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Kotagiri is a panchayat town in The Nilgiris District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Kotagiri is situated at an elevation of around 1793m above sea level and is one of the three popular hill stations located in the Nilgiris. This picturesque hill station is bounded by verdant green tea estates and offers a number of trekking options.

This old hill station has been developed around innumerable knolls and valleys. The Doddabetta Range is 22 km away. Catherine Falls, Elk Falls and Rangaswami Pillar are the major attractions near Kotagiri and you can trek to these places. Kodanad View Point offers a spectacular view of the gentle sloping hills and blue hills. There is another jungle trekking trail that leads you to a small stream of water. The three popular trekking trails are Kotagiri - Kodanad; Kotagiri - St. Catherine Falls and Kotagiri - Longwood Shola. The Kotagiri - Kodanad trail leads you through splendid views of lush-green tea estates and the magnificent Moyar River. One has to cross through meadows to reach Kodanad.

Geography:Kotagiri is located at 11.43N 76.88E.[1] It has an average elevation of 1793 metres (5882 ft). Kotagiri enjoys a climatic advantage over Ooty in that it is protected by the Doddabetta mountain range from the onslaught of the south-west monsoon.

Demographics:As of 2001 India census,[2] Kotagiri had a population of 29,184. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Kotagiri has an average literacy rate of 77%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 70%. In Kotagiri, 9% of the population is under 6 years of age. It was once considered as having the second best climate in the world. Tamil,Baduga (a local dilect which is a mix of Tamil and Kannada ) and Kannada are widely understood by most people of the town. AREA=377.41sq km

HISTORY:Kotagiri, although having no written history of the pre-British period, has been around for a very long time. The area just below Coonoor and the slopes of the Nilgiri hills has been the traditional home of the "kota" tribes. The name Kota-giri itself means mountain of the kotas. While the todas are the traditional agriculturists of the Nilgiris, the Kotas are the traditional artisans and are experts in the art of pottery and terracotta baking. The Kota tribe is known for their reclusiveness and their reluctance to meet or mix with any outsider. They currently number just around a 1000 members, and are fast declining.

Kotagiri was known in the past as Kota-Keri or Kota-gherry the street of Kotas. In fact, there was a Kota settlement there and it was only in 1911 when the lands occupied were acquired by government for sanitary improvement purposes and the Kota settlement had to be shifted, to 'Aggal' hamlet, 2 km. away from Kotagiri. The temple of the Kotas dedicated to the deity 'Kamataraya' still remains there and has been renovated. The Kotas worship at this temple every month and the annual festival which takes place on the Arudra Dharshan day at this temple is of great importance to all the Kotas of the district.

After the forgotten expedition made by Keys and McMohan to the Nilgiris, two civil servants of the Madras Government, J.C. Whish and N.W. Kindersley, made a journey to the hills in 1819. The exact reason for their trip remains unknown, but it possibly could have been in pursuit of smugglers. They went through pass in the hills (now the DENAD village of Kil Kotagiri), and as reported back to their superiors, had discovered a tableland possessing a European climate. They called the tableland Kotercherry.

Soon after, the Collector of Coimbatore, John Sullivan, himself journeyed into the hills and built himself a home in Kotagiri. He was the first European resident of the Nilgiri hills. On his suggestion, the Madras Government opened a sanatorium in Ooty and started the practice of moving the whole government to the hills during summer. With the town becoming their personal health resort, several Englishmen followed and settled here. The environment could have been to them reminiscent of the hills and dales of old England which they had left behind for service to the King/Queen.

Nevertheless, Kotagiri remained the first choice for homesick Englishmen wanting to settle in the hills. The area was of a pleasant climate of neither extreme unlike Ooty and Coonoor, which were damper and colder. The climate was for them, like home. The plateau also had more of a warm wind than rain through the year. John Sullivan was followed by others including numerous elite like the Marquis of Dalhousie, and by the 1830s, there were some twenty bungalows built around here. They had the best of both worlds, living in Madras (now Chennai) during the winter and shifting to Kotagiri during the oppressive summers.

Kotagiri lost its importance when the new ghat road was built from Mettupalayam at the foothills to Coonoor. Until then the only way to get to Ooty was the horse trail that led through Kotagiri. This trail was built in 1821 by Evan McPherson and was the only way up till around 1870 when a proper road was built.

Kotagiri today is one of the smaller towns in the Nilgiri hills and is relatively unknown to outsiders. Kotagiri however has many firsts to its name. It has the distinction of being the first area in the Nilgiris to be discovered and settled by the British Government, and was the first choice destination for several Madras Government servants to use as a summer retreat before it sank into anonymity when the other two towns of Ooty and Coonoor took over in terms of popularity.

It is also the headquarters of the Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association (NAWA). NAWA does some wonderful work in the area helping local tribespeople otherwise known as adivasis. It is also the first place where cash crops like tea, coffee and other spices were planted and made available to market. It is also the place for tourists to visit sightseeing places like Kodanad View Point, St. Catherine waterfalls, Lord Rangaswamy Peak, Thengumarahada, Lord Rangaswamy Pillar and Kootada.

ORIENTATION :The hill resort of Kotagiri is located in the famous Nilgiri Hills.Kotagiri is located at 1126N 7653E / 11.43N 76.88E.

BEST TIME TO VISIT:Kotagiri because of its mild temperature all round the year, it can be visited at any time.

