deserving notice

Nilgiris (mountains)

The Nilgiri (Tamil : நீலகிரி or literally: Blue Mountains), often referred to as the Nilgiri Hills, are a range of mountains with at least 24 peaks above 2,000 meters, in the westernmost part of Tamil Nadu at the junction of Karnataka and Kerala in Southern India. They are part of the larger Western Ghats mountain chain making up the western edge of the Deccan Plateau. The hills are separated from the Karnataka plateau to the north by the Noyar River and from the Anaimalai Hills and Palni Hills to the south by the Palghat Gap. The Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu lies within these mountains. Its latitudinal and longitudinal dimensions are 130 Km (Latitude : 10.38 to 11.49 N) by 185 Km (Longitude : 76.0 E to 77.15 E). The high quality Nilgiri tea is cultivated, packaged and sold in this area.

The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ km²), including all of Mukurthi National Park in the south-eastern corner of the Nilgiris, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which includes the Nilgiri Hills, is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Peaks in the Nilgiris

Doddabetta Peak, 4 km east south east from Udhagamandalam,, with a height of is the highest point in the Nilgiris and the southern extent of the range. . Hecuba (height: ), Kattadadu (height: ) and Kulkudi (height: ) are closely linked peaks in the west of Doddabetta range and nearby Udhagamandalam. Snowdon (height: is the northern extent of the range. Club Hill (height: ) and Elk Hill (height: ) are significant elevations in this range. Snowdon, Club Hill and Elk Hill along with Doddabetta, form the impressive Udhagamandalam Valley.

Devashola (height: ), notable for its Blue gum trees, is in the south of Doddabetta range. Kulakombai (height 1707 M.) is east of the Devashola. The Bhavani Valley and the Lambton's peak range of Coimbatore district stretch from here. Hullikal Durg (height: ), in the Kannada language, Hulikal Durg means Tiger Rock Fort. The Sanskrit name of his place is Bakasura Parvata. It is 3 km. south east of Coonoor. Tropical Pine forest flourishes at the base of this hill, while the valleys support green foliage.

Coonoor Betta is also called Teneriffe. It is on the northern side of the gorge, accommodating the Nilgiri Mountain Railway to Coonoor.

Rallia Hill (height: ) is in the midst of a reserved forest and almost equidistant from Udhagamandalam and Kotagiri. Dimhatti Hill (height: ) is above the Gajalahatti pass, which provided a short cut from Mysore to the Carnatic plains and was of much strategic importance in the eighteenth century. This peak, dedicated to the Deity Rangaswamy is considered holy by the people of the surrounding villages.

Nilgiris Peaks in Mukurthi National Park

On the Nilgiri Plateau, the Kundah range of the Nilgiri hills is a ridge on the south-western side of Mukurthi National Park bordering Kerala. With elevations greater than the general level of the plateau, the range possesses some peaks close to the height of Doddabetta.

Avalanche hill of this range has twin-peaks of the Kudikkadu (height: ) and the Kolaribetta (height: ). Derbetta (or Bear Hill) (height: ) and Kolibetta (height: ), south of the Ouchterlony valley, are a continuation of the Kundah range.

Pichalbetta (height: ), Nilgiri Peak (height: ) and Mukurthi Peak (height: 2554 M.) are the important heights of this area. These 3 hills of the Wynaad District are generally low in relation to other heights of the district; but are distinguished in relation to the generally uniform level of this area. The highest peak in this part of the district, is the Maruppanmudi hill (height: ) , 10 km. northwest of Gudalur.

Other heights deserving notice are: Needle Rock, Hadiabetta Hill (height: ), Glulur hill (height: ). Chinna Doddabetta (height: ) is about five km. south of Udhagamandalam.

Konabetta: (height: ) is about 5 km, north-northeast of Udhagamandalam. This is also called Sigur Peak. Koodal Betta (height: ) means Echoing rock. It is about 13 km north-east of Udhagamandalam. Kundah Betta (height: ) is About 10 km south-southwest of Udhagamandalam. Kundah Mugi (height: ) is about 11 km east of Udhagamandalam,

Dolphin's Nose is a promonotory over the Kotagiri valley about 6 km. east-northeast of Coonoor. The place provides an excellent view of the Catherine falls and a vast expanse of verdant plains. Ibex Hill is about 17 km., west-southwest of Udhagamandalam. It is a straight cliff in the proximity of Sigur Pass.

