Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Tourism      Hill Stations      Tamil Nadu     Nilgiri    


Place : Nilgiri District, Tamil Nadu
Altitude : 6511 feet above sea level.
Temperature : Max Temperature in Summer: 25°C ; Min Temperature: 10°C
Max Temperature in Winter : 21°C ; Min Temperature: 0°C
Significance : Kotagiri is one of the oldest and largest hill stations in Nilgiris
Best Season : All through the Year
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Nestled on one side of the Doddabetta range is the calm and small beautiful town of Kotagiri. Situated in the Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu, Kotagiri is one of the oldest and largest hill stations in Nilgiris. Located in an 'open-terrace' massif at a height of 6511 feet above the sea level, it has a climate advantage over Ooty but is more bracing than Coonoor as it is protected by the Doddabetta ranges from the onslaught of the monsoons. The place is about 23 km from Coonoor, 33 km from Mettupalayam and 16kms from Ooty. 

Earlier known as 'Kota-Keri' or (Kota-gherry) literally means the street or lines of the house of the Kotas, was, once used to be the summer resort of the British. The kotta settlement there was shifted to Aggal hamlet (2kms away) after the government had acquired the land in 1911. There is a temple dedicated to Kamataraya deity and the annual festival which falls on Arudra Darshan day is of great importance to all the Kotas. Quieter and still untouched by commercialisation, Kotagiri offers its visitors to some of nature's most spectacular views like Kodanad view point, Longwood shola, Rangaswamy pillar and peak and Catherine falls. The places also boasts of lush green golf course. Dotted around the area with many tea plantations and a few coffee plantations, Kottagiri is also an important centre of tea industry like Coonoor. The hill station has the status of being the first place in the hills to which road was made from Sirumugai via Dena in the year 1819. 

Tourist Attractions at Kotagiri

Consist of two water falls, Catherine Falls, also known as St. Catherine's Falls is about 12 km from Kotagiri and is approximately 7 km from Aravenu on the Kotagiri- Mettupalayam Road. From Aravenu, one has to go via Moon Road to reach Catherine Falls. It's crossed by the Mettupalayam Ooty road beyond the mountains and forms the upper stream of the Kallar river. It is named after Catherine, the wife of M.D.Cockburn, the pioneer coffee planter of Kotagiri and Yercaud. Falls from 250 feet high, this is located amidst of thick forest which gives a magnificent panoramic view of the forests, waylaid by tea gardens reaching as far as Kallar Nellithorai basin. The falls is the upper course of the Gaddhehaadahalla stream which drains the Kallar basin. One can see the Dolphin's Nose of Coonoor across the mighty gap in the hills.  

Kodanad viewpoint

Located at a height about 6500ft, Kodanad view point is situated 18 km east of Kotagiri inside the Kodanad Tea Estates. A trekker's paradise, the Kodanad view point offers its visitors the breathtaking beauty of Thengumarahada, the Bhavanisagar dam's reservoir, the tea estates and the Moyar River. The Moyar gorge located between the Deccan plateau and the Nilgiri plateau, joins the river Bhavani across the valley. From this point, one can see the country lies spread out one after another into the horizon. One can get the magnificent view of green carpeted paddy fields of Tengumarahaada village lying below. The village is surrounded on three sides by hills. One can also enjoy the view of Rangaswamy Peak and Pillar from the watch tower located here and the beautiful sunset. But during the monsoon, the view is often obscured because of monsoon clouds towering up into the sky. The Forest Department is conducted 'Thengumarada Trek' which leads down from Kodanad towards Thengumarada. Ph: 0423 2443968/04266 278020. There is a telescope at this viewpoint.

Rangaswamy Peak and Pillar

Rangaswamy Peak and Pillar lies 20 kms from Kotagiri town. Sacred for Irulas (a tribe), this conical peak exudes an exhilarating view of the wild yet harmonious semblance of the country lying around. Topping at a height of 5855 ft the site can be seen clearly from the plains and from the Kodanadu View Point. Legend says that God Rangaswami who lived in Karamadai, quarreled with his wife and came to live here alone and there are two shrines here, dedicated to God Rangaswami and his consort. Two footprints can be seen on the rock. North by West to the peak, is a huge detached Rangaswmai pillar of rock rising abruptly on all sides to a height of about 400 ft.

Elk Falls

Situated below Uyilatti village, Elk falls is about 7 km from Kotagiri. The Water cascading down the hill from a height offers the most scintillating of the sights. The road passes through serenely laid out Badaga habitations. Enroute at the Kannermukku village is at Dimbhatti (near Kotagiri), the first European house on the hills built by Collector Sullivan in the year 1819. The two storeyed stone house is now in a ruined condition. The best time to see the Elk waterfall is during rainy season when the water is more powerful and nice. From here one can see the valley of Kookal, once famous for its oranges.  

Bikkapathi Reserve

Situated beyond Kookalthorai about 10 kms from Kotagiri is the Bikkapathi Reserve. An ideal place for trekking from either Kookalthorai or Masakal villages located nearby. This very exciting forest reserve is under the jurisdiction of the Forest Range Officer of Kattabettu at Kotagiri. and one has to take prior permission for a trek. 

Longwood Shola

Originally known as Dodda Shola with an area of 116 ha, it is the only major pocket of natural shola forest left in the immediate vicinity of Kotagiri in the Nilgiris. A major water source for more than 15 villages in the down town Aravenu area, the Longwood Shola plays a major role in Kotagiri's microclimate. Shola forests are a type of stunted evergreen vegetation found only in the southern portion of the Western Ghats mountainsThe area is also famous among bird watchers. About 80 varieties of birds and double the number of flora in addition to Indian giant squirrel, bonnet macaque, barking deer, Nilgiri Marten, Indian bison etc can be seen here. There is very picturesque trekking path which goes through this serene shola.