How to reach Ooty, The Nilgiris
HOW TO REACH OOTY, THE NILGIRIS
Popularly known as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, Ooty or Udhagamandalam is the most admired hill station in South India. So, how to reach Ooty is not a matter of worry as this picturesque hill station is easily accessible by various means of transport. People mostly prefer to travel by road as all routes to Ooty are quite scenic and picturesque. You could also opt for the Nilgiri Mountain train, which is an experience in itself. Those planning to travel by air and train can book their tickets till the nearest Coimbatore airport (85 km) and Mettupalyam railway station, respectively.
An amazing way of reaching Ooty is by the well-maintained state and national highways. Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses along with some private buses connect Ooty with major neighbouring cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Mysore. NH 209 and NH 275 connect Bangalore with Ooty, and a number of luxury buses operate from Bangalore, which takes around 7 to 8 hours.
Ooty is well connected by good roads. It is 535 km from Chennai (via Salem), 89 km from Coimbatore, 18 km from Coonoor (via Gudalur), 155 km from Mysore, 187 km from Calicut, 290 km from Bangalore, 281 km from Kochi (via Coimbatore and Palakkad), 236 km from Kodaikanal (via Coimbatore and Palani).
There is a regular bus service from Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Calicut, Kanyakumari, Tanjavur, Tirupati and Cochin. Buses ply regularly to Mudhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Kotagiri, Coonoor and Doddabeta.
Mettupalyam, 40 km from Ooty, is the nearest railhead serving this hill station. Several trains are available from nearby cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore and Bangalore for Mettupalyam. Once you reach the railway station, you can hire private cabs or avail bus services to reach Ooty. Another exciting way of getting to Ooty is by boarding the heritage Nilgiri mountain toy train, which takes you uphill, moving through thick forests, down the valleys via dark tunnels. Though this journey is extremely slow and time consuming, it is a once in a lifetime experience.
Nearest broad gauge railway junction is Mettupalayam (46 kms). Major broadgauge railway junction is Coimbatore. It is connected with all major cities. Mettupalayam to Ooty, is connected by a Mountain Railway which is 4 hours journey
At a height of 2,600m stands Udhagamandalam (Ooty) the Queen of Hill Stations. The 'Nilgiri toy train' connects Ooty to Mettupalayam, at the foot of the Nilgiris.
The constructions of this line was a big challenge as the terrain is rather tricky. It was in 1854 that the first plans were drawn to built a mountain railway from Mettupalayam to the Nilgiri Hills. But it was a good 45 years later in 1899 that the first train chugged up this track. This railway is widely regarded as a marvel of engineering. The train itself is a charming blue and cream with wooden coaches and large windows. It is hauled uphill by steam engines, desgined and built by the Swiss Locomotive Works. Twelve of such locomotive engines survive even today.
The train covers the 46 km to Udhagamandalam in four - and - half hours. There are five stations between Mettupalayam and Coonoor - Kallar, Adderley, Hill Grove, Runnymede and Kateri - and, at one time, there were five between Coonoor and Ooty too. Though Wellington, Aruvakadu, Ketti, and Lovedale are still functional, Fern Hill, the last one, was closed down a few years ago.
Extensive rice fields surround the 7 km stretch between Mettupalayam and Kallar. Soon after is an impressive 21 km section through truly rocky terrain. The track passes over 26 viaducts, and twists and bends through 13 tunnels. After a steep climb, the train enters Coonoor, the little hill station known for its tea plantations. From here, the track is uphill till you reach Fern Hill at a height of 2,218m, the highest point on the railroad. Shortly before Ooty, the line dips downhill. If you enjoy taking pictures, keep your camera ready for a few shots of the viaduct between Kallar and Adderley.
This ride is sure to turn the most hardened rail critic into an avid fan. You'll delight in the edge - of -the - seat twists and turns as the train runs cross tall grider briodges, and over green hills before gently meandering through rolling tea estates. The exhaust beat of the loco never falters, maintaining a defening staccato which can be heard for miles around. Truly a journey to remember.
Approximately 85 km away, Coimbatore Airport is the aerodrome closest to Ooty that connects this hill station with the rest of the country via an extensive network of flights. Carriers like Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet have regular flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kozhikode, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. International travellers can book their tickets till Bangalore (around 310 km away) as Bangalore airport, popularly known as Kempegowda International Airport, is connected with major cities across the globe. Taxis and buses are easily available from both the airports for Ooty.
- Nilgiri Hills is a wonderful place to visit. This hilly region is considered to be one of the most visited areas in India, especially Southern part of India. Nilgiris are spread across Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala. So, in order to breathe free in the air around Nilgiris you must be acquainted with how to reach Nilgiri hills from at least, any one of the two states.
- International Airports in Tamilnadu:
- If you are wondering how to reach Nilgiri hills from Tamil Nadu by air, here is the list of International airports in the state:
- Chennai international airport
- Coimbatore Airport
- Salem Airport
- Tiruchirapalli Airport
- Madurai Airport
- Tuticorin Airport
- International Airports in Kerala:
Below is the list of International airports in Kerala, if you want to reach Nilgiri hills from Kerala:
- Cochin International Airport
- Trivandrum International Airport