Coonoor: Wikis

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Coonoor
Coonoor
Location of Coonoor
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates 11°21′N 76°49′E / 11.35°N 76.82°E / 11.35; 76.82
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s) Nilgiris
Population 50,079 (2001)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area
Elevation

1,502 m (4,928 ft)

Coonoor (Tamil: குன்னூர்) is a town and a municipality in the Nilgiris district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for its production of Nilgiri tea. Recently it has experienced a growing networked economy and a significant influx of tourists.

Coonoor is located at an altitude of 1,800 m above sea level, and is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri hills. The verdant Coonoor is an ideal base for a number of trekking expeditions leading into the Nilgiris. You can trek to discover and explore the major tourist attractions that are located within the reach of Coonoor.

One of the popular trekking trails leads Tourists to Lamb’s Rock that is 9 km from Coonoor. Lamb’s Rock overlooks the Coimbatore plains, providing a spectacular view of the tea and coffee plantations. A little ahead of Lamb’s Rock is located the Lady Canning’s Seat that offers a panoramic view of the Nilgiris.

Tourist can trek from Lady Canning’s Seat to Dolphin’s Seat, which is located 12 km from Coonoor. Also, you can trek to Law’s Falls, which is located 5 km from Coonoor. You can then trek from the falls to Droog that is located at a distance of 13 km from Coonoor.

Droog is also known as Pakkasuran Kottai. You will find the ruins of a 16th century fort in Droog. The fort is located at a height of 750 m, and there are innumerable medicinal springs in the vicinity.

Coonoor provides the traveller with the panoramic view of the lush green Nilgiri hills, with its ravines, valleys, and waterfalls. Bird watching is a popular pastime in Coonoor, as the area boasts of a large variety of species like cormorants, pipits, thrushes, parakeets, skylarks, Nilgiri verditer, etc. Travellers can take a walk through the tea gardens. There are number of hiking trails around Coonoor. Travellers can enjoy the exhilarating and unique ride on the toy train that connects Coonoor with Mettupalayam and Ooty. The trip provides some breathtaking views of the Nilgiri hills in all its natural glory.

Contents

Geography

Coonoor is located at 11°21′N 76°49′E / 11.35°N 76.82°E / 11.35; 76.82.[1] It has an average elevation of 1502 metres (4927 feet).

State: Tamil Nadu.

Exact Location: Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri Hills located 19 km from Ooty. District: Nilgiris.

Nearest Town: Ooty (19+ km)

Distance from Chennai: 520+ km.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census,[2] Coonoor had a population of 50,079. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Coonoor has an average literacy rate of 82%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 86% and, female literacy is 78%. In Coonoor, 9% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Background

The town is the second largest in the Nilgiri hills after Ooty, the district headquarters. Coonoor’s dominant demographic is a healthy mix of religions, languages and cultures - caused by the tourists who decide to settle here after retirement, the Indian Army’s regimental headquarters and Staff College (DSSC) in neighboring Wellington Cantonment, and the local boarding schools. Economic development of the town has at best been lopsided, with very little going towards the maintenance of the town.

Local Economy

Coonoor's economy relies on seasonal tourist traffic during the summer months, and on the tea industry year round.

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Tea

The local populace almost entirely depends on the tea trade. The massive private tea plantations that surround the hills produce fresh green tea leaves which are picked, processed and packaged in bulk in local factories, for sale at auction houses in Coonoor, Coimbatore and Cochin.

Tourism

Sims Park is, without doubt,the star attraction of Coonoor. Spread over 12 hectares, its small enough for a comfortable walk around and large enough to house a thousand varieties of trees, plants and flowers and a small lake. The park is open to public from 9:30 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.

Coonoor is on the toy train line between Mettupalayam (28 km) and Ooty. A popular pastime is birdwatching, as an extensive variety of birds can be spotted. The main attraction is the Sim's Park, a small well maintained botanical garden that has several varieties of plants. It is about 19 km to the south of Ooty and is accessible by both train and road.

The hills are among the more scenic spots in Tamil Nadu, and consequently attract enormous amounts of tourists during the hot Indian summer months. The town’s infrastructure often finds itself unable to handle the tourist inflow, and life turns especially chaotic when the local horticultural society holds its annual “Fruit Show” at the peak of the tourist season, hosted at Sim's Park.

There are several scenic areas around Coonoor. Coonoor provides tourists with a panoramic view of Eastern and Western Ghats along with its ravines, valleys, and waterfalls. There are some classical viewpoints close to Coonoor notably Dolphin's Nose, Lamb's Rock and Lady Canning's Seat and Katary waterfalls.

