South India - Tour Attraction

Ooty Hill Station

OotyOoty-the queen of hill stations is also known by the name Udhagamandalam. It is situated at an altitude of 2,286 m. The population size of Ooty is 87,000. Ooty sprawls over a large area of winding roads and steep climbs. With its rolling lawns and salubrious climate, Ooty has become the most important hill station in South India.

Nestled among the hills of Dodabetta, Snowdon, Elk Hill, and Club Hill in the Nilgiri ranges, the history of Ooty dates back to about 900 years when it was ruled by Vishnu Vardhana, the Hoysala king from AD 1104 to 1141. The city also finds mention in the writing of Jacome Ferico, the first European to visit this place in 1603. In 1799, this hilly region came under the control of the British East India Company. The British established Ooty to serve as the summer headquarters of the Madras government. A government house was built and keeping in tune with the English lifestyle, the British set up cottages and clubs, with facilities for tennis, golf, and horse riding. With the establishment of numerous tea estates in the subsequent years, Ooty made its presence felt in the tourist map of India.


Places to See
Raj Bhavan: Built by the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos in 1877 when Governor of Madras, in the style of his family home at Stowe. The Government House, now the Raj Bhavan, is superbly positioned on the Dodabetta Ridge to the south-east of Ooty and is approached throught he Botanical Gardens. The grounds are very well maintained and open to visitors, though the building is not.

St Stephen's Church: Northwest of Charing Cross, the small gothic-style St. Stephen's Church was one of Ooty's first colonial structures, built in the 1820s on the site of a Toda temple. Other than this, red-brick, a quasi-gothic structure - Civil Court, and the Club (dates from1830) are also interesting to see.

Kandal Cross: 3 km west of the railway station is a Roman Catholic shrine considered as the `Jerusalem of the East'. The cross erected here is a relic of the True Cross brought to India by an Apostolic delegate.

OotyGovernment Museum: It was set up in 1989, with a view to provide educational benefits of the museum to the residing and visiting population of Nilgiris. The museum has items of tribal objects, district's ecological deatils and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamilnadu. Admission is free and timings are 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 2.oo p.m. to 5.00 p.m. It is closed on Friday, second saturdays and National Holidays.

Botanical Garden: A little way northwest of Charing Cross, the Botanical Garden (daily 8 am - 6.30 pm.) laid in 1847 by gardeners from London's Kew Gardens, consists of twenty hectares of immaculate lawns, lily ponds and beds, with over thousand varieties of shrubs, flowers and trees. The Annual flower show is held here every year during the month of May. There is a wood hut at the top of the garden from where a panoramic view of Ooty can be had.

Ooty Lake: It was constructed between 1823 and 1825 throught he initiative of the collector, Mr John Sullivan, as an irrigation tank. The lake is about 2.5 km long and between 100 and 140 m wide.

Getting There
Air: Nearest airport, Coimbatore is 98 kms away. Cochin airport is 250 kms away and Bangalore airport is 276 kms.
Rail: Ooty has a miniature railway connecting it with the lowlands. The railways starts at Mettupalayam (46 km from Ooty), north of Coimbatore, and goes via Coonoor to Ooty, enroute affording some spectacular views of the precipitous eastern slopes of the rain-forested Nilgiris.
Road: There are frequent buses for Kotagiri and Coonoor. Ooty is coonected by bus service to Coimbatore, Bangalore (via Mysore), Chennai, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur and Tirupati.

Garden City Bangalore

Picture of Vidhan soudha

According to local folklore the present name Bangalore, derives from 'Bendakalooru' or the town of boiled beans, a narne given by Veera Ballala, a king of the Vijayanagar dynasty, who having lost his way in the forests Was given a bowl of boiled beans by a kindly woman here. However that may be, the founding of the city is traced back to 1537 and it has seen the rule of the maharajas of Mysore mainly.

Amidst all this hectic activity, the city offers itself as an ideal base to explore the fascinating and culturally rich state of Karnataka. Visitors will find the ruins of the once powerful Vijayanagar empire, the sculpted wonders of Belur and Halebid, the awesome mausoleum of Bijapur and much more within easy reach.

Mysore Palace

The Mysore Palace, built is Indo-Saracenic style with domes turrets, arches and colonnades, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. The tastefully decorated and inticrately carved doors open into luxuriously decorated rooms.

The palace has now been converted into a museum, which treasures the souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes and other items, which were once possessed by the Wodeyars. It is said that the palace displays the largest collection of gold items, quantity wise. The Durbar hall of the palace has an ornate ceiling and many sculpture pillars which are said to have been painted with gold.

The walls of the palace are painted with pictures of the Dassera processions and these paintings are painted in such a manner that from any angle you can see the procession coming towards you. The royal throne of the Wodeyars is displayed during the Dassera festival.

