About Ooty The Nilgiri District
Welcome to Nilgiris, one of the most established mountain ranges, situated at the tri-intersection of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Nilgiris is a part of the Western Ghats. Ooty the “Ruler of Hill Stations”, Coonoor 19 kms from Ooty and Kotagiri 31 kms from Ooty, are the three slope stations of this region.
Nilgiris is India’s first biosphere. It has been proclaimed as one of the 14 “hotspots” of the world on account of its exceptional bio-differences.
Moving prairies, thick sholas, waterfalls, streams, lakes, immeasurable scope of tea ranches, blended with vegetable greenhouses, astounding perspective focuses, a stunning assortment of widely varied vegetation, breathtaking trekking trails, countless legacy locales, enchanting dawns and dusks, otherworldly light, contamination free air, fog, mists, mist, elegant skies, peacefulness and so forth.
The Name “Nilgiris” implies Blue slopes (Neelam – Blue and giri – Hill or Mountain) the primary specify of this name has been found in the Silappadikaram. There is a conviction that the general population living in the fields at the foot of the slopes, ought to have given the name, the Nilgiris, in perspective of the violet blooms of “kurinji” blossom wrapping the slope runs occasionally. The most punctual reference to the political history of the Nilgiris, as indicated by W.Francis identifies with the Ganga Dynasty of Mysore.
Udhagamandalam was originally a tribal land occupied by the Toda along with other hill tribes who coexisted through specialisation and trade. The major tribes of Nilgiris area are the Toda, Kota, Badaga and Kurumba. The old Tamil work Silappadikaram states that the Chera king Senguttuvan, who ruled during the 2nd century CE, on his way to the Himalayas in the north, stayed in the Nilgiris and witnessed the dance of the Kannadigas.
The Toda in the Nilgiris are first referenced in a record belonging to Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana and his general Punisa, dated 1117 CE. The Toda people were known for raising water buffalo and the Badaga people for farming activities. Nilgiris was ruled by various dynasties like Satavahanas, Cheras, Gangas, Kadambas, Rashtrakutas, Cholas, Hoysalas, the Vijayanagara empire and the Rajas of Ummattur (on behalf of Wodeyars of Mysuru). Tipu Sultan captured Nilgiris in the eighteenth century and extended the border by constructing a hideout cave like structure. The Nilgiris came into possession of British East India Company as part of the ceded lands, held by Tipu Sultan, by the treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1799.
In 1818, J. C. Whish and N. W. Kindersley, assistants to John Sullivan, then Collector of Coimbatore, visited Ooty and submitted a report to him. Sullivan camped at Dimbhatti, north of Kotagiri in January 1819 and was enthralled by the beauty of the place. He wrote to Thomas Munro, ” … it resembles Switzerland, more than any country of Europe… the hills beautifully wooded and fine strong spring with running water in every valley.” The Toda ceded that part of the town to Sullivan and in May 1819, he began to build his bungalow at Dimbhatti. He also started work on a road from Sirumugai to Dimbhatti that year. The road was completed in May 1823, and extended up to Coonoor by 1830-32.
Sullivan was driven by a spirit of innovation and enterprise. He was the first to introduce horticulture in the Nilgiris. Potato, barley and other “English” agricultural products are some of the crops he introduced. In 1822, John Sullivan, began construction of his residence, called the ‘Stonehouse’, on property he had purchased from the Todas. His wife, who had the distinction of being the first European woman in the Nilgiris, moved into the house in 1823 along with his infant son and others who made Ooty their abode was Sir Thomas Munro, the governor of Madras, who stayed at Ootacamund. The Ooty Lake was created between 1823 and 1825 by Sullivan as a source of irrigation. Years later. He explained to his superiors: “the climate is particularly salubrious, and I rejoice to say my health has derived infinite benefit from my residence in it.
This retreat quickly became a magnet for invalided officers and other Europeans in upper India seeking rest cures. Considering the age in which he lived, his attitudes towards the local population were remarkably progressive, arguing that the native people should be allowed to govern their own affairs. He also held that the Toda tribe had total proprietary rights over the Nilgiris, which set him at odds with East India Company officials. By 1828 there were some 25 houses, not to mention churches and the housing of immigrants from the plains. This was also the year when Ooty was made a military cantonment. Sullivan’s dream of making it a sanatorium for British troops had been fulfilled, but the Government’s action meant that Ooty would no longer be in his control but in that of his rival Major William Kelso. But Sullivan wasn’t through with Ooty. After he finished his tenure as Collector of Coimbatore, he returned in his capacity as the Senior Member of the Board of Revenue of the Madras Presidency.