Kotagiri means ‘Mountains of the Kotas’. Kotagiri’s importance fell when the ghat road from Mettupalayam at the foothills of Coonoor was built. Before the ghat road was built, every traveler going to Ooty had to pass through Kotagiri. Surrounded by tea estates and beautiful green landscapes, Kotagiri offers plenty of opportunities for trekking and rock climbing.
A wonderful hill station well known for its beautiful vegetation and quietude, Kotagiri is located in the state of Tamil Nadu and is a panchayat town in the Nilgiris District. It is an old hill station and is located in the middle of many valleys and troughs. ‘Kota-giri’ signifies ‘Mountain of the Kotas’.
Kotagiri travel guide is full of references to the mesmerizing places and serene spots. Kotagiri hill station is known for its estates and tea plantations. It is said that this place is a heaven and is resplendent with natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. It has the peculiarity of being the first area in the Nilgiris to have been inhabited by the British Government officials and was the first preference for several Madras Government servants to use as a summer retreat.
Kotagiri is quietly tucked away in the Nilgiris and used to be the summer resort of the British. Till date the beauty of hill resort of Kotagiri attracts tourists and the sun scorched souls from far and wide. The smallest of the three Nilgiri hill stations, Kotagiri lies 30km east of Ooty, beyond one of Tamil Nadu’s highest passes. It’s a quiet, unassuming place with a forgettable town centre ,its appeal is the escape to red dirt tracks in the pines, the blue skies and the high green walls of the Nilgiris.
Besides trekking, there is not much to do in Kotagiri except take leisurely strolls through the tea plantations, watch the workers pluck tea leaves and soak in the cool climate of the region. Needless to say, a visit to one of the tea factories that cater to international markets is a must.
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 are numerous tea factories producing the famous Nilgiri tea. The famous Nilgiri thailam (Eucalyptus oil) is distilled in small shacks in a rudimentary manner.
- Pongal:One of the most awaited events in Kotagiri and all over the state, Pongal is celebrated with great passion and vigor. The term Pongal signifies sweet dish of rice which is eaten on the Pongal festival day. Jaggery, Cardamom and cashew nuts are also included in this dish for the celebration. The local people dedicate this dish to God Surya or The Sun God. It is one of the most important and well known festivals held in the month of mid January every year.
- Ganesh Festival or Ganesh Chaturthi: This festival is held in the months of August-September and is one of the famous festivals in Kotagiri. It is celebrated with immense passion.
- Thaipusam: On Thaipusam day, large numbers of devotees carry ‘Chhatris’ and March towards Murugan temples. They step forward with much fervor and chanting slogans. Disciples offer fruits and yellow or orange coloured flowers to Lord Muruga and wear yellow or orange coloured dresses to show their love towards their Lord.
Other places of interest
- St.Catherine waterfalls
- Elk Falls
- Kodanad Fall
- Long Wood Shola
- Uyilatty falls
- Rangasamy Peak
By Air: The airport at Coimbatore is the nearest to Kotagiri at a distance of over hundred km.
Road & Rail: Kotagiri is well linked with the other important places in Tamil Nadu through road transport. There are regular buses to Ooty, Mettupalayam and Coonoor.