Nilgiris District


Welcome to Nilgiris, one of the oldest mountain ranges, located at the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Nilgiris is a part of the Western Ghats. Ooty the "Queen of Hill Stations", Coonoor 19 kms from Ooty and Kotagiri 31 kms from Ooty, are the three hill stations of this district.

Nilgiris is India's first biosphere. It has been declared as one of the 14 'hotspots' of the world because of its unique bio-diversity.

Rolling grasslands, dense sholas, waterfalls, streams, lakes, vast expanse of tea plantations, interspersed with vegetable gardens, spectacular view points, an amazing variety of flora and fauna, fabulous trekking trails, innumerable heritage sites, spell binding sunrises and sunsets, magical light, pollution free atmosphere, mist, clouds, fog, star studded skies, serenity etc.

The Name 'Nilgiris' means Blue hills (Neelam - Blue and giri - Hill or Mountain) the first mention of this name has been found in the Silappadikaram. There is a belief that the people living in the plains at the foot of the hills, should have given the name, the Nilgiris, in view of the violet blossoms of 'kurinji' flower enveloping the hill ranges periodically. The earliest reference to the political history of the Nilgiris, according to W.Francis relates to the Ganga Dynasty of Mysore

Nilgiris presents a truly breathtaking kaleidoscope of visual treats and soul stirring experiences Come, discover it!

History Of   The Nilgiris District

The Nilgiris, because of its natural charm and pleasant climate, was a place of Special attraction for the Europeans. In 1818, Mr. Whish and Kindersley, who were assistants to the Collector of Coimbatore, discovered the place Kotagiri near Rengaswamy peak. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore was greatly interested in this part of the country. He established his residence there and reported to the Board of Revenue on 31st July 1819.

The Name ‘Nilgiris’ means Blue hills (Neelam – Blue and giri – Hill or Mountain) the first mention of this name has been found in the Silappadikaram. There is a belief that the people living in the plains at the foot of the hills, should have given the name, the Nilgiris, in view of the violet blossoms of ‘kurinji’ flower enveloping the hill ranges periodically. The earliest reference to the political history of the Nilgiris, according to W.Francis relates to the Ganga Dynasty of Mysore.

Immediately after the Nilgiris was ceded to the British in 1789, it became a part of Coimbatore district. In August 1868 the Nilgiris was separated from the Coimbatore District. James Wilkinson Breeks took over the administration of the Nilgiris as its Commissioner. In February 1882, the Nilgiris was made a district and a Collector was appointed in the place of the Commissioner. On 1st February 1882, Richard Wellesley Barlow who was the then Commissioner became the First Collector of Nilgiris.

Geographical Location of the District

The Nilgiris is situated at an elevation of 900 to 2636 meters above MSL. Its latitudinal and longitudinal dimensions being 130 KM (Latitude : 10 - 38 WP 11-49N) by 185 KM (Longitude : 76.0 E to 77.15 E). The Nilgiris is bounded on North by Karnataka State on the West by Coimbatore District, Erode District, South by Coimbatore District and Kerala State and as the East by Kerala State

In Nilgiris District the topography is rolling and steep. About 60% of the cultivable land falls under the slopes ranging from 16 to 35%

Area and Population

The District has an area of 2452.50 As per 2001 census the population of this district is as follows

  Total Population Male Female Sex Ratio Area Density
Total 762141 378351 383790 1014 1806.16 421.97
Rural 307532 151874 155658 1025 742.84 413.99
Urban 454609 226477 228132 1007 2549.00 178.35

District Administration

The Nilgiris District Comprises of six taluks viz Udhagamandalam, Kundah, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudalur and Pandalur. These taluks are divided in to four Panchayat Unions viz., Udhagamandalam, Coonoor, Kotagiri and Gudalur besides two Municipalities, Wellington Contonment and Aruvankadu Township. The District consists of 56 Revenue Villages and 15 Revenue Firkas. There are two Revenue Divisional in this district viz., Coonoor and Gudalur. There are 35 Village Panchayat and 13 Town Panchayat in this District.

