Stone House, Ooty

The Stone House in Ooty is one of the most significant and ancient monuments of Ooty that was inadvertently instrumental in the further development of Ooty into a prominent British and European Summer Resort that fostered the Hill Station to presently become one of the most visited Tourist Destination in India and worldwide.

The Ooty Stone House was the first building or rather Mansion to be constructed in a modern and yet colonial style in Ooty that indirectly caused further modernization of Ooty with numerous elegant cottages cropping up showcasing similar colonial architecture.

It was when the Collector of Coimbatore, John Sullivan sent Keys and Mc Mahon to explore the landscapes and survey the Nilgiris for development purposes. They were awe inspired by the magical beauty of the Nilgiris that spanned before their very eyes and conveyed this to Sullivan, who later undertook a journey that he would never regret. He took on an expedition to further explore and survey the Ghats in Ooty that led him to being known as the pioneer founder of Ooty as we see it today.

It was Sullivan who introduced the concept of ‘modernization’ and ‘urbanization’ to Ooty. On ensuring that Ooty was indeed habitable and also probably apprehending the potential of Ooty as the future tourist destination, he constructed the first ever English Mansion, known today as the Ooty Stone House in Ooty.

The British further increased accessibility into Ooty with the rest of the areas by undertaking several projects to develop this quaint Hill Station into a Summer Resort Destination for the British and Europeans. They constructed roads by clearing forests and laid down the Railway Track to link Ooty to the rest of the world. In a way, it is stated that all these developments was initiated by the establishment of the famous Stone House in Ooty.

The Ooty Stone House is situated on a very picturesque site in Ooty and a visit to this Stone Mansion is worth the time and energy, despite the fact that, a few tourists might think that there are better places to visit in Ooty rather than the Stone House.

One must realize that the Ooty Stone House is not only a Mansion but a Historical Monument that pioneered the urbanization of Ooty. The Stone House holds a special place amongst the heart of the residents owing to its ancient and historic background that conveys the story of how Ooty charismatically transformed into what we see today to become one of the most sought after tourist destinations worldwide.

Known as ‘Kal Bangala’ by the Toda Tribes where ‘Kal’ means ‘Stone’ and ‘Bangala’ means ‘Mansion’, the Stone House is entirely made of stone from where the name was inspired. It was erected by John Sullivan as his residence in 1822 after he acquired a plot of land from the Todas for just a Rupee per acre. This plot was initially covered with lush green Pine trees, ferns, lichens and orchids. The mansion reveals a sloping roof painted in Green while the architecture is kept simple yet resembling a typical British Cottage that probably houses a cozy fireplace in the sitting room.

Today, the Ooty Stone House is converted into the official residence of the Principal of the Government Arts College in Ooty. The ancient tree standing in front of this Mansion is popularly referred to as ‘Sullivan's oak’. You may not get to enter the precincts of the Stone House; however, you can admire its formidable structure from the outside and even snap a few pictures.

Steeped in a wealth of colourful history, even today, The Stone House in Ooty is considered as one of the most famous tourist sites in Ooty situated about 120 kms from Mysore via the shorter Masinagudi route and 155 Kms via the longer Gudalur route. Coimbatore Airport is 100 kms by road while Calicut is 146 Kms away, Kodaikanal is 240 Kms away and Bangaluru is 295 Kms by road.

The Stone House in Ooty is visited by a large number of tourists every year and hence has transformed today, into one of the prime tourist spots in Ooty.

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