Ooty is a beautiful city in the Nilgiri Hills in the state of Tamil Nadu that is frequented by travellers from all over the country. Located close to Coimbatore, there are many wonderful places to visit in Ooty including picturesque gardens and alluring lakes. Also known as Udagamandalam, Ooty has a pleasant climate all through the year, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in South India. The Botanical Gardens at Ooty is one such destination that attracts a lot of visitors with its collection of rare trees and a wide number of flowers.
The infamous Botanical Garden in Ooty is located at the foot of Doddabetta Mountain and is spread across a lush green campus of 55 acres. The gardens are maintained by the Horticultural Department of Tamil Nadu. It has unique varieties of flora that never cease to amaze the visitors such as monkey puzzle tree, 20 million-year-old fossil tree trunk, medicinal plants, and much more.
Acquaint Yourself With Its History
Botanical Garden, Ooty was planned during the 1840s by Marquis of Tweedale. The initial purpose of establishing the garden was to provide European citizens with a constant supply of vegetables. These residents could take a subscription for Rs 3 per month and obtain vegetables free of cost. However, this model wasn’t sustainable and had to be discontinued in 1847. That year, funding was raised to transform the place from a vegetable garden to a horticultural society and a public garden. In 1848, a skilled gardener was hired by the name of William Graham McIvor. He converted the upper and the lower sections of the place into one of the best gardens in Ooty. This is how the now-famous Botanical Gardens came into being what they are.
A Sectional View
WG Mclovr from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was one of the few horticulturists of the time. He was sent to Ootacamund by the East India Company and is the one behind the wondrous transformation of the gardens. He created different sections in the gardens and improved them one by one, through a long time span of ten years.
The Government Botanical Garden, Ooty is a magnificent structure today and has the following 5 sections:
The entrance of the Botanical Garden leads to the Lower Garden which has green lawns covered in Kikuyu Grass. Here, you can explore a fern house that houses 127 species of ferns. The road along this makes way for Raj Bhawan. A major attraction of Lower Garden is the carpet map of the Indian Union made with plants and fossil tree, which is often observed in Botanical Garden Ooty images. Trees such as Salix Babylonica, Hymnosporum Flavum, Eucalyptus Citriodora, Rhododendron Arboretum, Podocarpus Taxifolia, Magnolia Grandiflora, Cupressus Macrocarpa, Cryptomeria Japonica, etc. can be found here.
The New Garden at Botanical Garden, Ooty is a recent addition. It is the region that comes after the front garden and houses arrays of flowers that certainly form a sight for sore eyes! This is the favourite section for rose lovers as there is a dedicated rose garden here which has 300 varieties of Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, and Polyanthas rose varieties. Along with this, it has many other flower beds adorning the expanse with vibrant colours and filling them with lovely fragrances. The New Garden also has natural ponds full of aquatic plants for visitors to enjoy.
What makes the New Garden stand out among all parts of the Ooty Flower Garden are the emblems of the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Government of India on carpet beds made of plants again.
Trees such as Taxodium Mucronatum, Pieris Ovalifolia, Juniperus Virginiana, Eucalyptus Eugenioides, Pinus Wallichiana, and Photinia Lindleyana can be found here.
This part of the garden gets its name from those who laid the foundation of it – Italian prisoners of World War I who came to Ooty and were under the control of the Military Station in Ootacamund. The Italian influence noticed in images of Botanical Garden, Ooty belongs to this part of the garden. Flowers such as asters, balsam, petunia, pansy, zinnia, salvia, delphinium, larkspur, and dahlia can be found here.
The section also has a crescent-shaped lily pond where varieties of aquatic plants are grown.
Trees such as Prunus Cerasoides, Saurauja Nepaulensis, Grevillea Hilliana, Aesculus Punduana, and Pinus Sabineana can be found here.
A conservatory was constructed at Botanical Garden, Ooty in 1912 to organise and conserve the varieties of flowers grown in the garden. Many annual and perennial species of flowers are present in the conservatory such as Cineraria, Schizanthus, Calceolaria, Balsam, Cyclamen, Gloxinia, Tuberous Begonia, Coleus, Geranium, and Chrysanthemum. The conservatory gloriously contributes to making this place one of the best gardens in Ooty.
The Nurseries were constructed with the aim to breed exotic and indigenous species of plants. It has eight glasshouses where Begonias, Ferns, Cacti, Succulents, Orchids, and Bulbous plants are grown, and a series of terraces where cut flowers and seeds are used for growing plants.
What All You Can Look Forward To…
The Botanical Garden is frequently visited by locals and outstation travellers. Mentioned below are three main reasons why people like to visit Botanical Garden, Ooty:
The Flower Show
The Flower Show is a two-day event held at Botanical Gardens in which about 250 participants from around the country compete. They exhibit hundreds of varieties of potted plants, cut flowers, and tropical and temperate vegetables and fruits. Prizes are awarded to the winners on the second day of the event.
The first flower show was held in the year 1896 and has only grown in size since then. Today, Ooty Flower Garden attracts around 1,50,000 visitors per year. The popularity of The Flower Show is such that it was taken over by the government in 1980 who formed the Nilgiris Flower and Fruit Show Committee to take responsibility for the event.
Other displays such as floral decorations, Indian and Japanese flower arrangements, vegetable carvings, and flower rangoli also add to the visual delight.
Another attraction at Botanical Garden, Ooty is the Arboretum, which is a living collection of trees. It was established in 1992 with an aim to conserve indigenous and native trees. It is maintained by the Department of Horticulture and utilises Hill Area Development Programme funds for the maintenance. About 80 trees such as Alnus Nepalensis, Calistemon Lanceolatus, Eugenia Apiculata, Podocarpus Elongata, and Populus Deltoids can be found in the arboterum.
You can visit this tourist destination at any convenient time as the Botanical Garden, Ooty timings are 7:00 am to 6:30 pm. The best part is that it is open on all days of the week, which means it can easily be visited during the weekend.
This beautiful ecological haven is highly accessible and pocket-friendly. Adults have to pay Rs 30 each while the ticket for children costs Rs 15.
People who wish to carry a still camera inside the premises are required to additionally pay Rs 50 and those with a video camera have to pay an extra Rs 100.
How to Reach
Ooty is well-connected to several cities in India by air, rail, and road. Once in Ooty, you can easily hire a private cab or take public transport to reach this tourist destination. The distance between the Ooty bus stand to Botanical Garden is 2-3 km and takes less than 10 minutes to cover.
Ooty has a pleasant climate during the summer months of April and May and can be enjoyed the best during that time. Moreover, the Flower Show is held in May, making it the best time to visit Govt Botanical Garden, Ooty. If colourful flowers and thick, tall trees delight you, the Botanical Gardens is a must-visit destination on your trip to Tamil Nadu. Make sure to get it included in your Ooty tour package to enjoy nature at its best!