(This post is especially for my friends in Gulf Countries who keep asking me the way to explore South India. I first start with my av Place i.e. Ooty. I am sure you will love this)

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Ooty, a hill station situated 2,240 metres above sea level is a heavenly abode for tourists from across the globe. Ooty is dotted with European influenced architectural landmarks from popular schools, palaces to churches. The hill station town is known especially for its chocolates, tea and spices.

From the Gulf, a Qatar Airways flight will take you to Bangalore and then a short drive will take you to Ooty. The winding roads and the charm and scent of the pine trees will accompany you on your way. After checking into one of the many Ooty hotels, there are several places that you can find along the way. Here are the four must see places in Ooty that you should mark off your bucket list:

1. Catch a ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway  

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The Nilgiri Mountain Railway were constructed in 1908 is now a World Heritage Site. Travel on the petit 46-kilometre toy train that starts in Mettupalayam and completes at Ooty. The train passes through tunnels, bridges and greenery before you reach your final stop. Bring out the child in you as the train ride makes you reimagine the word through the lens of a child as you look into the valleys below.

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2. Paddle across the majestic Ooty Lake

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Known for its friendly and enjoyable surroundings, the Ooty Lake is the perfect destination for a picnic, paddle boating or playing at park. This 2.5 kilometre long meandering lake was built in 1825 and allows you to enjoy a private moment with the family.

3. Enjoy a casual stroll through Ooty’s Botanical Garden
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Spread over 22 hectares, the Botanical Garden’s has over 650 species of flowers and trees. Amongst the delicate flowers and trained hedges is the 20 million year old Fossil tree. The Annual Flower Show draws millions of tourists from across India. At the top of the garden, you can find the Toda tribe settlement. Tourists have the chance to learn about the lifestyle and culture of the tribe.

4. Experience Royal Splendor at the Fernhill Palace
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With 50 acres of lush green lawns, manicured gardens amidst the dense woods, the Fernhill Palace was once the summer bungalow of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore. Built and commissioned in 1844 by Captain F Cutton, the bungalow changed hands over time and once served as the residence of one of Ooty’s earliest country clubs.

Ooty boasts of tiny bakeries and stores that envelop the town. These hand picked treasures are a dime a dozen and a must see for first time visitors!