Surrounded by verdant valleys and velvety tea gardens, Coonoor is a picturesque hill station in the Nilgiri range. Situating close to Ooty, this little enchanting village is famous for plantations and production of delicious Nilgiri tea; however, the major tourist attractions of Coonoor causes due to the beautiful landscapes and serene atmosphere of this region. Experiencing the heavenly beauty of widespread greenery, walking with the floating clouds, incredible road trips, trekking through the green mountain, there are endless things to do in Coonoor. Based on my personal experience, I have compiled a list of the best places to visit in Coonoor that will help you to plan your upcoming trip perfectly.
Before entering the descriptions of tourists spots, I just want to introduce the demographic details of Coonoor, which is crucial to study before planning a trip to unknown region.
Demography of Coonoor
Locating at Nilgiris district in the State of Tamil Nadu (India), Coonoor is the second largest town in the Nilgiri hills after Ooty; yet, it’s a small town while most of the tourists’ attractions are situated in the nearby countryside. The majority of local residents are involved in tea factories, cropping, fruit farming, and tourism.
The average altitude of Coonoor is about 1,850 meters (6,070 feet) above sea level. Due to the high altitude, the place features a subtropical highland climate, thereby offering pleasant weather throughout the year. In average, temperature in winter varies from 5-15 oC (lowest: ~0 oC, highest: ~20 oC) and summer temperature fluctuates between 16-26 oC (lowest: ~14 oC, highest: ~29 oC).
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Best Places to visit in Coonoor
Coonoor is a small place but full of engaging activities. If you are willing to cover every visiting place in Coonoor, you have stayed there for 3 days, though most tourists skip Coonoor and head towards Ooty.
The following are the best places to visit in Coonoor hill station that you should not miss under any circumstances on your Ooty-Coonoor trip.
1. Dolphin Nose View Point
A gigantic hanging rock surrounded by green canyons offering the magnificent wide-angle view of the Nilgiri mountain range, the Dolphin Nose View Point won’t give any rest to your camera as long as you stay on the spot. This place offers a serene and enchanting atmosphere with its picturesque surroundings, especially early in the morning.
The name is derived for its narrow edge that looks like a nose of a dolphin from a specific angle. When you reach the edge your first sight will get locked to the Catherine falls in the middle of lush green mountain in front of you; immediately you’ll be noting the spectacular view of curved canyons and green valleys all around and a streamy river far below.
Starting from Coonoor center, 10 km long away serpentine road towards Dolphin nose is full of undefined scenic beauty, mostly surrounded by tea plantations on both sides. So, never shut your eyes while tripping towards Dolphin’s nose, just enjoy the endless beauty.
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2. Lamb’s Rock
Lamb’s rock situates a little away from Dolphin nose, and is one of the most worthy places to visit in Coonoor. Reaching the viewpoint is an amazing experience as you have to do short hiking through the semi-dense evergreen forest starting from the entrance. If you reach there a bit early in the morning you’ll really enjoy the amazing tranquility of this place.
The place was named after Captain Lamb who invented and connected this place to the main town. Local guides often mention about the similarities of the rock texture with the back of lamb, but to be honest, I couldn’t find any such similarity there.
After a short trek through pine forest, you’ll reach the rocky edge, which is literally a world of the cloud! There is nothing wrong if you find a similarity of this place to a scene of a fairytale movie. Lamb’s Rock offers you the chance to explore the ultimate glory of nature next to the pictorial view of tea plantations, green canyons, and floating clouds all around you!!
Nevertheless, I must suggest visiting this place (and Dolphin nose as well) early in the morning before the mass gathering starts, especially, if you prefer to listen to the voice of the wind and feel the warmth of nature.
3. Law’s Falls
Law’s falls is situated in the Coonoor forest range, about 7 km away from town central, while the source of the waterfall is Coonoor river. The beautiful waterfall is 180 ft high and passes through a cascade before touching the ground.
It’s a popular picnic spot, so if you are visiting Coonoor of top season, it’s better to enjoy this place early in the morning to avoid crowds as well as to enjoy the serenity of the place. Otherwise, the afternoon session is a good time to enjoy this place.
