Kotagiri which is about 30 km. east of Udhagamandalam, 23 km. from Coonoor and 33 km. from Mettupalayam is one of the oldest and the largest of the hill stations. It is situated at a height of 6511' above the mean sea level and it possesses an agreeable climate among the hill stations of the district. It is protected by the Doddabetta range from the violent southwest monsoon and is not affected by mists which are so common at Coonoor. The lower elevation of the place makes it warmer than Udhagamandalam. These advantages in the climate make the station a fine health resort. Kotagiri stands at the head of a fine ravine running down towards Mettupalayam.
The place was known in the past as “Kota-Keri” or (Kota-gherry) the street (or line of homes) of Kotas”. In fact, there was a Kota settlement there and it was only in 1911 when the lands occupied were acquired by government for sanitary improvement purposes and the Kota settlement had to be shifted, to 'Aggal' hamlet, 2 km. away from Kotagiri. The temple of the Kotas dedicated to the deity 'Kamataraya' still remains there and has been renovated. The Kotas worship at this temple every month and the annual festival which takes place on the “Arudra Dharshan” day at this temple is of great importance to all the Kotas of the distrct.
John Sullivan, the first Englishman to set foot on the Nilgiri hills pitched his tent near a village by name Dimbatti which is very close to Kotagiri.