In 1819, two civil servants of the Madras Government, J.C. Whish and N.W. Kindersley, make a journey to the hills. They go through a pass in the hills near Denad - village of Kil Kotagiri -, and as reported back to their superiors, “discovered’’ a tableland possessing a European climate”. They called that place ‘‘Kotercherry’’.Soon after, the Collector of Coimbatore, John Sullivan, built himself a home in Kotagiri – ‘‘Kota-giri’’ means ‘’mountain of the Kotas tribe’’-. He was the first European resident of the Nilgiris hills. On his suggestion, the Madras government opened a ‘sanatorium’ in Ooty and started the practice of moving the whole government to the hills during summer.
Nevertheless, Kotagiri remained the first choice for homesick British men wanting to settle in hills. The area was of a pleasant climate of neither extreme unlike Ooty or Coonoor, which were colder. The plateau also had more of a warm wind than rain through the year. By the 1830s, there were some twenty bungalows built around here.It is also the first place where tea, coffee and other spices were planted and made available to market. The first coffee estate was planted by M.D. Cockburn in 1843 & the first tea plantation by his daughter in 1863
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