Kodaikanal is one of the most frequented hill resorts in India. Standing amidst sylvan beauty on the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills near Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal is a charming and luring hill station. With its spectacular rocks, tranquil woods, lovely lake and intoxicating air, Kodaikanal is an ideal hill resort for the tourists from all over.
Kodaikanal located amidst the folds of the verdant Pali hills is one of the most popular serene hill stations in India, which mesmerises every visitor.
Situated at an altitude of about 2,133 m from sea level and covering an area of 21.45 sq km, Kodaikanal is a hill town renowned for its educational institutions of international repute. The hill-plantain fruits and plums are known for their freshness and taste.
Hill station, at 2133 metres in the Palani Hills, off-shoot of the Western Ghat Mountain range which runs north-south along the west coast of peninsular India. Kodaikanal is in Tamilnadu state, bodering kerala.
The palnis span 2068 sq.kms., while Kodaikanal township occupies 21.45 sq.km. It is, however, expanding rapidly.
Never too hot or cold, though night temperatures drop to freezing in January, and thin ice is seen on the lake edges. In summer (March to May) the temperature range is 20°C to 11°C, and in winter (Dec-Feb) 17.3°C to 8.3°C. An average of 165 cms of rain falls every year, mostly during the north-east monsoon occurs from June to September.
Major Tourist Attractions of Kodaikanal
Berijam Lake is one of the beautiful picnic spots in Kodai, located 21-km away from the bus stand. This lake supplies drinking water to Periakalam town. The scenery around here is delightful.
In 1910, a new boathouse was constructed, but only from May 1929, few tourists were permitted to avail boat ride as temporary members. Later on they were extended to the public and tourists in 1932. Boats like T.T.D.C, Kodai boats, Carlton boats are available for hire.
Bryant Park situated on the eastern side of the lake, is noted for flowers, hybrids and rafts. Varieties of flowers can be seen in a glasshouse. The annual horticultural show is held here in May.
Shenbaganur Museum is located about 5-Km from the lake. The Sacred Heart College maintains this museum. One of the best orchidoriums in the country with more than 300 species of orchids and wide-ranging collection of birds are found here.
Coaker's Walk derives the name from Lt. Coaker, who prepared the map of Kodai and it is about a kilometre from the lake, which runs along a steep slope on the southern side of the Kodai. Some of the best views of the plains can be seen from here.
Kodaikanal Lake is a magnificent man-made lake, which spreads out in a star shape over sixty acres is a main attraction as it is set among the greenery. The boat club here offers several pleasure and racing trips.
Within the city limits one can see three boulders standing shoulder - to - shoulder vertically measuring to a height of about 122 metres providing a panoramic view.
Kurinji Andavar Temple
The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Murugan and is about 3.2-km from the lake. In Tamil literature "Kurinji" means "Hilly Region" and "Andavar" means God. From this temple, one can get a view of the northern plains and Palani Hills.
Silver Cascade waterfall is located on the Ghat Road about 8-km from Kodaikanal. The overflow of Kodai Lake comes down here as 180 feet high falls.
Bear Shola Falls
An ideal picnic spot located 1.6-km from the lake, which can be by a picturesque, rugged hill path. Bears once used to drink water above the falls.
To enable the visitors to have a panoramic view of the valley and the nearby towns, two telescope houses have been put up at Kodai.
By air in Kodai
The nearest airport is Madurai, 120 kms south-east of kodai. From there, buses, tourist vans and taxis are easy to get. It is a three-and-a half hour drive. People coming from Bombay fly in to coimbatore, which is a slightly longer drive of about 5 hours. Trichy airport is about the same distance.
The Station you nee to get to is kodai Road, 80 kms from kodaikanal. Incidentally it was from here that, until 1920 or so, Travelers began their journey up to Kodai in bullock carts and palanquins. Today, old Kodai hands always take the Pandian Express which leaves Madras around 7 p.m. every evening. You have to get off at 5.30 a.m. Should you oversleep, however, you can just go on to Madurai and make your way up from there.
Kodai is 520 kms from Madras, a 12 hour drive. There are regular overnight buses to and from madras. There are also several buses a day to large nearby cities – Madurai, Palani, Coimbatorem Dindigul for example which have buses going in all directions. And if you really want out during a packed season period when tickets are hard to get, go to Batlagundu, two hours by van and head for the big bus station there.
The last lap of journey to Kodai has to be done by road. Just before the ghat section begins there is a tourist recreation area on your left called “Rock Garden” with tea, coffee and toilet facilities. As you leave the plains and start climbing you will see one of the highest waterfalls in the world: Rat Tail or Thalaiyar Falls. It is a spectacular sight in the monsoon but subsides to a mere trickle in the dry season. An hour or so later you will pass Silver Cascade on your right, in Tiger Shola. This is the run-off from Kodai lake, and during the monsoons has a Naiagara-like splendour, complete with roaring sound and foamy spray. Once every few years the ghat road may be closed when heavy rains cause landslips which have to be cleared away. But work is quickly begun and rapidly finished. In any case there is also another escape route out – or in – th Palani Ghat which leads to the town of the name on the plains.