Kodaikanal is one of the best hill stations in Tamilnadu state in India. The city was popularized by then British as a summer refugee camp to avoid high temperatures. When I want to write about my Kodaikanal visit, I feel like going back to Kodai to spend some more days. I still have the fresh memory of the lush green fields, fresh carrots I tasted, misty mornings, horse rides around the lake, boating in the lake etc.
I assure that you will have memorable experience if you spend time with nature in Kodaikanal. When I visit any hill station, I have a mandate that to spend time with nature instead of running around the locations, preferred by guide. However, there are some important places to visit, which are associated with the history of the hill station, which should not be missed visiting.
How to reach
By Air: Nearest airport is Madurai International Airport which is 120 KM away from Kodaikanal. Next nearest airports are Trichy airport (150 KM) and Coimbatore airport (175 KM). One can book cabs at the airport itself to reach kodaikanal.
By Train: Kodai road railway station is the nearest one which is 80 KM away from Kodaikanal. Further, tourist can also check options such as Palani, Coimbatore. From the station, Kodaikanal can be reached by road.
By Road: Regular bus services are available from the nearest main cities such as Palani, Dindigul, Theni, Trichy, Madurai, Coimbatore, and Bangalore. Further, going by own vehicle or cab is a good experience as one can stop on the way for any interesting sightseeing or shopping.
Where to stay
There are many best resorts available in Kodaikanal. Price range varies based on on-season and off-season. Rooms can be booked online through some travel portals such as OYO, MAKEMYTRIP etc. Also, some hotels/resorts have their own website through which one can book rooms by bargaining little. Also, there are different range of hotels based on budget so tourists can book rooms as per their budget plan.
As per my research, I have selected Kodai resort international, where we had the best stay. I have selected the resort based on the availability of garden around the resort, Restaurant, Children’s play area, Spa, Hot water, Bed size in the room etc. This resort was best suited to us and was within our budget.
My husband and myself are food lovers and we love tasting local food in any place we visit. When it comes to a hill station, we find lots of locally grown fruits. We have tasted many fruits such as Jackfruit, star fruit, passion fruit, Avocado, Mangustan, local gooseberry, forest tomatoes etc. That’s a very good experience to taste fresh and organically grown fruits.
Other than this, I have noted that egg omelet was available everywhere on roadside shops. To be on a healthier side, we can ask the shopkeeper to prepare the omelet in our presence without oil. Further, boiled/roasted corn is also a good choice.
When it comes to breakfast, it is advisable to have breakfast in the hotel/resort where we stay. Further, there are good hotels such as Astoria veg (near bus stand), Domino’s, and Papa Johns for lunch and dinner.
Tourist attractions in and around Kodaikanal
The Lake: The main tourist attraction in the city, manmade Kodaikanal lake is located in the center of the city. This is a 24 hectare lake surrounded by 5KM long and black topped road.. Sir vere henry, the then collector of Madurai was involved in construction of this Lake. Tourists can enjoy boating in the lake. There are pedal boats, row boats and family boats. Tourists can enter lake either through Kodaikanal boat club or Tamilnadu tourism boat club. Boating charges varies as per number of persons.
Boating in such a cool climate is a very good experience. We enjoyed boating in both row boat (operated by helper) and peddle boat (tourists can self-operate the boat). Tourists can enjoy horse rides, bicycle rides around the lake. Further, there are many souvenir shops/eateries around the lake.
Coaker’s walk: This is just a kilometer walk from the lake. This name derives from the name of Lt. Coaker, who has prepared the map of Kodaikanal.
This is long, steep road passes just on the edge of the valley. One can have a breathtaking view of kodai range of hills with full of greenery. Opens from 7AM – 7PM. There is entry ticket/camera ticket at the entrance itself. It is recommended to go for a walk during the afternoon when there was less mist to enjoy the beautiful valley view. There is a telescope viewpoint maintained by the government where tourists can see a distant church and vehicles passing on the road.
Bryant Park: This park is located just opposite to the Coaker’s walk. This is a very big park with lot of flowers, hybrids, and cut flowers are exported from here. A flower show is conducted in every summer as part of summer festival. We have visited the park for flowers show and so many varieties of flowers were exhibited.
Kurinji andavar temple: This is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Murugan. This temple is named after Kurinji flowers which are locally grown but only once in 12 years.
Kurinji means hill side and Andavar means god in Tamizh. Hence, lord muruga is named as God of the hill. Temple is so beautiful and small. There are souvenir shops outside the temple which sell very nice handicrafts. Further, tourists can view palani range of hills from the temple.
Chettiar Park: This park is located on the way to Kurinji andavar temple. Very neatly maintained park with lush green fields and full of colorful flowers. This park is named after M.A.Chidambaram chettiar, who has donated this land to the government. This park visit is really relaxing and kids can have nice time in play area. There is a small and beautiful jain temple on the way from chettiar park towards bear shola falls.
Bear shola falls: These waterfalls are named so because once bears used to come here to drink water. However, when we visited there was a very little amount of water. However, one can really enjoy the walking in the thick forest to reach the falls. You feel that you are in the midst of the forest when you are approaching the waterfalls.
Silver cascade waterfalls: This is the overflow of the water from the kodai lake come down here as 180 ft high waterfalls. This would be the first tourist attraction one can visit even before entering the city as these falls are located on the city outskirts.
Solar physical observatory: This observatory is located on the top most point of kodaikanal and is maintained by Indian Institute of Astrophysics. This is a must visit place especially for kids. Really interesting to know about the sun movements/behavior and planetary movements.
Visitors are allowed to visit the museum and a power point presentation is made to understand the history of astrophysics. Guides here are really helpful and explain every aspect of space in a very detailed manner. No mobile phones are allowed beyond the entry gate. And, vehicles are not allowed inside so tourists can walk for around 1 KM to reach the museum.
Upper lake view: This is a point from where tourist can have view of the Kodai lake.
Pine Forest: Tourists can take brief walk in the pine forest.
Guna Cave: These caves are named after Guna movie as part of the movie was taken in these caves.
Pillar rocks: Three big 120 mtr heights rocks stand shoulder to shoulder providing a beautiful view. Normally, these rocks cannot be seen as completely surrounded by clouds. However, waiting for some time will give tourists a spectacular view of the pillar rocks when clouds move ahead.
Green valley view: This was previously known as suicide point. Now, it is completely occupied with too many shops. View is good from this point. Many horse ride options are available here.
Wax museum: This museum is operated by private party and is good to see wax statues. Horse rides are available near the wax museum and good experience to ride a horse here.
Attractions for kids
- Kids enjoy the play time in resorts, parks such as chettiar park where there are play areas.
- Kids can have good bicycle rides around the kodai lake.
- Horse rides are the most favourites for kids when visiting kodaikanal.
Tips for vacation in Kodai
- Book hotel rooms in advance otherwise you may end up in compromising the quality of stay during high season.
- When you stay in a resort filled with greenery, take care to close the doors and windows to avoid entry of snakes etc.
- Spend time with nature instead of roaming around some tourist attractions as many tourists points are just created to attract people and crowded by too many shops.
- Ask for a life jacket during boating in the Kodai lake.
- Toilets are located at every viewpoint/tourist location. Locals can help in guiding the way.
- If you are in need of good ayurvedic massage, get it done in Kodai.
Order of visiting tourist places
- One day can be planned to visit The lake, Kurinji andavar temple, chettiar park, bear shola falls. Further, can choose to go for a walk in coaker’s walk.
- Another day can be planned to visit upper lake view, pine forest, pillar rocks and green valley view.