A memorable excursion from Ooty is a journey to Pykara situated 19 to 21 kms by road from Ooty. The name Pykara was inspired from the stunning Pykara River that flows close to the Ooty to Mysore Road.
A trip to Pykara offers spectacular sights along the entire span of journey from Ooty that calls for a trekking expedition for the more adventurous ones. For the less enthusiastic ones, you can opt for a pleasant day for an outing to Pykara by renting a taxi cab from the Ooty town centre.
The entire stretch of route takes you via the stunning Ooty Golf Course spanned over a part of the exotic Wenlock Downs. You also get to view rows of eucalyptus forests and even catch a glimpse of the Kamaraj Sagar Lake on the way from Ooty to Pykara.
Pykara features a stretch of sprawling meadows that is home to the indigenous Toda Tribes of the Nilgiris District of South India who have been residing here for centuries even before civilization conquered Ooty. Pykara exhibits rolling landscapes dressed with a gallery of tall towering trees and scenic backdrops that further accentuates the charm and beauty of this region.
The Forest area around Pykara is a natural habitat and a safe haven for a number of wildlife species of the Nilgiris, however, tourists need not worry as this area is well protected and reserved by the Forest Department with no permission to enter for anyone.
Pykara is home to the majestic Pykara Dam and Pykara River on which this Dam is built, just 19 kms by road from Ooty, a short excursion that leads you to this scenic spot where hydro electricity is generated, also a popular tourist attraction in Ooty.
The Pykara Dam is considered as one of the oldest hydro plants in South India that still houses a functional Pykara Station that generates about 60 megawatts of electricity. This ancient Pykara Station was also declared as a heritage plant in September 1997 and hence, lures a large pool of tourists to this reservoir every year because of its intriguing history that dates way back to October 1932 when its first ever unit of 6.65 Megawatt was commissioned.
Pykara Dam is maintained by The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation or [TTDC]. They also established a beautiful Pykara Boathouse at Pykara Lake which has been recently cleaned and looks crystal clear and pristine. The Pykara Boathouse acts as a perfect venue where tourists can relax and enjoy the extensive views spread before them. TTDC also introduced two car-boats for boating purposes that has further increased the tourist footfall to Pykara.
During the ancient times, Pykara River was considered sacred and greatly worshipped by the Toda Tribes residing here. This River flows along the Nilgiris from the scenic Mukurthi Peak forming gorgeous cascades that converges at a plunging cliff and converts into the spectacular Pykara Waterfalls and further dropping from a massive height to flow downstream forming gurgling streams.
The Pykara Falls is situated at a distance of about 6 kms from the bridge placed on the main road. A forest rest House is also situated at Pykara surrounded by well protected and fenced Sholas Forest, grassy meadows, wildlife habitat and Toda Tribe Settlements.
The area surrounding the Pykara Falls acts as an ideal picnic spot and is also apt for long walks, trekking, hiking, or to simply relax amidst the untouched beauty of Pykara and its region. Even the clean and peaceful Pykara Lake forms an ideal place for picnics and boat rides. You may also get a chance to spot a few Bison and Sambar Deer, but at a far and unreachable distance from the Lake, hence, be prepared with a camera to capture those extraordinary moments.
From Pykara, you can take a detour up to Gudalur by passing through forest areas and panoramic viewpoints including the Needle Rock View Point along the route.