Name of the Revenue Division Name of the Taluk No. of Revenue Firkas No. of  Revenue Villages Town Panchayat Village Panchayat
Coonoor Udhagai 3 13 Udhagai 4 13
Kundah 2 7
Coonoor 3 9
Kotagiri 3 15 Coonoor 4 6
Gudalur Gudalur 8 8 Kotagiri 1 11
Pandalur 4 4 Gudalur 4 5

Irrigation Source

There are no irrigation schemes in this district. The crops are mainly rain fed. Check Dams have been constructed wherever it is possible to exploit natural springs


The Nilgiris District is basically a Horticulture District and the entire economy of the district depends upon the success and failure of Horticulture Crops like Potato, Cabbage, Carrot, Tea, Coffee, Spices and Fruits. The main cultivation is plantation Crops, viz., Tea and Coffee. Potato and other vegetables are raised in Udhagai and Coonoor Taluks. Paddy and Ginger are grown in Gudalur and Pandalur Taluks. Paddy is also grown in Thengumarahada area in Kotagiri Taluk. Besides these crops, Ragi, Samai, Wheat, Vegetables etc., are also grown in small extent throughout the district.


Since this district is situated at an elevation of 900 to 2636 meters about MSL during summer the climate remains to the Maximum of 21 degree Celsius to 25 degree Celsius and the minimum of 10degree Celsius to 12degree Celsius . During the winter the temperature available to the maximum 16degree Celsius to 21degree Celsius. and minimum of 2degree Celsius.

  Total Population Male Female Sex Ratio Area Density
Total 762141 378351 383790 1014 1806.16 421.97
Rural 307532 151874 155658 1025 742.84 413.99
Urban 454609 226477 228132 1007 2549.00 178.35


The Nagapattinam - Gudalur National Highway Passes through this district. All the taluks are connected with Major District Roads. The village roads are maintained by Panchayat Union. There is no sea port or Airport in this district


There are 8 Hydel Power Houses in this district

Pykara Power House

Pykara Micro Power House

Moyar Power House

Kundah Power House - I

Kundah Power House-II

Kundah Power House - III

Kundah Power House - IV

Kundah Power House - V

Health Infrastructure

There are one District Head Quarters Government Hospital, 5 Taluk Hospitals, 28 Primary Health Centres, 194 Health Sub-Centres and 5 Plague circles.


The Nilgiris is mainly a Plantation District. The soil and climatic conditions are highly favorable for Tea cultivation. Tea industry here, is over 100 years old and is the backbone of the Economy of this District. It is an agro based export oriented industry. Of the total cultivated area, Tea is grown in nearly 70% of the area. As per the recent data available Tea is grown in over 45,974 hectares and the production is around 60,000 tons.

Tea manufacturing in the Nilgiris are mainly marketed in the auction centre at Coonoor. Apart from this, Nilgiris Teas are also exported through Cochin Port. The Tea offering consists of Cut-Twist-Curl leaf, Cut-Twist-Curl dust, Orthodox leaf and Orthodox dust.

Essential Oils

EUCALYPTUS OIL (Nilgiri Oil for Cold, Cough, Head - Ache)

Antiseptic and deodorant, used externally for common cold, cough, head ache. Inhaled with steam, relieves cough in chronic bronchitis and asthma. Two drops of this oil mixed with a teaspoonful of sugar taken internally relieves cough and sore throat and fever.


Lemon Grass oil is used for cramps and gastritis, it is used as a mosquito repellant and in some soaps for scenting. A drop in hot tea gives it a lemon flavour.

OIL OF WINTER GREEN (Gaultheria Oil)

One teaspoonful of this oil mixed with one teaspoonful of warm coconut or gingelly oil used externally relieves pain in joints, gout, chest pain etc. Highly effective for rheumatic pains and Arthritis. CAMPHOR OIL

Two teaspoonful mixed with 25 grams of warm coconut oil used externally relieves muscular pains, inflammation of joints, effective used as a vaporub in chest cold and cough.

CAMPHOR OIL (Chest pains and Asthma)

Two teaspoonful mixed with 25 grams of warm coconut oil externally relives muscular pains, inflammation of joints, effective used as a vaporub in chest cold and cough. A accepted remedy for asthma

CLOVE OIL (Tooth Ache)

A drop of this applied with a swab of cotton relieves tooth ache. A few drops mixed in toothpaste and used is good for teeth and gums it helps in removing stains on the teeth.

JAVA CITRONELLA OIL (Mosquito repellent)

It is used to import perfume to soaps, and agarbathies. A powerful insecticide against flies, mosquitoes, bed bugs, fleas etc. mixed with water it can be effectively used as a spray to ward off insect and house flies.


