Located in the Blue Mountains of the Western Ghats , Ooty is known as the “Queen of hill stations” . Lofty mountains, great lakes, dense forests, sprawling grasslands, miles of tea gardens and eucalyptus trees greet the visitors en route to Ooty. The hill station itself is a land of picturesque picnic spots. It used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the British during the colonial days, later it was made into a summer administrative town. It is situated at an altitude of 2,286 meters above sea level.
Ooty is situated in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve . Many of the forested areas and water bodies are off-limits to most visitors to protect this fragile ecosystem. Some areas of the Biosphere Reserve have been earmarked for tourism development, and steps are being undertaken to open these areas to visitors whilst conserving the area. Much of Ooty has already been damaged by rampant commercialization as a result of tourism.
Listed below are some tourist attractions in and around Ooty & Tourist attractions and Forest Reserves around Ooty:
2 Km from Glanton Manor: It is the largest rose garden in India and has one of the largest collections of roses in the country with more than 20,000 varieties of roses of 2,800 cultivars .
2 Km from Glanton Manor: The 22-acre Ooty Botanical Gardens was laid out in 1847 and is maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu . A flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held every May.
Ooty Botanical Gardens : There are a few Toda huts on the hills above Botanical Garden, where Todas still dwell. There are other Toda settlements in the area, notably Kandal Mund near Old Ooty.
3 Km from Glanton Manor: Ooty lake covers an area of 65 acres. The Boat house established alongside the lake offers boating facilities to tourists. The lake is set among groves of Eucalyptus trees with a railway line running along one bank. During summer season in May, boat races and boat pageantry are organised for two days at the lake.
Less than 1 Km form Glanton Manor: Stone House is the first bungalow constructed in Ooty. It was built by John Sullivan and was called as Kal Bangala by the tribals (Kal means stone in Tamil ). John Sullivan started building Stonehouse in 1822. Today, it is the official residence for the principal of the Government Arts College, Ooty .
3 KM from Glanton Manor: The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British in 1908 The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives . UNESCO added the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway , the site then became known as “Mountain Railways of India. For the past several years diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam.
2 Km from Glanton Manor: St. Stephen’s Church is one of the oldest churches in the Nilgiris district, it dates back to the 19th century. Stephen Rumbold Lushington , the then Governor of Madras laid the foundation for the church on April 23, 1829, to coincide with the birthday of King George IV . It was thrown open to public communion on Easter Sunday April 3, 1831.
6 Km from Glanton Manor : Ooty Golf Course is operated by the Gymkhana club. The course extends over 193.56 acres and comprises 18 holes. Many avid golfer from across the world come to Ooty to enjoy a round of golf as the course is very similar to the downs in Scotland.
Less than 1 Km from Glanton Manor: A wax museum that houses life-size look-alike wax statues of personalities of Indian history, culture and heritage housed in a 142-year-old bungalow. It is located on the Ooty-Coonoor road.
10 Km from Glanton Manor: The Tribal Museum is part of the campus of Tribal Research Centre which is in Muthorai Palada. It is home to rare artifacts and photographs of tribal groups of Tamil Nadu as well as Andaman and Nicobar Islands and anthropological and archaeological primitive human culture and heritage.
10 Km from Glanton Manor: It is the highest peak (2,623 m) in the Nilgiris. It lies at the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats and offers beautiful vistas of the Nilgiri Hill ranges.
19 Km from Galnaton Manor: Pykara is a river and is considered very sacred by the Todas. The river has a dam and power plant. The falls are approximately 6 km from the bridge on the main road. A boat house by the Pykara falls and Dam is added attractions to the tourists. Being one of the oldest plants in south India, the Pykara station still functions, generating about 60 megawatts. The first unit of 6.65 MW was commissioned in October 1932.
On the way to Pykara: Situated between Ooty and Thalakunda, this tourist attraction was featured in many Hindi, Tamil, Kanada and Malayalam movies and song sequences. It is a small downhill region where pine trees are arranged in an orderly fashion.
10KM form Galanton Manor: Also known as Sandynalla reservoir it is a picnic spot and a film shooting spot on the slopes of the Wenlock Downs. The various tourist activities the dam include fishing and studying nature and environment.
35 KM from Glanton Manor: Now also declared a Tiger Reserve , lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills . Mudumalai, which means ‘first hills’, is one of the first wildlife sanctuaries established in India. Here one can often spot herds of endangered Indian elephants , vulnerable Gaur , and Chital . The sanctuary is a haven for Bengal Tigers and Indian Leopards and other threatened species . There are at least 266 species of birds in the sanctuary, including critically endangered species like the Indian White-rumped Vulture and the long-billed vulture.
14KM from Galnton Manor: This is a grassland area typical of the original bioscape of the Nilgiris. It has gently undulating hills and is often compared with areas in the British isles such as the Yorkshire Dales . It is a popular film shooting area, particularly two areas situated on the main Ooty to Pykara road, these locations are named “Sixth Mile” and “Ninth Mile”.
45 KM from Glanton Manor: The National park is a 78.46 km² protected area located in the south-eastern corner of the Nilgiris Plateau . The park was created to protect its Keystone species , the Nilgiri Tahr . The park is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve , India’s first International Biosphere Reserve . Visits to the national park are only allowed if prior clearances from the Nilgiri Wild Life Association & the Forest Department of Tamil Nadu.