A medium to low paced life, low population density, lots of peace and fresh air create a special atmosphere where learning becomes not only stress-free and less tedious but also easy and interesting. Vrushank Patel, 25, found all this in Ooty so he travelled all the way from Surat, Gujarat, to this famous hill station in Tamil Nadu to pursue his higher education.
“Studying, or more aptly learning, is a crucial part of everyone’s life. Although different skills/lessons are best learnt in different types of environments, there’s a particular environment suitable for learning in general. You get that environment in Ooty. I guess that’s why I came here,” says Patel.
As a student, Patel had heard so much about Ooty’s magnificent charm from friends that it left an indelible impression on him. “I grew up in Surat and once I finished my schooling, I just wanted to get rid of the monotonous city life. I just couldn’t concentrate on my studies. It might be because I was unable to cope with the stress that the city’s hustle-bustle caused. I wanted to become an architect and luckily, I came to know about McGan’s Ooty School of Architecture where I got admission.”
Patel’s college has a great location, something that any nature lover could ask for. It’s a bit away from the town of Ooty and set amidst a group of tiny hamlets with tall trees on one side and vistas on the other.
“Ooty is known for good schools. It is a popular study destination among Indian as well as some foreign students. But higher education is not its USP as there are only a handful of colleges offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses. And then there are vocational institutions such as the famed Light and Life Academy. Higher education is also finding its way in Ooty gradually,” says Patel.
Some of the colleges where students come from other states are CSI College of Engineering, Tribal Research Centre, (Tamil University), Suverna International Institute of Management Studies, St Joseph’s College of Education, Sacred Heart Technical Institute, Monarch International College of Hotel Management, JSS College of Pharmacy, Merit Swiss Asian School of Hotel Managemen, Emerald Heights College for Women, Government Arts College and Government Polytechnic.
According to Patel, majority of the students in colleges in Ooty are from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. “Only a handful are from the other states of India. The main reason for this might be misrepresentation or lack of information regarding the scope of education in Ooty. I feel that there are good colleges where quality education is available but people don’t know much about it.
“They still view Ooty as a good place for school education. As said earlier, Ooty is a beautiful place to be in. The setting is just right for education. With all the basic facilities in place, it’s easy for students to adapt to it,” he says.
Patel says that dense forests, beautiful lakes, tea gardens and numerous grasslands make Ooty an ideal tourist destination for thousands of people every year.
“The best way to know Ooty is to experience it and nothing matches it. I would recommend Botanical Garden, Dolphin’s Nose, Pykara (lake and falls) and Kodanad Viewpoint. Unfortunately the native tribal people have lost their original culture due to commercialisation,” he adds.
However, students who come from outside have to face certain challenges too. “The main hurdle for students is to get around in Ooty. You need to wait for buses and rickshaw/taxi drivers think you’re a millionaire. The students need to pre-plan their travel and though it’s usually fine, it might be a problem in cases of an ­emergency. Thankfully our college has a car with driver available in campus for this purpose at all times.”
“The next main scope of improvement,” adds Patel, “would be food. Ooty is famous for tea and the locals also praise its chocolates and varkey but they fail to make an impression. Except a few restaurants and even roadside eateries are not upto the mark.
“A student helpline run by police/municipality and volunteer students could be setup to address students’ queries, emergencies, requirements of students with special needs and those with language issues. There should be a ropeway for sight seeing and tourist vehicles should be restricted,” Patel says.
5 things one must do when in the city
* Visit Botanical Garden, Dolphins Nose, Pykara (lake and falls) and Kodanad ­Viewpoint
* Pre-plan your travel. Though it’s usually fine, it might be a problem in cases of an ­emergency
* Ooty is a good place for school education. It is a beautiful place to be in
* Visit Dolphin’s Nose. Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint is a tourist spot near Coonoor. It is well over 1,000 feet above sea level, 10 km from Coonoor and is a spectacular spot to visit. The tip of the peak resembles a dolphin’s nose and that is how it got its name
* Visit Kodanad Viewpoint. It offers a spectacular view of the gentle sloping hills