Kodaikanal – The Princess of Hill Stations
Kodaikanal is one of the most peaceful and beautiful hill stations of Tamilnadu. Located 120 Km/75 mile away from Madurai, Kodaikanal is a hill station at an altitude of about 2133 meter, which is equal to 7,200 feet, above sea level on the southern tip of upper Palani / Palni hills in Tamil Nadu in the Western Ghats of picturesque Nilgiri Hills. Kodaikanal is also referred to as “Princess of Hill Stations”. There are many high waterfalls and ubiquitous gardens and flower beds in bloom. The hillside is covered by the meadows and the grassland, the valley is covered up by huge eucalyptus trees and Shola forest. The places to see are Kodaikanal Lake, Bryant Park, Coaker’s walk, Bear Shola Falls, Pillar rocks, Silver cascade, dolphin’s nose and Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple.
The Hills where Kodaikanal is situated are called Nilgiri Hills. Nilgiri, Nil means “Blue” and giri means “mountain”, literally means “blue mountains”. The valley is covered with blue color flowers known as Kurinji flowers (strobilanthes kunthianus) that bloom once in twelve years. The bright purple-blue bell-shaped flower is an atypical kind of flower, which grows mainly in Kodaikanal and Udhagamandalam (Ooty). The Kurinji flowers grow at an altitude of 6000 to 7000 ft on bushy shrubs of 8 – 10 feet high in the hill slopes of the Western Ghats. The last full bloom was in 2006 and the next full bloom is expected in 2018.
Altitude : 2,133 metres.
Temperature (deg C): Summer- Max 19.3, Min 11.3; winter- Max 17.3, Min 8.3.
Best Season: April to June and September to October.
STD Code: 04542.
Kodaikanal is a city in Dindigul district of the state Tamil Nadu, India. Kodaikanal is sometimes referred to as “Princess of Hills”, and is a popular tourist destination. Many refer this city as the honeymooner’s paradise. Despite being in southern India, the temperature is much cooler than the other cities in the same region. The city has a long history of being a famous tourist spot and a well known tourist destination. The city was established in 1845, it was then set up as a refuge in order to avoid the heat and tropical diseases of plains. The state’s economy is majorly based on the tourism industry of the state. Being a famous tourist destination precautionary measures are taken by the government in order to manage and regulate hazardless daily activities in the city. In this process many roads are converted into one way during the peak seasons. Special police force is appointed in order to look over the tourist safety and local businesses.
The climate of Kodaikanal is very pleasant and soothing throughout the year. The rich flora and fauna of the city makes it a healthier tourist destination. The subtropical climate of the city ranges from 11 – 20 degree centigrade in summers which is much lower than the other cities of southern region. During winters the Kodaikanal is chilling and freezing. The surface temperature varies from 8 – 17 degree centigrade but may fall below the freezing point and beyond. The city witnesses monsoon in the months from June – September.
The best time to visit Kodaikanal is between April – June. It is the peak season, during these months the climate is cool and pleasant. The second best season to visit Kodaikanal is October – January i.e. after monsoon. In this season the hill station is green, fresh and flourishes with various flowers and other plants.
How to reach Kodaikanal:
Kodaikanal is a famous tourist destination in India since long. It is one of the Hill stations in the southern region of India that offers so many things to the tourists visiting this destination. Being one famous travel spot on the map of India, it is very well connected with the major cities. Kodaikanal is located about 520 km away from Chennai, 262 km away from Coimbatore, 120 km away from Madurai and 615 km away from Bangalore.
The closest airports to Kodaikanal are: one in Madhurai and the other in Coimbatore. Kodaikanal is 120 km away from Madhurai and about 262 km away from Coimbatore. Once you reach any of these cities, there are various options available to reach Kodaikanal.
The nearest Railway stations are Palani Railway Station which is 64 km / 40 miles in north, Kodai Road Station which is 80 km / 50 miles in south east and Dindigul Railway Junction which is 100 km / 62 miles in east.
Kodaikanal has a good network of roads connecting other cities to the hill station. Kodaikanal is connected by road with Coimbatore- 175 km, Madurai- 120 km, Chennai- 520 km, Ooty- 264 km, Trichy- 197 km, Kumili- 160 km, Kodai Road- 80 km, Palani- 64 km, Munnar- 90 km, Periyar- 160 km.
Rental bicycles, taxis and vans are available and a limited number of city buses are also available but there are no auto-rickshaws.
