Coonoor – Darjeeling of Nilgiris | A Complete Travel Guide

Coonoor - Darjeeling of Nilgiris

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About Coonoor

Coonoor in Tamil Nadu is an exquisite hilly hamlet. It is the second-largest mountain destination in Tamil Nadu. Located at only 20 KM from its sister town, Ooty, Coonoor is often treated as a part of Ooty travel. But with its own distinct culture, and scenic landscape, the hill town of Coonoor is worth an exclusive vacation.

Being in close proximity to the border states of Karnataka and Kerala, coupled with its old colonial influence, Coonoor has a very distinctive vibe. Its 100-year-old tradition of food and artistic heritage has made Coonoor an alluring destination in the heart of the Nilgiris, across many generations.

What is Coonoor famous for?

Sitting at 1850 meters above sea level, Coonoor offers stunning views of the hills and valleys of the Nilgiris. The townhouses have endless nature trails, dense forests, hidden nature spots, and lush tea estates.

But what sets Coonoor apart from many other hill stations in the Nilgiris, is the bright purple Kurinji/Neelakurinji flower that blooms once every 12 years. Rows of these Kurinji trees can be spotted along the Ooty-Coonoor highway. These rare, wildflowers, in the background of a fresh and green landscape, makes the hill station look picture-perfect.  

Places to visit in Coonoor

Coonoor tourist places includes but not limited to its hilly trails, mountain view-points, sparkling waterfalls, dainty colonial structures, and the expansive tea gardens. Here are some of the best Coonoor places to visit. 

Sim’s Park Coonoor

Sim’s Park Coonoor
  • How to Reach – The public garden is located at 1 KM from the main town. You can walk, take a local bus from Black Bridge or the town center to reach there.
  • Timings– 9AM – 6 PM 
  • Entry Fee– 
    • Adults: INR 30
    • Kids (up to 12 years): INR 15
    • Still Camera: INR 50
    • Video Camera: INR 100
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours

Dolphin’s Nose

Dolphin’s Nose
  • How to Reach – The viewing point is located at 12 KM from the main town. You can book a cab or rent a local car to travel and explore the area.
  • Timings– NA
  • Entry Fee– NA
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours

Ketty Valley 

Ketty Valley
  • How to Reach – The scenic valley lies at 15 KM from the town. You can book a cab or rent a private car for a day trip.
  • Timings– Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee– INR 5, INR 15 for binoculars
  • Time Required– 2-4 hours

Lamb’s Rock 

  • How to Reach – The trekking destination lies 9 KM from the town. You can rent a car for the day to reach the base and trek all the way to the viewing point.
  • Timings– 9AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 2-4 Hours

Law’s Falls 

Law’s Falls
  • How to Reach – The natural waterfalls is located at 7KM from the outer border of the town and you can rent a car to travel there.
  • Timings – Sunrise to sunset
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours

Droog Fort 

  • How to Reach – The old fort sits at 30KM from the main town. You can take a local train, bus or book a cab to reach there.
  • Timings – 6AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free

St. George’s Church 

  • How to Reach – The ancient church is located at 2KM from the town center. You can get a local bus or a local taxi to reach there.
  • Timings- 9AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee- Free
  • Time Required- 1-2 Hours 

Rallia Dam 

Rallia Dam
  • How to Reach – The dam lies on the Wellington Road, 9 KM from the town. You can get a local cab or a bus to reach there.
  • Timings– 6AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours

Catherine Falls 

Catherine Falls
  • How to Reach – The double-cascade waterfalls are located at 21 KM from the main town. You can book an local cab or rent a car to reach. 
  • Timings – 6AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours

Places to visit near Coonoor

Apart from the famous places in Coonoor, there is a lot more to see around this gorgeous locale. Here are a few Coonoor sightseeing spots to include your vacation. 

Siruvani Waterfalls

  • How to Reach – The waterfalls sit at 36 KM from the town and you can book an outstation cab for the day to reach and explore the area.
  • Timings- Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee- Free
  • Time Required- 3-4 Hours

Topslip Tiger Reserve

Topslip Tiger Reserve
  • How to Reach – The forest is at 170KM from the town and the best way to reach is to book a cab. 
  • Timings – 7AM – 4PM 
  • Entry Fee – INR80, INR50 for camera
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours

Kotagiri Hills

  • How to Reach – The hills of Kotagiri are located at 29 KM from Ooty. You can book an outstation cab or rent a private car to travel. 
  • Timings– NA
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 4-5 Hours

[Also Read: Ooty – A Complete Travel Guide]

Best time to visit Coonoor

Tucked in the Nilgiris, the town temperature is mostly pleasant and comfortable all year round. But the weather in Coonoor feels the best from spring through summer. If you want to enjoy chilly weather, October to February is the best time to visit. But to experience spring bloom and fresh greenery, the ideal time is from March to May.  

