Monday, 21 January 2013

Ooty Stone House

For many years, tourists visiting Ooty have marvelled at an amazing structure called Stone House. It is an important monument as it has led to the development of tourism in this region over a period of time. Shortly after it was built, it became a popular European summer resort. Now, it serves as the official residence of the Principal of Government Arts College. Architecture of Ooty Stone House inspired many colonial buildings that were built in the region following its construction. A great deal of modernization was brought about in the region after these construction activities.

Ooty Stone House
Ooty Stone House

This building came into existence due to efforts of John Sullivan, Collector of Coimbatore district during British India in early nineteenth century and his associates. After discovering several Ooty places and attractions, he decided to go ahead with a project aimed at its modernization. The foundation was laid through construction of this building, and Ooty was made accessible by clearing forests, constructing roads and laying a railway track. When Mr. Sullivan was convinced that the region was a good place to stay and had all the qualities that would make it a future tourist destination, he constructed the first mansion which is currently known as Ooty Stone House among visitors. In recent times, many hotels and resorts have come up in this region that offer comfortable accommodations for tourists at attractive rates. Many of the old buildings that had come up during British rule have now been converted into homestays.

There are several tourists who are always in search for excellent accommodations to enjoy their holidays in Ooty. Cottages that United-21 Paradise, Ooty offers for tourists have an architecture which is quite similar to the heritage homes in the region.  But, they are fully equipped with modern facilities that make for a comfortable stay. Surroundings are complete with beautiful landscapes, giving a unique opportunity for guests to enjoy marvellous views.  Another great advantage of these accommodations is that guests get to have excellent food in its multi-cuisine restaurant. There are many attractions that are located close to this wonderful resort, which would offer great convenience for guests to visit them.  

Monday, 24 December 2012

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Beautiful Journey through Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Nilgiri Mountains, a part of the Western Ghats, is situated in the westernmost part of Tamil Nadu, bordering Kerala and Karnataka. The best way to witness the beautiful mountain is by boarding a toy train which runs amidst mountains offering a magnificent view of the Nilgiri Hills. Nilgiri Mountain Railway was added as an extension to the World Heritage Site in the year of 2005 and now comes under Mountain Railways of India.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway

                   Nilgiri Mountain Railway

The railway line in Nilgiri is the steepest one in Asia. The journey starts from Mettupalayam and it navigates through dense forest, along the valleys and tunnels till it reaches Ooty. The upward journey takes around 4 hours and fifty minutes and the downhill journey takes around 3 hours and 35 minutes. The train covers a distance of 41.8 km and the route is through many curves, bridges and tunnels. Although it takes more time than the roadways, the ride on the toy train would a treat for your eyes. These beautiful scenery and train could be seen in the famous Bollywood Movie, “Dil se.” The first train to Ooty from Mettupalayam departs at 07.10 hours and reaches Ooty at 12.00 hours. People could book tickets in this Nilgiri Mountain Railway train through Indian Railways official website. They can also book tickets from the railway station but it is advisable to book tickets way in advance as you would find hardly any tickets available at the counter. One can even charter the entire train for a single and round trip. The maximum capacity of the toy train is 176 passengers and most of them get booked way too early. The journey begins when steam locomotives carries the coach till Coonoor and from their till  Ooty diesel engine hauls the coaches.

Toy train has been the major attractions in Ooty. With the train passing through serene beautiful valleys, gushing streams, whistling forest and windy tunnels, one could ask for no more for their memorable trip.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

St. Stephen’s Church : Ooty Tourist attraction

The first Christian Church to be built in the Nilgiri hills is a popular tourist attraction in Ooty. Tourists flock here to witness the beautiful colonial architecture of this ancient Gothic Church. The best thing about this architecture is that it is being completely made of wood. It is been said that this wood used to construct this Church was obtained from the Palace of Tipu Sultan.

St. Stephen’s Church in Ooty

The defeat of the Mysore Tiger, made sure the British had complete control over the Nilgiri. After their victory over Tipu Sultan, John Sullivan, requested British Parliament to set up their Military base in here. It is only then British colonists started to set up their base here.  The need of Church raise after many colonists loved the environment and decided to permanently make Nilgiri their base. The Church was constructed under the supervision of Captain J. J. Underwood. The foundation stone for the church was laid on 23rd April 1829. It was decided that the materials to construct the Church from the palace of the Emperor of Mysore, Tipu Sultan. Under the order of Governor Lushington, East India Company pulled down Tipu Sultan’s palace and the available piece of Timber was transferred to Nilgiri. These timbers were transferred by loading them on the wagons and being pulled by tamed Elephants all the way from Mysore till Ooty. These timbers were used in the construction of the Church and also other public buildings which include Grammar school.

The Church was named after the governor Stephen Lushington as he was the one who piloted this project. The fascinating thing about the Church apart from the all wooden construction is the glass tainted window depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ among many others. The Church was consecrated by John Matthias, the then Bishop of Calcutta on 5th December 1830. Other important feature is V-shaped hammer like wooden structures are used instead of a hollow bell. The hammers are fastened by wires and lend a musical sound when the wires are pulled from the floor. Every year Christmas, New Year, Easter and the Harvest Festival are celebrated in the Church with great enthusiasm.