Known locally as Ooty, Udhagamandalam, India, was the most popular hill station in south India for colonial officials on summer holiday. It remains a popular tourist destination and is a common location for Indian feature films. Attractions include the Ooty Club, St. Stephen's Church (intriguing headstones in the cemetery) and the Government Botanical Gardens (more than 2,000 species of plants). Day trips include a drive to Doddabetta, literally "Big Mountain," which is the highest peak in the Nilgiris, and boat rentals from the Ooty Lake Boat House. Udhagamandalam is 540 mi/870 km southeast of Mumbai.
The drive from nearby Mysore up to Ooty is breathtaking. There are two routes that diverge while driving through the Mudumalai Sanctuary. The shorter and steeper one through Masinagudi is the better one, since there's a chance of sighting wild elephants early morning or late evening.