Ooty is the best hill station in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. Established as the summer headquarters of the British Madras government in the early 19th century, it is a major tea growing region and there are plenty of locations to admire the lush green tea plantations, tranquil lakes and eucalyptus trees.

Ooty is even more famous because of the World Heritage Blue Mountain Railway. Built in 1908, it is one of the oldest and steepest rack and pinion railways still in operation. The 45km route between Mettupalayam and Ooty winds its way upwards through numerous tunnels, bridges and abandoned old stations on a sedate but spectacular four-hour journey. A steam locomotive does the hard work for most of the journey, with a little help from its diesel friend on the steeper sections.

Nearby Coonoor is a quieter town with a pleasant botanical garden with over 600 plant species and a superb selection of country walks. From Lamb’s Rock viewpoint, you can enjoy sweeping views down the slopes to the central plains.

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