Kodaikanal is a city in the hills of the taluk division of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Its name in the Tamil language means "The Gift of the Forest". Kodaikanal is referred as the "Princess of Hill stations" and has a long history as a retreat and popular tourist destination. It's a lot cooler in temperature than lower elevation cities such as Chennai.
Kodaikanal was established in 1845 as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains. Much of the local economy is based on the hospitality industry serving tourism.
The town of Kodaikanal sits on a plateau above the southern escarpment of the upper Palni Hills at 2,133 metres (6,998 ft), between the Parappar and Gundar Valleys. These hills form the eastward spur of the Western Ghats on the Western side of South India. It has an irregular basin as its heartland, the centre of which is now Kodaikanal Lake a 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) circumference manmade lake.
Meadows and grasslands cover the hillsides. Gigantic Eucalyptus trees and shola forests flourish in the valleys. Mighty rocks and cascading streams. rise up from the valleys. There are many high waterfalls and ubiquitous gardens and flower beds in bloom.
North of the town, high hills that slope down into the villages of Pallangi and Vilpatti stand guard. On the east the hill slopes less abruptly into the lower Palnis. A precipitous escarpment facing the Cumbum Valley is on the south. On the west is a plateau leading to Manjampatti Valley, Indira Gandhi National Park, the Anamalai Hills and the main body of the Western Ghats.
How to Reach Kodaikanal
By Air: The nearest airport from the Kodaikanal is Madurai airport. It is 120 km away from Kodaikanal. Another nearest airport is Coimbatore which is 180 km from Kodaikanal. Coimbatore is connected to the major cities of India. Taxies are available form here to reach Kodaikanal.
By Rail: The nearest Railway stations are Palani Railway Station - 64 km, Kodai Road Station - 80 km & Dindigul Railway Junction - 100 km.
By Road: Kodaikanal is well connected with Madurai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Kochi and Chennai by road.
Best Time to Visit Kodaikanal
April To June and September To October is the best time to visit Kodaikanal.
KodaiKanal - Places to visit
Kodaikanal Lake, also known as Kodai Lake is a manmade lake located in the Kodaikanal city in Dindigul district in Tamil Nadu, India. Sir Vere Hentry Levinge, the then Collector of Madurai, was instrumental in creating the lake in 1863, amidst the Kodaikanal town which was developed by the British and early missionaries from USA. The lake is said to be Kodaikanal's most popular geographic landmark and tourist attraction.
Over the years a boat club, boathouse and boat service (with Rowing Boats and Pedalling boats and a public ferry) for the public and tourists has become fully functional and is of aesthetic significance for tourism. Boat Pageant and Flower Shows are a regular feature in the summer season which attracts tourists.
Just east of the lake and 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the bus stand, is a wonderfully maintained 20.5 acres (8.3 ha) botanical garden. The park was planned and built in 1908 by a forest officer from Madurai, H.D.Bryant, and named after him. With 325 species of trees, shrubs and cactuses, the park is a rainbow of stunning flowers during the peak season. A large section is dedicated to nearly 740 varieties of roses. There is a 1857 Eucalyptus tree and a Bodhi tree which adds a religious significance to the park. Ornamental plants are cultivated in a nursery for sale. The park organizes horticultural exhibits and flower shows every summer, to coincide with the peak season. Entrance fee to the park is nominal and it is open all year.
500 metres (1,600 ft) from the bus-stand, constructed by Lt.Coaker in 1872, is a 1-kilometre (3,300 ft) paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai. The walk, winding around Mount Nebo, starts in front of the Van Allen hospital, running parallel to the Van Allen Hospital Road and joins the main road beside St.Peter's Church, providing a stunning panoramic view of the plains. On a clear day one can view as far as Dolphin's Nose in the south, the valley of the Pambar River in the southeast, Periyakulam town and even the city of Madurai. A fascinating rare phenomenon called Brocken spectre can be witnessed, when a person can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo. This occurs when the sun is behind the viewer and clouds and mist are to the front. There is an observatory with a telescope halfway along the walk. Entrance fee to the walkway is nominal and it is open all year.
