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Kotagiri Travel Guide
Kotagiri is a small beautiful town in The Nilgiris District, Tamilnadu, and India. Kotagiri enjoys a climatic advantage over the other nearby hill stations such as Ooty, because it is protected against the south-west monsoon by the Doddabetta (big mountain) range. The area just below another hill station of tourist interest by the name Coonoor and the slopes of the famous Nilgiri hills has been the traditional home of the "kota" tribes. The name 'Kota-giri' stands for 'mountain of the kotas'. The tribal people, kotas are experts in the art of pottery and terracotta baking and they are traditional in design.
History has it that at the time of British rule the then, Collector of Coimbatore, John Sullivan journeyed into the hills and made himself at home in Kotagiri. He remains to be the first European resident of the Nilgiri hills and surrounding areas. The Madras Government was forced to open a 'sanatorium' in Ooty, at John's suggestion. The whole government then started shifting to the hills during summer owing to the weather at these lovely hill stations.
The town became their personal health resort due to the many opportunities it offered as recreation. Several Englishmen settled here as they explored the delights of the town. The area neither had an extreme weather like Ooty or Coonoor, which were colder nor the other hotter places like Chennai. The climate feels like home to anybody. The plains present here experienced more warm winds than rain throughout the year.
Kotagiri also serves as the office of the Mr. Vijayakumar who is the head of the Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association. The local tribe people otherwise known as Adivasis are taken care of by this association, known as NAWA. Kotagiri is proudly the first place where the cash crops such as tea, coffee and other spices were planted and made available to market. India is famous worldwide for spices. Kotagiri is also a place for tourists to visit and enjoy the sight seeing places like Kodanad, St. Catherine falls, Lord Rangaswamy peak, Thengumarahada, Lord Rangaswamy pillar and kootada.
Kotagiri recently has grown many hi tech cut flower farms in the past few years which flower beautifully all year round. Climate controlling greenhouses in which high value flowers are grown and sold world over are planted here by farmers. Some of the flowers are carnations, lilies and gerbera which thrive in this magnificent place.
Places to See
A lot of tourist spots are found around the city. The Kodanad view point is one among the few very popular places. This place is accessible by road, and is just 16 km from Kotagiri or about 30 minutes by vehicle. A splendid view of the great Mysore Plateau can be viewed from one side and the other side offers a view of the picturesque 500 acre farming land called Thengu mara haada. The view often seems like a green mosaic amidst the shrub land, lazily meandering this little village is the Bhavani River.
John Sullivan Bugalow
Another attraction is the John Sullivan's bungalow, which was built during his stay. This has just been renovated and is presently open to the public. Located in Kannerimukku it is about 20 minutes from the main town.
The Longwood Forest
The Longwood Forest which is located within Kotagiri town is an immaculate tropical evergreen forest. It serves as a sheltered refuge for anyone seeking peace and quiet and is also home to the flying fox (a large arboreal squirrel) that is a delightful scene for the zoologists. Also a resident family of about 20 bison can be seen in the evenings just outside the forest on Milidhane road, grazing.
The Nehru Park
The Nehru Park can be found in the town and is a big complex housing a temple of the Kotas. The Gandhi maidanam which serves as the public playground, congregation centre and the flood shelter which is used in normal times for indoor games can also be seen here. A private park which is around 3 km from the town on coonoor road specializes in oses and is a must see in mar to June.
Located at about 8 kilometers from Kotagiri is a charming falls, named as Catherine Falls. It is named after Catherine who was the wife of a Mr. Cockburn. It is known that this couple was among the first few Europeans to settle in Kotagiri and till this day they lie buried side by side in the cemetery there. Located at a distance of 7 km. from Kotagiri, this is a must-see and it consists of an upper and a lower fall, both equally lovely. The upper fall is the second highest in the Nilgiris and has an altitude of about 250 feet. A magnificent view of Dolphin's Nose and the surrounding country can be viewed from here.
How to Get There
All transport utilities available to Chennai can be used to get to Kotagiri. International flights are available on a daily basis. Rails connect all nearby major cities. Buses are available from almost every place in south India. Travel agents are at the service of tourists at any time of the day and guide all tourists with information.
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