Things to do in Coonoor

On a 3-day long weekend, we decided to explore Coonoor which is one of the most popular hill-stations in Tamil Nadu, India. Although South India is known for the hot weather but due to Nilgiri Hills of Western Ghats, Coonoor enjoys cooler and sometimes rainy climate so it makes a perfect getaway for people in Chennai and around like me.

How to reach here -There are multiple buses and trains to choose from Chennai to reach Coonoor but we chose the nearest Airport Coimbatore and took a cab to our guest house which is located in the midst of one of the many tea-estates in Coonoor but more about that later! Coonoor has a few tourist spots mainly the parks and valley view points around so a local cab driver/guide is ideal to help you in exploring the places.

Ooty is hardly 1 hour away from Coonoor by cab or you can even take slow train from Coonoor to Ooty which goes around Nilgiris ensuring the tourists can enjoy the view. However it is quite a tussle to get these train tickets specially during weekends with tourists rushing to Ooty.

Kattery Park: This is one of the first places that comes before we actually enter the main Coonoor city life. As the place is in outskirts, it has escaped the tourist rush of the weekends along with the low entry fee helps the cause. The park is surrounded by scenic view of the hills which cools the temperature around making it an ideal picnic spot for the local crowd.

Lamb’s Rock: We reached Coonoor city centre by noon and Lamb’s Rock is hardly 7-8 km away so takes around half-n-hour to reach depending on the tourist rush. There is a perfect pathway for hiking which passes through the midst of forest greenery. As we hiked around, we got a good view of the Nilgiris, valley and the tea estate gardens but you have to be lucky to have a good weather while visiting. It gets cloudy sometimes and the view of the hills can be obstructed. We avoided the local guides to have a serene hiking experience on our own. Tea and chocolates are sold in abundance in Coonoor and Lamb’s rock is one of the many places where good quality choices were available.

Dolphin’s Nose: Another of the popular tourist visit places is Dolphin’s nose which gets its name from the shape of the peak which looks like the nose of the Dolphin. Since the popularity of the view point is high, the traffic is quite significant so we had to walk nearly a km to reach the actual view point. Once you stand on the tip, the view of the waterfalls around in the Nilgiris is breath-taking. Again, the weather plays an important role here on how far and how long will your view last. The area is surrounded by tea gardens so we did not forget to take the customary tourist pic in the midst of tea-garden trying to do tea-plucking.

Sim’s Park: One of the top local attractions of Coonoor and ideal picnic venue is the botanical garden -Sim’s Park which is home to some of the very old and rare species of trees. There are walking pathways through the greenery to enjoy the Rose garden, Greenhouse plants and the lake in the middle. There is a boating facility for the visitors but the lake and areas around is not very cleanly maintained so we gave it a skip.

Tea Gardens: They are part of the charm of Coonoor and the tea-estates can be found at every nook and corner here. We visited Highfields tea-gardens as out guest house was right in the middle of it. It overlooks the hills and gives a great view specially during sunrise. Few of the tea-estates can be found around the Dolphin’s nose and Lamb’s rock. They all sell similar brands and flavors of tea so there was no issue in buying these memorabilia .

Apart from the local sight seeing spots, one of the places that we visited for lunch was 180 Mciver Villa which is one the famous local resorts of Coonoor and has been the shooting location of the Bollywood movie- Kapoor & Sons. Even the guest house , we were staying at, was in midst of a tea estate and horse farm facing the Nilgiris thereby making our every sunrise viewing picturesque.

Must takeaway souvenirs from Coonoor are chocolates and varieties of tea, specially the chocolate tea!

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