The Coonoor ghat road rapidly supplemented all other routes to the Nilgiris, and Coonoor at the head of this ghat which possessed essential advantages gained its importance. Coonoor stands on a lower ridge of the plateau at an altitude of 1,858 mts. and has a railway station on the Mettupalayam - Udhagamandalam route. Coonoor is an important trade centre for tea and the Tea Board of India, has a branch office here.
Around and near Coonoor, the travellers and tourists could enjoy the beautiful places of interest like Sim's Park, the Lady Canning's Seat, Lamb's rock. Dolphine's Nose, the Law's Falls, the Droog etc.
This unusual park-cum-botanical garden was developed around the natural contours of the land more than a hundred years ago. Ethnic trees, shrubs and creepers, co-habit with many unusual species of foliage brought in from various parts of the world. Rudraksha – the bead tree and Queensland Karry pine, a handsome ornamental tree, are among the many attractions in this park. Sim’s park and the Botanical Garden together from the largest repository of temperate plants in India and an important destination for Botanists. Sim’s Park is the venue for the annual vegetable and fruit show.
Sim's Park, Coonoor, came into existence due to the pioneer efforts of the early European settlers. It was inaugurated in December, 1874 due to the efforts of Mr. J.D. Sim,Secretary to Government and Major Murray, acting Superintendent of the Nilgiris forests, and the park was named after the former.
Though this was started as a pleasure resort for the residents and visitors, the park has now developed into a Botanical Garden for the purposes of introduction and trial of various exotic species of systematic and economic importance.The park is situated in a deep ravine on the northern side of Coonoor railway station at an elevation of 1768 to 1798 metres above MSL. It extends over an area of 12 hectares of undulating land and possesses a number of natural advantages. It adjoins the Pomological Station, Pasteur Institute and Silk Worm Seed Station.
It occupies the slopes and base of a small ravine. At the head of the gardens, the well kept lawns, the artistically laid out ornamental beds, looking beautiful and lacking no wealth of the flowering plants or shrub in great variety and colour, are great feasts to the eyes. The Annual fruit and vegetable show is held in the park.
The Sims park also has a very good Children’s park and a lake with boating facility.
It ‘s about 12 kms from Coonoor bus stand situated near Tiger Hills. It is unique rock of tremendous proportions, jutting out of the face of hill side in the formation which its name suggests. The view here is extremely grand and well repays the exertion of getting there. Left and right are great ravines; on the one side is seen an excellent view of the magnificent St. Catherine's Falls with their stream continuing several thousand meters below, while on the other, the familiar Coonoor stream meets the stream from Kotagiri. They together tribute to the great Bhavani river. In fact, we are meters away from the Nose opposite to it and separated in between by the deep valley that is covered with the beautiful greenery and mash of tree tops
Lamb's rock is perhaps the most favorite place for picnic parties near Coonoor. It is a point on the way to Dolphin's Nose, and the Seat was so called by the then Collector Mr.E.B.Thomas, after one Captain Lamb who made earnest attempts to open a path to the place. It is situated in Burliar village and is about 8 kms from Coonoor. The rock is a sheer precipice of jagged rock drops down several hundred feet to bury itself in the luxuriant jungle below.
There are a few views which are beyond compare. On the right hand yawns to great Helical ravine and from its base some 5000 feet below, ascends the roar of the Coonoor stream. The Lamb's Rock is a sheer precipice of several hundred meters and commands a good view of the Coimbatore plains.
The Law's falls which is named after Col. Law, who traced and mainly constructed the new Coonoor ghat, is a pretty cascade on the Coonoor river near its junction with the Mettupalayam ghat road. A little lower down the torrent is crossed by the ghat road over it. The falls is about 5 kms below Coonoor at the junction of Coonoor and Kateri rivers on the Coonoor, Mettupalayam road.
It is one of the prettiest places in the district and it attracts many visitors. The Law's falls is a paradise for naturalists, is very wild and rocky.
