Kodaikanal is a hill town perached on the top of the Palani Range. Its charm lies in its terraced plantations, wooded hills, and vistas of lush green valleys. Situated at an altitude of 6,854 ft, Kodaiknala’s cool climes offer a soothing respite from the hot and humid plains of Tamil Nadu. This town is considered amongst the major travel destionations in Tamil Nadu. It appeals to both the types of travellers: holiday seekers and trekking enthusiasts. Even if you are not a trekker, just short walks out of the centre can get you to some of the scenic places.
Attractions in Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal is spread out around the star-shaped Kodai Lake. Sir Vere Henry Levinge built a dam here in 1863, which led to the formation of this lake. This lake is the most popular attraction in the town. While boating is offered here, this place is good for a walk. A circumambulation on a path fringing the water’s edge is an exhilarating activity. By the time you finish one round, you would have done 5 km. Shops and restaurants are situated a short distance downhill from lake.
Bryant Park is a horticultural garden situated east of the lake. Set up by a British officer, this park is admirable for its plant collection. Pine trees, rhododendrons, eucalypti, and tiered beds of roses impart beauty to this well-landscaped park. Bryant park is a good place to spend some peaceful moments only if monkeys allow you to do so. Annual flower show is held here in May.
Coaker’s Walk offers a beautiful trail with its starting point near Bryant Park. The paved path skirts the hill and offers panoramic views of the valley and the surrounding hills. Near the end of the trail is a 19th century church of St Peter.
As the name suggests, these are rocks that resemble man-made pillars. A series of pillar-shaped rocks rise more than 100 m above the hillside. On a clear day, the views from here are breathtaking. The only way to reach this place is by walking. The distance from Bryant Park is about 7 km.
Note: It is advisable to opt for a guide who can help you navigate the path from the town.
For nature lovers, the best excursion out of Kodaikanal is to the Berijam Lake. This lake, 24 km east of the town, is shaded by tall pine trees. Set amidst the forest, Berijam is only accessible with a permit which your travel agent can procure. The place is surreal and the vistas you take in on the way are splendid. If you are a walking enthusiast, you can spend a good amount of time here.
Note: This is a peaceful place and eatables aren’t allowed here. So, picnic isn’t an option. Berijam is only meant for people wanting to spend some quiet moments with the nature.
Bear Shola Falls
There are many waterfalls hidden in the forests of Nilgiris. Bear Shola Falls is situated pretty close to the Kodaikanal town. It takes a 2 km walk from Kodai Lake to reach this place. The fall has reduced to a mere trickle of water but the walk through the woods is soothing.
Kurinji Andavar Temple
Lord Murugan, the Tamil form of Kartikeya (Lord Shiva’s second son) is worshipped in this temple. The pale-blue Kurinji flowers blossom every twelve years and carpet the adjacent park. The locals associate these flowers with god Murugan, hence the temple has been named Kurinji Andavar Temple.
Chettiar Park is laid out along the hillside at the northeast edge of the town. The Kurinji flowers of this park blossom every 12 years. The park gets covered in a veil of blue when the flowers blossom. But otherwise, Chettiar Park is a crowded place. Nevertheless, it offers a good walking opportunity as you’ve to take an uphill walk from the town to reach here.
Silver Cascade Falls
The excess water of Kodai Lake cascades down a hillside; this waterfall is called Silver Cascade. It is situated on Madurai-Kodaikanal road, 8 km from Kodaikanal town.
Sacred Heart Natural History Museum
This museum, rather eccentric, has a collection of exhibits related to nature. Apart from stuffed animals and amateurish drawings and photographs, it has an orchid house which boasts of an impressive collection.
When to Visit Kodaikanal?
The best time to visit Kodaikanal is during winter. While the waterfalls swell and become charming during monsoon, the season isn’t very ideal for comfort seekers. Kodaikanal receives highest number of travellers during summer. In summer, the temperatures can soar up to 36 degrees celcius.
How to Reach Kodaikanal?
Rail: The nearest railway station is Kodaikanal Road, 80 km west of the town. But Dindigul, which is about 100 km east from Kodaikanal, has better connections.
Road: Kodaikanal is 125 km northwest of Madurai, and 197 km southwest of Tiruchirappalli.
Air: The nearest airport is at Madurai. The distance of airport from Kodaikanal is 135 km.