Unfortunately "Development" has overtaken the town and hillsides are disappearing under construction activity. Some of the routes that were once quiet walks amid lush greenery have become walks among human settlements. The hill station has become a town.

Other Attractions

Sim's Park

The Sim's Park is an important place to visit in Coonoor. Spread in an area of 12 ha, the park has a collection of over 1,000 plant species, including magnolia, pines, tree ferns, and camellia. The botanical garden is partly developed in the Japanese style and derived its name from J. D. Sim, the secretary of the Madras Club in 1874. The key attraction of the park is the annual fruit and vegetable show held in May.

Pomological Station

The institute is a research centre of the State Agricultural Department for persimmon, pomegranates, and apricot.

Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint

The Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint is 10 km from Coonoor and is a spectacular spot to visit. It not only provides a panoramic view of the vast expanse of the Nilgiri Hills but also of the famous Catherine Falls.

This is a beautiful rock, formed in a unique shape. This rock almost looks like similar to Dolphin, that’s why its name is given Dolphin’s nose. This is a bit tough task to climb on this rock, but once, tourists are at the top of the rock, they can feel amazing natural view of surrounding place.

Lamb’s Rock

On way to Dolphin's Nose, about 5½ km from Coonoor, lies Lamb's Rock, another vantage point to view the fantastic landscape and the tea and coffee plantations.

Droog

At a distance of 13 km from Coonoor, Droog takes one into the past, with the ruins of a fort, which was once used by Tipu Sultan in the 16th century.

Law's Falls

The majestic falls are 5 km from Coonoor, on the way to Mettupalayam.

Ooty

The famous hill station of Ooty, also known as the queen of hill stations is 19 km northwest of Coonoor. Ooty is an immensely popular tourist destination. Like Coonoor, Ooty is also set amongst the green settings of the Nilgiri hills and is famous for its lake, gardens, and colonial architecture. You can enjoy a number of outdoor activities like horse riding, trekking, hiking, and boating in Ooty.

Katary Falls

It is one of the most admirable places in the world. It can be said as the centroid of the Nilgiris district. It is positioned at the centre. The main place of attraction is the power station which supplies a power of 1000KW of power every five hours and pumps water as a raw material to Cordite factory Aruvankadu which is the backbone of the Indian military weapons.

Pasteur Institute:

Tourists require a special permission to visit this institute. This institute is located near to Sim’s park. It was started in 1907. This institute develops vaccination for rabies (dog bite disease) and Triple Vaccine (DPT, DT & TT).In earlier days, it plays a vital role in the research of Influenza vaccine. Now it produces Tissue Culture Anti Rabies Vaccine (TCARV) and DPT group of vaccines. Moreover, it fulfills a major part of vaccine need of India.

Other Industry

Coonoor is home to the Pasteur Institute of India[3] which produces rabies vaccines. It was started in 1907, it celebrated its 101st birthday. Since 1970, it supplies triple vaccine i.e., DPT vaccine for entire India.

Coonoor has some Sericulture. The Government operates a Silk Farm, though this is largely a research facility. Recently, Floriculture and strawberry cultivation have taken roots.

Coonoor is home to the Homedale Tea Factory on Tiger Hill road. This factory headed by Raman Menon makes some of the best teas made in the Nilgiris.

Education

Schools are a significant contributor to the local economy. The expensive boarding (residential) schools have for nearly a century now been a feature of the Nilgiris and Coonoor. Originally modelled as British vocational training centres, these have now become comprehensive Kindergarten - Higher Secondary (K-12) schools based on the Indian (Central or State) schooling systems. The pleasant climate and utopian ideas of children growing up away from the maddening rush of life attract parents from all over the world. The schools are generally very well equipped by Indian and International standards, and mostly cater to the Indian elite. However, since most schools are also open to locals, they don't always breed elitist values. Many of these schools are owned and operated by Catholic missionaries. The reasonable availability of infrastructure allows these schools to excel in sports, unlike most other schools in India which have a very strong academic focus.Some of these schools are St. Antony's Hr. Sec. School, St. Joseph's Boys Higher Secondary School, Coonoor,Stanes Higher Secondary School, Coonoor, St.Joseph's Convent (Girls), Coonoor, Brindavan Public School, Wellington, Mountain Home High School, Coonoor.[4] The Laidlaw Memorial School and Junior College (also called St. George's Homes), in nearby Ketti], Holy Innocents High School, Coonoor, St.Judes Junior college, Kotagiri.

