Temples & Other interesting Places
1.Botanical Garden Ooty
The English styled terraced gardens were founded in 1847, by Marquis of Tweed-Dale. He took the services of W. G. Ivor, a well known horticulturist form the famous Kew garden of England. The garden sprawls across an area of about 22 hectares and has the most colourful collection of flora in Southern India. There are about 1000 varieties of plants, shrubs and trees. The summer festival of flower show is held every year in May, which attracts a large number of tourists. This garden is a favourite of the botany enthusiasts.
2. Ooty Lake and Boat House
The collector John Sullivan constructed the artificial lake in 1824. Set amidst scenic surroundings, the lake offers facilities for boating. Pony rides along the road are also popular. A toy train is another attraction to the children. The children’s lake garden is located closely. Located at the high point, a little away from the residential area, is this church, one of the oldest, noted for its stained glass paintings and Gothic style. It has fine boating facilities with row boats, paddle boats and motor boats available on hire. The lake garden and toy train rides are other attractions.
3. Government Museum Udhagamandalam
Government Museum is located on the Mysore Road exhibiting various tribal objects, representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu and the ecological details of the Nilgiri district.
4. Raj Bhavan
It lies on the Dodabetta Ridge, near the famous Botanical Garden. The majestic building was built in 1877, by the Duke of Buckingham and is now used only for official entertaining, while the grounds are open to visitors.
5. Horse Racing
The racecourse is situated in the heart of the city. Its area is about 2.4km long. It is one of the famous racecourses in India. It is a very popular sport in Nilgiris. We can see this race during the summer months of April may and June.
On the way to Coonoor, the Defence Services Staff College is situated at Wellington, amidst the cool green atmosphere of the Nilgiris. It is an institution of pride which has served as a model for the British also. Started in 1947, the DSSC is a unique Institution of international repute, which trains personnel from all the three forces together and thus has set up a model for other countries.
Not all temples in Ooty are dedicated to deities of mainstream religions like Hinduism and Jainism; there are few dedicated to the local tribal deities as well. This is why Toda Temple is one of the most unique places to visit in Ooty, not just for tourists, but also history and culture enthusiasts. It is essentially a small hut with an arched structure, thatched roof and local designs on its facade. Apart from visiting this hut-shaped shrine, you can walk around amidst the lushness and enjoy some moments of calmness.
8.Elk Hill Murugan Temple
Perched atop a small hill and enveloped in immense lushness, Elk Hill Murugan Temple is as much a sanctuary of god as of serenity. As you reach here, an around 40-feet high statue of Lord Murugan (Kartikeya), the presiding deity of the shrine, catches your eye. If not for its magnificence, then it might catch your fancy owing to its similarity to the idol at Batu Caves, Malaysia. Along with the sculpture of Kartikeya, the temple also houses those of Goddess Shakti (Kali), Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva.
9.Vasupujya Swami Shwetambar Jain Temple
Obscured by the sheer number of shrines dedicated to Hindu and regional deities are several Jain temples as well, including Vasupujya Swami Shwetambar Jain Temple. A richly carved facade of shining white marble leads you inside, to a place of nothing but calmness. Devotees believe that this temple has the potential to drive out all the negative thoughts from one’s mind, hence flock it in considerable numbers.
10. St Stephen’s Church
Perched above Ooty’s centre, immaculate pale-yellow St Stephen’s, built in 1829, is the Nilgiris’ oldest church. It has lovely stained glass, huge wooden beams hauled by elephant from the palace of Tipu Sultan 120km away, and slabs and plaques donated by colonial-era churchgoers. In the overgrown cemetery you’ll find headstones commemorating many an Ooty Brit, including Ooty founder John Sullivan’s wife and daughter.