Tamilnadu : Scenic hill stations of Tamil Nadu

Udhagamandalam: Queen of Hills

Called the Queen of Hill Stations picturesque, green Udhagamandalam better known, as Ooty is the most popular hill station in the south. Located in the western ghats at a height of 2240 m, Udhagamandalam is the headquarters of the Nilgiris district where the two ghats meet. Nature has been generous with this region, which is by far the most beautiful in the state. Apart from coffee and tea plantations, trees like conifers, eucalyptus, pine and wattle dot the hillside in Udhagamandalam and its environs. Summer temperature is rarely higher than 25°C with a minimum of 10°C and winter is distinctly cooler with a high of 21°C and a low 5°C. Curiously enough, this slice of paradise remained unknown to the great southern dynasties and it took the British to discover it in the early 1800s. They were, however, not the first inhabitants of this land as a tribe called Todas had been living there long before the British came, claiming that the Nilgiris had been their home since time immemorial. But the credit for modernising Udhagamandalam and making it accessible goes to the British who constructed the first railway line in the area and made it the summer capital of the Madras Presidency.

Ooty with smaller hill stations of Coonoor - 19 km and Kothagiri 31 km from Ooty are the other hill stations of this district. Nilgiri is India's first biosphere. It has been declared as one of the 14 'hotspots' of the world because of its unique bio-diversity. Nilgiri presents a truly breath taking kaleidoscope of visual treats and soul stirring experience.

Places of interest

Government Botanical Garden, Ooty:

This garden was laid out in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale, the then Governor of Madras and is spread over 22 hectare. Lush green well maintained lawns, rare tree species (like the cork tree which is probably the only such tree in India, the paper bark tree and the monkey puzzle tree - monkeys cannot climb this tree), a 20 million year old fossilised tree (presented by the Geological Survey of India, from the National Fossil Park, Tiruvakkarai, South Arcot district, Tamil Nadu) an Italian - style garden bordering a clear pool, a vast variety of flowering bushes and plants in myriad hues (exotic and ornamental), fern house with vast range of ferns and orchids, are some of the many highlights of this garden.

Rose Garden:

To commemorate the Centenary Flower festival, the Rose Park was established at Vijayanagaram in Udhagamandalam covering an area of four hectares in five terraces. The Rose Garden is situated in the lower slopes of the Elk Hill and on the North - Western side, facing the Udhagamandalam town. It is about a kilometre from Udhagamandalam Railway Station and Bus stand and has easy access with motorable roads from two sides. The rose varieties planted in this park were assembled from different sources.

Ooty Lake:

The Ooty Lake is the pride of the Blue Hills. It is a central and strategic attraction. It extends to an area of 65 acres. Earlier the entire lake was used for fishing as a major activity. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation on behalf of the Tourism Department took possession of the lake for pleasure boating facilities in the year 1973. Another added attraction of the Ooty lake is the Mini Train.

Deer Park:

The Ooty Deer Park is a unique wilderness situated on the fringes of the Ooty Lake. It is one of the high altitude animal parks in India. The park is a beautiful place and offers a unique opportunity to observe and study wildlife in their near natural habitat. The total area of the Deer Park is 22 acres out of which an area of 6 acres has been developed and is open to public.

Government Museum:
The Government Museum situated on the Ooty - Mysore Road has items of tribal objects, district's ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu.

Lalith Kala Academy:
It is situated about 2 km from Udhagamandalam on the main Mysore road. It has various collections of contemporary paintings and sculptures all over from India.

How to get there

The nearest airport is Coimbatore (104 km).

Udhagamandalam on the narrow gauge railway is connected to Mettupalayam, which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai.

Udhagamandalam is connected by road to several cities.

Kodaikanal: Princess of Hills Station

Here is a story - Lieutenant Ward, an Englishman, climbed up from the Kunnavan village of Vellagavi to Kodaikanal in 1821 to survey the area on the hilly ranges of Palani. In 1834, the Madurai collector climbed the hill from Devadanapatti and built a small bungalow at the head of Adukkam pass near Shenbaganur. In 1836, Dr Wite visited Kodaikanal and recorded his observations, and these were very useful to botanists later. In 1845, American Missionaries built the first two bungalows 'Sunnyside' and 'Shelton'. Later, six American families came up the hill and stayed for the first time in Kodaikanal. Following this, the British also built houses here. The hill station Kodaikanal was created to serve the needs of the British and Europeans in India.

The 20th century saw elite Indians enter Kodaikanal to enjoy its charm and beauty and to harness its natural wealth for development.

Today, the charm of Kodaikanal lies in its wooded slopes and gigantic trees. The mighty rocks, bowers, creeks and slopes captivate the visitors. The meadows, the long stretches of forests, beautiful spots and the flocks of sheep grazing on green pastures are a source of joy, delight and thrill to onlookers. The climb to the various jutting rocks at Kodai is rewarding. The arduous climb to the Pillar rocks, to a height of 400 ft, is a must for every visitor to this
hill resort.