Famous Personalities

Coonoor has been home to several well known personalities because of its excellent weather and welcoming people. Colonel Rocheroft, of the famous Hennesey brand lived a retired life on a palatial mansion overlooking Wellington. The Maharajas of Cochin had their summer palace "Springfield" on the Kotagiri Road as did the Maharajas of Travancore whose palace was known as "Elk Hill Palace". The Vijianagaram Palace was on Tiger Hill Road. The consort of the Maharaja of Cochin, Parukutty Neithyaramma, lived at Homedale on Tiger Hill Road as did her son, retired Chief Engineer of Cochin State, V. K. Aravindaksha Menon. Retired chief of army staff, Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw lived in Coonoor. General Thimmayya had a house in Coonoor. The Raja of Chettinad lived near the famous Sims Park. Tata Executive Director Gopalakrishnan summers in Brooklands in Coonoor. Banker and writer Raghu Palat spent his childhood in Coonoor. The prolific writer under the pen name of "An Obscure Hindu"-S.R.Narayana Ayyar lived in Coonoor at Devinilayam. Shivam Arora's birthplace is Coonoor

Transportation Links

Coonoor is well-connected by road with Mettupalayam. The road that connects with Ooty is one of the Nilgiri Ghat Roads, and is also one of the main access routes for the entire district. Alternatively, there is another route that links Coonoor to Kotagiri via Bandishola and Bettati Tollgate, this road connects with State Highway 15 (SH15) that leads to Kotagiri from Ooty.

There are regular buses from Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Calicut, Kanyakumari, Tanjavur, Tirupati and Cochin. Mettupalayam is the nearest railhead, which is 46 km away. The major railway junction is at Coimbatore (80 km). Also, the nearest airport is in Coimbatore.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is one of the oldest mountain railways in India. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in July 2005. This railway links Coonoor to the town of Mettupalayam at the foot of the hills. The Nilagiri Passenger train provides a convenient connection to the Nilgiri Express train to the state capital, Chennai via Coimbatore. Coonoor was the original termination point of the NMR in the hills, before the line was extended to Ooty.

The arduous task of constructing the mountain railways from Mettupalayam to Ooty, was undertaken by Rao Bahadhur Bellie Gowder, the then local community leader and a Badaga, who hailed from the Hubbathalai Village. He was awarded the title of "Rao Bahadhur" and "Rao Sahib" from the British Raj. He was also known as the uncrowned king of the Nilgiris. This fantastic world heritige mountain railway still stands testimony to great things of the past.

Road

Coonoor is also linked by road to Mettupalayam. The road which continues on to Ooty is one of the Nilgiri Ghat Roads and is one of the main access routes for the entire district. Another major road links Coonoor to Kotagiri via Bandishola and Bettati Tollgate and then this road links to State Highway 15 (going from Ooty to Kotagiri). There are also several other minor roads passing through Coonoor leading to outlying Tea estates.

Air

The nearest airport is located approximately 80 km away by road in Coimbatore (IATA code CJB). Coimbatore serves several national destinations as well as having a few international routes to Colombo, Singapore and Sharjah.

Local Government

Coonoor is a Taluk head quarters, responsible for six Panchayat villages:[5]

The Coonoor Block also contains the following eight Revenue Villages (some of which are also mentioned above):

Adigaratty, Burliar, Coonoor Town, Yedapalli, Hubbathalai, Hullickal, Ketti, Melur

Politics

Coonoor assembly constituency (SC) is part of Nilgiris (Lok Sabha constituency).[6]

Gallery

See also

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Coonoor is a famous hill station that is 17 km from Ooty in Tamil Nadu, India. It is probably the second most popular hill station in the Nilgiris. The hill station stands at a height of 1839 meters and is known for its great picnic spots and picturesque surroundings. Coonoor is also famous for tea gardens and tea factories.

Coonoor provides the traveler with the panoramic view of the lush green Nilgiri hills, with its ravines, valleys, and waterfalls. Bird watching is a popular pastime in Coonoor, as the area boasts of a large variety of species like cormorants, pipits, thrushes, parakeets, skylarks, Nilgiri verditer, etc. Travelers can take a walk through the tea gardens. There are number of trekking and hiking trails around Coonoor. Travellers can enjoy the exhilarating and unique ride on the toy train that connects Coonoor with Mettupalayam (which Indian Rail spells Metupalaiyam) and Ooty. The trip provides some breathtaking views of the Nilgiri hills in all its natural glory. Though secondary in importance to Ooty, Coonoor offers a more secluded retreat, away from the crowds that throng Ooty. If a quiet, romantic holiday tucked away in the hills amidst fresh air and verdant Nature is what you are looking for, Coonoor is your best bet.

Get in

Route from Bangalore: SH17 to Mysore, NH 212 to Gundlupet; state highway to Coonoor via Bandipur, Gudalur, Ooty, Aravankadu, and Wellington. There are many signboards along the way from Mysore directing you towards Ooty. Once in Ooty drive through the city, there are boards along the way showing you the way. Roads are very bad after Mysore uptil Bandipur.

