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Tourist Places To Visit In Coonoor
Coonoor the second largest hill station after Ooty in the Nilgiri ranges, has parks, waterfalls, lakes and gardens, tea estates and vantage viewpoints and almost everything that is spectacular in nature. Even the huge sprawling green hillsides, with their lichen covered naturally shaped rock formations, the clumps of wildflowers and the pristine lakes inhabited by minnows and trout are a visual treat to the eyes. There are ancient forts and places of worship, most going back to the time of the British, and tribal habitats as well, that adds a human touch to the virgin landscape and further accentuates the beauty and charm of this hill station.
There are many places of tourist interest in Coonoor and we will give you a list of some places you can visit.
All Saints Church
A small Protestant Church that was built way back in 1854, situated in a quiet place surrounded by juniper and pine trees, said to have been planted when the British were around - the All Saints Church is well worth a visit. Check out the huge domes, the stained glass windows and the ancient painted pipe organ. The caretaker will show you around the church and the cemetery as well. The Church which is affiliated to the Church of South India holds Worship Service on Sundays.
All Saints Church is on the Coonoor to Kotagiri Road, next to Gateway Hotel.
Way back in the 18th century, Tipu Sultan the Tiger of Mysore used the Droog Fort as an outpost. The Fort is mostly in ruins and all that remains are a few walls, but from the peak where there's a watch tower, that is about 6000 ft above sea level, you get a beautiful panoramic view of the countryside, no wonder Tipu Sultan chose this area as a military station.
According to legends, the demon Bakasura is said to have rested in these areas, and hence the region is also called Bakasura Malai. The place is a haunt of exotic birds and animals like Malabar Squirrels and Flying Foxes. It’s a long but cool trek through tea plantations where you’d find women busy picking tea leaves and through villages before you reach the Fort. Heed villagers’ warnings about the occasional Indian gaur meeting you along the track. Droog Fort is about 9 km from Coonoor, past the Nonsuch Estate.
Tiger Hill Cemetery
The ancient British era cemetery of the 19th is a solemn, yet enchanting place. The cemetery has tombs of the British Officers of the East India Company and their families, the English Planters and many of the local people of the bygone ages. Located near the tea plantations and with a beautiful view of the valleys from the back, the cemetery that is built in Gothic Renaissance architectural style is located in a region that is quiet, dark, mysterious and lonely, filled with trees and clumps of wild bushes. You could take a guide or if travelling solo, keep an eye open for the bison. You’d find bison footprints all over. Check out the ancient statue, albeit ruined one, of the Mourning Angel, facing the entrance. Tiger Hill Cemetery is about 6 km from Coonoor, a little away from Glysedale Farm, Upasi.
Lady Canning's Seat
The Lady Canning's Seat viewpoint gives a stunning sight of the hills and dales around. The spot is named after Lady Charlotte Canning, wife of the British Viceroy of 1858. It’s said that Lady Charlotte Canning who was fond of sketching and botany spent long hours at this place that was named after her. Lady Canning’s Seat is an idyllic place to spend a few hours at. Carry your camera along for some enchanting photo shoots of the landscape, the valleys, the surrounding tea plantations and the misty hill tops. You could even pack yourself a picnic hamper and sit at the peak, watching a beautiful sunset. Lady Canning’s Seat is about 9 km from Coonoor.
Sim’s Park is one of the landmarks of Coonoor. The park is also a slice of history, for it was set up in 1874 by British officers JD Sims and Major Murray. It’s a botanical garden that also shapes up as a park with hundreds of flowering plant and tree species, shrubs and creepers that are endemic to the cool environs of the hill station and many varieties that have been outsourced from the other parts of the world like the Rudraksha and Queensland Kary Pine trees.
There is a terraced area of plants, a glass house with ornamental flora and a rose garden as well. Winding footpaths leads to the higher ranges where you’d only find more trees and shrubbery. There is a small lake where you might go on a boating trip. The Park is open from 9.00am-6.00pm all days of the week. It’s located on the northern side of Coonoor railway station. The annual fruit and flower shows of Coonoor are held in the Sim’s Park.
Thanthi Mariamman Temple
According to the temple’s legends, when the British were preparing the wilds of Coonoor into a settlement, the stables for their horses had a night watchman who one night spotted a little girl dressed in all divinity, swinging on a wooden plank hung from a tree near the stables. Nobody would believe the watchman until they saw the girl with their own eyes. Still later the maiden appeared in a local’s dream and told him that she was seated as a Syambhu or self made One, under the tree from which the plank hung.
A temple was promptly built for the maiden and since a telegraph pole was installed by the British close by, the Goddess came to be called Thanthi (telegraph) Mariamman. Daily prayers are also offered to the telegraph pole and the wooden plank which is said to be the one the Goddess used to swing on. The temple is open from 7.00am-12.00pm and from 4.30pm-8.00pm.
This is a small museum with several types of chocolates on show. It’s an inviting place where you could learn how chocolates are made and check out the different types of machines used in chocolate making. Worthy of triggering your chocolate making impulses and tempting you into buying some, for there are many a variety of chocolate - dark, mixed and milk chocolates along with nougats that you can taste off the rack. The place is done up tastefully and kids will definitely enjoy the show. The Museum is on the main road from Pykara Lake to Ooty, about 23 km from Coonoor.
Now, this is one for the history buffs and people who love nature, especially the waterside. The Ralliah Dam that was built in 1941, is the primary source of water for Coonoor town. The dam is located quite close to Wellington to Coonoor road and from the main road, you might need to trek about a kilometre to the dam, through a dense canopy of trees overhead and mushrooms under your feet. The place is quite isolated and promises a beautiful locale for a photo shoot and a few quiet hours with nature. You might find a bison or two and plenty of birds. The Dam is about 9.5 km from Coonoor.