One of the star attractions in Ooty, a ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Train is a must especially if you are visiting for the first time. During peak tourist time (either in the summer or after October), we recommend that you book your tickets online well in advance. There are limited tickets available online so you might have to snap up your seats around two to three months prior to your journey. If you have been waitlisted and your ticket isn’t confirmed, you’ll have to join the crowds to get a ticket.
If you haven’t booked your tickets or just made an impromptu trip, then head to either Mettupalayam station or Ooty station and wait in the queue for your ticket as it works on a first come first serve basis. Once the boggies are full, the ticket counter closes.
The train starts at around 7 AM to 7:15 AM from Mettupalayam and the tickets are priced at INR 75. The best views on this route are between Mettupalayam and Coonoor. Also, the train runs on vintage steam locomotives during this stretch. So, if you are spending more than a quick weekend here, the longer route all the way to Ooty (the journey takes around 3 hours) may make more sense. Of course, half the thrill of the ride comes in sitting into those bright-blue and cream boggies that look like they are straight out of a picture book. However, the bogies are pretty compact with no wiggle room. You’ll make your way through bustling town squares that make way for untouched and abundant foliage, terrace gardens, and endless plantations (just like how it is in Chaaiya Chaaiya). Do remember to take your camera along, you’ll take home a ton of breathtaking pictures.