The palace was originally built of wood, which got burnt down in 1897 AD and was rebuilt in 1912 AD.

Marina Beach, Chennai
Marina BeachIt is an interesting sight to watch the sun going down and reflecting boundless waters of the ocean. As one watches the gentle retreat of the sun into ocean spreading red and blue colors, it makes one sentimental and makes everything else in life seem trivial. Such is the power of ambience that surrounds the Marina beach that it provokes the subconscious mind to think.

Located on the eastern side of Chennai, adjoining the Bay of Bengal, Marina beach is the second longest beach in the world and has a wide sandy foreshore. This beach is counted among one of the longest beaches in Asia. Though bathing and swimming can be dangerous, as the undercurrent is very strong, even then people come for swimming here. In the evenings, the beach is virtually a fair ground with various kinds of entertainment and food stalls lining the beach.

The very name of Marina brings before the eyes the images of golden sand, good surf and a shimmering clean blue sea and this is what is Marina beach in a nutshell. Its 12-km long stretch was made beautiful by the wonderful facelift given by Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff in the early 1880's.

Tourists flock to the beach to explore natural sandy beauty and take a leisurely stroll on the spacious promenade and in beautiful gardens, near by. It has acquired a South Indian aura with vendors hawking wares ranging from shell and glass baubles to kites and fruit juices. The Marina, however, is large enough to accommodate all visitors as well as the hawkers and is often the venue for important state functions.

Prime Attractions
Some of the most beautiful buildings in Chennai such as the University of Madras, Senate-House, Chepauk Palace, Presidency College, P.W.D office and Ice House are located on the beach drive. At the other end of the beach is the new lighthouse. In between, sentinels on the promenade, are several statues of Tamil scholars and two splendid bits of sculpture- the Victory of Labour and the Mahatma Gandhi.

Aquarium: Close to the Marina beach is the aquarium, which has some of the most exotic collection of tropical sea fishes and fresh water fishes. Marina BeachThe aquarium gives a chance to have a closer look at the aquatic life. The Ice House, which was used to store ice brought from Great Lakes in North America, is south to the Aquarium.

Anna And MGR Samadhis: Situated on the beach, the Anna and MGR Samadhis, which are the memorials of the most popular, former Chief ministers of the state, attract good crowd everyday.

Reaching There
Air: Chennai has an airport with both domestic and international terminals. Regular flights connect Chennai with the major cities within the country and also with countries like USA, Singapore, U.K, etc.
Rail: Chennai is well connected by rail with the important towns and cities within and beyond the state.
Road: State transport buses and private buses connect Chennai with the major towns and cities within the country. For local transportation local trains, city buses, auto rickshaws and taxis are available.


Backwaters of Kochi, Kerala

A historic icon of Kerala majestically poised on one side of the backwater, and mushrooming symbols of modern day living on the other. The picture of the month is from the backwaters of Kochi, which shows an interesting face-off between the traditional Chinese fishing nets and a series of modern day concrete space, with the backwaters in between as mute witness.

The melting sun has painted the horizons in orange and crimson hues. Clad in the soft warmth of the golden yellow rays, the placid backwaters reveal the effervescent nature in all its true glory. At a distance, the dark silhouettes of the coconut palms are seen dancing to the rhythms of the gentle breeze.








Chakram, Pathanamthitta, Kerala

The Chakram (Wheel) made of wood is used to move water between paddy fields and water channels. Once used widely in the paddy fields of Kerala, this traditional method is a rare sight these days. The one shown in the photograph is from the district of Pathanamthitta in Kerala.

Usually operated by men by sitting on bamboo polls, the wheel is peddled to the accompaniment of songs in a uniform rhythm filled with varying emotions of hard labour, hope, fortunes and the many ups and downs that forms part of a farmer's life.



Thrissur Pooram, Kerala

'Thrissur Pooram' or the festival of festivals as it is rightly called is undoubtedly one of the prominent insignias of cultural Kerala. The charm and elegance of this festival is attributed to the undying spirit of the people. The occasion of 'Thrissur Pooram' is a cultural cauldron of Kerala where one can witness the colours, sights, sounds and the participation of the people at its best.



Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala

It is oozing with serenity, yet exudes the ambience of a fairyland. This is one of the unforgettable sights at the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, where Mother Nature rapidly changes its garb according to the time of the day. Here, you would easily lose awareness of time as the ever- changing vistas completely take control of your senses.




Ashtamudi backwaters, Kerala

Catch a glimpse of one of the many splendors of Ashtamudi backwaters. As the boatman gently dips his paddle, without disturbing the prevailing calm, the ripples spread out gently in the shimmering golden hue of the sun.