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Ootacamund or Ooty (Udhagamandalam)





Ooty is Udagamandalam, sometimes abbreviated to Udhagai is a city, a municipality and the district capital of The Nilgiris district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. As of 2001 India census India, Udhagamandalam had a population of 93,921.
 
It is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu State, Southern India. The origin of the name Ootacamund is obscure, but mund is the Badaga word for a Toda village, and it is probably a corruption of the Badaga name for the central region of the Nilgiri Plateau. Another likely origin of the stem of the name Ootaca comes from the local language Tamil where Otta-Cal literally means Single Stone. This is perhaps a reference to a sacred stone revered by the local Toda tribespeople. Udagamandalam is a more recent official Tamil name for the town. Ooty stands at an approximate height of 7,440 feet  above sea level.
 
The Nilgiri Hills were part of Hoysala empire under king Vishnuvardhana in the 12th century. The hills were developed rapidly under the British Raj because they were almost entirely owned by private British citizens, unlike the rest of India. Ooty served as the summer capital of the Madras Presidency, and had winding hill roads and a complicated rack railway system built by influential and enterprising British citizens with venture capital from the Madras government. It is believed the Blue Mountains appears so because of the vast Nilgiri forest surrounding them.
 
The hill town suffers from rampant commercialization and erosion of natural resources. The tourism industry has placed an enormous strain on the natural resources resulting in pollution, water shortage and bad roads. The number of visitors that was about 1,681,000 in 2001 had gone up to 1,725,000 in 2005. In between in 2003 it had even shot up to 1,834,000.
 
The landscape is quite unlike the rest of India, marked by rolling hills covered with dense vegetation, smaller hills and plateaus covered with tea gardens, and eucalyptus trees. Many portions of the hills are preserved as natural reserve forests, and special permits are needed to camp in noncamp sites. Ooty is not the destination in itself, as much as it is the focal point of attraction. Auto touring the surrounding country side is certainly a must do.
 
As it is often regarded as among the most beautiful parts of India one of the most visited places amongst the most die-hard travelers the world over.

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