Green Valley View
5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) from the bus-stand and near the golf course, has an excellent panoramic view of the plains and a sheer drop of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) overlooking the Vaigai Dam to the south. The stairway leading up to it is highly commercialized and lined with rows of shops to tempt tourists.
Shembaganur Museum of Natural History
6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the bus-stand, founded in 1895, is open to the public (except Tuesdays) for viewing their outstanding taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals, birds and insects and a living collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. The museum is affiliated with Loyola College in Chennai and exhibits artifacts of the ancient Palaiyar tribes people whose descendants still live in these hills.
Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory is an solar observatory owned and operated by Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It is located on the southern tip of the Palni Hills 4 km from Kodaikanal town, Dindigul district, Tamilnadu state, South India.
The Evershed effect was first detected at this observatory in January 1909. Solar data collected by the lab is the oldest continuous series of its kind in India. Precise observations of the equatorial electrojet are made here due to the unique geographic location of Kodaikanal.
Ionospheric soundings, geomagnetic, F region vertical drift and surface observations are made here regularly and summaries of the data obtained are sent to national IMD and global WMO GAW data centers.
They have a full time staff of two scientists and nineteen technicians.
8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the bus-stand, is a set of three giant rock pillars which stand 122 metres (400 ft) high. Managed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, The viewpoint can be crowded but is not commercialized. There is an excellent public garden adjacent to the viewpoint.
8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Kodaikanal at a wide bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road, at altitude 1,800 metres (5,900 ft), is a 55-metre (180 ft) waterfall formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake. The water quality is reportedly poor and not good enough for bathing. This impressive waterfall is a popular stop for first-time visitors. There are a few souvenir and fruit vendors and many monkeys here. There is also a smaller but more serene waterfall below the bridge which crosses the stream here.
8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the bus stand, is flat rock projecting over a breathtaking chasm 6,600 metres (21,700 ft) deep. It is an undisturbed area 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) down a very steep rocky trail beginning soon after Pambar Bridge. Orange juice vendors along the trail offer a welcome rest stop. Beautiful views of steep rocky escarpments rising from the plains can be seen. The old village of Vellagavi can be reached through a rugged bridle path here. A short paved walkway leads from the road here to Pambar falls (which is also locally addressed as 'Liril Falls' after the famous Liril Soap Advertisement filming in 1985).
Botanical Garden is one of the best tourist attraction places which attract the tourist from all over the world. This garden was laid out in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale and is spread over 22 hectares ascending the slopes on the hill at an elevation of 2,400 meters above Main Sea Level.
From just behind the central Bus Stand (also near the Railway station) the famous Ooty Lake stretches, in an irregular 'L' shape, for about 2.75 kms in length and varying distances in width(100m – 140m). For the curious, this lake was artificially formed by John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty, in 1823-25 by damming the mountain streams flowing down Ooty valley.
Rose Park is situated in the heart of Ooty town and it is located less than a km from Charring Cross at Vijayanagaram, the rose garden is laid on 10 acres of land. This garden has been beautifully laid out in terraces with rose tunnels, pergolas and bowers with rose creepers.
The Doddabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is merely 10kms from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of the valley below. On a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore.
Pykara Lake/ Pykara Boat House
The placid lake of Pykara, amid the lush green valleys is a lovely getaway from Ooty. Here, a calm lake is surrounded by forests. There is a forest rest House at Pykara. A boat house by the Pykara falls and Dam is added attractions to the tourists. The major attraction of this place is the boathouse, with restaurant and a rest house to provide you with ultimate comfort. It is a clean and scenic lake in between the hills. It is an isolated lake free from pollution and maddening crowed . Boating is conducted here. You will get a wonderful experiences over here. Please Don't fail to visit here.
Located at a distance of 25 km from ooty. A place that should not be missed. Emerald lake is a wonderful lake in the upper plateau region of the Nilgiri hills. It is a part of the silent valley and is beside the Red hill nature resort which is a best picnic place of the region. The site of the lake is wonderful and one would definitely love being at that place. The chirping birds and ducks and other swimming creatures add beauty to the place and the sun set and sun rise is also spectacular here.
