Udagamandalam is the official name of the area known as Ooty and is located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. The area is hilly and mountainous but is unlike many other places in India. Known as the Queen of the Hill Stations, Ooty is full of green mountains, beautiful lakes, and tons of interesting history. The city was first occupied by the Toda people, then by the East India Company at the end of the 18th century, who established the Hill Station here. With its unique environment and natural countryside, Ooty has become a popular tourist destination for people visiting the area. One of the more popular things to see is the Government Botanical Garden. Located on the slopes of Elk Hill, the botanical garden is home to one of the largest rose gardens in India with over 15,000 varieties of roses. If you’re looking to explore Ooty, here is a guide to Government Botanical Garden, Ooty.
Things to do
Government Botanical Garden was first established in 1897 by the Marquis of Tweedale and today, the gardens spread out over 55 acres (22.7 hectares). The gardens are spread out over different sections each offering a little something different. There are some must-see plants and flowers around the grounds as well, such as the 20-million-year-old fossilized tree and the vast amount of roses in their legendary rose garden. Government Botanical Garden is set on a hill 2,250 feet (685 meters) above sea level allowing for some rare species to grow here.
Walk through the gardens
The gardens are spread out across six different sections, each offering their own different types of flowers and exhibits. The Lower Lawn is home to the entrance and the fern house as well the 20-million-year old fossilized tree trunk. A map of India laid out in selective plants. The New Garden is where you will find the vast collection of roses as well as ponds that are home to several species of aquatic plants. The Italian Garden was laid out by Italian prisoners of war during World War Two and features Italian-style garden patterns as well as a flower-covered bandstand and crescent-shaped pond. There is also the Fountain Terrace. The conservatory area was built in 1912 and has a wide collection of annuals and perennials as well as a bog garden for marsh plants. Finally, the nurseries section is home to exotic plants and cacti.
Attend the Flower Show
The first run of the Government Botanical Garden Flower Show was organized in 1896 by the then chairman of the Nilgiris Horticultural Society. The show grew over the years since and now it brings in over 150,000 people from all over the world to show off their plants and compete in over 250 different competitions. The show is held over a two-day period and has events such as Indian and Japanese flower arranging, vegetable carving, and flower rangoli. Typically, over 200 gardens worldwide compete in the event.
Spring is when the flowers here are in full bloom and therefore you’ll see all the prettiest flowers, but this also means that it is their busiest season. The annual flower show and plant exhibition takes place in May over a two-day period where there are thousands of visitors showing off their collections and taking in the views. If you’re looking to visit during a time where there would be fewer people, September is the best month for that.
How to get there
By public transport
There are quite a few options for public transport in Ooty including buses and auto-rickshaw. The auto-rickshaw service requires you to negotiate a price beforehand but is plentiful and pretty reliable.
Taxi service around Ooty is a good option for getting to the gardens. Ooty operates its own cab service and has online booking options as well so you can always plan your trip in advance. Taxi drivers here are known to bring you to nearby restaurants and shops where they receive a cut so be wary if they recommend you places to go.
The Ooty railway station is 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) away, making it a walkable distance if you’re using the train.
If you’re driving by car there is parking just outside the garden grounds. Coming to the Government Botanical Gardens is perhaps best done on a weekday when there is significantly more parking available and fewer people. Roads are well-lit for those opting to self-drive.
How to book tickets
Tickets to enter the Government Botanical Gardens can only be purchased once you arrive on site. Access to the gardens is at the front gate and the typical price is about 30 INR (0.4 USD). However, if you wish to use a camera it will cost an additional 30 INR (0.4 USD) or an additional 100 INR (1.4 USD) to video. Kids under 10 years of age can get in for 15 INR (0.20 USD)
Government Botanical Garden information
Government Botanical Garden
Address: Vannarapettai, Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu 643002, India
Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)
Cost: 0.20 - 0.4 USD
Official website: Government Botanical Garden
Department of tourism: Visit Ooty
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