy a boat ride on the lake. The lake there is picturesque surrounded with the majestic towering trees.

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Madumalai is on the main road between Ooty and Mysore. The Park has elephant camps if you like riding on them. The animals you will most likely see here are the spotted deer, wild boar, monkeys, gaur and elephants. The wildlife tours within the confines of the sanctuary are limited to travel on elephant back, minibuses and jeeps. One could also take a night safari in a jeep. Elephant back rides can be booked on an hourly basis. It would be advisable to book your accommodation and elephant rides in advance if you plan on visiting the sanctuary. Dorms and lodges are maintained here by the Forest department. The Log house here, which is a 5 minute walk from the river, is a good option.

Another interesting activity is that the horse races are held at the racecourse during the monsoon season but the betting is pretty tame. Ooty doesn’t have much of a night life though, so don’t expect to paint the town red at night!

History and historical places of Ooty

The original name of Ooty in Tamil is Udhagamandalam.  This is a prominent hill station in the south of India. It is situated in the Nilgiri hills close to the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Nilgiri literally means blue hills. Ooty served as the summer headquarters of the Chennai Government. Prior to that, the area was inhabited only by tribal people, which comprised of a mixture of 18 different tribes. The majority of these were the Todas. The legend is that the Todas believed that goddess Tekirshy and her brother waved a magic wand to create a buffalo. After that they created the Toda man. The first Toda woman was created using a rib from the man. Their animalist shrines exist even today serving as reminders. Ooty is positioned at a height of 2240 meters. Ooty attracts tourists in the summer for its cool weather.

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Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru once visited this hill station and very aptly described it as the queen of hill stations. The British first discovered Ooty when the British first set up the East India Company in the Nilgiris. John Sullivan was the first British to construct a stone house here.

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Ooty is spread over a total area of 36 square kilometers. The ideal season to visit would be from April to June and from September to November. In the summers the mercury usually hits a high of 25 degrees Celsius and it dips to 10 degrees Celsius.  Whereas in the winters it could go as high as 21 degrees Celsius and come down to as low as 5 degrees Celsius. A word of caution: The overnight temperature in Ooty could drop to as low 0 degrees Celsius. Ooty receives an approximate of 121 centimeters of rainfall.

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People who are religiously inclined can visit an abundant number of churches, which are worth seeing.  Some of these are Sacred Heart church, Saint Teresa’s church, the Kandal shrine, Holy Trinity church, Saint Stephen’s church, Thomas church, Saint Mary’s church and the Union church.

You will find several temples in Ooty. Some of them are the Jain temple, The Kandal, Venkateshwara Perumal temple, Muniswarar temple, Mariamman temple, Mooyaulaka Arasiamman temple, Subramania Swami temple, Vithoba temple, Elk hill and Murugan temple. You could also visit the big mosque on your trip out there.

Conversely those who are looking for some peace and spiritual experience could pay a visit to the ashrams there. Ramakrishna math, Raghvendra math and Sampoorna ashram are some of these places.

However most of the folks going to Ooty are out for a good time and/or their honeymoon. They need not despair as there is plenty for you to set eyes on and enjoy in Ooty. The Madhumalai Park, the lake and the Botanical gardens, Doddabetta and Pykara Falls are some of the most prominent places. If you are in Ooty, we would recommend you not miss any of these sites. Whether you want to spend a romantic evening or have fun, the lake is a wonderful place to be. Taking a boat ride is a pleasant experience. The lake appears beautifully serene with Eucalyptus trees surrounding it. It is so picturesque, you wouldn’t want to leave!

Festivals and other attractions of Ooty

Ooty is also known for some attractions and celebrations such as the boat races and boat pageantry in Ooty. This is held in the month of May. It can get pretty exciting and interesting. Another attraction is the flower show in Ooty which draws throngs of people who love the fauna. This too is held in the month of May. If you were to visit in the month of February you could attend the Thaipoosam at the Elk Hill Murugan temple as well as the Bookkapuram Mariamman annual festival. Alternatively in April you could visit the Mariamman temple festival.

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Cultural programs, dog shows, fashion parades are other things to enjoy during the summers. Tea lovers need not feel left out as there is something for them here too in the form of a tea festival. This is held in the month of January.

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The Madumalai sanctuary in the luxuriantly forested foothills of the Nilgiris is 321 kilometers and is only a fraction of the 3000 kilometers larger reserve. This reserve includes Bandipur and Wynad extending to the states of Kerala and Karnataka. In Tamil, the word Madumalai means Old hill.

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The range of vegetation in the larger reserve spans from semi-evergreen forests to grasslands and swamps. On the other hand, Madumalai is mostly densely wooded. It is home to the spotted deer, the Indian bison, tiger, panther, wild boar and the sloth bear. The Moyar River is home to crocodiles and otters. Madumalai is largely populated with wild elephants. However you won’t spot them so easily. The domesticated variety is what you will probably catch sight of. The ideal time to visit Madumalai is between the months of February and June.

Not very much is made locally. Ever since Eucalyptus was introduced in the 19th century, it has thrived into a small oil-extraction industry in this area. The Toda men and women wear homespun shawls called puthikuzhi. These have black and red embroidery on them. They are tied around the waist with one end extending over the shoulder. It could be compared to the Roman toga. One could avail of these as a souvenir in the market.

Ooty is well connected to other parts of the state. Buses leave for Kotagiri every twenty minutes. This journey takes one hour. Buses to Coonoor leave every hour. Buses ply to Coimbatore every thirty minutes. It takes three hours for this journey to Coimbatore, which is ninety kilometers away. Seven buses leave for Bangalore everyday. It is three hundred kilometers away and takes eight hours to complete this journey. This bus goes via Mysore. It takes five hours to cover a distance of one hundred and sixty kilometers. You can take a bus to Madumalai, which is sixty-seven kilometers away and takes two and half hours to reach. Alternatively you could take of the small buses which go via the narrow and twisting Sighur Ghat road.