Detail of Dodabetta observatory near Ootacamund shown in previous sketch; an Englishman and woman and white horse in the foreground. January 1852
Artist: Bellasis, George Hutchins (1807-1862)
Water-colour painting of Dodabetta Observatory, near Ootacamund (now called Udagamandalam) by George Hutchins Bellasis (1807-1862), January 1852. This view shows an Englishman and woman and a white horse in the foreground. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'The Observatory. (Highest Point.) 8864 feet.'
Dodabetta Peak is situated in Tamil Nadu in the south of India; it is the highest location in the area. In 1848 the 54 acre Government Botanical Garden was established here. This area has traditionally been home to the Toda people but in the 19th century East India Company officials from Madras came here to escape the heat of the Indian plains; they found the climate and scenery of the Nilgiris reminiscent of much of Europe. By the late 1850s Udagamandalam was a prosperous and expanding community, and in 1861 became the summer capital of the Government of Madras. The town developed an English character complete with Anglican churches, schools and administrative buildings and acquired a reputation for festivities and exuberance throughout British India.