Coonoor is a town located in the western part of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a hill station located in the Nilgiris hills in the state, standing at a height of 1839 meters and is known for its and picturesque surroundings and is a preferred destination for activities like trekking and hiking and is a great spot for picnics and serene, ecological experiences.
This town is a beautiful place which is blessed with natural beauty and a great weather. Apart from the natural wonders like waterfalls, greenery, forests and peaks, Coonoor also has many man-made wonders like historic landmarks and forts, and also a beautiful rail route that leads to the town, which make the place an overall exciting destination for a pleasurable vacation. It is cool and pleasant, and perfect for a little getaway for people from the other places in the state which are often very hot, especially during summers.
The top interesting places to see and things to do in Coonoor are:
- Nilgiris Mountain Railways
- Lambs Rock
- Hidden Valley
- Acres Wild
- Dolphin’s Nose peak
- Law Falls
- Catherine Falls
- Katary Waterfalls
- Sim’s Park
- Kattery Park
- Droog Fort – A historical fort located 15 kilometres from Coonoor, which was used as an outpost by Tipu Sultan (who ruled Mysore) in the 18th century. Now there are only ruins of the fort, with just one wall remaining. It is a spot that attracts many tourists in the place.
- All Saints Church – An ancient church built in 1851 in cream colour, English style Anglican – was once a part of the church of England.
Coonoor’s population consists of 61.81% Hindus, 23.99% Christians, 13.01% Muslims, and less than 1% of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Most Hindu, Christian and other festivals are celebrated here as in any other part of the country such as Christmas, Deepavali, Navratri, Easter, Eid, Ramzan Good Friday, etc. Apart from these common festivals, some festivals unique to Coonoor are:
- Fruit and Vegetable festival – This is a summer festival, hosted at Sim’s Park in the town, and an impressive display of some of the finest locally grown as well as imported fruits and vegetables is organized. It attracts a lot of people including locals and tourists from all over the country and world.
- Tea and Tourism Festival – A festival held in the month of January each year in Coonoor. As Coonoor lies amidst the Nilgiris Mountains that are known for tea plantations, the place gets a good harvest of tea which is also exported to many parts of the country, and is also home to many popular tea brands like Orthodox, CTC and Green Leaf. This festival is to celebrate the tea harvest and the city’s love for tea, which attracts tea connoisseurs from all over the world.
Coonoor has many great shopping spots with a number of shops where people can buy South Indian artifacts, Embroidered shawls, clothes (both traditional and modern), Indian handlooms, handmade antiques, jewelry, and food items like honey and jams, teas, pure lavender, eucalyptus oil, gourmet cheese and local chocolates. Some of the best spots to shop at in Coonoor area:
- Tibetan Market
- Upper Bazaar Road
- Coonoor Main Bazaar
- Green Shop
- Opium Bar
- Hopscotch (A restaurant-cum-pub which organizes shows/live bands on some weekends)
- Hampton Bar
Coonoor follows south Indian, more specifically including dishes that are eaten all over Tamil Nadu, which comprises a large number of vegetarian dishes and non-vegetarian dishes having different kinds of meats. Rice is the staple food here along with spicy curries. Some more popular dishes eaten here include:
- “Avare” beans curry (a dish cooked by boiling Avare /Kidney beans along with tomatoes, onions and some local spices).
- Idli – A steamed rice cake prepared with fermented batter of rice and black gram (generally served with Chutney - a spicy, savoury condiment made out of vegetables, or roasted pulses, peanuts, coconut, chillies etc; and Sambar).
- Dosai – A crepe/pancake made with fermented batter of rice and black gram; also known as Dosa.
- Sambar – A sour and spicy stew made out of lentils, vegetables, tamarind juice, herbs and spices).
- Rasam – Another sour and spicier stew made out of some lentils and a lot waterier than sambar – may have tomatoes but no other vegetables). Generally eaten with steamed rice.
- Steamed Momos (Chicken Momos, Vegetable Momos, etc).
*Idli and Dosa are popular breakfast items that are loved and relished along with sambar or throughout south India and some parts of north, east and west too).
Some great restaurants in Coonoor to try out the regional dishes as well as interesting continental food varieties are:
- La Belle Vie (Continental food)
- Open Kitchen (Whole-wheat base Pizza)
- Jharokha (Home-style simple regional foods, including South Indian dishes and Momos)
- Orchid Square (Known for Sizzlers)
- The Culinarium (European classic inspired food)
- Cafe Diem (A cafe situated in a peaceful location in the town, serving pure vegetarian dishes from Mediterranean, French and Italian cuisine)
Coonoor has many good hotels for a comfortable stay – in affordable range as well as luxurious ones. Some of the best hotels to stay at in Coonoor are:
- O’land Plantation Stay
- Neemrana’s Wallwood garden
- Bella Vista Stay
- The Xanadu
- The Nest
- Orchid Square
- Satya Anand Cottage
- Police Control room – 100
- Fire emergency – 101
- Accident helpline – 108
- Natural disaster helpline - 1077
- Child Helpline – 1098
Tamil is the most spoken language in Coonoor. But, language like English is spoken as well.
- What's your name? - Unga péranna?
- My name is - En péru
- Where are you from? - Nienga engirundhu varrienga?
- Congratulations! - Paaraattukkal
- Good night and sweet dreams! - Nalla thoungunga!
- What Is This? - Idhu enna?