Muttunadu Betta (height: ) is about 5 Km, north northwest of Udhagamandalam. Tamrabetta (Coppery Hill) (height: ) is about 8 km. south east of Udhagamandalam. Vellangiri (Silvery Hill) (height: ) is 16 km west-northwest of Udhagamandalam.

List of peaks in the Nilgiri Hills

Local name Height English name Location
Chinna Doddabetta
Club Hill
Coonoor Betta Teneriffe
Derbetta Bear Hill
Dimhatti Hill
Doddabetta Peak
Dolphin's Nose
Elk Hill
Glulur hill
Hadiabetta Hill
Hullikal Durg Tiger Rock Fort
Ibex Hill
Konabetta Sigur Peak.
Koodal Betta Echoing rock
Kundah Betta
Kundah Mugi
Muttunadu Betta
Mukurthi Peak
Maruppanmudi hill
Needle Rock
Nilgiri Peak
Rallia Hill
Tamrabetta Coppery Hill
Vellangiri Silvery Hill


Over 2700 species of flowering plants, 160 species of fern and fern allies, countless types of flowerless plants, mosses, fungi, algae, land lichens are found in the sholas of the Nilgiris. No other Hill station has so many exotic species.

Much of the Nilgiris natural Montane grasslands and shrublands interspersed with sholas has been much disturbed or destroyed by extensive tea plantations, easy motor vehicle access and extensive commercial planting and harvesting of non-native eucalyptus and wattle plantations (Acacia dealbata, Acacia mearnsii and cattle grazing. In addition there is one large, and several smaller hydro-electric impoundments in the area.

Threatened plants of the Nilgiris include: Miliusa nilagirica (Vulnerable), Ceropegia decaisneana Rare, Ceropegia pusilla (Rare), Senecio kundaicus (Endangered), Youngia nilgiriensis (Endangered), Impatiens neo-barnesii (Endangered), Impatiens nilagirica Endangered, Euonymus angulatus (Endangered), Euonymus serratifolius (Endangered), Commelina wightii (Vulnerable), Ceropegia decaisneana (Rare), Ceropegia pusilla (Rare) and many more. recently FRLHT declared Nothapodytes nimmoniana' '{Vulnerable and near Endangered}

Visitor information

The Nilgiri hills can be reached by the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and by motor vehicle over five separate Nilgiri Ghat Roads.

A good way to enjoy the beauty of the Nilgiris is to trek its slopes. Some of the trekking routes are:

  • Ooty, Parson's Valley, Porthimund, Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association hut (NWLEA), Mukurthi Peak, Mukurthi Dam, Ooty.
  • Ooty, Upper Bhavani, Emerald, Avalanche via Kolaribetta, Ooty. (Accommodation at Upper Bhavani Forest guest house)
  • Ooty, Western Catchment 2, via T.R. Bazaar, Nilgiri Peak, Mukurti Peak, Sispara Pass via Western Catchment-2 and 1, Bangitappal, Ooty.
  • Ooty, Ebbanad, Segur, Anaikatti, Sirur, Theppakadu, Ooty.
  • Ooty, Pykara, Glenmorgan, Singara (Hydro PowerStation), Mudumalai, Solur Village, Ooty.
  • Coonoor, Lamb's Rock, Lady Canning's Seat, Dolphin's Nose, Law's Falls, Droog Fort, Coonoor.

The best trekking seasons are April-June and September-December. Application for trekking permits should be made in advance with the Wildlife Warden, Mahalingam buildings, Coonoor Road, Udhagamandalam – 643 001 ; Phone: 0423- 2444098



The District Collector, Collector's Office, Udhagamandalam, The Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu, retrieved 9/2/2007 Welcome to Queen of Hills - The Nilgiris

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