Places to Visit in Kodaikanal
The cool and misty weather, the scenic beauty of the rolling hills and the wooded forest of Kodaikanal and its surroundings will mesmerize any visitor throughout the year. Referred to as ‘The Princess of Hill Stations’, Kodaikanal is situated amidst the folds of the lush green Palani hills in the Western Ghats, at 7200 feet above sea level, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. One can walk through the wooded forests, row in the lake, bath in one of the splashing waterfalls, go for horse riding and cycling around the lake or simply admire the views. Kodaikanal was established in 1845 as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains. Much of the local economy is based on the hospitality industry serving tourism.
The economy of Kodaikanal predominantly depends on tourism. The town’s infrastructure changes every year in preparation for the peak tourist season. Major roads are converted into one-way lanes to regulate the constant inflow of traffic and special police are brought in for the safety of the tourists and protection of local businesses. Hotels are often fully booked during the high season, and remain virtually empty during the off-season. Kodaikanal’s scenic beauty is further magnified during the rains and thus figures on the list of best monsoon destinations in India. The pride of Kodaikanal is the ‘Kurinji-flower’, which blossoms once in 12 years. Due to the rapid development of nearby cities such as Madurai and Coimbatore, the town is learning to deal with year-round tourism. Popular tourist souvenirs include handcrafts, home-made chocolates, postcards and Eucalyptus oil.
Climate in Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal has a monsoon-influenced subtropical highland climate. The temperatures are cool throughout the year due to the high elevation of the city.
How to Reach Kodaikanal
The closest airports to Kodaikanal are Madurai (120 km) and Coimbatore (175 km). Nearest railway station is the Kodairoad Station which is nearly 80-100 km away.
Kodaikanal is easily accessible by road from Chennai (439 kilometres) and Bangalore (305 kilometres). It’s only about 3.5 hours away from Madurai.
Chennai, Bengaluru, Puducherry and Trichy are cities from where one can avail of online ticket booking at abhibus.com to travel to Kodaikanal.
Tourist Attractions in Kodaikanal
There are several points of interest at this scenic locale that one can enjoy. Following are some of the attractions:
1 – Kodaikanal Lake
This is an artificial, roughly star-shaped lake built in 1863. It is recognized as Kodaikanal’s most popular geographic landmark and tourist attraction. Rowboats and pedals can be hired at the Kodaikanal Boat Club and horses and bicycles can be hired beside the lake for short periods. The 5 kilometres path that skirts the border of this lovely lake is a favourite walk for the locals and tourists alike. The famous and unique, Kurinji flowering plant which blooms once in 12 years, is said to be found in the lake’s catchment area.
2 – Pillar Rocks
The famous Pillar Rocks of Kodaikanal are located around 8 km from the lake and are an exquisite picnic spot. Constituting of a beautiful mini garden, the place is so named as it has three vertically positioned boulders reaching up to a height of 400 feet.
3 – Silver Cascade
8 kilometres from Kodaikanal town, at a wide bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road, at an altitude of 5,900 ft, is a 180 ft scenic waterfall formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake. The water flow may not be forceful and good enough for bathing but this impressive, seemingly silver waterfall is a popular stop for first-time visitors. There are a few souvenir and fruit vendors and many monkeys here. There is also a smaller but more serene waterfall below the bridge which crosses the stream here.
4 – Green Valley View (Formerly called Suicide Point)
Green Valley View, or the otherwise known Suicide Point, is a magnificent spot in Kodaikanal, popular mainly for its enroute fun. One must walk through misty woodlands and panoramic walks to reach this heaven like spot near the golf course. It has an excellent panoramic view of the plains and a sheer drop of 4,900 ft overlooking the Vaigai Dam to the south. The stairway leading up to it is highly commercialized and lined with rows of shops to tempt tourists.
5 – Bryant Park
Just east of the lake, is a wonderfully maintained 20.5 acres botanical garden. With 325 species of trees, shrubs and cacti, the park is a rainbow of stunning flowers during the peak season. A large section is dedicated to nearly 740 varieties of roses. There is an Eucalyptus tree and a Bodhi tree which adds a religious significance to the park. Ornamental plants are cultivated in a nursery for sale. The park organizes horticultural exhibits and flower shows every summer, to coincide with the peak season. The best time to visit this marvelous park is during the annual horticulture show that is held during the month of May.
6 – Coakers Walk
Coakers walk is a one kilometer long (3,300 ft) paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep mountain slopes on the southern side of Kodai. About 1600 ft from the bus stand, it was constructed in 1872 by Lt Coaker. The walk provides a stunning panoramic view of the plains. People are also allowed to ride bicycles here. There is an observatory with a telescope halfway along the walk.
7 – Berijam Lake
Located at a distance of 21-km from Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, Berijam Lake is one among the most beautiful lakes of South India. This star shaped lake, which is spread over an area of 24 hectares is known for its pure water. It is surrounded by a picturesque cover of greenery and is home to a wide verity of flora and fauna and also serves as the source of drinking water to the nearby villages. A special permit from the forest department is needed to enter the place and only a certain number of vehicles are allowed. The fire tower, lake view and the medicine forest are the main attractions here. Entry to the area is restricted between 9.30 am to 3 pm as wild animals like panther, deer, snakes and bison are often spotted near the lake during these hours.
8 – Dolphin’s Nose
A popular trekking spot in Kodaikanal, Dolphin’s Nose is a rock which projects over a wide chasm, approximately 2,000 meters deep. Its peculiar shape is the reason behind the name and one can witness the most breathtaking views of the Western Ghats from here. One can also access the amazing Pambar or the Liril Falls here, which is an amazing hidden attraction.
9 – Bear Shola Falls
located at a distance of 2 km from the Kodaikanal Lake, these falls are another popular tourist spot within the destination. Owing to the fact that in earlier days, bears used to come to this fall for drinking water, the falls were named as Bear Shola Falls.
This is a seasonal waterfall which comes to life during the monsoons. It is 3 kms away from Kodaikanal Bus Stand and can be accessed easily. Further ahead, is the Kodaikanal Lake, just 2 kms further from the falls. It is quiet, peaceful and a true haven for those who want to escape from concrete forest parks. A visit to this area will bring one up close and personal with many common and rare species of animals and plants.
PICTURE CREDIT: goibibo.com