It is around 17 kms from Coonoor. One has to go up to Nonsuch Estate and trek down for about 4 kms. There is a a dilapidated fort of which it was said that Tippu Sultan used this fort as an outpost. The peak stands at an elevation of about 2,000 mts and directly overlooks the plains.
LADY CANNING'S SEAT:
Laddy Canning's Seat is about 8 Kms from Coonoor bus stand and further along the same road as that to Lamb's Rock. It is perhaps the loveliest point in the heart of the woods. Lady Canning, wife of the Viceroy was fond of this spot, which commands a panoramic view of the numerous tea estates, Lamb's Rock, the Droog, the Lampton's Peak all could be seen one above the other and even Mettupalayam is visible at a distance.
The Nilgiris is mainly a Plantation District. The soil and climatic conditions are highly favorable for Tea cultivation
Tea industry here, is over 100 years old and is the backbone of the Economy of this District. It is an agro based export oriented industry. Of the total cultivated area, Tea is grown in nearly 70% of the area. As per the recent data available Tea is grown in over 45,974 hectares and the production is around 60,000 tons.
Tea manufacturing in the Nilgiris are mainly marketed in the auction centre at Coonoor. Apart from this, Nilgiris Teas are also exported through Cochin Port. The Tea offering consists of Cut-Twist-Curl leaf, Cut-Twist-Curl dust, Orthodox leaf and Orthodox dust.
The first Flower Show was organised in the year 1896 by the Nilgiris Agri-Horticultural Society under the Chairmanship of Mr.J.H.Tremenhere, the then Collector of Nilgiris.
The flower show is conducted in the Government Botanical Garden during the third week of May every year. Until 1979, the flower show was conducted by the Nilgiris Agri-horticultural society. The Government has taken over the flower show from 1980 onwards by forming a committee called the Nilgiris Flower and Fruit Show Committee. Elaborate arrangements are being made to conduct the flower show in a fitting manner. The flower show attracts large number of tourists from all over India To create greater awareness among the Flower Growers, Garden Lovers and the Farming Community, a garden competition is being conducted involving the Estate Gardens, Private Cottage Gardens, Public Gardens and various other categories of the garden. On an average, about 200 gardens compete. Garden competition is held prior to the flower show and best gardens are awarded prizes and cups.
Flower show is held for two days. First day is Inauguration of the show and second day prizes are distributed to winners of various competitions held in connection with flower show. On the day of flower show, about 250 numbers of exhibitors participate in different categories. Several government departments and voluntary agencies also display their activities for the benefits of the flower lovers and tourists. More than 50 varieties of potted plants are exhibited by the competitors during the Flower Show days. More than 150 varieties of cut flowers are exhibited by the competitors on the show days. Various kinds of tropical and temperate vegetables are also exhibited by the growers for the competitions. The tropical and temperate fruits exhibited for the competition also delight the visitors. The Floral decorations, Indian and Japanese Flower arrangements, Vegetable Carving, Flower Rangoli, Bonsai etc., are the major attractions during the show days. The exclusive cut flower stalls from the large private and public garden are also an attraction during the Show days. 59 rolling cups, 250 cups and cash prizes are awarded to the best competitors and exhibitors at a cost of Rupees 1.5 Lakhs.
The Summer festivities in the Nilgiris usually start with the Rose show during second week end of May every year, and is also one of the most colorful events during the summer festival. The first Rose show was conducted on May 2001 and is being conducted annually by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department at the centenary Rose Park at Ooty. There are more than three thousand varieties of Roses in the Garden. All of them can be seen in full bloom during the Rose Show. The garden becomes a riot of colours with every rose looking more beautiful than the other. The special attraction of the Rose show are the Rose towers specially designed with thousands of roses becoming cynosure of all eyes and the rose petal Rangolis adding extra colour to the Rose show.
Nilgiris is highly noted for its Horticultural wealth especially temperate fruits like Apple, Plums, Peaches, Pears, Persimmon and Citrus etc. Conducive climate of the district is ideal for growing temperate and sup-tropical and even tropical fruits.
