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 2240m, 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 andtea 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 are 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
About Udhagamandalam : Settlement in Udhagamandalam began in 1822 with
the construction of the Stone House by John Sullivan, the then Collector
of Coimbatore. The bungalow which is locally called Kal Bangla is one of the landmarks of
Udhagamandalam and is now the Chamber of the Principal of the Government Arts College. Not
many years after the construction of the Stone House, several other English cottages with
pretty gardens, large bungalows of top officials in the Government are built.
Even today the atmosphere of the Raj
lingers in places like the Club where snooker was invented by a subaltern
named Neville Chamberlain, the Nilgiri Library with its rare and valuable
collection of books on Udhagamandalam and St.Stephen's Church
which was Udhagamandalam's first church.
The cemetery near the church has the
oldest British tombstones in the town and include those of John Sullivan's wife and
daughter among other prominent personalities.
South Indian Tea has gained recognition
far and wide. India is the fifth largest tea producing belt in the world after China. In
1991, South India exported 50 million kg to over 30 countries. Tea and Tourism Festival is
celebrated in the Nilgiris Jointly by the Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu
and Ministry of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu and Ministry of Tourism, Government of
India in every January/February. Cultural programmes, visits to Tea Estates and factories,
fun and frolic etc., mark this celebrations. Come to Nilgiris, during this festival, when
tea lovers from all over the world converge. An occasion not to be missed.