Coonoor – The Land of Tea, Hills and Forests
Coonoor is a hill station in the Nilgiris hills alongside Ooty and Kotagiri of Tamil Nadu, India. It’sbest known for tea gardens that produce the famed Nilgiri tea. The city at Hulikal ravine’s edge is home to Toda tribals for centuries. The second largest hill station after Ooty with its mild weather through the year, is ideally suited for weekend trips.City is well-connected by roads with other major towns,withCoimbatore for air connectivity with other Indian cities. Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a narrow-gauge train service connects the city to Mettupalayam. As one of the oldest mountain railways in India,it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Coonoor,evolved as tourist destination alongside Ooty in 19th century, when Britishers started developing it as hill station to escape hotsummers.
Coonoor is famous for its residential schools and students from across India come here to study.Offering a beautiful panoramic view of large part of Nilgiri hills;seasonal tourist traffic is the prime economic activity in city, alongside tea plantations. Best time to visitis from March to June and September to October. The city organizes several festivals to promote its local products such as aFruits and vegetable festival in May and a tea and tourism festival every winter. The city has numeroushotels and lodges; allowing tourists a place to stay as per their budget. City is especially famous for luxurious homestays where numerous British era villas are let out by owners for tourists to stay-in. Those interested in drinks can enjoy themselves in pubs mostly around Club road. There are several fine-dining restaurants in city that serve a delectable range of Italian, Indian, Chinese, North and South Indian veg and non-veg dishes.
There are several places like viewpoints, waterfalls, forests, lakes and other places worth a visit in and around Coonoor. These includeThe Dolphin's Nose, St. Catherine waterfalls, Lamb's Rock, Ooty, Doddabeta, Law’s Falls, Mettupalyam, Wellington, Tiger Hill cemetary, Ooty, Kotagiri, Ketti Valley, Wellington Gymkhana Club Golf Course, Rallia Dam, Wellington Lake, All Saints Church, and Hidden Valley. Other places worth a visit are Sim's Botanical Gardenthat houses over 1,000 plant species such as ferns, magnolia, pines and camellia; Lady Canning's Seat;Tipu Sultan’s Droog Fort;Thandu Mariamman Temple; St. George Church; Katary Falls; and Coimbatore, all of which are within few hours’ drive. The city has many tea factories namely Brooklands Tea Factory & Factory Outlet, Guernsey Tea factory Highfield Tea Factory, and Tranquilitea Gourmet Nilgiri Tea which process tea for sale inauction houses in Coimbatore, Coonoor and Cochin.It’s also home to Pasteur Institute of India, which makes Anti-rabies and DPT Vaccines used in Immunization program of Government of India.
The cityis home to many Indian army establishments like Madras Regimental Center (MRC) and Defence Services Staff College (DSSC); UPASI Tea Research Foundation which is intoresearch, commerce and auction of tea.The city alsohousesthe Pomological Station, a centre for research in pomegranates, persimmon, and apricot;and Central Silk Board’s silkworm breeding station and silk farm at Springfield. The city and its surrounding forests are a birdwatcher’s paradise with numerous bird species to watch such as cormorants, pipits, babblers, vultures, eagles, cuckoos, song bird, parakeets, Nilgiri verditer, skylarks and more. Coonooris haven for thrill seekers who want to go on trekking and hiking excursions in forests and hills around the city. City has many tourism agencies with registered tourist guides to conduct such excursions on regular basis. Moviegoers can watch latest films in the single screen theaters.
Fortourists interested in shopping, Coonoor has shops that sell variety of products including aromatic Nilgiri tea, handicraft, apparels, artefacts, antiques, embroidered shawls, Toda tribal jewellery and other items. Tourists can also shop for organic homemade products like fresh fruit jam, chocolates, cakes, lavender and eucalyptus oil. The city has gained fame in last few years for selling gourmet cheese, and tourist can also visit cheese farms and learn cheese making. Acres Wild Cheesemaking Farm is famous for selling cheese varieties like Gouda, Monterey Jack, Haloumi, Colby, Cheddar, etc. Overall the city allows tourists to nature’s beauty at its best.