To encourage the fruit growers, the fruit show is conducted in last week of May every year in Sim's Park, Coonoor. Coonoor has a Pomological Station where many of temperate fruit crops are grown. This station serves as model orchard and show the latest technology of growing fruit. It also supplies the fruit sapling to the needy farmers. A fruit preservation Unit is being run by the Department of Horticulture at Coonoor. Fruit products like Jam, Jelly, Marmalade, Squashes and Pickles are produced here. This unit also demonstrates the production techniques to entrepreneurs. The Department of horticulture and plantation crops exhibits the horticultural wealth of state. Many farmers exhibit their fruits. It is a very rare event where one can see all the exotic and native fruits in one place. Prizes are given to the outstanding fruit garden and best exhibits of fruits and vegetables.
The Annual Dog Shows are part of the Summer Festival of the Nilgiris and is always been attended and presided over by the Governors and other Dignitaries of the State Government and is always loved by the Tourists who visit the Nilgiris in Millions during the summer.
The dog shows are conducted by SOUTH OF INDIA KENNEL CLUB
SIKC was holding its shows at Ooty in Picturesque Botanical garden till the year 1980, and moved on to new venues after that. SIKC is the Third oldest Club in India after Calcutta and Bombay Presidency Club. SIKC holds their shows in a very well organized manner and we attract exhibitors coming from all over the country. The club has prestigious 44 pure silver trophies which we were donated by various Maharajas and well known personalities of 1930’s and 1940, the club awards silver prizes for top four winners, and good prizes to all the participating dogs. The show arrangements are at par with International standards and one of the best arranged in the Country.
Nilgiri Mountain Trail
The Niligiri Mountain Railway has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2005. It started to function in the year 1899.
The Railway line from Mettupalayam to Ooty is 45.88 kms long and lies partly in Coimbatore District and partly in Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu, on the eastern slopes of the western g hats. Mettupalayam is at the foot of the hills with an elevation of about 330 metres and Udhagamandalam on the plateau with an elevation of 2200 metres. The average gradient of this meter gauge line is about 1 in 24.5.
The sharpest curve on the section is 17.5 degrees. There are about 208 curves on the section, out of which 180 curves are 10 to 17.5, degrees. 76 numbers of curve lubricators have been provided on the sharp curves.
There are 250 bridges on the section, out of which 32 are major ones and 15 are road over/under bridges. The total lenial waterway works out to 31 .63 metres per km. The longest bridge is Bridge No.25 at Km.9/1 1-12 of 3 x 18.29 and 12 x 3.66 girder spans. There are 16 tunnels between Kallar and Ooty, all of which are in excellent condition. Most of the tunnels are un-lined.
THE UNIQUE RACK AND PINION...
Boasting of the only rack and pinion system in the whole of Asia, the unique rack section of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway begins at Km.7/8-9 beyond Kallar Down Top point and ends at Km.26/8-9, a little before the Coonoor Up Home signal. The average gradient on the rack section is I in 15. The rack rails consist of two toothed steel bars laid in a double row at 44 mm apart and 64 mm above the running rails so that the tooth of one is directly opposite the gap of the other to ensure that the engine pinions do not work off the racks when negotiating curves. The entry to the rack is effected through a specially designed entry tongue laid in special channel sleepers fitted with bow springs and connecting links which is connected finally to the rigid bars. The maximum permissible speed on Mettupalayam-Kallar and Coonoor-Udhagamandalam "Non-Rack" system is 30 KMPH while between Kallar and Coonoor "Rack" section the maximum permissible speed is 1 3 KMPH.
Trains are operated on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway on the Absolute block system. Engines are attached always at the Mettupalayam end of the formation, pushing the loads while going up. Each of the coaches and wagons are provided with a brakes man who independently operates the hand brakes and the 'rack' brakes on whistle codes obtained from the driver.
The "X" class locomotives used on this railway are tank engines of '0-8-2' type with 4 cylinders of compound type; the high pressure cylinders work the adhesion wheels while the low pressure cylinders working on the exhaust steam of the first two cylinders work on the rack system.