The beautiful countryside with tea and eucalyptus plantations. undisturbed sholas and fine views is ideal for drives and picnics. The beautiful countryside with tea and eucalyptus plantations. undisturbed sholas and fine views is ideal for drives and picnics.
Kalhatty water falls
The picturesque waterfalls come down a 36 m drop. A popular spot for picnics and treks. his water falls could be seen in ooty mysore route at a distance of 13 km from ooty. The road runs via the Kalhatty Ghats. It is situated 2,000m above main sea level and with many water falls and rivulets.
Situated on the slopes of Kalhatty, the magnanimous Kalhatty Waterfall stands pretty amidst picturesque landscapes. But falls could be seen in a particular season from September to November. The height of this falls is 40m.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
An ideal adventurous place, located in Nilgiri Hills, where the offshoot of the Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats. Area :32,155 hectares. Along side the adventures of the sanctuary, you will also find a varied mixture of flat land, open grassland, swamp, valley and nullas at this place.
The Famous Mudumalai wild life Sanctuary is situated at an elevation of 1000 metres and extending over an area of 321 sq.mts lies this sanctuary between Kerala and Karnataka states. Langur, bonnet macaque, tiger, leopard, wild dog, hyena, jackal, sloth bear, elephants, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, Indian muntjac, mouse deer, wild boar, rodent and flying squirrel are part of the wildlife in Mudumalai. This is one of India's best sanctuaries.
Mudumalai wildlife reserve was the first sanctuary in south India. Within the sanctuary is an elephant camp called "Theppakkadu", where there is a rest house. Accommodation is also available at TTDC's Youth Hostel and rest houses in Masinagudi, Abhayaranayam and Kargudi and the Bamboo Banks Farm that is 18-km away.
Chennai - Places to visit
Covelong Beach is one of the finest beaches on the coast of Coromandel, located at a distance of 40 km from Chennai. The beach embraced with the picturesque locals strives to give you the perfect retreat away from the hum drum of the city life.
Located towards the south of Marina Beach, Elliot's Beach is one of the cleanest beaches and an extremely calm and tranquil place in the city of Chennai. The beach is known as 'Bessei' among natives of the city.
Marina Beach is situated at Kamaraj Road, just 3 km away from the city Chennai. Extending to a length of 13 km, it is considered to be second largest beach of the world covering the region from St. George Fort to Mahabalipuram.
Fort St. George
St. George Fort, located on the banks of Bay of Bengal, was built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. The military architecture marvel, it was erected as a trading post.
Situated at the Egmore area of Chennai, Freemasons Hall is the living example of the cultural and traditional heritage of the people who inhabited the ancient city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras.
Incepted during colonial rule, the Government Museum of Chennai is one of the one of the oldest museums of India. The main attractions of the museum include the Hindu Sculpture Gallery, Bronze Gallery, Amravathi Gallery and the National Art Gallery.
Kamaraj Memorial House
Kamaraj Memorial House built in the memory of Shri Kamaraj, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The House exhibits vast library of his favourite books and a long range of photographs since his childhood days to the later years.
MGR Memorial is a tribute to the former actor cum politician of Tamil Nadu, MGR Ramachandran. The memorial will show you collection of a number of distinctive items which he used in his lifetime.
Senate House of Chennai is located at the campus of University of Madras, near the Marina Beach. The House was constructed under the supervision of one of the greatest architects of the 19th century reflecting truly an architectural marvel.
Thousand Lights Mosque
The 'Thousand Lights Mosque' is a well-known holyplace for Muslims in Chennai. The Mosque attracts number of non-Muslims as well and is primarily popular for a number of reasons, such as its name, its architecture and its historical and religious importance.
Valluvar Kottam is built to pay homage to the great Tamil Poet and Saint Thiruvalluvar who wrote 'Thirukkural'. The monument sits at the place where an unused lake existed in past. The monument is in the shape of a temple chariot and contains a lively and splendid statue of the poet.
If you want to explore the vibrant heroic past of India, visit the War Memorial of Chennai. The memorials are dedicated to those soldiers who laid their lives for the welfare of the nation as well as those who died as martyrs, serving their nation.