Ten-Second Takeaway

Discover the beauty of the mist-covered Nilgiri Hills aboard the vintage toy train that chugs between Ooty and Mettupalayam. We tell you how you can make the most of your train ride.

All Aboard

Photo: Michael varun

Photo: Michael varun

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 ticket 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, your reservation is pretty worthless. You’ll have to join the crowds to get a ticket.

Arrived in Ooty without a reservation? Then, join the line at Ooty’s main station. A train leaves from the hill station at around 9am every day but you’ve got to queue up at least an hour or so in advance if you want to hop on for a ride. If you’ve bought a ticket at the window, you need to rush to your seat as soon as lay your hands on your ticket since seating is on a first-cum-first-serve basis. Once the boggies are full, the ticket counter closes.

The Journey

Photo: NS Mohan

Photo: NS Mohan

The best views on this route are between Coonoor and Mettupalayam. 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 {the journey takes around 3 hours} may make more sense.

But if you don’t have too much time on your hands, stick to the Ooty-Coonoor stretch {you can also take the train from Coonoor to Ooty at around 4pm}. Here a more powerful diesel engine comes into play and you can cover the upward climb in an hour. 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 boogies 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. Do remember to take your camera along, you’ll take home a ton of breathtaking pictures.

Featured Photo: Prakhar