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4. Hidden Valley
Not everyone is aware of this exciting trek route through the mysterious rainforests of Coonoor. Only a few tourists know about this destination, but, if you are an adventure lover, love to feel nature from the heart, I’d say don’t miss this amazing trek.
This serenity trip is very special because you have the chance to explore some hidden water streams on the way or some unknown Nilgiri birds that you have never seen before. Eventually, it’s a haven for photography enthusiasts and definitely one of the most nomadic places to visit in Coonoor.
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5. Catherine Falls
Engulfed by extensive and lush green tea plantations, the picturesque Catherine Falls is an ideal getaway for travelers looking for a peaceful rejuvenation into the lap of pure, unspoiled nature. A wide-angle view of Catherine falls can be achieved from Dolphine nose; not many people plan to visit this place but it’s much worthy reach closer to this beautiful destination.
Situating at Shola forest range, about 21 km away from the Coonoor center, the thin stream of Catherine waterfall travels from an altitude of 250 feet before touching the magnificent natural pool on the base.
You can reach the place by car, though it is recommended to park your car at the closest car parking and have a short trek through the verdant tea estates to reach the waterfalls. Also, the trek route through the shola forest starting from Kotagiri is pretty popular with Adventure lovers.
[Prior authorization from the District Forest Officer might be required; especially if you are planning to cover the complete route by car (it’s narrow and risky).]
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6. Sim’s Park
So far all the places I introduced are perfect for the morning sessions. Here is a brief description of Sim’s Park where you may enjoy a complete afternoon.
Sim’s Park, a popular tourist destination at upper Coonoor, 4 km away from Coonoor Railway station, hosts a collection of 1,000+ plant species including some of the oldest trees collected from different corners of the nation. It’s a perfect gateway for plant lovers and botanists. The annual fruit and vegetable exhibition (held in May) is one of the key attractions of Sim’s Park.
The park is widely spread over a 30-acre area divided into different sections based on the flora and flower beds, while the wide and continuous footpaths will direct you to every corner of the park.
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7. High Fields Tea Factory
The widespread tea estate around High Fields Tea Factory is surrounded by eucalyptus trees, offering a green atmosphere. However, this place is more attractive for the study tours that offer tea processing sessions, tea tasting sessions, and also special tours for learning extraction of oil from the eucalyptus.
There are some cottages and homestays near the High Fields Tea Factory. Instead of staying at Coonoor city center, you may choose to stay at this place that is situated in a serene environment 2 km away from the city center. On our latest Coonoor trip, we really enjoyed our one-night stay in the Highfield area.
8. Droog Fort
As a historical and mythological monument of Indian history, Droog Fort gained much importance and popularity among the list of places to visit in Coonoor. The great king Tipu Sultan built this fort in the 18th Century, though many portions of it have been ruined now.
However, the watchtower of Doorg Fort offers an excellent wide-angle view of the entire hill station from the top which adds extra value to this destination.
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9. Katary Waterfalls
The evergreen scenic beauty of the surroundings made Katary Falls a popular tourist destination in Coonoor. The 2-tiered water stream looks like a never-ending cascade due to its 180m high altitude; in fact, this is the third-highest waterfalls in the Nilgiri mountain range.
Besides the natural beauty, India’s first hydroelectric power plant generating 1000 KW of electricity is another top attraction of this place. You have to drive 10 km from Coonoor city to reach the site of Katary Waterfalls.
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Other Places to visit in Coonoor
10. Rahila Dam
Not a conventional tourist spot but Rahila Dam is worthy to visit; it’s one among the hidden places to visit in Coonoor, a perfect escape for nomadic travelers.
You can reach this quaint and peaceful end of Coonoor after an uphill drive of 8.5 km along Wellington Road followed by a 1 km trek. During sunrise and sunset, the fantastic panoramic view of the entire landscape from the top definitely makes someone’s jaw drop.
This dam is known to be the source of water of entire Coonoor.
11. Lady Canning’s Seat
About 9 km away from Coonoor center, Lady Canning’s Seat is an enchanting place to experience the panoramic view of the lush green landscape of the Nilgiri mountain range.
