Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the "Queen of hill stations' among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 km away from Coimbatore. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies between 2280 and 2290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a height of 2623 metres.
Couched amidst those gorgeous blue mountains of southern India, there is something special about the erstwhile British township of Ooty. Year after year, it draws tourists, adventure enthusiasts, honeymooners and the film industry like bees to nectar. Sure, many wise travelers believe that Ooty is a dumpyard, a degraded, over-rated hill station, and so on. Nevertheless, the wiser one will see how Ooty can soothe strung-up nerves and become the backdrop for a wondrous holiday.
A variety of exotic and ornamental plants adorn this garden which is the venue for the Flower show held in May every year. There is a fossil tree trunk 20 million years old in the midst of the garden.
Boating is possible from 08.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs on all days. The lake garden and toy train rides are other attractions.
The Government Museum, Mysore Road, Udhagamandalam has items of tribal objects, district's ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamilnadu.
It is believed that the name Nila, has been in use for over 800 years since, the King of the Hoysalas Vishnu Vardhana, who ruled from 1104 to 1141 AD seized the Nilgiris Plateau. His General Ponisia recorded this fact in 1117 AD with mention of Todas. The name Nilgiri was due to the blue haze, which envelops the range with most distant hills of considerable size.
This Nilgiri territory came into possession of the East India Company as part of the ceded lands, held by Tipu Sultan, by the treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1799. Rev. Jacome Forico, a priest was the first European who visited Nilgiris in 1603 and released his notes about the place and people of Nilgiris. In 1812 surveyor William Keys and Macmohan visited the top of the plateau.
In 1818, Wishand Kindersley, Assistant and Second Assistant to Collector of Coimbatore visited this spot and submitted their experience report to the Collector of Coimbatore Mr. John Sullivan. Settlement in Udhagamandalam began in 1822 with the construction of the Stone House by John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. The bungalow, which is locally called "Kal Bangla", is one of the landmarks of Udhagamandalam and is now the Chamber of the Principal of the Government Arts College.