Kotagiri is a beautiful hill station in the Nilgiris Hills, about 33 km southeast of Ooty. It is believed to have the world's second best climate. Kotagiri is very peaceful and cheap, but it has all the good qualities of Ooty, which is suffering from over-attention.
Kotagiri can be reached from Coimbatore, 66 km and from Ooty, 28 km. Direct buses to Kotagiri are a little crowded when you board them from Coimbatore. It is advisable to go to Coonoor first and then take a bus back to Kotagiri.
Taxis and autorikshas are freely available. Only taxis are available after 8 p.m.
- John Sullivan Bungalow, Kanneri Mukku (5 km). John Sullivan's bungalow, the one he built during his stay, has been renovated and is open to the public. It is located in Kannerimukku, about 20 minutes from the main town.
- Kodanad Viewpoint. The town is surrounded by many tourist spots. One very popular place is the Kodanad View Point. Accessible by road, 16 km (10 miles) from Kotagiri or about 30 minutes by vehicle, it provides a splendid view of the great Mysore Plateau to one side and the picturesque 500 acre farming cooperative called Thengu mara haada, which seems like a green mosaic amidst the shrubland; lazily meandering this little village is the Bhavani River.
- Longwood Forest, Bisons, Foxes and Squirrels can be spotted. (Milidhane Road). Located within Kotagiri town, Longwood forest, a pristine tropical evergreen forest is a secluded refuge for those seeking peace and quiet, it is home to the flying fox/Malabar Squirrel (a large arboreal squirrel) that is rarely seen, there is also a resident family of about 20 bison which can be seen grazing in the evenings just outside the forest on Milidhane road.
- Nehru Park (Jawahalal Nehru Park), Town centre (1 km). The Nehru Park in the town has a big complex which houses a temple of the Kotas, the Gandhi Maidanam which is the public playground, congregation centre and the flood shelter which is used in normal times for indoor games. A private park about 3 km from the town on coonoor road specialises in roses and is a must see in the months, March to June.
- Rangaswamy Pillar, Denad Village, Rangaswamy Peak. On the northwest of Rangaswamy Peak, after "The Denad village" is found the 1785 meter high Rangaswamy Pillar, which is an extraordinary isolated rocky pillar rising in solitary grandeur to a height of some 400 feet narrow and has sheer sides, which are quite unclimbable. Kil-kotagiri, Sholurmattam, Karagodumattam and Kadasholai are the places enroute to the Rangaswamy peak.
- St. Catherine Waterfalls, Aravenu. Other places of interest are the St.Catherine waterfalls near Aravenu, the Uyilatty falls, 15km from Kotagiri town and the 1,785 m (5,856 feet) high Rangasamy Peak. It is a conical peak and is the most sacred hill on the plateau. Being the Holy deity of the Nilgiris, this shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims from the 'Kongu' region and other places every year. According to Hindu Legend, Lord Rangaswamy used to live at Karamadai in Coimbatore district on the plains but quarrelled with his wife and came to live alone here. Two-foot prints on the rock not far from Arakadu village below the peak, are stated to be the proof for this event.
- Uyilatty Water Falls (15 km).
Kotagiri abounds in big european style bungalows built by the British and most of them retain their englishness, are still very habitable and have been conveted into upmarket homestays. New constructions too are aplenty but at the cost of aesthetics.
There are numerous tea factories producing the famous Nilgiri tea. The famous Nilgiri thailam (Eucalyptus oil) is distilled in small shacks in a rudimentary manner.
Kotagiri also has some gold deposits, which were mined to levels possible during the days of the British Raj. Presently research is going on to determine if it would be possible to extract more gold from the mines.
There is also some considerable bauxite in the area.
- Kotagiri Walk One (10 km). Start from Kotagiri Bus Station, walk towards Conoor side. When you reach Padiaraj Park, turn right to Riverside School Road. After the school, turn right and walk towards KMF Hospital. Ask for Ramachand Bus stop and return to the town.
- Kotagiri Walk Two. Start from the Pandian Park on Conoor Road. Walk past the KPS School and Kerben village. Proceed to Pudu Kotagiri village behind the school. If you are a fitness freak visit Sathukulli, Keibetta,Kaggula, Pudur and Kaikatty villages. Ask for St. Judes School to reach the main road.
- Hope Park Restaurant, Johnston Squire. Best in the city ₹70/- for lunch.
- Kasthuri Hotel, Johnston Squire. A budget vegetarian restaurant.
- Subam Restaurant, Johnston Squire. Budget non-vegetarian restaurant.
Hot fresh tea is special in the cool climate. You get different favours of tea like chocolate, ilaichi, ginger, lemon etc.
- Annamar Cottages, ☎ +91 426272199.
- Hotel Belair, ☎ +91 4266272888.
- Hope Park Hotel, ☎ +91 4266271229.
- Hotel Ramesh Vihar, ☎ +91 4266271346. ₹700/-.
- Trilan Cottages, ☎ +91 4266273080.
Estate dogs can be very ferocious when you walk in the tea gardens. They are even more dangerous if you carry a stick with you. Keep to the main roads and don't walk early in the morning.