Wellington is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu, approximately 80 kms from Coimbatore and 14 kms from the famous hill resort of Udhagamandalam (also called Ooty or Ootacamund). It is connected by road to Coimbatore via Mettupalayam, and to Bangalore via Ooty, Bandipur and Mysore . The rail link is in the form of a broad gauge train from Coimbatore to Mettupalayam, and a meter gauge hill train from Mettupalayam to Wellington. Wellington lies at an altitude of 1880 meters above mean sea level, and is blessed with a mild and salubrious climate throughout the year. The annual temperature varies from 3° C to 30° C. The Nilgiris receive rainfall from the South West as well as the North East monsoons, from June to mid August and October to November, respectively. The annual rainfall is approximately 300 cms. The climate may not be congenial for those suffering from arthritis or asthma
Places to Visit around Wellington
Coonoor. You can't escape Coonoor, since most of the weekend shopping is done here. About 3 kms from Wellington, Coonoor has the Sims Park, Dolphin's nose, Lamb's Rock, Pasteur Museum and some nice tea gardens with factories to see. Besides the small market Coonoor has, there is Tulsi Mall (if you can call it that) on Mt Pleasant Road and Variety Hall near the market. Some eating joints are Gateway Hotel restaurant, La Belle Vie at McIver's Villa, The Culinarium, Orchid Square, Hyderabad Biryani House, Mirchi, Dragon (home delivery available), Sri Lakshmi (for Sunday breakfast...?) and Quality Restaurant.
Ooty. Ooty, short for Ootacamund (anglicized version of Udhagamandalam), is a popular hill resort made so by the British, who wanted an escape from the heat of the plains below. Unfortunately, over the years Ooty has suffered from overcrowding and erosion of natural resources. Ooty is about 17 kms from Wellington and a car drive takes about 45 minutes to reach the town centre. Another way to get there is the Nilgiris train which chugs at a slower speed and takes about twice the time. The places to see at Ooty are Ooty Botanical Gardens, the Rose Garden, Ooty Lake, Pykara Lake (DSSC has an excellent facility for sailing, kayaking etc) and Doddabetta peak to name a few. Some recommended eating places are Earl's Secret at the Kings Cliff Hotel, Taj Savoy Hotel, Welbeck and Place to Bee.
Day Trips around Wellington
Coimbatore. Coimbatore, the second most important city in Tamil Nadu, is known for its various industries, engineering goods, textile mills etc. It is about 85 kms from Wellington and takes anywhere between 2 and 2.5 hours to get there. Coimbatore has many temples, some of which are ancient. One important place is the Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple at the Isha Yoga Centre, where one can avail rejuventation packages for body, mind and soul. There are many shopping centres with two major malls being the Brookfields Mall and Fun Republic Mall. Good places to eat are the restaurants at Vivanta by Taj (there's a discount for DSSC officers), eateries in both the malls including fast-food joints and a host of South Indian vegetarian restaurants.
Tirupur. You may think of visiting this place only for shopping of clothes - it's dirt cheap here!
Must-Do Trips from Wellington
Places mentioned below are listed in ascending order of distance, with Mysore being the nearest.
Mysore. Mysore, Karnataka state's second biggest city, is famous for its royalty - the Wodeyar family, who still have their palaces. Mysore is about 150 kms via Ooty, Masinagudi and Nanjanagudu. The Mysore Palace, Lalitha Mahal (now a hotel), Brindavan Gardens, Chamundi Hills are just a few of its attractions. There are good hotels to stay at and equally good eating places. Mysore is famous for silk sarees and sandalwood products. For more info, read this page on Mysore.
Bangalore. Bangalore, a major city, and is easily identified as the city where the outsourcing story in India began. But besides the legendary IT industries, Bangalore also has its share of tourist places like Vidhana Soudha, Tipu Sultan's Palace, Lalbagh, Bangalore Palace, Science Museum and much more. For those interested in shopping, there are abundant shopping malls. Likewise with the restaurants - you can savour the cuisine of almost all the regions in India as well as the globe. Bangalore is about 290 kms from Wellington. Although, some car drivers prefer going to Bangalore via Mysore, it is better (and faster) to travel via Salem. Or you always have the flights and trains. For more info, read this page on Bangalore.
Madurai and Rameswaram. These are important temple towns for Hindus, especially Rameswaram which is considered one of the 4 holy places (chaar dhams), one must visit once in a lifetime. Madurai is about 290 kms and Rameswaram is located about 455 kms from Wellington. You can read more about it at this blog post on Madurai and Rameswaram
Kerala. This state, which is marketed by their tourism department as 'God's Own Country' is indeed a must on every tourist's itinerary when visiting South India. Kochi is the gateway to Kerala and is about 290 kms from Wellington. From Kochi you can head over to other destinations in Kerala. Read about your options and more at this blog post on Kerala's top attractions. There is also an exclusive post on the famous Kerala Houseboats, which is an exhilarating experience on the backwaters.
Kanyakumari. This place is located about 520 kms from Wellington and is on the southern-most tip of India and has the iconic Vivekanand Rock Memorial and more. You can read about this in a detailed blog post on Kanyakumari
Chennai. Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is the capital of the state of Tamilnadu and has a large beachfront. It is about 550 kms from Wellington. There are frequent flights from Coimbatore, trains from Mettupalayam and Coimbatore, as well as bus service from Ooty / Coonoor. Chennai has many ancient temples to visit as well as churches built by the British. Besides the Marina beach, the city also has its share of malls and eateries. 60 kms from Chennai is an ancient temple city of Mahabalipuram. Other interesting side trips from Chennai are Pondicherry (172 kms; old French settlement), Kanchipuram (75kms; for its saree industry) and Tirupati (140 kms; Tirupati Balaji.