Ooty is known for its high altitude tourist attractions and one of them is the Doddabetta Peak also spelled as ‘Dodabetta’ that is perched at an altitude of 2,623 meters or 8,650 feet above mean sea level which is approx. 383 meter higher than Ooty.
Stretching tall along the Ooty – Kotagiri Road in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu in South India, the Doddabetta Peak is famous for being the highest point in the Nilgiris and South India as well. It offers probably one of the best and perfect vantage points around the entire town of Ooty.
Doddabetta Peak is just a short trekking distance of 10 kms from the main town of Ooty and about 8 kms from the Ooty Railway Station and the Ooty Bus Stand. You can also opt to enjoy a pony ride to Doddabetta Peak, however, the joy of arriving at the highest point in South India by foot is a different experience altogether.
The name of the Doddabetta Peak was derived from the Badaga Tribe word which means ‘Big Mountain’, tracing it roots way back to the Kannada language and Badaga aural based language. Towards the western portion of the Doddabetta Range stand, three close competitors, referred to as the Hecuba peak perched at an altitude of 2,375 meters above MSL, Kattadadu perched at an altitude of 2,418 meters above MSL and Kulkudi peak perched at an altitude of 2,439 meters above MSL that moreover matches with the attitude of Ooty.
Despite the fact that these three Towering Peaks of the Nilgiris are closely linked in their altitudes with the majestic and transcendent Doddabetta Peak, they still are second to the best in terms of the accessibility and the panoramic views the Doddabetta Peak can offer. This is possible as the topography of the Doddabetta Range reveals a remarkable flattened curve at its summit.
Apart from the Doddabetta Peak being the pinnacle of the Plateau of the Nilgiris, it also features thick and dense forest area that covers the entire region as well. The Doddabetta Peak encompasses a collection of Sholas [Patches of small moist evergreen subtropical and tropical broadleaf forest] that cover the hollow sections of the Doddabetta slopes. The somewhat diminutive rhododendron trees spanning amidst the thick coarse grassland including herbal plants and flowering sub-alpine shrubs are a common sight near the Doddabetta Peak.
The uniqueness of the Doddabetta Peak is its position, based exactly at the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats, thus offering spectacular vistas of the Nilgiris Mountain Ranges as never seen anywhere else. This junction is also popularly known as the 4-Road intersection from where you can travel towards four different directions.
On the Doddabetta Road intersection, you can hire a private taxi to drive you to the Doddabetta Peak located just 3 kms uphill or you can choose to burn a few calories and trek uphill where a spectacular sight welcomes you revealing an entire region surrounded with rich and lush broadleaf forest that looks magical from a panoramic distance including the vast verdant landscapes.
A trip to Doddabetta Peak should be mentioned in everyone’s travel itinerary that offers visitors with an opportunity to capture magnificent views of Ooty valley surrounded with expanses of lush blue hazed forests including intermediate views of the lush Tea plantations covering hundreds of acres of Nilgiri slopes that lingers with the heavenly and aromatic fragrances of fresh tea leaves.
Doddabetta Peak in Ooty offers an excellent sight for photography and hence is a sure photographer’s delight where hours can be spent to enjoy the stunning panorama of the Nilgiris region and its vast verdant valley including the Chamundi Hills as you capture every moment of extraordinary sights in your cameras or camcorders. Some state that on a very clear day, you can see as far as the flat plateaus of Mysore and even the Coimbatore plains. Therefore, if you lucky enough you might as well capture the sights in your cameras and show it off to the world.
Ooty is definitely a perfect place to capture some of the most unique moments in your cameras, its hillock and vast valley is indeed a great site for photography and has inspired even the Bollywood Industry to shoot movie songs and several scenic scenes for their films.
The Observatory in Ooty, better known as the ‘Telescope House’, is another significant attraction of the Dodabetta Peak. This Observatory is situated atop the Doddabetta Range and houses two telescopes that are available for general public use. Visitors can enjoy a birds-eye panoramic view of the entire Nilgiris District from this position including a fine view of Coonoor and Wellington [both in Nilgiris District] and Gundlupet [in Karnataka] as well.
The Telescope House in Ooty was opened on 18th June 1983 and is maintained and operated by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Limited or TTDC. Between 2001 and 2002, this observatory received an average of 3,500 visitors on a daily basis during the season period and 700 visitors per day during the Off Season period of Ooty.
The Best time to visit the stunning Doddabetta Peak is during the early morning hours when you can enjoy the extraordinary sunrise. The daytime can get pretty hot if there are cloud coverings, hence, you trek back to town and visit Doddabetta Peak in the evenings to enjoy the soothing sunset.
A day at the Doddabetta Peak is sure to leave you mesmerized and come back to spend even more time to capture the stunning views. After a day of sightseeing at the Peak, you can enjoy a range of snacks at the TTDC Restaurant. The famous Raj Bhavan or Government House can be seen nestling on Doddabetta Peak ridge of its western slopes.
The Doddabetta Peak is quite a popular tourist attraction in Ooty and offers ease of road access and transportation during the months of April and May to its summit except during the Off Season period when there is as little as no frequent public transport to this peak summit.