Coonoor is a quaint town in the Nilgiris that is on a lower ridge of the plateau at an altitude of 1,858 meters. It has a small railway station on the Mettupalayam – Ooty route. Coonoor is an important trade centre for tea and the Tea Board of India has an office here. Nowadays, Coonoor is preferred to touristy Ooty. Due to its natural beauty and salubrious weather, Coonoor was also called ‘the Scotland of India.’
Attractions: Sim’s park, an unusual park-cum-botanical garden that came into existence in 1874 and boasts of a wide collection of plants and trees from the world over, the Pomological Station, Pasteur Institute (famous for production of vaccines) and the Silk Worm Seed Station. Tourists also love to visit the Dolphin’s nose, Lamb’s rock and Lady Canning’s seat, all located along the same route, that command a panoramic view of the numerous tea estates and other scenic points.
You could also visit Law’s falls, a pretty cascade on the Coonoor – Mettupalayam road which is a paradise for naturalists, very wild and rocky. For those who love to trek, the Droog is a great destination, 17 km from Coonoor town into tea estates and also houses a fort used by Tipu Sultan.
Enroute from Ooty to Coonoor is Wellington, the Regimental Centre for the Madras Regiment of the Indian Army. It is home to The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), a premier tri-service training establishment that imparts training to field grade officers of the three wings of the Indian Armed Forces, friendly foreign countries and various Indian Civil Service departments. A drive or walk through Wellington DSSC will take you past the army hospital, the War memorial and the Gymkhana golf club for army officers.
Shopping: Honey, eucalyptus and other essential oils, tea, flowers, spices, exotic fruit such as pears, peaches, plums, avocado and passion fruit that are not commonly found in the plains.
Accessibility: Easily accessible from Ooty (30 km,) Mysore or Coimbatore by road. The nearest airport and railway station is Coimbatore.
Best time to visit: Through the year, with September – March being the best to avoid the monsoon rains.