The Queen's Gems - Ooty - Food and Otherwise

23rd Jun 2017

'Ooty', also known as 'Udagamandalam', nestled among the Nilgiris, has two facets to it. The hustling bustling market area busy with the local shops, street side food which is the heart of the town, the other being the quaint valley with breathtaking views at every turn of the road, no wonder it is the 'Queen of Hill Stations'.

Photo of The Queen's Gems - Ooty - Food and Otherwise 1/2 by Debalina Gupta
View from our hotel

Me along with my permanent roommate went for a short weekend road trip to Ooty during the month of June, oh how perfect was the weather and what a beautiful drive it was ! We put up in a budget hotel (Tulips Elk Hill Resort) on the Elk Hill just beside The Sterling. The hotel has a breathtaking view overlooking the Ooty Race Course, the stay was pleasant but can't say the same about their food.

Day 1:

We started off from Bangalore around 5 in the morning, hence avoided the city traffic, and drove straight till Theppakadu from where we took a left instead of going straight, we had read that this detour via Gudalur was beautiful though it adds almost an hour(approx. 30 kms) to our travel time, but we thought of giving it a shot. Though the drive was indeed beautiful but we personally didn't feel that it was worth adding that extra hour, only advantage it does save you from driving up those 36 hair pin bends in case you are uncomfortable.

Photo of The Queen's Gems - Ooty - Food and Otherwise 2/2 by Debalina Gupta
Towards Gudalur

We reached around 12.30 in the noon, we were famished when we came across this quiet and homely place with the most amazing pizza.

Day 1

The Place to Bee:

Photo of Place To Bee, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Debalina Gupta

Very near to the Stephen's Church, this is a quiet and friendly place with ample parking space. The place is themed around bees with a lot of fascinating facts. We ordered Chicken Pizza along with herbal tea. The pizza was delectable with soft and succulent chicken chunks, and the herbal tea was just what we needed to savour up the cold breeze. This place also has an amazing organic store right at the ground floor, in case you are an organic buff like me.

From there we headed to our hotel and spent the rest of the evening enjoying the view and warming up by the common bonfire.

Day 2:

We did some quick research and picked our destination of the day:

Day 2

The Upper Bhavani Lake:

Photo of Upper Bhavani Lake View Point, Tamil Nadu, India by Debalina Gupta

The Bhavani Temple

Photo of Upper Bhavani Lake View Point, Tamil Nadu, India by Debalina Gupta

The Cabbage Forest on the way to Upper Bhavani

Photo of Upper Bhavani Lake View Point, Tamil Nadu, India by Debalina Gupta

Lesser known to people, this place is a hidden gem of Ooty. It's one of most beautiful and serene places I have ever been to. This place has a Utopian feeling to it.

To reach Upper Bhavani, search for Avalanche Forest Reserve(not Avalanche Lake!) on Google Maps , the drive is through a dense forest and there's parking space once you reach the reserve office. No prior permission is required. Buses ply from the reserve office to the lake at regular intervals starting 9.30 a.m/10 .a.m. We suggest you take the first bus, as after that the waiting time can be as long as 2 hours. You can get the bus tickets at the reserve office ticket counter. The bus takes you to the lake, with a stopover at the Bhavani temple. The ride up to the lake is stunning. Upon reaching the lake the bus waits for around 20 minutes for you to roam around the place. This is place is nothing short of magnificent.

After being in awe of Upper Bhavani for long, being the bengali foodies that we are, we had to satiate our bellies, and hence we headed to:

Day 3

Earl's Secret:

This is the restaurant of the King's Cliff hotel, situated a little high up on a cliff , as the name suggests. This is an ancestral mansion belonging to Lady Maybn and Lord Reginald, the old british decor was indeed enticing. The sprawling lawn surrounding the restaurant also has seating arrangements. The food was absolutely delicious barring one dish - the pasta. Brownie is a must try and is definitely one of the best we have ever had. This place tends to get pretty crowded during the peak lunch/dinner hours, reserving a table or arriving early is suggested. Ample parking space available.

Day 3:

We head to Coonoor and decide to drive via Wellington.


Wellington is an army town(the regimental centre for the Madras Regiment of the Indian Army) and has been declared a 'Garbage Free' town, and it is indeed the cleanest place in Ooty with wide and well laid roads, it was a pleasure to drive around. Lined with British style cottages and bungalows, this town is charming in it's own way. The toy train passes through Wellington as well.

With this refreshing drive through Wellington ending, we headed to the Lamb's rock, the overtly crowded Lamb's rock made us take a U -turn and head to Dolphin's nose instead (Lamb's Rock and Dolphin's nose are situated on the same road). We didn't regret it even a bit as the view was pretty much the same as Lamb's Rock, just from a different angle. Soon after we pushed off for lunch to:

The Culinarium:

The Culinarium

Photo of Earl's Secret, Police Quarters, Pudumund, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Debalina Gupta
Photo of Earl's Secret, Police Quarters, Pudumund, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Debalina Gupta

Situated just by the main road towards Coonoor , this place looks like a beautiful country side farmhouse surrounded by green meadows and hills. This place excels in European cuisine with their appetizing pot pies (must have) and delicious pasta. Oh well the dessert section, I was deluged with their options, my personal favorite being the Chocolate Eclair. I must mention the ambience here is absolutely beautiful and elegant. They also have small cotton textile shop within the restaurant, as the owner is associated with the cotton textile industry.

We even hit the Ooty market this evening for a little shopping - green tea, spices, essential oils etc. Give the oils a try , they are pretty good and generally sans impurities.

We started off for Bangalore on Day 4 post breakfast and reached by 6 in the evening.

Apart from the above mentioned places in Ooty, below are some places I visited during my previous trips to Ooty and absolutely loved :

Pykara Lake and Waterfalls:

Photo of Pykara WaterFalls, Pykara, Sholur, Tamil Nadu, India by Debalina Gupta

Approx. 22 kms from Ooty, this is a famous shooting spot and indeed picturesque. The Pykara Lake is serene and leads upto the falls, but not much of a trek unlike most other falls.

Toy train:

An UNESCO heritage, you can take the toy train from Ooty to Coonoor, it's a beautiful 2 hours ride with breathtaking views and landscape all along, this was where the song 'Chaiyya Chaiyya' was shot. You can check out more details about the train or train routes here: . Advance booking is suggested, but you can also manage to get the second - class tickets at the last moment.

Break the monotony! Keep travelling folks...

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