Emerald village is approx. 30km from Ooty via Ithalar and the Good Shepherd School. It is a small settlement comprising tea estates, carrot and potato fields and a housing colony of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board that owns the Emerald lake and dam.
The stunningly beautiful high altitude Emerald lake at 1995m is surrounded by peaks of the Nilgiri mountain range of the Western Ghats.
Emerald and Avalanche lakes are in fact one huge water body with two dams bearing their respective names, divided by a small bridge at Surukipalayam. The vast reservoir is a part of Tamil Nadu's Kundah Hydro Power Project. Currently visitors may not enter Emerald Dam without permission. Entry is allowed at the Avalanche Dam next door though no photography is permitted here. My advice is to skip the boring dams altogether and enjoy the lake instead.
Trout fish are abundant in these lakes but be warned that fishing is not allowed without a permit, though you will see locals having a go here and there along the lakeshore!
Emerald is the perfect place for long walks or a days picnic. Better to pack your hamper or buy food from the basic eateries at Emerald. Those who want to stay here have a choice of high budget Red Hills and Destiny Farms - both beyond the bridge at Surukipalayam, or very basic accomodation at Emerald village or at Annanagar just beyond Surukipalayam bridge. If you can swing it, then the Forest Rest House at Avalanche is the best place to stay, though that is on the Avalanche side of the lake and in a restricted area.
Though there are no official restrictions on setting up your own camp by the lake shore, if the forest department officials see you, they will encourage you to dismantle your tent and seek accommodation elsewhere.
Public buses ply at regular intervals from Ooty or you can hire a taxi for the day or self drive. If you have a permit and a vehicle, you can drive further to the Avalanche part of the lake which is even more beautiful and surrounded by dense forests. Or go beyond the Red Hills resort to Porthimund (permit required) and all the way to Parsons Valley which is another pretty lake.
This is a must visit for anyone coming to Ooty.
I have been here several times and look forward to more visits.
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