(L) View of Ooty, (R) The Archies Cast
(L) View of Ooty, (R) The Archies Cast

Ooty on our mind: 6 tourist charms of this hilly destination you must visit ahead of 'The Archies' release

As Zoya Akhtar’s The Archies releases in less than one week, we take you around Ooty, a verdant hill station where the live-action musical was shot

With a rich tapestry of legend and lore, Ooty or Ootacamund, or Udhagai, or Udhagamandalam, located in The Nilgiris, has managed to attract tourism over the years for its picturesque landscapes and pleasant climate, but despite the tide of tourists, the hill station’s beauty and tranquility remain unchanged. Once touted as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations,’ the town took a beating over the years, till the tourism department decided to wake up and smell the coffee.

Today’s Ooty is not half the scenic destination it was a few decades ago, but it still manages to be a hill station definitely worth a visit. A testament to the colonial past, Ooty’s lush green tea plantations, and mystical allure that hark back to a bygone era is precisely what appealed to Indian director Zoya Akhtar as she shot her live-action musical film, The Archies, at the hilly destination.

Scheduled to release on December 7, the film is set in a 1960s Anglo-Indian town and reimagines the Archies comics in India. It stars newcomers Suhana Khan as Veronica Lodge, Khushi Kapoor as Betty Cooper, Agastya Nanda as Archie Andrews, Vedang Raina as Reggie Mantle, Mihir Ahuja as Jughead, Yuvraj Menda as Dilton Doiley, and Aditi Dot as Ethel Muggs.

<em>The Archies</em>
The Archies

The story roughly revolves around young love and teen squabbles but the overarching theme is to protect a beloved park in Riverdale town. With back-to-back shots highlighting the verdant beauty of the said garden and also Ooty, we have curated an itinerary to take you around this hilly town before the film releases on Netflix.

Ooty Lake
If you are looking for a tranquil retreat during your trip, Ooty Lake, situated in the heart of the hill station makes for the perfect choice. Built to fulfill the town’s irrigation needs, the lake has now transitioned into a recreational spot with varied boating activities. While you can spend a couple of hours here, adjacent to the lake is Deer Park and if you are lucky, you might just spot the graceful woodland wanderer. 

<em>Ooty Lake</em>
Ooty Lake

St Stephen’s Church
Centrally located in Ooty, this is a tourist and cultural attraction that you cannot miss for its meditative atmosphere. Stephen's Church was consecrated in 1831, and inside, you will find plaques associated with the British colonial administration. Adorned with stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes, the church is significant to Ooty’s history. Here, you will find yourself soaking in moments of peace and prayer.

Botanical Gardens
A horticultural marvel, the Government Botanical Gardens in Ooty, spanning 55 acres, is one of the oldest and most diverse garden houses in India. Here, you can take a serene stroll across extensive plant species, both rare and exotic. Within the Botanical Gardens, you should also watch out for the Italian Garden, the Glass House, where the flower show is hosted annually, and the Toda Hill, a special section that pays tribute to the traditional agricultural practices of the Toda tribe and features an authentic Toda temple.

<em>Botanical Gardens</em>
Botanical Gardens

Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway operates at a leisurely pace and takes you around Ooty’s lush green tea plantations, forest and steep slopes all set against a breathtaking view of the hill station. Experience Ooty’s nostalgic old charm by stopping at notable stations like Coonoor, Wellington and Lovedale. The train originates at Mettupalayam and the leisurely ride takes close.

Stone House
Modern-day Ooty was conceptualised in 1822 when the Collector of Coimbatore, John Sullivan decided to explore the hilly town and constructed the first-ever English bungalow there. Popularly known as the Stone House and also called Kal Bangala by the tribals, this is a significant colonial structure that you must visit for its English charm.

Mukurthi National Park
A protected area in the Nilgiris district, Mukurthi National Park is bordered by Kerala to the west and Karnataka to the north and here, you would find a variety of flora and fauna. Some notable wildlife include Nilgiri tahr, Indian elephant, Indian leopard, sambhar deer and various species of langurs. Also an avian haven for bird enthusiasts, this park will offer you an up-and-close and intimate experience with nature. The park also encompasses beautiful areas like Emerald, Avalanche, Kundah, Bangitappal and Nadugani.

Related Stories

No stories found.