Kotagiri is one of the hill stations of Nilgiris, with the popularity of Ooty and Coonoor, Kotagiri lost its importance and even now it is virtually unknown to outsiders. Kotagiri which is about 30 kilo meters east of Udhagamandalam, 23 km from Coonoor and 33 km from Mettupalayam is one of the oldest and the largest of the hill stations.
History records John Sullivan, the Collector of Coimbatore during British rule, as the first European resident who explored Kotagiri. Several English folk followed him and Kotagiri became the summer haven for these settlers.
Kotagiri is situated at a height of 1793m above sea level. It is protected by the Doddabetta range from the violent southwest monsoon and is not affected by mists which are so common at Coonoor. The lower elevation of the place makes it warmer than Ooty. These advantages in the climate make the station a fine health resort. This picturesque hill station is bounded by verdant green tea estates and offers a number of trekking options.
Situated in the lush green hills of Nilgiris, the name of this hill-station literally means the lines of the houses of the Kotas. Some Kota tribes still inhabit the slopes of Nilgiris Hills and are traditional artisans who are experts in the art of pottery and terracotta baking. This pretty hill station enjoys a pleasant climate all through the year. There are plenty of tourist attractions around Kotagiri.
Nehru Park: It is in the heart of the town. It has a beautiful lawn and colorful flowers and a beautiful temple of the Kota Tribes.
Pandiaraj Memorial Park: Located 3 km from the town, on the Coonoor road, this private park has a vast variety of flowers and plants.
Kodanad View Point: Located 16km from Kotagiri, 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 shrub land, lazily meandering this little village is the Moyar River.
Rangaswamy Pillar: Situated at a distance of 16 km from Kotagiri. It is on the same way to Kodanad view point and seen from there also. The site is a vantage point to check out the wondrous vistas of the Nilgiris. This is a very adventurous place which should never be missed by the rock climbers.
St Cathrine Falls: 15 km from Kotagiri, on the way to Mettupalayam, is a two step waterfalls that plummets down from a height of 250 ft. From this beautiful waterfalls, you get the view of the forest, tea gardens and Mettupalayam view as well. From this point of view Dolphin's Nose of Coonoor is also seen across the mighty gap in the hills.
Elk falls: 7 km from Kotagiri close to the Uyilathii Village. Though this waterfall comes in full gush only in the rainy season it is worth visiting this place to get the view of the Echoing Valley.
Ralliah Dam: On the Kotagiri-Coonoor road in the military area of Wellington, this small dam built by the British in the pre independence era, is an absolute silent and a great trek cum picnic spot.
The other attractions here include the first European house built in 1819 by collector Sullivan at the Kannerimukku village. You can also have a close look into the lives of the people of Nilgiris by exploring the Badaga settlement.
Eventhough Kotagiri is not a destination for normal tourist who were expecting attractions like parks, lakes, hotels, shopping etc, but one can stay in Kotagiri and easily visit Ooty, Coonoor and other tourist attractions. Accommodation is easily available and cheaper. Regular bus service is available but it would be better to note that the buses are crowded and poorly maintained.
If you are planning a holiday trip to Nilgiris, your trip is more than two days and then holiday in Kotagiri promises to be one that will revolve around your timing and wishes.
Kotagiri, the unknown splendor of the Nilgiris is waiting to be explored.