If you need a quiet
getaway from the hustle bustle of daily life then Kodaikanal is the
place to go. Located on the southern tip of the upper Palani hills in
the Western Ghats, Kodaikanal is a hill station with thickly wooded
slopes, picturesque locations and breathtaking waterfalls. Fruits like
plums, pears and plantains grow in plenty on the wooded slopes and are
a treat to the eyes. Kodaikanal's rich flora and fauna will linger in
your memories forever.
With a cool and comfortable climate, Kodaikanal makes the
perfect summer retreat. This is the only hill station in India that was
set up during the British Raj by American Missionaries. Apart from
being a popular tourist destination, it is also famous for its globally
recognized educational institutions.
Places to visit
There are a number of attractions in Kodaikanal. There are also
many options for the adventurous tourists like trekking, cycling,
boating, etc. Or you could just go for a walk and enjoy the nature and
Here are some of the places you could visit.
The Berijam Lake, spread over an area of 24 hectares is one of
the beautiful lakes of South India. Shaped like a star, the lake is
famous for its purity of water. The Bryant Park, located on the eastern
side of the lake is famous for flowers, hybrids and grafts. A
glasshouse that has fine varieties of flowers is situated within the
park. A flower show is conducted every year in May as part of the
Summer Festival. The flowers grown here are exported to various
countries across the world.
Visit the Dolphin's nose, a flat projecting rock from where you
can get an awesome view of the Yawning Chasm below. The Moer Point
similarly offers a view of the valley below and is close to the Berijam
Lake. Fairy Falls is a picnic spot that has a naturally created
artistic bathing basin. Very close to the lake is the Green Valley
View. From this point you can see the Vaigai Dam.
You can take short or long treks in and around Kodaikanal.
Overnight treks to nearby places are also available and you could spend
the night at a local village. The Perumal Peak at 2,440 meters high
offers an excellent opportunity for trekking. The starting point for
the trek is known as the Neutral Saddle (Perumal Malai Village). Kukkal
Caves is a beautiful campsite that is ideal for trekking. You can see
traces of the leaf clothed Paliyans who were the earliest inhabitants
of the region.
You would not want to miss the Solar Physical Observatory and
Telescope House where you can view the sky and the stars. Bear Shola
falls, Dolmen Circle and the Shenbaganur Museum are the other
attractions in Kodaikanal.
Fairs and Festivals
The Summer Festival celebrated in May every year includes boat
races and flower shows. As part of the show you can experience many
cultural programs, adventure sports, boat races, flower and fruit
shows. The Mother Salette Festival is held on August 15th at the Mother
Salette Church. This festival attracts a congregation of people from
all over South India. The Winter Festival is held in December. In
Palani, the Phanguni Uthiram festival is held during the months of
March-April and the Adi Krithikai festival during July-August. You can
see hundreds of Kavadi dancers at the temple.
When to visit
The weather is best between April to June and August to September. Temperatures stay in the range of 20oC to 10oC. The months between October and March are wet and cold.
How to reach
You can fly to nearby destinations like Madurai, Coimbatore or
Trichy. The nearest railway stations are Dindigul, Kodaikanal Road and
Madurai. Kodaikanal is well connected by roads and buses from Dindigul,
Madurai or Palani will take you to Kodai Road.
Where to stay
Kodaikanal offers reasonably good accommodation facilities. At
the higher end of the spectrum you will find a few luxury hotels. Most
of the mid-size hotels have a cozy ambience and come with the basic
amenities like TV, hot water, etc. You will also find budget lodges and
will need to double-check the facilities before you stay here. You will
also find a wide variety of cuisines that include Chinese, Tibetan,
Mughlai and South Indian food. Most of the eateries are located along
What to shop
Kodaikanal is famous for it's variety of cheeses and home made
chocolates. This apart, you can shop around for exquisitely embroidered
clothes, crafts and handlooms.
What to remember
- There are no
auto-rickshaws in Kodaikanal. While most of Kodaikanal can be covered
on foot, mountain bikes and ordinary bicycles can be hired. Taxi
services are also available.
- Light warm clothing is required even in the summer months as the nights get cooler.
- Carry an umbrella or a raincoat to protect you from the rains.