Places of interest

The Lake: 
The 24-hectare lake skirted by a five km long black tar road, is the focal point in Kodai. This lake was created in 1863 by Sir Vere Hendry Levinge (1819-1885). He was previously the collector of Madurai, who retired and settled in Kodai. He constructed the bund to form a lake and stocked the lake with fish. He brought the first boat from Tuticorin. In 1890, a boat club was formed and members of the club set sail. In 1910 a new boathouse was constructed. The boat service was opened to the public and tourists as well in 1932.

Bryant's Park:
This park is situated on the eastern side of the lake. It is noted for its flowers, both hybrids and grafts. Cut flowers are exported from here. A glass house which shelters fine varieties of flowers can be seen here. A Flower Show is organised every year during May.

Solar Physical Observatory:
It is situated 3.2 km from the lake. This observatory was founded in 1989, and it is located at an elevation of 2343 mtrs. This observatory is the highest point in Kodai. Visitors can observe the stars and the planets.

Coaker's Walk:
About a kilometre from the lake, Coaker's Walk runs along a steep slope on the southern side of Kodai. It offers some of the best views of the plains.

Kurinji Andavar Temple:
Temple situated three km from the lake is a famous shrine dedicated to Lord Muruga. This temple is associated with the kurinji flowers that bloom once in 12 years. Kurinji means the hill region in Tamil literature and andavar means god. Therefore Lord Muruga is referred to as the God of the Hill here. From this temple one can have a view of Palani and Vaigai Dam.

Shenbaganur Museum:
The Sacred Heart College maintains this museum. It is a Theological Seminary founded in 1895 and devoted to preserving certain archaeological remains and the flora and fauna of the hills. It houses one of the best Orchidariams in the country. Over 300 species of exotic orchids are housed here. Father Ugarthe, a Spaniard contributed his many private collections to the museum.

Silver Cascade:
It is 8 km from Kodai Lake. The overflow of Kodai Lake comes down here as a 180 foot high waterfall.

La Saleth Church Kodaikanal:
Our Lady of La Saleth shrine possesses the traditional heritage of 150 years and it is one of the two shrines dedicated to Our Lady of La Saleth in the whole world. The other is in France.

How to get there

Air: Airport at Madurai (121 km) and Coimbatore (135 km).

Rail: Kodai Road railway station (80 km) and Palani railway station (64 km).

Road: Kodaikanal is connected by road with all-important towns. Regular bus services are available from Kodaikanal to Madurai, Palani, Kodaikanal Road, Theni, Dinidigul, Thiruchirapalli, Kumili, Erode, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Chennai, Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli.

Local transport: Taxis and vans are available. Limited city buses are available.


Yelagiri Hill is one of the popular hill stations of Tamil Nadu. Situated amidst four mountains, well known for its salubrious climate prevail throughout the year. Tribal people live in villages in these hills.

If you travel the winding ghat road that has 14 hairpin bends you can reach the Yelagiri hilltop. The hairpin bends offer panoramic, breath taking views of the hills and its surroundings. The seventh bend is significant, since it offer the view of the slopes of the mountain and the green forests that carpet the hill.

Yelagiri comprises 14 small villages. The tribal people who live here are engaged in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc. Their customs, habits, and the structure if their houses are very unique and attract tourists.

How to get there

Road: Buses are available from Jolarpet Railway Junction on the Chennai–Bengaluru/Coimbatore Sector, Tiruppathur, Vaniyambadi and Vellore.

Rail: Jolarpet Railway Junction (19 km).

Air: Nearest airport at Chennai (220 km) and Bengaluru (160 km).


This quiet little hill station on the Shevaroy hills of the Eastern ghats is the only one of its kind in northern Tamil Nadu. While the rest of this region is generally dry, including the predominantly short and rocky hills of the Eastern ghats, Yercaud presents a welcome contrast with its cool climate where temperature never rises above 30ºC and dip below 13ºC . It is also a less expensive place than either Udhagamandalam or Kodaikanal.

Coffee and citrus fruits, most notably oranges, are grown in abundance apart from bananas, pears and jack. Scenically, Yercaud is as enchanting and picturesque as the hill stations on the Western ghats and trekking here can be one of the most pleasurable ways to pass time.

Places for sight-seeing include the Lake, Lady's Seat, Killiyur Falls, Pagoda Point, Arthur's Seat, Kaveri Peak and the Shevaroyan temple.

How to get there

Yercaud is connected by road to Salem and there are frequent buses to and from Salem. It is possible to get buses to any other place in Tamil Nadu . The nearest railway station is Salem, and the nearest airport is Trichy.

Nearest rail - heads are Salem Junction (36 km) and Salem Town (33 km).

Bus services operate from Salem Junction and Salem bus stand to Yercaud frequently. There is no town bus service in Yercaud, but certain buses coming from Salem ply through Yercaud and connect the important Villages like Cauvery Peak, Valavanthi, Nagalur, Velakkadai, Swinton Bridge with Yercaud.

Private taxis are available.