Coonoor is the second most popular hill station in the Nilgiris. The hill station stands at a height of 1839 meters and is known for its great picnic spots and picturesque surroundings. Coonoor is also famous for tea gardens and tea factories. Coonoor provides the traveler with the panoramic view of the lush green Nilgiri hills, with its ravines, valleys, and waterfalls.
Bird watching is a popular pastime in Coonoor, as the area boasts of a large variety of species like cormorants, pipits, thrushes, parakeets, skylarks, Nilgiri verditer, etc. Travelers can take a walk through the tea gardens. There are number of trekking and hiking trails around Coonoor. Travellers can enjoy the exhilarating and unique ride on the toy train that connects Coonoor with Mettupalayam (which Indian Rail spells Metupalaiyam) and Ooty.
The trip provides some breathtaking views of the Nilgiri hills in all its natural glory.
Route from Bangalore: SH17 to Mysore, NH 212 to Gundlupet; state highway to Coonoor via Bandipur, Gudalur, Ooty, Aravankadu, and Wellington. There are many signboards along the way from Mysore directing you towards Ooty. Once in Ooty drive through the city, there are boards along the way showing you the way. Roads are very bad after Mysore uptil Bandipur.
The town has a number of autorickshaws or three-wheelers that you can hire to get around. Your hotel can also help you locate taxis that you can hire. The climate is so pleasant, however, that walking around may be the best option. Lower Coonoor tends to be very crowded but Upper Coonoor is blessed with less traffic and fairly good roads. You are in a hilly region – so expect to walk up slopes!
- Sim’s Park The park is situated in a deep ravine on the Northern side of Coonoor Railway Station at an elevation of 1768 to 1798 m. The park can be divided into eight major sections. The natural shola with winding footpaths all over the higher slopes of the park is the most distinctive and picturesque feature of this park.
- Lamb’s Rock It is 8 km from Coonoor on the way to Dolphin’s Nose.
- Laws Falls The Place is a beautiful picnic spot, situated at Coonoor-Mettupalayam Road at the distance of 7 km from Coonoor. The height of the falls is about 180 feet.
- The Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint Which is 10 km from Coonoor, is an important place to visit. It not only provides a panoramic view of the vast expanse of the Nilgiri hills but also of the famous Catherine Falls.
- Lady Canning’s seat is another notable viewpoint on the way.
Take long walks to any of the villages situated around Coonoor. A walk by the tea gardens would be a memorable one. You can also take a walk to the Golf Links owned by Wellington Defence College.
At Bedford, a few meters ahead of Taj Garden Retreat, on the Kotagiri Road, there is a quaint little furniture shop called Vriksh. This little store can be easily missed if you are driving past a little too fast. Tucked away into a little lane, at the bottom of a flight of stairs you will find intricately carved teak trunks, elegant side tables and ceramic work.
They have tea sets and vases that remind you that the British were once here. According to the lady at the shop, all the furniture is locally made. They are fairly expensive, but is unique and worth it. However, before you buy one of their beautiful mirrors or desks you might want to know that they do not arrange for delivery… so how do you plan to take it back home with you?
There are also other little shops, selling local produce like tea, honey, jams and preserves and some that sell beautiful embroidered linen. Ask at your hotel and they should be able to recommend the nearest stores or the ones they best recommend. For embroidered linen, my hotel recommended a place called “Needlecraft” in Singara Tea Estate. You can find exquisitely hand-embroidered pillowcases, cushion covers, bedspreads, bedsheets and handkerchiefs at Needlecraft, though they are steeply priced.