Kotagiri is a panchayat town in The Nilgiris District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Kotagiri is situated at an elevation of around 1793 m above sea level and is one of the three popular hill stations located in the Nilgiris. This picturesque hill station is bounded by verdant green tea estates and offers a number of trekking options.
This old hill station has been developed around innumerable knolls and valleys. Dodda Betta Range is 22 km away. Catherine Falls, Elk Falls, Rangaswami Pillar are the major attractions near this place and you can trek to these places. Kodanad View Point offers a spectacular view of the gentle sloping hills and blue hills. There is another jungle trekking trail that leads you to a small stream of water.
The three popular trekking trails are Kotagiri - Kodanad; Kotagiri - St. Catherine Falls and Kotagiri - Longwood Shola. The Kotagiri - Kodanad trail leads you through splendid views of lush-green tea estates and the magnificent Moyar river. One has to cross through meadows to reach Kodanad.
Places of interest
Kodanad Viewing Point is accessible by road, 16 km (10 miles) from Kotagiri or about 30 minutes by vehicle. It provides a splendid view of the great Mysore Plateau to one side and the picturesque 50 acre farming cooperative called Thengumarahada, which seems like a green mosaic amidst the shrubland, lazily meandering this little village is the Moyar river.
John Sullivan's Bungalow, also known as the Pethakal Bungalow, that he built during his stay, has just been renovated and is open to the public. The Nilgiris Documentation Centre and the Nilgiris Museum is housed in the bungalow. Village walks, tastes of the local cuisine and folk life etc. are some of the activities that are organized here. It is located in Kannerimukku, about 2 km from the town. Naragiri is a small village near here, which abounds in tea plantations and has beautiful views of the valleys and the mountains. About 6 km from Kannerimukku is the village of Kookalthorai in the plateau with breathtaking views.
Located within Kotagiri town, Longwood forest, a pristine tropical evergreen forest is a secluded refuge for those seeking peace and quiet, it is home to the flying fox (a large arboreal squirrel) that is rarely seen, there is also a resident family of about 20 bison which can be seen grazing in the evenings just outside the forest on Milidhane road.
The Nehru park in the town is a complex which houses a temple of the Kotas, the Gandhi Maidanam which is the public playground, a Congregation centre and the Flood shelter which is used in normal times for indoor games. A private park about 3 km from the town on Coonoor road, specialises in roses and is a must see from march to June.
Other places of interest are the St.Catherine waterfalls near Aravenu, the Uyilatty falls (also known as Elk falls), 8 km from Kotagiri town and the 1,785 m (5,856 feet) high Rangaswamy Peak. It is a biconical peak and is the most sacred hill on the plateau, being the Holy deity of the Nilgiris people. This shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims from the Kongu region and other places yearly. According to Hindu Legend, Lord Rangaswamy used to live at Karamadai in Coimbatore district on the plains but quarrelled with his wife and came to live alone here. Two-foot prints on the rock not far from Arakadu village below the peak are stated to be the proof for this.
St. Catherine Falls (Geddhehaada Halla) is an 8 km trail. St. Catherine Falls is a two step waterfalls that plummets down from a height of 250 ft. The Longwood Shola Forest is 3 km away from Kotagiri and the wild terrain offers an amazing trekking experience. Tourists require prior permission from the District Forest Officer (DFO) for taking the trekking route to explore Milidhane that leads you to the Shola Forest.
On the north west of Rangaswamy Peak beyond "Denad village", is found the Rangaswamy Pillar, which is an extraordinary isolated rocky pillar rising in solitary grandeur to a height of some 400 feet narrowly and has sheer sides, which are quite unclimbable. Kil-Kotagiri, Sholurmattam, Karagodumattam, Kadasholai are the places enroute to Rangaswamy Peak.
Kotagiri abounds in big European style bungalows built by the British and most of them retain their englishness, are still very habitable and have been conveted into upmarket homestays. New constructions too are aplenty but at the cost of aesthetics.
There are numerous tea factories producing the famous Nilgiri tea. The famous Nilgiri thailam (Eucalyptus oil) is distilled in small shacks in a rudimentary manner.
Kotagiri also has some gold deposits, which were mined to levels possible during the days of the British rule. Presently research is going on to determine if it would be possible to extract more gold from the mines.
There is also some considerable bauxite in the area. The Nehru Park is located in Kotagiri town. Kodanad View Point is a must see location near Kotagiri for breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and the plains. The picturesque Thengumarahada village beside the Moyar river, the Bhavani Sagar reservoir and the Deccan Plateau are visible from here.
Kodanad View Point: This view point offers a breath taking panoramic view of the distant plateaus, tea estates, Thengumarahada village, Kil-Kotagiri region peaks, the Moyar river and more. Kodanad View Point is situated 18 km from Kotagiri.
Kil-Kotagiri: A small town situated 13 km north east of Kotagiri. Denad, Thuneri, Buckada are the villages around Kil-Kotagiri. Mahalingaswami temple, Jedayaswami temple (famous for fire walking ceremony during February month of each year) and Kannimariamman temple are situated near Kil-Kotagiri.
Rangaswamy Peak : Located at a distance of 12 km from Kil-Kotagiri, the highly captivating Rangaswamy peak is revered by the Irulas tribes and sacred place for Thousand of families in and around porangadu seemai (kotagiri region),Located at the altitude of 1800M Above MSL. It is the most sacred hill on the plateau. Visited by devotees during the summer month and pray Lord Rangaswamy. According to Hindu Legend Lord Rangaswamy used to live at Karamadai in Coimbatore district on the plains but quarrelled with his wife, came to live alone here. Two-foot prints on the rock not far from Arakadu village below the peak are stated to be the proof for this.
Rangaswamy Pillar: Situated 4 km from Kil-Kotagiri is another sacred pillar that is worshipped. It is an extraordinary isolated rocky pillar rising in solitary grandeur to a height of some 400 feet and has sheer narrow sides which are quite unclimbable.
Thengumarahada: "The paddy bowl of the Nilgiris", is situated in Kotagiri taluk, on the plains and could be reached via the Bhavani Sagar reservoir.
Ooty: Ooty is called the Scotland of the East and is a popular tourist destination in southern India. This scenic town houses the exquisite Botanical Gardens which were established in 1847. There is a beautiful Rose Garden atop a hill, and the placid Ooty Lake is another major attraction of the hill town. Ooty is also the base town for many trekking expeditions, including the Dodda Betta peak.
Coonoor: This second largest hill station in the Nilgiris is situated at an altitude of 1839 m. It is surrounded by tea plantations. The popular activity is bird watching and the place is a visual treat for bird spotters. The botanical garden called the Sims Park is the main attraction. The park plays host to a thousand varieties of trees, plants and flowers and there is also a small lake. The Dolphins Nose is a view point near here. The famous Pasteur Institute is also located in Coonoor.
Droog Fort: Droog fort is located near Coonoor. To visit this fort, tourists have to do some physical exercise, as the path is a good trekking trail, but it is worth the effort. This fort is located at a height of around 6000 ft above the surface. It is said that this fort was used by the great Tippu Sultan for his outpost.
Elk Falls: This is a tourist attraction to visit in Kotagiri. This place is very well known for the amazing waterfalls and the beautiful European house built during the days of the British colonial rule.