If you’re looking for a hilly retreat that can be visited any time of the year – Kotagiri in the Nilgiris is an ideal choice. Located approximately 29km from Ooty and 19km from Coonoor, Kotagiri is relatively more peaceful and quieter than the two.

Tucked away in a corner of the Nilgiris, Kotagiri or the ‘Mountain of Kotas’ is surrounded by the shola forests, sprawling tea estates and the never-ending mountain ranges. It is said to be the first of the many British settlements; the colonial influence in the town apparent in the buildings and the churches.

There’s immense natural beauty here as well, courtesy the many gorgeous waterfalls. One of the unmissable ones are Catherine Falls, cascading down from a height of 250 feet, located about 8km from Kotagiri on the Mettupalayam Road. Then there’s Elk Falls, truly a sight of splendour. It is a vision especially during the monsoons, when the water gushes with full force.

 
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Sigh.

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Don’t miss out on a trek or hike in the Longwood Shola Reserve Forest, spread across an area of 116 hectares. The only remaining natural shola forest of the region, the reserve is a dense, thick cover of evergreen forests and is home to diverse wildlife such as the flying fox and Indian bison and many more.

What’s a hill station without visiting a view point. Kodanad View Point, at an altitude of about 1793m above sea level, affords surreal views of the Nilgiris along with Catherine Falls, Rangaswamy Peak and the Dolphin’s Nose. You could head here for a sunrise or spend a quiet evening during sunset – either way it’s beautiful.

The nearest airport from here is the Coimbatore Airport, located at a distance of 47km away. Kotagiri is also well linked with other important places in Tamil Nadu by road. There are regular buses to Ooty, Mettupalayam and Coonoor.