Ooty, the very name evokes images of lush green vegetation, majestic mountains, misty lakes and alluring landscapes. It also brings alive the visual of a Toy Train chugging through green mountains and the fragrance of a heady concoction of eucalyptus, tea and coffee that hits as soon as you enter this South Indian hill station. Among the list of favourite holiday destinations, Ooty, ‘The queen of hill stations’ attracts a lot of travellers throughout the year as it is blessed with a weather that is forever pleasant.
Anyone who has been to Ooty or heard about it associates the place with Ooty Lake- a well-visited picnic spot created by the founder of the city-John Sullivan. But if you are a traveller like me who is always on the search for nooks and corners less explored, there are many gems that lie hidden in the heart of the hill station.
Let’s take you on a delightful virtual tour of 5 of the lesser known but equally enchanting lakes of Ooty.
Upper Bhavani Lake
Truly an offbeat traveller’s delight, the quaint lake is nestled in the Nilgiris and the route that leads to it is just as beautiful as the lake itself. At 40 kilometres from the town of Ooty, Upper Bhavani Lake is a picture straight out of a fairy tale book and makes you rub your eyes in disbelief. Untouched by commercial tourism, the virgin beauty of the lake is a treat to the senses.
Another picturesque lake surrounded by dense forests(known as Sholas in the local language) and two waterfalls of different heights is the Pykara Lake. This unique combination makes every picture clicked here postcard-worthy! The lake gets its name from the surrounding village-Pykara Village and is situated at a distance of around 12 kilometres from the main town of Ooty. If you are fond of boating or speed boating, this is just the place for you!
Magnolias, rhododendrons and orchids are peppered all over the lush greenery surrounding the lake. Avalanche Lake, as the name suggests is named after an avalanche that occurred in the 19th century, which resulted in its creation. The lake has a peculiar shape which is further enhanced by the dense forestation forming a border around it.
The best time to visit this place is during the monsoons when the lake teems with trouts and offers an opportunity for trout fishing.
It is also a great spot for trekking and camping. As it lies within the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, prior permission is required for these activities.
If you are not already gasping with amazement at the beauty that lies hidden in these vistas, wait….there’s more! Bellikal Lake is yet another pristine yet sparkling gem of the Nilgiris. The lake is situated at Bellikal, a tiny hamlet lying at an altitude of 5500 feet. The Bellikal Lake is surrounded by undulating landscapes and impenetrable canopies of trees. The lake acts as a watering hole for wild animals and many wildlife species and exotic birds can be spotted in the vicinity. An apt place for wildlife enthusiasts, the surrounding area offers good opportunities for trekking and mountain biking too.
Ooty not only has lakes near forest and wildlife, there is also a lake close to a tea plantation. The Emerald Lake, which is located in a region known as ‘The Silent Valley’, is a calm and serene place perfect for a break from the humdrum of city life. The Emerald Lake boasts of awe-inspiring views of the sunrise and sunset. If you are lucky enough, you may even spot an exotic bird on one of the many tranquil nature trails around it.
Every one of these lakes has a unique offering to give. Whether you are looking for a calm retreat or eager to spot wildlife or boat or fish or camp, there is only one place you need to go-Ooty!
True to the spirit of Ooty, Fern Hill Resort and Elk Hill Resort by Sterling Holidays offer a similar blend of comfort and tranquillity. Come back from your sojourns to the mystic lakes and relax at the spa of either resort to rejuvenate for the adventures of the next day!