One of the major destinations for tourists from different parts of the country and outside is Ooty. The name Ooty or Udhagamandalam was first mentioned in about 1821 in the Madras Gazette which was then written as 'Wotokymund' by an anonymous correspondent who was one among several Europeans to set an eye on Ootacamand or Ooty. Ooty is also fondly called the Queen of Hill Stations. There are several attractions in Ooty which are enjoyed by the tourists visiting Ooty.
The Government Botanical Garden is one of the attractions of Ooty which was laid out in the year 1847, by the Marquis of Tweedale, the then Governor of Chennai (Madras) and it spreads over and area of twenty two hectares ascending the slopes on the hill at an elevation of two thousand four hundred to two thousand five hundred meters above sea level. The lush green, well-maintained lawns, rare tree species including a twenty million year old fossilized tree, an Italian-style garden bordering, a clear pool, a large variety of flowering bushes and plants, fern house with a vast range of ferns and orchids are some of the highlights of this garden. A flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held every year during the month of May at this garden.
Another attraction is the Centenary Rose Park which is located in the center of Ooty town. This garden is beautifully laid out in terraces with rose tunnels, pergolas and bowers with rose creepers. In order to commemorate the centenary flower show, the Rose Park was established at Vijayanagaram in Udhagamandalam, covering an area of about four hectares in five terraces. Today, this garden possesses the largest collections of roses in the country like miniature rose, hybrid tea roses, floribunda, ramblers and roses of unusual colours like green and black form more than three thousand varieties in this garden. One of the most-visited is the Ooty Lake which is also regarded as the pride of the Blue Hills. It is the central and strategic attraction of Ooty. Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore formed this artificial lake in the year 1824. The Ooty Lake which extends to an area of sixty five acres provides boating facilities to the tourists.
Adam's Fountain is also one of the attractions of Ooty. It is a memorial to a Governor, who made himself in every way popular during a brief tenure of office terminated by his death at Ootacamund, was erected, by public subscription, some time in the year 1886. The Honey and Bee Museum is a novel project at Ooty by a NGO. It depicts information on indigenous honey bees and traditional indigenous tribal people who harvest them. This museum also has a children's activity room and a small knowledge resource unit on bees, environment and people. The Bee Museum is the first of its kind which focuses on traditional knowledge and practices. This museum aims to be a vibrant space with live demonstration units of bees, specimens and tools; both traditional and modern used in beekeeping and honey gathering. The Kamaraj Sagar Dam is a good picnic spot and can be reached via Kandal amidst very old trees and green shrubs of various terrains. It is a very good destination on the slopes of the Wenlock Downs. Apart from studying nature and environment, fishing is an excellent game in the Kamaraj Sagar Dam. Several other attractions of Ooty are Glenmorgan, Avalanche, Kalhatty Falls, Ketti Valley View, Pykara, etc.
Coonoor is situated on a lower ridge of the plateau at an altitude of one thousand eight hundred and fifty eight meters and holds a railway station on the Mettupalayam-Udhagamandalam route. This is also a major trade centre for tea and there is a branch office of the Tea Board of India at Coonoor. Tourists can enjoy the beautiful places of interest like the Sim's Park, the Lady Canning's Seat. Lamb's rock, Dolphine's Nose, the Law's fall, the Droog, etc at Coonoor.
Another attraction of the district of Nilgiris in the state of Tamil Nadu is the Gudalur which lies in the lower plateau. It is situated fifty one kilometers to the west of Udhagamandalam below the Ghats at an elevation of one thousand one hundred and eighty meters above sea level. Most of the Gudalur area is green carpeted. One of the notable places of interest in Gudalur is the Needle Rock Point, which is eight kilometers on the Gudalur-Ooty road. This view point gives a three hundred and sixty degree view. The sunset from here on clear days is a nourishing experience. A panoramic view of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Gudalur town far below, is a visual treat from this view point. Another one is the Frog Hill View Point which is situated at a distance of twelve kilometers on the Gudalur-Ooty road. From this view point one can see the Frog shape of a Hill view.
Apart from the natural beauties including waterfalls and hills, there is the Santhanamalai Murugan Temple. It is surrounded by valleys, streams and water falls which create a very soothing and mesmerising effect. One can enjoy by seeing clove, pepper, cardamom, and tea and coffee plantations on the way to the temple. At Nelliyalam, tourists can see few of the ruins of the historical Ummatur Dynasty. It is also located in the Nilgiris district. Numbalakottah is a shrine of Betterayasamy or lord of the hunts, located at a distance of eight kilometers from Gudalur. Nellakotta is about fifteen kilometers from Gudalur which holds a dilapidated fort. Another attraction of Gudalur in the Nilgiris district is Cherambadi. It is thirty five kilometers from Gudalur.
Kotagiri is thirty kilometers to the east of Udhagamandalam, twenty three kilometers from Coonoor and thirty three kilometers from Mettupalayam. It is one of the oldest and the largest of the hill stations possessing an agreeable climate among the hill stations of the district of Nilgiris. This hill station is protected by the Doddabetta range from the violent southwest monsoon and is not affected by mists which are so common at Coonoor. The lower elevation makes the place warmer than Udhagamandalam. These advantages in the climatic condition make the station a suitable health resort.
Another attraction of Kotagiri is the Catherine Falls. It is about eight kilometers from Kotagiri, named after Catherine, the wife of Mr. M.D. Cockburn. This couple was among some of the first Europeans who settled in Kotagiri and they lie buried side by side in the cemetery there. The upper fall, which is the second highest in the Nilgiris, takes a leap of about two hundred and fifty feet. From above the falls, one can see the magnificent view of Dolphin's Nose and the surrounding area.
Longwood Shola is the only major pocket of natural shola forest left in the immediate vicinity of Kotagiri in the district of Nilgiris. This shola is an integral part of the very fragile Nilgiris eco-system with an area of one hundred and sixteen hectares. The preservation of this shola forest is vital. It plays a vital role in Kotagiri's microclimate, attracting and regulating rainfall. There is a very picturesque trekking path, which goes through this serene shola. Another famous destination in the Nilgiris district is Rangasamy Pillar and Rangasamy Peak. It is a conical peak at a height of five thousand eight hundred and fifty five feet above the mean sea level and it is the most sacred hill on the plateau. As per the Hindu legend, Lord Rangaswamy used to live at Karamadai in Coimbatore district on the plains but quarreled with his wife, came to live alone here and the two-foot prints on the rock close to the Arakadu village below the peak are stated to be the proof for this legend.