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How To Reach Coonoor
Coonoor is the next most significant touristy hill station town in the district of Nilgiris, after Udhagamandalam (Ooty). Nilgiris is bound by Karnataka in the north, Kerala in the west and Tamil Nadu in the south and east. Coonoor lies at about 1,850 m above mean sea level and its sprawling, green, mist-draped hilly ranges covered with tea plantations are some of the most happening tourist spots of South India. Coonoor is about 14 km east of Ooty and is flanked by the Doddabetta ranges on the southeast, the Hulikal ravines on the southwest and the ridged hill ranges leading to Kotagiri in the northeast.
Coonoor has good connectivity with the rest of the country and probably the easiest way to travel to Coonoor would be by air.
Coonoor does not have an airport and the nearest is the Coimbatore International Airport. Coimbatore is connected to cities like Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata by air. The city also serves International flights to Singapore, Sri Lanka and UAE. You could take a cab from the Coimbatore airport to Mettupalayam rail station and from there, a mountain train to Coonoor, depending on the timing. Or you could take a bus from Coimbatore to Coonoor itself, that takes about 3 hours. Coimbatore is around 68 km from Coonoor.
The nearest broad gauge major railway station is Coimbatore. Mettupalayam is yet another broad gauge station about 46 km from Coonoor. There are several passenger trains that connect Coimbatore to Mettupalayam which is about 36 km away from Coimbatore. Additionally the Nilgiri Express runs to Mettupalayam from Chennai. From Mettupalayam take the Nilgiris Mountain Rail (NMR) to Coonoor.
The toy train travels through plains and ghat sections and is one of the best tourist attractions in the Nilgiris. You can take a cab or auto rickshaw from the Coonoor station to your destination. It’s better to book tickets on the NMR in advance, especially during summer tourist and festival seasons, as the toy train fills up on reservations months ahead.
There are several state owned and private buses from cities like Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Mysore, Hyderabad and Chennai that run to Coonoor. Apart from regular buses there are a wide range of Volvo AC, AC sleeper or Non AC seater buses to choose from, so travelling to Coonoor by road is comfortable and a cool one! You could also drive to Coonoor which is almost like a dream, driving through curvy hairpin bends and a landscape carpeted with emerald green slopes, tea gardens, poinsettias and sunflowers as far as the eyes can behold!
Geographically Coonoor is divided into Lower and Upper Coonoor. Lower Coonoor could be a little crowded, what with the main bus stand and the commercial zones being here; but Upper Coonoor has quite good roads, great sights and a lesser amount of traffic. You can get auto rickshaws and plenty of cabs to travel around town and the hotels might arrange for a cab if you ask for one. Otherwise the best mode of transport would be a leisurely stroll along the slopy landscape.