The ultimate ‘Archies’ itinerary for Ooty, Tamil Nadu

The captivating scenes of The Archies unfold against the picturesque backdrop of Ooty’s scenic landscapes. Nestled in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, Ooty transforms into the fictional Riverdale in the film, leveraging its diverse and scenic locations. The town’s colonial architecture seamlessly blends with the film’s narrative, featuring iconic landmarks like Ooty Lake, Nilgiri Mountain Railways, Botanical Gardens, Rose Garden, and Doddabetta Peak. This cinematic showcase has significantly bolstered tourism, drawing praise from government representatives who note a substantial increase in footfall.

According to data from the tourism department, approximately 3,359,298 tourists have been recorded till November.

“Movies like The Archies, especially now with the instantaneity and demand of streaming and OTT, significantly impact the filming location, Ooty in this case, and drive an increase in footfall,” says Umashankar Tourist officer of Nilgiris Region. “The timeless allure, with landscapes, colonial architecture, and diverse locations, has made it a perennial choice for filmmakers,” he adds, affirming Ooty’s allure as a prime filming destination. According to data from the tourism department, approximately 3,359,298 tourists have been recorded till November. Here’s an all-inclusive, aesthetic and very-Archies guide to the queen of all hill stations.

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Nilgiri Mountain Railways

The Nilgiri Mountain Railways, a British-constructed meter gauge railway utilising both steam and diesel locomotives, represents India’s exclusive rack railway. Recognized by UNESCO in 2005, it extends the legacy of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway World Heritage Site. This historical railway, situated amid the captivating landscapes of the Nilgiri Hills, stands out for its unique gauge system. As the sole rack railway—a unique railway system utilizing a toothed rack and gear mechanism for traction on steep gradients—it adds to the charm of the Mountain Railways of India.

How to Reach: The railway station in Ooty is well-connected by road. The train journey begins at Mettupalayam, and one can reach Mettupalayam by road or train from Coimbatore.

Price: Ticket prices vary based on classes. First Class: INR 205, Second Class: INR 30, Unreserved: INR 15.

Ooty Lake

Integral to the hill station, Ooty Lake likely serves as a backdrop for picnic scenes in The Archies. Encircled by Eucalyptus trees, enhancing its tranquillity, the man-made lake, established in 1824, offers numerous sunny/shady spots to appreciate its beauty. Visitors can partake in boat rides, with rowing and paddle boating as favoured choices. Initially designed for irrigation, the lake has transformed into a recreational hub, providing various boating activities. Adjacent to the lake lies Deer Park, offering a chance to spot the graceful woodland wanderer, making the lakeside an ideal location for spending a couple of hours.

How to Reach: Ooty Lake is centrally located, accessible from the bus stop and railway station, both within 2 km. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are available.

Entrance Fees: 13 for Indians

Boat Charges (30 minutes):

Pedal Boat: 240 for 2-seater, 260 for 4-seater

Row Boat: 250 for 4-seater, 290 for 6-seater

Timings: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Rose Garden

Nestled on Elk Hill’s slopes in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, at an altitude of 2200 meters, the Government Rose Garden was established in May 1995 to commemorate the Centenary Flower Show. Spanning five terraces across four hectares, it is meticulously maintained by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department. Resembling the iconic Greepark show in The Archies, this rose garden sits on the slopes of Elk Hill in Vijayanagaram, Ooty. Hosting over 2000 rose varieties, from miniature and hybrid tea roses to black and fluorescent green ones, Ooty’s Rose Garden is a haven for flower enthusiasts, showcasing rare and exotic blooms.

How to Reach: Ooty Rose Garden is easily reached by road via public transport like buses, auto-rickshaws, or taxis, and for those driving, take the Coimbatore-Ooty-Gundelpet Highway and Church Hill Road.

Price: 30 for adults, 15 for children

Timings: 7:30 AM – 6:30 PM. May close during specific seasons or events.

Fernhills Royal Palace

Suzanne Caplan Merwanji’s production team crafted sets blending Ooty’s English and Gothic architectural styles with 1960s influences from hill stations across India. The film showcases Fernhills Palace, once the Maharaja of Mysore’s summer residence, presented in a light blue hue. With a design reminiscent of a Swiss Chalet, this opulent estate served as an ideal setting for affluent homestead scenes.

Tea Estates

Betty’s cycling scenes in The Archies, featuring Khushi Kapoor, were probably filmed amid numerous tea estates, becoming essential shooting locations. Explore guided tours at these estates, offering insights into tea cultivation and the intricate tea-making process, with some estates offering their unique brands and speciality tea blends for purchase.

How to Reach:

Located approximately 5 km from Ooty’s city centre, access Tea Estate View Point by hiring taxis or using public buses from the Ooty bus stand. Ooty has regular bus services from Bangalore, Chennai, and Coimbatore. If coming by train, Travel to Mettupalayam from cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, and Mysore.

Timings: Open all day, with favourable visiting hours from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Tea Factory and Tea Museum: Open from 9 AM to 5:30 PM.

Fees: The entry fee for the factory is 10 per person, with an additional 10 for the museum.

Inputs by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development

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