St Catherine Falls was named after the wife of M. D. Cockburn, the man responsible for initiating the cultivation of coffee in Kotagiri. Both Mr and Mrs Cockburn were among the first settlers in Kotagiri.
It is a double cascading waterfall that drops from an elevation of 250 ft. It is en route Kotagiri from Mettupalayam at a place called Aravenu. To see the waterfall in its entirety, you have to go to the Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint.
You can also opt to travel to the top of the waterfall by road. It is the second highest waterfall in the entire Nilgiris District. St Catherine Falls is 29 kilometres away from Kotagiri.
The name for St Catherine Falls in the native tongue is Geddhehaada Halla, which translates to “foothills Dale river”. Its accessibility via road makes it a destination of choice for anyone who has come to Kotagiri on his or her own vehicle.
John Sullivan Memorial is located at Kannerimukku, 2 kilometres from the centre of the Kotagiri town. John Sullivan was an English civil servant, the first to settle in Ooty, and the reason why the Nilgiris are the way they are today.
During his lifetime, he was known to have championed the cause of the natives, and had their respect. He was one of the reasons that tea cultivation started being practiced on a massive scale in the Nilgiris district.
He was born in the year 1788 AD, and died in the year 1855 AD. The John Sullivan Memorial was constructed on what was once his residence. Known as the Pethakal Bungalow, it now houses the Nilgiris Documentation Centre as well as the Nilgiris Museum.
The memorial is open from 10 am to 5 pm on all days of the year and charges an entrance fee of Rs. 10 for adults and Rs. 5 for children.
Nehru Park is located some 3 kilometres off the main town of Kotagiri. It is a private park that provides a lot of leisure activities to the visitor. Inside the park there exists a temple of the Kota tribe who are the original inhabitants of Kotagiri.
The park also has a congregation centre and a park dedicated to the memory of the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi. There is also a playground created for the use of the general public and an indoor game venue whose original purpose was to serve as a flood shelter.
The main activity of the park is to serve as a venue for several cultural events and indoor game activities. Every year, during the period from March to June, a flower show is organised inside the park which has been known to showcase a wide variety of uncommon flowers that grow only in the Nilgiris, especially rare varieties of roses.
A vegetable show has also been organised here in recent times showcasing some of the best vegetable produce which are found in Kotagiri.
Kodanad View Point, otherwise known as Terminus Country, is located some 25 kilometres from Kotagiri. You may go to several places in a hill station for several reasons; maybe to enjoy the calm and serenity of the mountains; to engage in a close encounter with a rare breed of animal; to simply smell the flowers and be at peace.
But, you come to Kodanad View Point for one reason alone which is for the view it affords, which includes almost the entire of Kotagiri. There are many places in the hill station that you can see once you are up here. It affords a magnificent bird’s-eye view of the plains.
Some of the places that you can see once you are at Kodanad are the Rangaswamy Peak, parts of the Karnataka–Tamil Nadu border, the Moyar river, the Bhavanisagar Dam and of course the lush green landscape of the tea estates.
Elk Falls is located 7 kilometres away from Kotagiri. So do not go to this spot hoping to see a herd of elks grazing in the vicinity; you will be left sorely disappointed. What you can see there will leave you mesmerised though. A beautiful western style residence from the days of the British Raj welcomes all who come to the Elk Falls.
The best season to visit would be during the monsoon, as it is during this time that the neighbouring Kookal Valley blooms with orange blossoms. A sight to behold it is indeed. Elk Falls is situated close to the Uyilathi village.
The waterfall in itself is a treat to the eyes. The slow majesty of the mountain stream coupled with the torrential might of the fall gives an almost surreal aura to the place and its surroundings.
Longwood Shola, the word evokes two names, or rather species of wildlife, to mind – one being the Indian bison and the other being the flying fox. Longwood Shola is a natural evergreen forest located in Kotagiri, which is home to both the species.
It is also home to several other species of animals and birds and is a critical factor in balancing the fragile ecosystem of the Nilgiris. It is home to several rare and endangered species of birds and is, hence, an ideal spot for birdwatching.
Longwood Shola is all that remains of the Shola forest that once existed in the Nilgiris. It is dense with different varieties of evergreen trees and is also an ideal spot for a trekking expedition. It spreads over an area of 116 hectares and is being preserved with diligence because of the role it plays in keeping things in balance.
Rangaswamy Pillar and Peak is a structure which is situated at a height of 1794 metres above sea level. It is located around 20 km from Kotagiri and is one of the tourist attractions that the hill station is known for. Rangaswamy Peak is a place of much importance for those living in the Nilgiris.
It is the local deity for the people of the district and the shrine on the peak is an important place of pilgrimage for them. According to a legend, Lord Rangaswamy, who once lived in the place called Karamadai in Coimbatore, had quarreled with his wife and migrated to the peak, to live alone. A set of footprints on a rock at the base of the peak are said to be proof to the legend.
The pillar is on the north-west side of the peak and is 400 feet high. It is nearly impossible to scale this structure.
Snowdon Peak is famous for the breathtaking view of Mysore. This is the only spot in the Nilgiris from where you get such a wonderful sight of the city of Mysore. It is located on the Kotagiri Main Road and is at a lofty height of 2677 metres above the sea level.
As high as it is, approachability is not an issue due to the well-maintained roads that lead to this peak. After Doddabetta, which is the tallest peak in the Nilgiris, Snowdon Peak is the one at the highest elevation.
The view of Mysore that you get from Snowdon Peak is what sets it apart from any other peak in the area. It would be prudent to pack thermal wear if you are planning to visit Snowdon Peak, for, as the name suggests, it gets pretty cold on top of this peak.
Nilgiris Museum is housed in the same Pethakal Bungalow as the John Sullivan Memorial and the Nilgiri Documentation Centre. It offers a candid view of the history of the Nilgiris and will take you on a trip through every period, right from the inception of the country’s first hill station in Ootacamund to its present day glory.
Several rare specimens of plants and animals are preserved here, including stuffed animals and birds. This is a place that has documented every major instance of cultural and economic shift that the district has experienced over the course of several centuries.
You must have to appreciate that they have done a very good job at it. Tourists come here to know the past of this hill station and the district of the Nilgiris as a whole. All recorded history of Kotagiri is available, from the Colonial period during British rule; hence, a trip to the museum will indeed be worth it.