25 grams of this oil mixed in 100 grams Coconut oil or other oils, aids to check premature falling and greying of hair. It helps to grow new hair, it makes the hair smooth and soft, it prevents and cures dandruff' and helps to keep the scalp cool, when sprayed mixed in water it wards of mosquitoes. It has a strong lemon note.

ALMOND OIL (Skin care oil)

Direct application below the eyes clears black round the eyes. It clears pimples and black heads on the face. Best massage oil. It is special skin caring natural moisturizer makes your skin softer, smoother and lovelier.

GERANIUM OIL (Nilgiris attar pure extracts free from alcohol)

It has a lingering fragrance two drops of this oil on a small ball of cotton will emit fragrance to room place. Also used in hair oils and as a perfume in both water.

OLIVE OIL (Massage oil)

Rubbing this oil on body prevents from dryness and skin diseases. On face it cleans and prevents pimples and makes the skin delicate and lovely. It is very safe for babies of all ages massaging. It is also used for oil bath for babies.


This oil is used infood as spicy flavour. 4-5 drops of this oil can be taken internally with warm water for proper live function and digition 1-2 drops with sugar for flatulence.


It is antiseptic, antiviral, anti-fungal, antispasmodic, upper respiratory aid. Used in bath, massage, diffuser, mouthwashes, gargles, toothpastes & cough ozenges. Used for insomnia, nervous debility & stress related complaints.


The spices grown in the Nilgiris are very famous and popular. They command a very good price in the market. The spices require very delicate growing conditions which are suitably availably in the Nilgiris. The spices plantations and trade are a thriving industry in the Nilgiris. The commonly grown spices are as follows

cardamom chinn amon Clove
Nutmeg pepper Vannila


A variety of fruits are grown in the Nilgiris. Most of the varieties are developed and introduced by the Pomological Research Station under the Horticulture Department. Some very rare varieties with medicinal values are also grown. Temperate fruits like peaches, pears, strawberries, etc., are grown extensively and in good demand. Some of the Fruits grown in Nilgiris are

Apple Egg Fruit Passion Fruit
Avocado Fig Peach
Banana Jack Pear
Bilimbi Kiwi persimmon
Bread Fruit Loquat Plum
Carambola Litchi Pomogranate
Cherry Moyer Long Sat Rambuttan
Chinese gooseberry Malayan Apple Rose Apple
Citrus Mango Velvet Apple
Durian Mangos Teen Velvet Apple
  White Sapota  

Vegetables and Cereals

The British were keenly interested in Horticulture. They introduced many varieties of vegetables which had their origin in Europe. The vegetables were suitable to the European Culinary dishes and these vegetables now become very popular in India. The vegetables of Nilgiris are sourced by many traders from the cities and they are often transported in cold vans to ensure freshness. Vegetables Grown are

Artichoke Carrot peas
Beans Cauliflower Potato
Beetroot Knol khool Radish
Cabbage Leeks Red Cabbage
Capsicum Lettuce Turnip

There are many cereals which are the staple food of the local population and the tribals. The cereals grown here are consumed locally and there is not enough to send out from Nilgiris. The cereals are mostly rainfed and grown organically.

Maize Paddy Samai
Oats Ragi Wheat



Eucalyptus Oil extraction is yet another important old time industry here. One can smell the fragrance of the Oil wafting through the air during the course of extraction. Apart from leaves, the pulp wood is used as a major raw material for the manufacture of viscose for a factory situated at the foot hills of the Nilgiris District. Also the bark and the twigs are collected and distributed as a fuel supply (fire wood) under public distribution system


The Government of India, Ministry of Defense have set up a Cordite Factory at Aruvankadu, near Coonoor on the Coonoor-Ooty Road. The Factory was established in the year 1901. The Factory is engaged in the production of propellants for Gun Ammunition.


HPF was setup with the objective of supplying raw cine films to Motion Picture Industry, X-Ray films for Hospitals and special photographic materials for professional and amateur photographers in the Country.


In 1949, this was a British brewer factory slowly switched over to manufacture of Gramophone Needles and later on to hand sewing needles and then started their export somewhere in the year 1964 and from then on standing as leading manufacturers of Needles in the world and with diversifications of manufacturing of suture needles, knitting pins, safety pins, snap fasteners and now standing as a leader in the manufacture of above in the whole world. "Needle makers to the world".