Things or Activities to do in Coonoor

Coonoor tourism is more than the popular places to visit and see. There’s a lot you can do and engage in when you are in this part of the state. Include these interesting things in your Coonoor attractions – 

  1. Take a tour of the Highfield Tea Factory. The 50-year-old Coonoor tea factory offers a tour of their estate and tea production process. They utilize freshly harvested leaves from their plantations and pack them in-house. You can also sample fresh tea or shop for tea and tea accessories. 
  2. Shopping in Coonoor is an experience on its own. From home-made confections, jams and preserves to essential oils, you will be spoilt for choice when you hit the street side local shops. The regional favourite Toda jewellery and handloom fabrics will steal your attention. But the home-grown teas in several aromatic varieties and blends, are the highlights of the town’s merchandise. 
  3. Take a bicycle ride around the town, and explore the local haunts, to feel the underlying heartbeat of the town in its people, explore like a local and see through their day-to-day lives and tread the paths traveled by them. 
  4. Visit the Keystone Foundation, a local community initiative, where they sell home-grown honey, spices, handcrafted garments and souvenirs. 
  5. Explore the famous food trail of Coonoor. Head to Mount Road and stop by Ramchandra’s or Rams, to savor the ‘Wellington Special’. Indulge in regional confections like the Ooty Varki Biscuit, honey cakes or hot-cross buns, from Crown Bakery. Serving the town since the 1800s, this bakery will leave you with the best taste in your mouth and memory. There’s more to add to your indulgence list- like the pink coconut barfi from Baker’s Junction or the fudge bar from King Star

How to reach Coonoor

By Train

Coonoor does not have a railway line and hence no station, owing to its steep terrain and high-altitude location. The nearest railway station is in Mettupalayam, at 45 KM away, which is also a major commercial junction. From there, you can take the Heritage Train, which only runs that distance. Or, you can book a cab to travel to Coonoor. There are also trains to Coimbatore, about 75 KM away. From there, you have to take a local taxi or rent a car to reach Coonoor. 

By Road

The town is well-connected Kochi, Coimbatore, and Bangalore, among other major towns in South India. There are several state-run and private buses from Coimbatore to Coonoor, Bangalore to Coonoor, and Kochi to Coonoor. But the most convenient way to travel is to hire a private car or book an outstation cab from these places. 

By Flight

The nearest airport is in Coimbatore, 45 KM away. There are regular flights available from all major cities and towns in India to Coimbatore. From Coimbatore, you can book an airport taxi or a rent a car to do a road trip to the hill station. 

Places to stay in Coonoor

To make your mountain holiday convenient, comfortable, and memorable, you must also have a great stay. Most Coonoor resorts offer great views of hills, valleys, or tea gardens. Choose from some of these best resorts in Coonoor for the ultimate experience – 

  • Tea Nest
  • Great Windows Resort 
  • Wallwood Garden
  • The Birdhouse
  • Brooklyn Villa

Places to eat in Coonoor

Credits: Youtube

Like its sister town Ooty, Coonoor’s culinary portfolio is quite diverse, thanks to its eclectic blend of people that settled here generations ago. And thus the local flavors remained a mix of colonial recipes, ethnic Tamil food, with a touch of international influence from its influx of tourists from all over. Here are some of the most popular, traditional, and best rated Coonoor restaurants – 

  • La Belle Vie @ 180Mciver, 180Mciver, Gray’s Hill
  • Hopscotch, Figure Of 8 Rd, Alwarpet
  • Café Diem, Big Bandi Sholai Kotagiri Rd
  • Tranquilitea Gourmet Nilgiri Teas, Tenerife, Rosery Gardens
  • The Culinarium, Bicketty

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Coonoor - Darjeeling of Nilgiris: A Complete Travel Guide
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Coonoor - Darjeeling of Nilgiris: A Complete Travel Guide
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Coonoor in Tamil Nadu is an exquisite hilly hamlet. It is the second largest mountain destination of Tamil Nadu. Located at only 20 KM from its sister town, Ooty, Coonoor is often treated as a part of Ooty travel.
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Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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