One of the most attractive excursions from Ooty is the journey from Ooty to Kotagiri that takes you along mountain slopes through lush green tea estates with a view of the undulating rolling hills stretching for several miles finally blending well with the even more fascinating green paddy fields thus leading you to this small hill station.
Kotagiri, also locally named as Porangadu Seemai, is situated at a short distance of 16 kms from Ooty, 23 kms from Coonoor and 33 kms from the Mettupalayam Railway Station, a major railhead that links with Ooty via the Nilgiri Railway Toy Train.
Kotagiri is a small attractive, serene and scenic Hill Station and sub-district of the Nilgiris District perched at an elevation of 6,511 feet above MSL. It nestles on one side of the towering Doddabetta Range. Kotagiri is considered as 3rd largest and oldest Hill Stations in Nilgiris region and is placed on an open-terrace and compact portion of the Nilgiris Mountain Range featuring several summits.
Kotagiri is blessed with an advantage of a pleasant all-year-round climate and weather since it is well protected from the south western monsoons by the imposing Doddabetta Range when compared to Ooty but more invigorating than Coonoor.
Originally, Kotagiri was known by the name of 'Kota-Keri' or ‘Kota-gherry which literally means ‘Hill with the houses of the Kota tribes. The Bikkapathi Reserve situated at a distance of 10 kms from Kotagiri lies beyond Kookal Thurai Village in Kotagiri. This Reserve is placed at a trekking distance from the Kookal Thorai Village or the Masakal Village. The Bikkapathi Reserve is an exquisite forest reserve that is protected under the jurisdiction of the Kattabettu Forest Range Officer situated at Kotagiri. Tourists can obtain prior permits from the Forest Department Officials for trekking into this forest area.
Another place worth visiting is the Nehru Park situated on the Kotagiri – Coonoor Road about 3 kms from the main town of Kotagiri. This is a private park with a large complex that encompasses a Kota Temple of the Kota Tribes, Congregation Centre, Gandhi Maithanam or Gandhi Park, a playground for the general public, and a Flood shelter used otherwise as an indoor game venue.
The Nehru Park is used as a venue for cultural events and various indoor game activities. This Park features a Flower Show, every summer, from March to June that showcases a variety of Roses, a must-visit and a two-day Vegetable Show that showcases a variety of fresh produce that Kotagiri has to offer. Sales are also organized for tourists to be able to take a few back home.
The Nehru Park has been raised to a popular status because of the Flower Show and Vegetable Show making it a prestigious site where the Department of Horticulture has been organizing both the events since 2008 in order to complement each other and lure in more tourists to Kotagiri as well apart from Ooty.
Kotagiri also offers all visitors with some of the most spectacular views of nature and major tourist spots such as Kodanad View point, Elks Falls, Longwood Shola Forest, Rangaswamy Pillar and Rangaswamy Peak and St. Catherine Falls to mention a few.
Kotagiri boasts of a verdant golf course that is encircled with numerous tea plantations including a few coffee plantations as well. Being an important centre of the Tea-producing Industry like Coonoor, this hill station has earned the status for being the first to get connected by roadways in 1819 from Sirumugai from where further roadway links were constructed and laid down to Ooty and Coonoor as well.
Kotagiri is apt for a relaxing weekend getaway from Ooty being a serene and fascinating locale where anyone can truly unwind. Abound with natural beauty, Kotagiri is preferred by tourists who spend a short 2-3 day vacation to enjoy its viewpoints and numerous tourist spots and waterfalls dotted around.
Kotagiri offers a number of accommodation options in Hotels, Guest Houses and Tourist Lodges that caters to a large varied pool of travelers from heavy spenders to budget tourists.
Kotagiri is also well connected with Ooty with regular buses plying to and fro; however, you can also opt to travel by a taxi cab or private tour taxi that can be hired from the main Ooty city centre or from an authorized travel and tour agency in Ooty.
Famous Tourist Attractions in Kotagiri
Longwood Shola Forest
The reclusive Longwood Shola Forest is situated 3 Kms from the main town of Kotagiri. This Shola Forest is a pristine, stunted and tropical evergreen forest that remains secluded from the urbanization of other regions in Kotagiri. This Forest offers a solitary refuge to many tourists looking for peaceful and quiet environment and is home to the rarely wildlife species including a rich growth of a variety of flora species as well.
Elk Falls / Uyilatty Falls
Elk Falls is one of the major Tourist attractions in Kotagiri near Ooty. Also known as the Uyilatty Falls, the Elk Falls is famous for its beauty and is aptly placed below Uyilatty village from where it derives its name. Situated at a trekking distance of 7 Kms from Kotagiri, the Elk Waterfalls offers one of the most scintillating sights to behold and capture in your cameras.
John Sullivan's Bungalow
John Sullivan's Bungalow, as the name suggest, was constructed by the first Collector of Coimbatore named John Sullivan in 1819 and is placed in Kannerimukku Village about 2 Kms from Kotagiri. It is a typical European Mansion of the bygone 19th Century that was recently renovated.
St. Catherine Falls
St. Catherine Falls is situated at a trekking distance of 8 Kms from Aravenu Village via Moon Road and 12 Kms from Kotagiri and was named after Catherine, who was M. D. Cockburn’s better half. He was the first coffee plantation owner in Yercaud and Kotagiri. The Catherine Falls lends a fascinating panoramic view to the forest area that encircles it.
Kil-Kotagiri is situated at a distance of 13 Kms towards north-east of Kotagiri which is surrounded by smaller villages such as Buckada, Denad and Thuneri. This town is mostly popular amongst devotees who visit the nearby Temples and is also close to two major tourist spots in Kotagiri which are the sacred Rangaswamy Pillar and the Rangaswamy Peak.
Kodanadu View Point
The Kodanadu’s View Point is no exception when it comes to luring a large crowd of global tourists. This viewpoint is known as one of the most alluring and important tourist attractions in Kotagiri near Ooty and is perched at a height of about 6,500 feet above MSL. The Kodanad View Point is situated at a distance of 16 to 19 kms towards the east of Kotagiri within a large expanse of Kodanad Tea Gardens. The Kodanadu View Point also offers a fascinating expansive view of the valley below.