Interesting heritage Post Office building, Ooty

Udagamandalam (Ooty) GPO.

Ooty (also Oodagamandalam), 80 km north of Coimbatore city is the capital of  Nilgiris district, besides being a popular hill station of south India. It is located in the picturesque Nilgiri Hills that form part of the Western Ghat mountain chain. This beautiful 
land, originally occupied by the hill tribes Todas, was under the rule of various Indian kings before it was taken over by the East India Company at the end of the 18th century. The economy is based on tourism and agriculture and is well connected with the neighboring states by the Nilgiri ghat roads and Nilgiri Mountain Railway. After the first study of this area in 1818 by J. C. Whish and N. W. Kindersley, assistants to John Sullivan, then Collector of Coimbatore,  the latter visited Ooty and camped at Dimbhatti, north of Kotagiri in January 1819. The credit goes to John Sullivan who made Nilgiri hills and Ooty popular and he was ably supported by Thomas Munro. Further, Sullivan was so overwhelmed by the beauty of this wooded area with fine springs and small streams, he himself later became the first European to settle here and build a house on his own. Ooty and the surrounding areas have innumerable tea and coffee plantations  and the products are internationally well-known.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Tea planttions.
It was in 1826, the first Post Office in Udagamandalam (Ooty) was opened with the staff  of a writer and two delivery peons. The services were  initiated in a government bungalow and they continued till 1833. However, there are no  clear records  regarding the early location of the original office. The building which afterwards became the Post Office is shown and marked as Government Bungalow in the earliest plan of Ootacamund in 1829. Records show that in November 1833 the Post Office was at Ray’s House.

The post office later functioned in a  Travelers’ Bungalow which was in a poor state . It was simply a hovel  with three small rooms and was in use for some time. The Postal Department in 1866 took control of the whole building and maintained it until 1878,  A decision was made to pull down part of the building and build a new one to accommodate both the Postal and Telegraphic department.  The post office was moved to its present buildings in December 1883 and, along with the Telegraph Office and Law Courts, forms a cluster of impressive ornamental buildings on Mount Road.

The office that serves as the head office is classified as a heritage site by the Indian Government and this office serves as a collection center for other seven branches in the Taluk. The postal services in Ooty comes under the Western Region of Tamil Nadu Postal Services with its headquarters in Coimbatore city. 

A heritage postal stamp dated  13 May 2010 was released by the Indian Postal department, depicting the image of Udagamandalam GPO in Rs. 5.00 denomination.