From elsewhere in India: Fly to Coimbatore or come by train. You can drive down to Mettupalayam (about 1 hour's distance)for the toy train or hire a car to drive up to the hills. Coonoor is roughly about two hours drive from Coimbatore and the views are breathtaking as the road takes 14 tortuous bends upwards through dense forest.

If you are coming from within Tamil Nadu, you can take the train to Mettupalayam and then the cute little toy train up to Coonoor and Ooty. There are regular buses coming here as well.

Get around

The town has a number of autorickshaws or three-wheelers that you can hire to get around. Your hotel can also help you locate taxis that you can hire. The climate is so pleasant, however, that walking around may be the best option. Lower Coonoor tends to be very crowded but Upper Coonoor is blessed with less traffic and fairly good roads. You are in a hilly region - so expect to walk up slopes!

  • Sim's Park The park is situated in a deep ravine on the Northern side of Coonoor Railway Station at an elevation of 1768 to 1798 m. The park can be divided into eight major sections. The natural shola with winding footpaths all over the higher slopes of the park is the most distinctive and picturesque feature of this park. This apart, a number of individual tree specimens planted in a scattered fashion all over the place, lend a special charm to the park, specially when they bloom in different seasons throughout the year.
  • Lamb's Rock It is 8 km from Coonoor on the way to Dolphin's Nose. It commands a grand view of the Coimbatore Plains. It is a favorite place for tourists.
  • Laws Falls The Place is a beautiful picnic spot, situated at Coonoor-Mettupalayam Road at the distance of 7 km from Coonoor. The height of the falls is about 180 feet. There are vast stretches of undisturbed sholas and it is a paradise for Naturalists.
  • The Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint Which is 10 km from Coonoor, is an important place to visit. It not only provides a panoramic view of the vast expanse of the Nilgiri hills but also of the famous Catherine Falls. Lady Canning's seat is another notable viewpoint on the way.

Take long walks to any of the villages situated around Coonoor. A walk by the tea gardens would be a memorable one. You can also take a walk to the Golf Links owned by Wellington Defence College.

Buy

At Bedford, a few meters ahead of Taj Garden Retreat, on the Kotagiri Road, there is a quaint little furniture shop called Vriksh. This little store can be easily missed if you are driving past a little too fast. Tucked away into a little lane, at the bottom of a flight of stairs you will find intricately carved teak trunks, elegant side tables and ceramic work. They have tea sets and vases that remind you that the British were once here. According to the lady at the shop, all the furniture is locally made. They are fairly expensive, but is unique and worth it. However, before you buy one of their beautiful mirrors or desks you might want to know that they do not arrange for delivery... so how do you plan to take it back home with you?

There are also other little shops, selling local produce like tea, honey, jams and preserves and some that sell beautiful embroidered linen. Ask at your hotel and they should be able to recommend the nearest stores or the ones they best recommend. For embroidered linen, my hotel recommended a place called "Needlecraft" in Singara Tea Estate. You can find exquisitely hand-embroidered pillowcases, cushion covers, bedspreads, bedsheets and handkerchiefs at Needlecraft, though they are steeply priced. Do not buy tea packets sold on the tourist spots at Coonoor. After selling good tea to drink, they sell adulterated tea packets which had to be discarded on arrival, after tasting.

Eat

Hotel Lakshmi opposite Coonoor Bus Stand/ near Railway station serves the best South Indian food in coonoor. Also try Taj Garden retreat at Upper Coonoor. The restaurant at MGM Hillworth Resorts on Mount Pleasant is worth visiting for a great ambience and good food. And not to forget Cafe Coffe Day on Upper Church Road on the way to Sim's Park. Kwality hotel near the Taj serves good Mughlai food.

  • Hotel Velan has a nice permit room that serves liquor at affordable prices. If you face Sim's park, its on the left diagonal road ahead of you. Its a bit dark though. The Taj also has a bar with a lavish atmosphere. Expensive as all Taj properties.

Sleep

Here are some of the options:

  • Taj Garden Retreat, Tel: 0423-2330021. Very beautiful gardens, adequate rooms,ayurveda and yoga centers, a gym, indoor game center, great service. A standard room around Rs 3,500 a night.
  • Velan Hotel, tel: 2230084.
  • Barrier Inn, tel: 2232561.
  • Riga Residency, tel: 2234401.

In order to make the travel tour to Coonoor even more joyful you need to choose just the right kind of accommodation for you and your family or friends in Coonoor. The various hotels packages in Coonoor offer the best of facilities. The well-furnished rooms make excellent place to stay in Coonoor, with most of the comforts at your feet.

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