An industry for manufacturing extracted products such as gelatine, ossein and allied Chemical products etc. was setup in the year 1971 in Sandynalla near Udhagamandalam under private sector.


The Govt. have setup a unit at Ooty under Co-operative sector which is engaged in the manufacture of milk products such as cream, butter, ghee, palkova, ice-cream and cheese.


M/s Hindustan Lever Ltd., a private concern has setup a unit on Kekkatty Road, Ketti for the manufacture of mushroom and mushroom based products


The Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation (TANSIDCO) has set up an industrial estate at Udhagamandalam in 1982. In the Nilgiris district, the total number of small scale industries units was only 39 during 1980 - 81 and this has risen up to 176 during 1986 - 87. However, during 1987 - 88, there was a slight decrease in the number of small scale industries units, which stood at 171. During 1988 - 89, 111 were registered.


The Government of India had taken a new industrial policy in 1978 for rapid growth of small scale units and tiny industries with a view to maximize employment opportunities and raise the income levels in rural areas. Accordingly, District Industries Center were set up in every district from 1978, so as to provide all services and assistance required by small and village industries through a single agency.


TANSIDCO has set up an Industrial Estate at Udhagamandalam near Hindusthan Photo Film Limited, in 1982 at a cost of Rs.15.69 lakhs. The land was retransferred by M/s. Hindustan Photo Film Limited to SIDCO, free of cost, for the construction of shed for small scale Industries units and for tiny sector. Government sanctioned a sum of Rs. 5 lakhs as share capital assistance during 1981 - 82 for construction of sheds in the industrial estate.


The unit was incorporated in the year 1978. It commenced production with effect from 1st August 1978 and it is engaged in assembling watches only. The required raw materials are supplied by the Hindustan Machine Tools (H.M.T). The investment on land and building is about Rs.4.23 lakhs and on machinery and equipment is Rs.6.46 lakhs. The unit has provided employment to 103 persons.



This is the earliest hydro - electric system installed in the district. The Kateri stream rises in the Kateri and Ketti valleys in the district. The Kateri falls is situated in the Ketti valley and flows from a height of 54.86 meters. Just above the falls, a dam to a height of 11.58m. was built across the outlet of a natural basin and a reservoir with a storage capacity of 12 1/4 million cubic feet formed in 1902. Above this, another dam enclosing a supplementary reservoir with a storage capacity of 10 million cubic feet was built later, in the year 1916. The length of the power house was 30.48 m; breadth 9.14 m. and height 10.36m. and it was designed to contain the whole of the generating plant, which consisted of four 125 KW. sets and one 500 KW. set, giving current at 5000 volts.


The pykara hydro electric system stands as a monumental example of the natural potentialities of the district for the generation of power. The pykara power plant is the highest head plant so far installed in the whole of Asia. It is situated at the height of 938.78 meters. The Pykara scheme which is the first hydro - electric project under taken by the composite Madras State was sanctioned in the year 1929.


The Moyar hydro - electric scheme in the district is the first hydro - electric project executed in the First Five Year Plan period. The project utilizes the tail water of the Pykara station over a drop of 396.24 meters and makes it available for 16 km. below the Pykara power house. Work on the scheme was begun in 1946 and completed in 1952.


The Kundah hydro - electric scheme is the biggest among the schemes so far executed to generate electricity in the State. Two streams, the Avalanche and the Emerald, rising amidst the group of high peaks, Devarbatta, Karaikada, Koulingabetta and Porthimund, all over 2438.40 m. The scheme was sanctioned by the Government in September 1955 at an estimated cost of Rs.3544 lakhs including transmission line. Executed during Second Five Year Plan period. A combined storage by two dams across Avalanche and Emerald Streams with a capacity of 5500 cubic feet


The Emerald and Avalanche dams have been built across the Emerald and Avalanche streams which are two arms of the kundah river. They are situated at a distance of about 29 km. from Udhagamandalam. It has a total storage of 5500 million cubic feet. The Avalanche dam is 372 m. in length and 57.66 m. height, while the Emerald dam is 328.6m. lon and 65.72 m. height. The two reservoirs thus formed are interconnected by a tunnel 733.77 m. long of horse shoe shape with a discharge of capacity of 900 cusecs.