Kotagiri boasts of many residential and non-residential schools providing good education:
Victory Park - International Community School and Junior College
St. Jude's Public School & Junior College
Kotagiri Public School (CBSE)
Viswa Santhi Vidyalaya Matric School
Riverside Public School
St. Marys Home School
Pandiaraj Matric Higher Secondary School
Green Valley Matric School
St. Antony's Middle School
C.S.I Higher Secondary School
St. Mary's Girls Higher Secondary School
Government (Boys) Higher Secondary School

The colleges in Kotagiri are listed below:
KAYPEEYES College of Arts and Science
District Institute of Education and Training
NPA Centenary Polytechnic College:[4]
House of joy Vocational Training Centre for the Blind

THE PLANTATION STORY:The first coffee estate was planted by M.D. Cockburn in 1843, in Kanhutty. Regular planting took off soon after and several plantations were opened. But planting seems to have been around for years before that. Several small attempts were made around the area, with Pope and Magrath opening in Kotagiri, M.D. Cockburn on the Kotagiri ghat, his son George Cockburn in Kotagiri, and Bannerman and Haldwell in Totapolliam.

The first tea plantation however owes its existence to a lady, the daughter of M.D. Cockburn, who opened an estate in 1863, followed by Kodanad. Tea soon took over, and coffee growing was given up. There was a steady growth of tea planting. By the end of the 19th century, it was in around 3,000 acres (12 km2), and today it is almost 30,000 acres (120 km2).[3]

Kotagiri has seen the growth of many hi tech cut flower farms in the past three years. Many enterprising farmers have put up climate controlling greenhouses in which high value flowers are grown, carnations, liliums and gerbera thrive in this environ.

TRANSPORTATION LINKS:Kotagiri is linked by road to Mettupalayam. The road which continues on to Ooty (27 km from Kotagiri to Ooty) is one of the Nilgiri Ghat Roads and is now one of the five access routes for the entire district. Coonoor is 23 km from Kotagiri and connected by a road that branches off the Ooty road.

Buses to Kotagairi are available from Mettupalayam in the foothills and also from Ooty and other places.

Kotagiri is well-connected with all the major cities of Tamil Nadu by road. There are regular bus services from Ooty, Mettupalayam and Coonoor. The nearest railhead is in Coonoor. The nearest airport is in Coimbatore (65 km) which is well-linked to cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Cochin.

FESTIVALS:There is a temple dedicated to Kamataraya deity and the annual festival which falls on Arudra Darshan day is of great importance to all the Kotas.Also the thaipoosam festival which falls in the month of February is celebrated with great pomp in the Elk Hill Murugan Temple.

Population 29184
Summer Max. 25C, Min. 10C
WinterMax. 21C, Min. 5C
Best SeasonApril to June and September to November
LanguagesBadaga, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, and English
ClothingHeavy Woolen in winter/ Light Woolen in summer
Time5.30 GMT
STD Code04266
ISD Code+91

KODANAAD VIEW POINT:The Kodanaad View point is perched on the eastern most edge of the Nilgiri's at a distance of about 18 km east of Kotagiri and at an altitude of about 6500ft.You can get a beautiful view of the green carpeted paddy fields of Tengumarahaada village lying below.Apart from this you get breathtaking views of the Moyar and Bhavani rivers and the Mysore Plateau. This place is also referred as the Terminus Country.

ELK FALLS:Elk Falls is situated close to the Uyilathi village at a distance of about 7 km from Kotagiri.Though this waterfall comes in full gush only in the rainy season it is worth visiting this place to get the view of the Echoing Valley of Kookal.The other attractions here include the first European house built in 1819 by collector Sullivan at the Kannerimukku village which now remains as ruins. You can also have a close look into the lives of the tribal people by exploring the Badaga settlement, on the road to the falls.

St.CATHERIAN'S FALLS:It is 8 km from kotagiri on the Mettupalyam road. This double-cascaded Falls is the second highest in the district (250 ft) and it waters from the upper stream of the kallar river crossed by the invisible Mettupalyam-Ooty road beyond the mountains in the south-west. From this point of view Dolphin's Nose of Coonoor is also seen across the mighty gap in the hills. It presents a lovely view of the tea gardens and forests and woodlands.

LONGWOOD SHOLA:The Longwood shola is also otherwise known as the Dodda Shola by the local people of Kotagiri and is 3kms away from the town. Longwood shola is one of the major water resources in Kotagiri for more than 15 villages in the Aravenu area. In this area of the Western Ghats one can get to see the stunted evergreen vegetation or the shola forests and this plays a major role in Kotagiri's microclimate. This is an ideal place for trekking and for bird watchers. Longwood Shola is also noted for Indian giant squirrel, bonnet macaque, barking deer, Nilgiri Marten and Indian bison.

BIKKAPATHI RESERVE:Bikkapathi Reserve about 10 kms from Kotagiri is under the control of the Forest Range Officer of Kattabettu at Kotagiri.This reserve is an ideal place to trek but only on prior permission.

RANGASWAMY PILLAR AND ROCK:Rangaswamy Pillar or the peak is considered very sacred by a particular tribal community named Irulas of Kotagiri and is at a distance of about 20kms from the same. The Rangaswamy roch which is about 400 metres high is literally a nightmare for the rock climbers. This is a very adventurous place which should never be missed in Kotagiri.

Kotagiri Hotels:
Peak View Cottage
Nahar Stone House
Heavenly Stay
Hope Park
Trilan Cottages
Belair Cottages
Moon Shadow Cottages
Ridgeway Cottages

Kotagiri Travels:
vibgyor Travels
Ooty Taxi
Nitin Tours & Travels
Impala Travels
Dreams Travels
Explore Ooty
KPN Travels

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