Coonoor is a city in the Nilgiris District in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is a small quiet hill town in the Nilgiri hills in southern India. It is probably the second most popular hill station in the Nilgiris after Ooty. 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 a 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. Tourists can take a walk through the tea gardens. There are a number of trekking and hiking trails around Coonoor.
Visitors to Coonoor 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.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is one of the oldest mountain railways in India. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in July 2005. This railway links Coonoor to the town of Mettupalayam at the foot of the hills. Coonoor was the original termination point of this railway before the line was extended to Ooty.
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.
Coonoor is one of those places where tea-planting British replicated a home away from home. The hillside is covered with undulating green carpets of tea. The air has an aroma of nature, situated at 6000 ft above sea-level.
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, especially 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: Laws Falls is a beautiful picnic spot, situated at Coonoor-Mettupalayam Road at a 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 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.
This beautiful place is connected by road through Bangalore: SH17 to Mysore, NH 212 to Gundlupet; state highway to Coonoor via Bandipur National Park, 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.
From elsewhere in India, visitors can fly to Coimbatore or travel 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.