Kodaikanal

Hill Stations in India

Introduction (Kodaikanal)

Kodai or Kodaikanal is on the southern crest of the Palani hills, about 120 km from Madurai, at an altitude of 2100 mt. It is surrounded by wooded slopes, waterfalls and precipitous rocky outcrops.

KodaikanalFounded by American missionaries in 1845, Kodaikanal is steeped in history. Relics and artifacts of the Paliyans who once lived in these hills can still be seen in the Shenbaganur Museum. Even today, a few Paliyans can be seen near Kukal Cave. In the early days, there were no roads—people had to travel by bullock-cart and palanquin, braving the dangers of the forests. Slowly Kodaikanal developed, missionaries established church properties, many of the then ruling princes built summer holiday-homes, clubs were opened, school and hotels were built, and civic amenities were introduced.

Kodaikanal Hills is an idyllic getaway for regular tourists, trekker and honeymooners. Blessed with nature's breath-taking beauty, the star-shaped lake dominates this sleepy hill-station.

Location

Situated on the southern tip of the upper Palani Hills (Western Ghats) at an altitude of more than 6854 ft. Kodai is 120 km north-west of Madurai; 510 km away from Chennai, 262 km from Coimbatore and 615 km from Bangalore.

The Town

Driving into Kodaikanal from Palani is a dramatic experience, reminiscent in parts of the drive up the Ghat road from Kallar to Ooty. It is a relief to leave the hot, dusty plains behind and drive up into the cool hills. The vegetation changes gradually from palm-fringed paddy fields to wild brush with flaming blossoms to plantations interspersed with stately silver oaks. The view of the Amaravathi Dam, a shimmering sapphire sheet of water is an unforgettable sight. Driving higher, banana trees give way to tall eucalyptus trees, and the whole countryside is dotted with wildflowers in jeweled colors, magenta and purple predominating. There is a marked nip in the air, as one reaches for one’s cardigan, or shawl. At a bend in the road, the shimmer and roar of the Silver Cascade waterfall welcome the tourist.

Arriving in Kodai town, one is greeted by orchards of pear trees with their graceful branches silhouetted in artistic curves against the evening sky like stark Zen etchings. Buildings with gabled roof dot the skyline. Broken fragments of light from the setting sun are caught and kindled in the wind-rippled water appearing like a myriad lamp floating on the lake. Soon, as though on cue, lights start twinkling all over the hillside, and even the stars pick up the message, and heaven and earth are a riot of light, as though beaming messages of goodwill to each other.

Places To Visit

The Coaker's Walk offers some fantastic views of the surrounding plains. Another superb vantage point, is the Kurinji Andavar temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan, which provides a panoramic view of the lofty hills, that embrace Kodaikanal. Some of the popular picnic spots in the resort, are the Green Valley View, Pillar Rocks, and Bear Shola Falls. Nature seems to have blessed Kodai in all her magnanimity, a fact evident from the immense profusion of exotic flora and fauna of the area. The amazing orchid collection at the Shenbaganur Museum, has granted Kodai international fame. Kodai is also blessed with the rare bloom of the highly elusive Kurinji flower, that makes a dramatic appearance, once in 12 years.The Kurinji last bloomed in 1992. The resort is also home to various species of birds, thus rendering it a bird - watcher's delight.

Kodaikanal promises to be an ideal getaway, for those craving for an invigorating yet soothing holiday, away from the madness of the city.

Excursion

There are several excursion spots in and around Kodaikanal.

Dolphin’s Nose
Dolphin's Nose Located about eight km from the lake, is a flat projecting rock from where one can have a breathtaking view of the yawning chasm below.

The Perumal Peak
About 11 km from Kodaikanal, is a trekker's delight. Climbers begin their ascent from the Neutral Saddle.

Berijam Lake
Supplies drinking water to Periyakulam town, and is 21 km from Kodaikanal (beyond the Pillar Rocks). It is a popular picnic spot with a beautiful view.

Kukal Cave
Kukal Cave 40 km from Kodaikanal, is a favourite camping site for trekkers. Reportedly, descendants of the Paliyans still live here.

Travel Information

Air
The nearest airport is Madurai, 120 km away. It is well connected to other airports.

Train
The nearest railway station is Kodai Railway Station, which is 80 km away.

Road
Kodaikanal is connected by road with important towns. Regular bus services are available from Madurai, Palani, Kodaikanal Road, Theni, Dindigul, Tiruchirapalli, Kumuli (Thekkady) and Coimbatore.

Accommodation

Kodaikanal offers good accomodation in Hotel Tamil Nadu, Hotel Clifton, Carlton Hotel, Shanmuga Vilas, Lodge Paradise, Hotel Jayraj, Jaya Lodge, Kodai Lodge and Sterling Guest House are some of the available means of accomodation.

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Hill Stations in India
Hill Station In India