#TravelTales: Nilgiris’ Prettiest Hill Station Is Also Tranquil, Trek-Worthy and Totally Offbeat

Mention Nilgiris and the first thoughts that come to mind are towering pines, blue skies, and lush green mountains. Tucked away in the primeval forests of the Nilgiris, Kotagiri is a beautiful little hill station that is often overlooked by travellers heading to its more famous neighbour, Ooty.

With its breathtaking views, endless trails and perennially cool climate, this quiet unassuming mountain town is perfect for those seeking tranquility amidst nature.

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Kotagiri

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Here are 8 stunning pictures of this strikingly beautiful hill station that will make you want to pack your bags and leave right away!

1. Surreal Views

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Kodanad View Point

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Discover the wild beauty of the Nilgiris as you watch the sun rise over the emerald mountains from the Kodanad view point. Located at a height of about 6500 feet, the watch tower at Kodanad view point near Kotagiri provides a bird’s eye view of Thengumarahada ( a lush 500 acre farming cooperative ), the beautiful Bhavanisagar reservoir, the meandering Moyar river and the strikingly picturesque Rangaswamy Peak.

2. Spectacular Waterfalls

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Uyilatti Waterfall

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The mountain town of Kotagiri is surrounded by hauntingly beautiful wilderness, misty meadows and several waterfalls. Feast your eyes on the stunning Catherine Falls at Kotagiri, a plunging waterfall which cascades an impressive 250 feet from cloud-enshrouded cliffs to the jungle below. Another must-see waterfall at Kotagiri is the mesmerisingly beautiful Uyilatti Falls or the Elk falls.

3. A Trekker’s Paradise

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Ancient Tribal Temple

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A hiker’s paradise, Kotagiri is plenty of nature trails that wind their way through the verdant shola forests. A short hike through thickly wooded Banagudi shola (Banagudi literally translates to forest temple) will take you to an ancient tribal burial site, made of stones and straw piled up in a formation. Declared a protected area, the Badagas (an indigenous community of the Nilgiris) now use it as the venue for their three day fest, Devo Hebba, in June every year.

4. Cloud-Kissed Tea Estates

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Sprawling Tea Estates of Kotagiri

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At Kotagiri, leaving the frenetic pace of city life behind, and give in to the invigorating scent of the mountain air that makes you instinctively draw in deep breaths. Take a leisurely stroll through Kotagiri’s sprawling tea estates, laced with jacaranda trees in blossom and dewy grass sprinkled with wildflowers, for a experience you will remember for a long, long time.

5. A Tryst with History

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Sullivan Memorial

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The oldest and third largest hill station in the Nilgiris, Kotagiri has a long, fascinating history. In 1819, John Sullivan,  the founder of Ooty, set up a two-storey structure (called the Pethakal bungalow after a sacred stone that existed there) at Kannerimukku in Kotagiri. Today, the historic house is called the Sullivan Memorial and houses a little museum filled with fascinating photos, newspaper cuttings, tribal artefacts and colonial-era exhibits. The resplendent brick red building also houses the Nilgiri Documentation Centre, which works to preserve the region’s beauty and heritage.

6. A Unique Tribal Heritage

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A Toda Hut

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Kotagiri’s dense shola forests and steep cliffs are home to several indigenous tribes of the Nilgiris. In fact, the name ‘Kotagiri’ itself means the hill of the Kota tribes. For a peek into their vibrant culture, visit the Toda village at Ellada, high up in the Kotagiri hills. A unique feature of this tribe is their half-barrel shaped homes, crafted from mud, wood and straw, that have tiny two feet high doors!

7. Primeval Shola Forests

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Longwood Shola

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An integral part of an increasingly fragile Nilgiri Ecosystem, Longwood Shola is a primeval pocket of woods that is the last of its kind in the region. A jungle landscape, teeming with a vibrant and diverse flora and fauna, Longwood Shola, or Dodda Solai as it was earlier called, is home to several important

endemic species like the Nilgiri Laughing Thrush and the Malabar Giant Squirrel.

8. Blissfully Beautiful Homestays

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A home stay in Kotagiri

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Kotagiri has several quaint homestays that dot its picturesque slopes. Charming, comfortable and mellow, these rustic retreats are a great place to escape to. After all, what could be better than waking up to a hot cup of fragrant Kotagiri tea and verdant mountain vistas?

A heady mix of verdant forests, picturesque meadows and gurgling waterfalls, Kotagiri is a dream destination for those seeking serenity on an offbeat holiday. If you love the great outdoors, then this is where your next holiday should be!


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