12. Thandu Mariamman Temple
You don’t need to be religious to attend this temple; rather it’s a 500 years old historical asset that you may visit to watch the architecture and local beliefs. On a fine afternoon, you may cover this temple along with other local attractions.
13. Wellington Golf Course
A green gulf course in the middle of tea garden is worthy to visit. There are similar gulf courses in Ooty and other parts of the country (Shillong, etc), but this one is fantastic in my personal view. Maybe in the morning session of afternoon you may spend some relaxed time here gossiping with you friend, family, or travel partners.
14. St. George Church
Mentioning once again, a temple or a church is not only for the religious attendance, these are the ultimate place for peaceful minds. So, in your Coonoor visit you may choose to attend this calm place on a fine morning or afternoon. Afterall, it’s an 200 years’ old (1826) church made during British Inidia era; you may be witnessed of inspiring architecture of this church.
Other things to do in Coonoor
Nilgiri Mountain Railways – Enjoy the Joyride
Narrow-gauge hilly railways are available in 3 states of India; at Himachal Pradesh to reach Shimla, in West Bengal for reaching Darjeeling, and Niligiri Mountain Railways at Tamilnadu to reach Ooty. Unlike the tall Himalayan Mountain View as you can enjoy in the first two rides, Niligiri Mountain Railways offers a mind-blowing valley view along with lush green Nilgiri mountain range.
Many people visit Ooty directly by car to save time but I personally suggest you to go for the joyride to reach from Coonoor to Ooty or vice versa. And definitely, you should book the first-class ticket; Space between the seats in the general class is very narrow that you can’t put your legs comfortably, and also general class compartments are much crowded as the local daily passengers use this transport.
Visit Indian Bakery
Bakery is a very common business in any hill station in India. So, keeping evening-session bekary visit in your list of places to visit in Coonoor is definitely not a bad idea. Also you can try various assortments there, if you fond of.
Silk Rearing Station
It’s an optional activity that you may do during your Coonoor visit. Owing to the optimum environment, India becomes the right place for silkworm culture and silk production; Coonoor is one of the Indian cities where silk production is a common business. If you are interested to be a witness of the processes or if choosing Coonoor for a study tour, you may visit the local silk factories.
How to visit Coonoor
It all matters how do you want to visit Coonoor, from where you prefer to visit Coonoor. Where-ever you are coming from, you must have to have minimum roadtrip to reach Coonoor.
About road trip there are nothing to say much. You can reach Coonoor from any destination in India by car. As example during our first Coonoor trip we travelled from Hogenakkal by directly car.
The nearest broad gauge railway station of Coonoor is Mettupalayam, its about 36 km away from Coonoor. But it’s a limited railstation because all trains don’t stop here. Coimbatore is the nearest major station close to Coonoor (46km). You have to book a car from any of these railstation to reach Coonoor.
The flight route offers a similar suggestion; the nearest airport is located in Coimbatore (45 km). Again, you have to book a rented car to reach Coonoor from Coimbatore Airport. If you are searching for a international airport, Bangalore is the closest option, it’s about 320 km away from Coonoor.
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When to visit Coonoor
Coonoor offers pleasant weather throughout the year, and hence there is no specific time to visit Coonoor. However, if you want enjoy the outdoor activities in full, you should avoid the monsoon seasons. On the other hand, in the full summer you may get the dried waterfalls.
So, it’s recommended to visit Coonoor in between late September to April, which October-November are a perfect months.
Best hotels to stay in Coonoor
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Best Places to visit in Coonoor: Conclusive remarks
I already introduced an elaborated picture of Coonoor. I noticed, may tourists in India plan for Ooty-Mysore-Bangalore trip, while they completely ignore Coonoor! It’s very astonishing to me!
Ooty is the nearest popular destination; definitely it’s a great place to visit, especially if you can plan your trip considering the real amazing spots around Ooty. But, I personally felt Coonoor is perfect to spend at least two nights (3 nights would be better to cover everything) as there are many nomadic and magnificent places to visit in Coonoor.
If you are a nature lover and planning to visit Ooty, I suggest explore Coonoor completely before you reach Ooty. Another day I’ll discuss about mind blowing Ooty trip that most travelers miss out.