Friday, April 13, 2018



Ooty or Ootacamund is a very important hill station some 350kms from Bangalore and some eight hours by bus.The bus traversing through Mysore and Gudalur to reach ooty.Ooty is some 6000ft above sea level and night temperatures during summer could be less than 10 degrees celcius though the day temperatures would be more than 20 degrees celsius.The winter temperatures could reach near freezing. Ooty is in the part of the western ghats called the Nilgiris or Blue mountains.The Nilgiri hills are at the point of confluence between the Eastern and Western ghats.When seen from Mysore a distance of some 100 miles these hills look blue largely due to the reflection of the various river bodies along these hills and the atmosphere reflecting the blue component of the visual spectrum and hence the blue tinge of these mountains. Kodaikanal is also on these mountain stretches at a similar elevation at some considerable distance from Ooty at a similar height above sea level and is another hill station frequented by tourists.

In 1819 one of the Commissioners  by name John Sullivan gets a letter from the Madras Presidency to find out what exactly exists at these blue mountains and he was almost ordered into an expedition.He gathers some 100 tribals and sets out one afternoon after attending a Hindu wedding between a Wodeyar Prince and a Malabari lady at the Mysore Palace which was a wooden structure at that time which was razed by an accidental fire some decades later.Mummadi Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar was the King at Mysore who gave consent to the expedition.Reaching villages near Gudalur Sulliavan suddendly found a precipice some 2000ft high largely flooded with very tall trees-most probably Eucalyptus which contributes to the excessive cold of Ooty and also many river ways along the way.Sullivan was convinced about the dangerous nature of the expedition but decided to proceed he himself on a Palaquin. Eventually they make their trip loosing some ten tribals some of them dying due to exhaustion and others due to falls from slippery surfaces and what faced Sullivan was a large platue of green lands with human habitation in peices and petty villages...but Sullivan was convinced he found something valuable.

How this name Ooty was given to this place os a matter of conjecture. The tired tribals on finishing their treacherous journey up the hills wanted Kannada meaning Food.....and a Command was created to make food during their stay for few weeks after their discovery..Command being a military word.....the name sticking on to this place as Ootacamund. Much later with the railway line erected from Coimbatore to Ooty..Ootacamund started becoming famous for its tea...Ootacamund  along with tea takes its shorter form Ooty...and the simpler version of the original name to Ooty.

John Sullivan builds a house at one of these villages and informs the Madras Presidency of his new find and thereafter the Madras Presidency takes the renovation and inhabitation of modern day Ooty and the weather being very cold was interesting to many.Many houses ans settlements began to take shape after the railway finds its place and sources of water aplenty..Thus takes shape a metropolis which attracts the charm of one and all and added with its cousin Kodaikanal are jewels of present day India. Tamil population from Coimbatore started moving into Ooty through the railway line giving it a distinct tinge though the invention of the city was made from Mysore.In 1843 John Sullivan loses his wife and daughter in quick succession and he leaves for England.In all he had nine children one of his sons' later becoming Collector at Coimbatore.

Any one visiting Ooty from Bangalore will find many buses from the Sattelite Bus Stand on Mysore Road.Deepanjali Nagar  Metro Station is closest to this bus stand.The journey could take eight hours through Mysore, Gundlupet and Gudalur. Gundlupet could be termed as some mid-point.From Gudalur there is a steep stretch which will hoist the bus 3000ft above to ooty and the roads are cozy and better motorable and the view around enchanting. Ooty as a city must be five hours from Calicut(Kozhikode) in Kerala. Ooty...Mysore...and Kozhikode form a equilateral  triangle some four and a half hours in travelling time through the Bandipur forests and Western Ghats. Some of you travelling by car must note that at Gundlupet...the highway straight takes one to Ooty...and turning tight here takes you to Kozhikode  through  Wayanad.

There is a Botanical garden in Ooty whch I have seen during one visit ..the sudden cold weather of Ooty can give health problems to any visitor..sometimes digestive disorders for which a traveller must be well prepared.

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