Iconic Nilgiri Mountain Railway hits 116-year milestone in style
Ooty's Nilgiri mountain railway celebrates its 116th anniversary, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's the longest and steepest meter gauge railway in Asia, with a rich history and cultural significance. A celebration at Udagai Railway Station included traditional performances and festivities.
On the occasion of Ooty’s iconic Nilgiri mountain railway’s 116th anniversary, a significant milestone. This remarkable train service holds a unique place in history, with its origins dating back to the British colonial era. It began operations between Mettupalayam and Coonoor on June 15, 1899, offering a picturesque journey through the hills. Later, on October 15, 1909, the railway service extended to the Udagai Hill station, expanding its reach and significance.
Every year, October 15 is designated as Nilgiri Hill Railway Day, a day of recognition for this remarkable journey. This rail route is notable for its 16 tunnels, 216 arches, and 250 bridges, making it a marvel of engineering and offering an exceptional experience for travellers. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the longest and steepest meter gauge railway in all of Asia.
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In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, UNESCO declared the Nilgiri Mountain Railway a World Heritage Site on July 15, 2005.
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To honour this special day, a celebration was held at the Udagai Railway Station. Under the guidance of Nataraj, the founder of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway Trust, tourists arriving on the mountain train were warmly welcomed with flowers. The occasion was marked with a cake-cutting ceremony, and sweets were distributed to all participants. This provided an opportunity to share the unique features and history of the mountain train with those in attendance.
Adding to the festivities, the Todar people, who have a deep connection to the land, took part in the celebration. Dressed in their traditional cultural attire, they sang songs and performed dances in their native language, creating a captivating experience for the tourists who had chosen to ride the mountain train.