If you have romantic walks, serene landscapes surrounded by lush greenery, nice weather conditions and breathtaking views in your mind, then Coonoor is the place to be. This is the second-largest hill-station in Tamil Nadu, on the Nilgiri Hills in southern India, and is also the second most visited place after Ooty. The Nilgiri Hills in the Western Ghats is a series of mountains that forms a hot spot for rare species, unique to the region, great bio-diversity and presents us with a great range of flora and fauna. Often thought of like a dream come true destination for authors, writers and artists, Coonoor with its panoramic views of the Nilgiri Hills, soothing environment, friendly locals, manicured hills with green rolling beds and pretty narrow streets carved in a rich thicket, is ideal for nature-lovers and romantics.
Coonoor is in the vicinity of Kochi, Coimbatore and Bangalore and is easily reached by road or rail. The nearest airport is Coimbatore, which is 100 km away and well connected to Coonoor by road. We reached the airport and I had to avail a spacious and comfortable tempo traveller in Coimbatore as we were travelling in a pretty large group. It took us around two hours to reach Coonoor.
A trip to Sim’s Park
The first place we visited once we arrived in Coonoor is Sim’s Park. There are places like the Sim’s Park for nature-lovers like me. It is a botanical garden that reserves and exhibits unique flora species prevalent in that area. They have a great collection of over 85 different rose plants on display in a beautiful rose garden, bursting with colours. Sim’s Park is a special safe haven for some of the Earth’s rarest animals. Located in the north of the Coonoor railway station, the park is divided into eight parts. The segment most frequently visited for its fascinating topography and aesthetics is the one with broad widening footpaths and sholas. I had one of the most remarkable times in Sim’s Park and anyone visiting Coonoor should definitely check this place out.
The Beauty that is Catherine’s Fall
The next place that we visited is Catherine’s fall. With its double cascade waterfall dancing on its own tune, the Catherine Fall is a sight for the eyes to behold. Many great look-out spots, such as Lady Cunning’s Chair, Lamb’s Rock, Dolphin’s Nose, etc, provide spectacular views of the valley. The waterfall is situated just 17 km from the town of Coonoor in Kotagiri, in the middle of a dense pine forest. I was struck by the mesmerizing spectacle which unfolded right in front of me, as it has unfolded in front of thousands of others throughout ages. We got an amazing view of this waterfall from the point: Dolphin’s nose. The sight of the fall is further embellished by the cool breeze of the Nilgiri Hills. The massive fall with a double waterfall then falls to the bottom of the fall creating a crystal lake with heavy undercurrents.
The Somber Marvel of Doorg Fort
The next spot that we visited was Doorg Fort, a reminder of Coonoor’s colonial past. This place is also known as the Malai Bakasura, which lies 15 km from Coonoor city. Built at an altitude of 6000 feet above sea level, the fort offers great panoramic views of the hills and the valleys. It is known that during the 16th century, Tipu Sultan used this fort as his outpost. Today much of the fort lies in ruins but it’s a sight to be seen and a great tourist destination that many have visited and must-visit. We had a unique experience on the journey to the fort as one has to trek through the Nonesuch tea estates for about 3 km. I was left in awe when the fort was right in front of me. It was like watching History right in front of my eyes.
The Mysteries of the Hidden Valley
Another place we visited while in Coonoor was Hidden Valley. Located only four kilometres from the centre of Coonoor Town, Hidden Valley is another feast for your tourist’s eyes with its greenery and pleasant weather all year round. Hidden valley is a location to be enjoyed by people who love nature and are adventurous. We took part in sports such as trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering and more within the lush beauty of the scenery. I had a great time in Hidden Valley. I recommend that travellers book a reliable cab in Coimbatore for an optimal trip experience.
I had a beautiful experience in Coonor. As this was a short trip I could not visit all the places that I wanted to. I definitely plan to return here again with more days to spare somewhere down the line.