Coonoor is a town and a municipality in the Nilgiris district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for its production of Nilgiri tea. Coonoor is located at an altitude of 1,850 m above sea level, and is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri hills. It is an ideal base for a number of trekking expeditions leading into the Nilgiris.
Coonoor is connected by a metre gauge railway line in the World famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) between Mettupalayam (28 km) and Ooty (17 km). The main attraction within the town is Sim's Park, a small well maintained botanical garden that has several varieties of plants. It is spread over 12 hectares. It is about 19 km on road to the south of Ooty and is accessible by both train and road. It also hosts an annual “Fruit Show” in summer.
There are trekking trails leading out from the town. One of the popular trekking trails leads Tourists to Lamb’s Rock that is 9 km from Coonoor. Lamb’s Rock overlooks the Coimbatore plains, providing a spectacular view of the tea and coffee plantations. A little ahead of Lamb’s Rock is located the Lady Canning’s Seat that offers a panoramic view of the Nilgiris.
Tourists can trek from Lady Canning’s Seat to Dolphin’s Nose, which is located 12 km from Coonoor. Nearby is Law’s Falls, which is located 5 km from Coonoor. It is possible to trek from the falls to Droog that is located at a distance of 13 km from Coonoor. Droog is also known as Pakkasuran Kottai. The ruins of a 16th-century fort can be seen in Droog. The fort is located at a height of 750 m.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway:
Mettupalayam is the nearest railhead, which is 46 km away. The major railway junction is at Coimbatore (80 km). The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is one of the oldest mountain railways in India. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in July 2005. This railway links Coonoor to the town of Mettupalayam at the foot of the hills. The Nilagiri Passenger train provides a convenient connection to the Nilgiri Express train to the state capital, Chennai via Coimbatore. Coonoor was the original termination point of the NMR in the hills, before the line was extended to Ooty.
The arduous task of constructing the mountain railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty, was undertaken by Rao Bahadhur Bellie Gowder, the then local community leader and a Badaga, who hailed from the Hubbathalai Village. He was awarded the title of "Rao Bahadhur" and "Rao Sahib" from the British Raj. He was also known as the uncrowned king of the Nilgiris.
Sim's Park: The Sim's Park is an important place to visit in Coonoor. Spread in an area of 12 ha, the park has a collection of over 1,000 plant species, including magnolia, pines, tree ferns, and camellia. The botanical garden is partly developed in the Japanese style and derived its name from J. D. Sim, the secretary of the Madras Club in 1874. The key attraction of the park is the annual fruit and vegetable show held in May.
Pomological Station:The institute is a research centre of the State Agricultural Department for persimmon, pomegranates, and apricot.
Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint: The Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint is 10 km from Coonoor . It not only provides a panoramic view of the vast expanse of the Nilgiri Hills but also of Catherine Falls.
Lamb’s Rock: Lamb's Rock On the way to Dolphin's Nose, about 5½ km from Coonoor, lies Lamb's Rock, another vantage point to view the fantastic landscape and the tea and coffee plantations.
Droog Fort: At a distance of 13 km from Coonoor, The Droog takes one into the past, with the ruins of a fort, which was once used by Tipu Sultan in the 18th century.
Law's Falls: The majestic falls are 5 km from Coonoor, on the way to Mettupalayam.
Ooty: The hill station of Ooty, also known as the Queen of Hill Stations is 19 km northwest of Coonoor. Ooty is an immensely popular tourist destination. Like Coonoor, Ooty is also set amongst the green setting of the Nilgiri hills and has many lakes, gardens, and buildings featuring colonial architecture.
Katary Falls:The main place of attraction is the power station which supplies a power of 1000KW near Selas.