Where to stay in Kodaikanal:
There are various hill resorts available, so staying won’t be a trouble but in the peak season bookings should be done in advance because there is a heavy inflow of tourists not only from India but other parts of world as well. There are about 50 hotels of all classes. These hotels provide all types of cuisine ranging from Continental, Western, Chinese, Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian. The Kodaikanal hotels are well equipped with latest facilities and amenities and are of international standards. These hotels have a wide array of accommodations to offer.
Places to eat:
- Carlton Hotel
- J.C.Residency, Convent Rd, Naidupuram
- Villa Retreat, Coakers Walk
- Paradise Inn, Laws Ghat Road
- Kodai International
- Eden Paradise Restaurant, Paradise Compound, Laws Ghat Road.
- Astoria Veg Reasturant
- Rasoi, 106 Maratha Shopping Complex, Annasalai.
- Tibetan Brothers – PT Road.
- Tava, 7 road junction.
- ‘Pine & Petals’, JC Residency,Convent Road,Naidupuram.
What to see in Kodaikanal :
Kodai is full of natural landscapes and scenic spots. Every turn on the hill can provide a mesmerizing view of the city. If you are visiting after monsoon you may see various waterfalls that just enhance the natural beauty of the city. These scenic spots makes Kodai a destination for newly weds and honeymooners.The lake in the heart of Kodaikanal offers activities like boating and angling. The Dolphin’s Nose is a flat projecting rock offering a breathtaking view of the place. Other famous tourist spots in and around Kodaikanal are as below.
Places of interest in Kodaikanal :
Also known as Kodai Lake is about 500 meters away from the main bus stand. This is an artificial lake built in 1863 in order to enhance the beauty of the city. It is a 60 acre star shaped lake which is the major landmark and the best tourist spot of the city. The lake also offers activities like boating and cycling. The lake is surrounded by a beautiful path way where tourists can enjoy a relaxed walk with friends and family.
Berijam Lake :
This lake is the most beautiful and pristine lake among the three lakes of Kodaikanal. The lake is about 20 – 25 km inside the forest area of Kodai. Tourists need official permission to enter the forest area. This is the best place to enjoy a day away from civilization and the hectic city life.
Bryant Park :
On the east of Kodai lake is the Bryant park. The park is a well maintained botanical garden spread over 20.5 acres of land. The park is named after a forest officer from Madhurai Mr. H.D. Bryant, who built it in the year 1908. In the park you’ll find 325 different types of trees, cactuses and shrubs. During Peak season the garden is full of various kinds of flowers. Here you’ll also find a section with about 70 varieties of Rose.
Coaker’s walk :
The Coaker’s walk was constructed in 1872 by Lt. Coaker. It is a 1 km paved pathway along the steep slopes of southern side of Kodaikanal. The pathway surrounds the Mount Nebo near the Van Allen Hospital. The paved pedestrian path provides a panoramic view of the plains.
Bear Shola Falls :
Just three kilometers away from the main bus stand is the Bear Shola Fall is a Reserve Forest.
Green Valley View / Suicide point :
The green valley view formerly known as Suicide point, but many people still refer it to as “Suicide Point”. This tourist spot is about 5.5 kilometers away from the bus stand near the Kodai Golf Course. The valley provides a great picturesque view of the plains.
Guna caves / Devil’s Kitchen:
Guna caves formerly known as the Devil’s Kitchen. These caves are deep chambers between the three Pillar Rocks. The entrance to these caves are now block for everyone because of the high risk involved.
Shenbaganur Museum of Natural History :
The museum is located about 5 Km from the Kodaikanal lake. The museum is maintained by the Sacred Heart College. The museum was founded in 1895. The museum showcases about 500 species of birds, animals and insects and has a collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. It is one of the best orchid-oriums in the country.
Pillar rocks :
This tourist spot is 8 km away from the main bus stand. The pillar rocks are the three gigantic rocks that stand together at an elevation of 122 meters. The place is crowded as it is a very popular tourist destination in Kodaikanal.
Silver cascade is a waterfall which is about 8 km away from the bus stand. This fall is formed when the Kodai Lake overflows.
Dolphin’s nose :
About 8 km away from the main Bus stand is the Dolphin’s Nose. The place is a flat land that is located at a height of 22,000 ft which is about 6,600 meters.
The Pambar falls gained its popularity after a TV commercial been shot here. The commercial was for Liril (bathing soap) and since then it is also known as “Liril Falls”
Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple :
The temple is about 3.2 km away from the Kodaikanal lake and is home to Lord Murugan. The literal meaning of “Kurinji” in Tamil literature is “Hilly Region” and “Andavar” means God. So, Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple means “The Temple of God of Hills”.