Covering an extensive area of 55 acres, the botanical gardens in Ooty, Tamil Nadu are home to some 650 species of plants and trees. A Nilgiri hill station must see, the Ooty Botanical Gardens should be at the top of every tourist’s list. Visitors are greeted with astounding colorful natural beauty from the moment they pass through the gates. For more than 160 years, foreign and local travelers have strolled the lush green lawns of the garden, admiring the stunning variety of flowers, ferns and orchids.
The botanical gardens in Ooty is home to many rare species of trees. Chief among them are the cork tree, the only one of its kind in India. The paper bark tree, the monkey puzzle tree and an old fossilized tree (estimated to be 20 million years old) round out the other rare species. The monkey puzzle tree has been named so because even monkeys fail to climb it.
Newlyweds, on a honeymoon in Ooty, will fit right in with the scores of other Indian couples of all ages who seek privacy under shade, as nature lovers enjoy leisurely strolls throughout the gardens. The garden, begun in 1847 and located on the highest peak of Ooty, is divided into six different sections: Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden (Not to be missed), Conservatory, Fountain Terrace, Nurseries. Maintenance workers from the Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu are seen in a multitude of daily chores to keep all parts of the gardens appearing their best.
The Summer Festivals is an annual event held at the gardens in May. The highlight is the flower show where several rare species of plants are exhibited as well as various cultural programs showcasing the talent of the locals and renowned artists.
Open at 8 A.M. – 6:30 P.M. daily, a visit here is far better than any picture can show. Cool, clean mountain air brings out the fragrant blossoms of roses, shrubs and other rare flowering plants. Entry fee is nominal at just Rs 10, add another Rs 10 for a camera.
Tourists staying at a nearby hotel in Ooty could comfortably walk to the botanical gardens. Tuk tuks line up outside the entrance gates looking for fares. A nearby bike rental shop boasts scooters for hourly, daily and weekly rates. Or hop on any local bus which has frequent passes of the gardens.