From nature walks in gardens that makes one wonder whether Paradise, as depicted in scriptures of various cultures, have actually been derived from such sensory experiences to relaxing over a cup of tea from the tea plantations dotting the hillside, only to realize most humbly of nature’s gifts as a bountiful provider, the tourist places in Ooty can be expected to resuscitate the soul, depleted of its spiritual reserves through the trials of everyday existence.
Ooty, once the summer capital of Madras Presidency under the British, can be safely regarded as “India’s Switzerland”. John Sullivan, the then collector of Coimbatore had noted the same in his elaborate report on the region, way back in the 19th century. After independence, Ooty was developed into a major tourist destination and understandably so, given its qualification for the same, owing to nature’s abundant blessings in terms of climate, scenic splendour, local sights and sounds, its wealth of birds and beasts and of course its homegrown beverages of tea and coffee.
The majestic “Queen of the Hills” forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, reputed for its fragile and exquisite ecosystem. In the ecological parlance, it is best known as a “hotspot”, the label justifying the designation of the section of the Western Ghats as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ooty has been developed to offer a rare glimpse to tourists of the essence of the rest of the reserve, much of which are out of bounds as part of conservation efforts.
The wooded hills of the Western Ghats with its canopy of unkempt, untouched shola vegetation interspersed with maintained and cultivated tea gardens offer a rare view of the symbiotic existence of man and nature where one can see and learn what sustainable use of natural resources should ideally look like. The botanical garden and rose garden curate much of the bounty of nature at Ooty to mesmerizing effect. One has to see the tourist places in Ooty it to believe in the gifts of life, otherwise often conveniently overlooked.