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Ootacamund or Ooty is situated in Nilgiri Mountains near Tri Junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Ooty is the only hill station in India which attracts visitors during all seasons. It has built up a fame as the `all-seasons -hill resort' and the queen of hill stations'. It is one of the most popular hill resorts in southern India at an elevation of 7216 ft. above sea-level, her moods change with every season, but each of her moods is hospitable to the visitor. Nestling among the hills at a point where the Eastern Ghats meets the Western Ghats, the district headquarter town of Udhagamandalam sprawls along a beautiful plateau. The Eastern Ghats are mighty and attractive while the Western ghats have wooded loveliness. Nature unfolds itself in and around Ooty in a myriad of profiles, each one with a distinctive grandeur and individuality.
This natural charm, several attractions compel the tourist to stay on for extended periods with comfort. The first British came to Ooty in 1812. He was followed by a few hundred European missionaries, educationist and civil servants. Finally, the hill stations attracted many Europeans so much so that it became the summer capital of the then vast Madras presidency, or the present Tamil nadu State, which consisted of 75% of what we call South India today. Soon, Indian princes or Maharajas (who were the ruler of various areas and territories throughout India and industrialists built their palaces and mansions.
The first inhabitants of this land were a tribe called Todas who had been living here long before the British came in the early nineteenth century. But the credit for modernising Udhagamandalam and making it accessible goes to the British who constructed the first railway line in the area and made it the summer capital of the Madras Presidency. Todas antedated all explorers to the Nilgiris by a great margin of time. Mr. John Sullivan discovered Ooty in 1820. He built a permanent house at Nilgiri Hill and this was the beginning. Soon several other British officers built their summer houses. Horses, pony bullock cart and tonga were transportation modes at that time.
Ooty's main industry is oil extraction particularly from the eucalyptus trees introduced during the 19th century, and also from lemon grass, geranium, clove and camphor.
Even today the atmosphere of the Raj lingers in places like the Club where snooker was invented by a subaltern named Neville Chamberlain. The Nilgiri Library with its rare and valuable collection of books on Udhagamandalam and St. Stephen's Church which was Udhagamandalam's first church are reminiscent of the Raj. The cemetery near the church has the oldest British tombstones and includes graves of John Sullivan's wife and daughter, among other prominent personalities.
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