If you’ve ever wondered where Kotagiri is, what places to see there, where to stay, or why so many people nowadays prefer Kotagiri to Ooty, I’m happy to share my experience by answering your questions.
Among the Panchayat towns in The Nilgiris District, Kotagiri (Kothagiri) is best known for its cool weather which is extremely quiet and much more attractive than Ooty. Kotagiri is located at a distance of 29 Km from Ooty, 20 Km from Coonoor, and 33 Km from Mettupalayam and is one of the three major hill stations located in the Nilgiris.
Kotagiri gets its name from the Kota Tribes and refers to the “Mountain of Kotas.” It is surrounded by tea plantations, with a few houses and resorts in between, and is also surrounded by mountains, making it a perfect place for the Kota Tribes to live for centuries.
Kotagiri had a larger number of visitors until the road that connects Mettupalayam and Coonoor was built. Before the construction of this road, people had to cross Kotagiri to reach Ooty, which attracted many travelers to discover the towns’ beauty. One outstanding feature that you will notice is the excellent condition of the roads, which do not have damage and holes. While walking down the town streets, you can see the British colonial influence in the houses, schools, and churches.
The unpolluted, clean, fresh air, cool climate, and scenic green landscapes of Eucalyptus trees add to the beauty of the location. Kotagiri is well-known not only for its tourist attractions but also for its outstanding educational institutions. And all the above facts of Kotagiri stand as the reason why travelers prefer Kotagiri to Ooty.
One can spot Nilgiri Langurs, Nilgiri Thar, Monkeys, Elephants, Bisons, and Deers near the road. Mettupalayam viewpoint is located on the way to Kotagiri and gives a stunning view of Mettupalayam at night. Apart from sightseeing the tea plantations, waterfalls, mountain valleys, and enjoying the cool weather, many outdoor activities are available, such as trekking, camping, rock climbing, and waterfalls, making the place ideal for a vacation or weekend trip. If you want to trek, you must make reservations with an adventure firm.
A week before the new year, my friends and I planned a small get-together trip to Kotagiri. We started the ride from Mettupalayam around 9.30 a.m. and arrived in Kotagiri between 11.30 a.m. and 12 p.m. since we stopped and took pictures in between. We did not plan any trek adventure activities because our trip was just two days duration.
Wondering how to reach Kotagiri?
By Road: The best way to reach Kotagiri is by road, as the area is well served by buses from major towns and cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, and Coimbatore, and many others. You can get to Coimbatore bus station from cities like Chennai, Bangalore, and Kerala. There are two better ways of getting to Kotagiri from Coimbatore: take a direct Kotagiri bus from Coimbatore North bus stand or take a bus to Mettupalayam and then a Kotagiri bus from there.
By Flight: The Coimbatore International Airport, which is located at SITRA, is the nearest airport. The airport is well connected to major airports all across the country as well as several airports outside of the country. The airport is 69 km away from Kotagiri, and there are so many buses, cabs, and rental vehicles available to get you to Kotagiri.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Mettupalayam which is located at a distance of 33 km. You can take the local passenger train from Coimbatore Junction, which is well connected to major cities across the state and to many cities outside of the state. Mettupalayam Railway station is the starting point for Nilgiri Mountain train services.
If you have traveled from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, or the northern part of India, you can travel to Bangalore/Mysore Airport instead of traveling to Coimbatore for your return journey.
We preferred to travel by car since we decided to save some expenses on our fuel than traveling by two-wheelers and we also realized by doing this we’ll be having a chance for endless chats. In the hills, traffic is unpredictable, and though we didn’t have much traffic on our way to Kotagiri, we got delayed by three hours while returning to our places due to traffic.
Where to Stay in Kotagiri?
Kotagiri has many numbers of holiday resorts, villas, houses, lodges, cottages, and hotels. You can look up any resort’s price ranges, availability of rooms, and facilities on Google. My suggestion is to book in advance after checking the reviews of the place.
The majority of resorts, hotels, and villas have their own kitchens. Few owners of the place make their own food and supply once we decide on the dishes. Tea and coffee will also be available in the mornings and evenings.
Best time to visit Kotagiri.
The peak season lasts from March to October when the weather is mild and pleasant in comparison to urban climates.
What are a few things to consider during your visit and stay?
- If you’re stopping the car in the middle of nowhere to take pictures, be careful of monkeys. They can take the food and other eatables if you leave the vehicle door open.
- Carry extra woolen jackets/sweaters.
- If you feel like you’re going to throw up while traveling in the hills, take some anti-vomiting tablets or lemon with you.
- Make reservations for the resorts or villas where you will be staying in advance. Check the additional service charges they charge during the booking process, because few resorts offer a separate food package, and you will not be able to bring outside food into your room.
- Avoid walking through the tea estate area at night because Bisons, Elephants, and other wild animals may be roaming around.
- It is advisable to carry moisturizing creams on hand.
The following are the top sightseeing places to visit in Kotagiri:
- Kodanad View Point
- Rangaswamy Peak and Pillar
- Catherine Falls
- John Sullivan Memorial
- Longwood Shola Reserve Forest
- Elk Falls
We booked our rooms a week in advance since we were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to find affordable villas during peak tourist season. We booked a resort with four rooms, and the owner offered meals based on our choices, with the cost of food being a separate charge. The resort was located in a quiet area in a local village. We went to Kodanad View Point and walked around a few local streets before returning to the resort around 7 p.m.
We went for a walk through the tea estate the next morning before heading to Ooty. Due to the Covid lockdown, other tourist attractions in Kotagiri were restricted, so we chose to visit nearby town areas and drive to Ooty.
Doddabetta, Pine Forest, Shooting spot, Pykara Lake, Botanical garden are the main tourist attractions to visit when traveling from Kotagiri to Ooty.
Do share your experience in the comments.