Kodaikanal > Kodai Tourist Information
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Kodaikanal is one of the most popular hill resorts in India. It is a charming hill station, stands amidst sylvan beauty on the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. With its rocks, woods, lovely lake and bracing air, Kodaikanal is an ideal hill resort for the tourists. The unique flowering plant 'Kurunji'(Strobilanthus Kunthanus) that last bloomed in 2004, is nature's gift to Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal located amidst the folds of the verdant Pali hills is one of the most popular serene hill stations in India, which mesmerises any visitor and is frequented all through the year. Kodai is situated at an altitude of about 2,133-m high and covers an area of 21.45-sq-km. The hill town is renowned for its educational institutions of international repute. The hill-plantain fruits and plums are known for their freshness and taste. Berijam lake, one among the beautiful lakes of South India, spreads over an area of 24 hectares. Tucked away among the Palani Hills in Tamilnadu, in South India, and jealously guarded like a prized jewel by the dark forests, is Kodaikanal. In fact, the name itself means 'gift of the forest' in Tamil. A more appropriate and evocative name could not have been imagined for this quaint, unspoilt little hill station, where the air is intoxicating, the scenery breathtakingly beautiful, and serenity seldom found in other hill stations. Cradled in the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills, in the Western Ghats, 120 km from Madurai, Kodaikanal is located 2133 m above sea level. Founded 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.
The names of the buildings in Kodaikanal are very evocative: 'Loch End' and 'Mansarovar'-these two houses by the lakeside bridge the time span from colonial times to the present; Hillbrook, Furzbank, Wood-cote, Whispering Pines, and Rock Cottage-all conjure up the beauty and spirit of their natural ambience. Jacaranda trees burst out in purple profusion, as though singing hosannas to the skies. Magnolia trees guard their 'escaping' fragrance, while cherry trees sweep in graceful pink arcs. On the east side of the lake is Bryant's Park, named after the forest officer who planned its layout around the turn of the century. Beautiful pine and eucalyptus trees grow here. There is one ancient eucalyptus tree dating back to 1846, which is 250 feet high and 10 feet wide. The well-laid out gardens contain many annuals and perennials like azaleas, watsonias, dahlias, stock, primulas, fusschias, asters, etc. Many exotic varieties of orchids are housed in the Orchid House. Walking along the lotus pond, the memory of a verse learnt in childhood comes to mind.About a kilometer from the lake is Coaker's Walk, named after St. Coaker of the Royal Engineers, offering a fantastic view of the plains and the distant hills. There is a rugged pristine beauty about these vistas, and the mist rising in veils from the valley below, gives the place an unreal quality.
Bryant Parks The practical utility of this park is, in every May a horticultural show is conducted by the department of Horticulture. On that occasion enormous vegetables and flowers from neighbouring villages compete for the prizes, which draws big crowd. They exhibit flowers, vegetables, fruits and other products. It serves as a practical centre for education on Ornamental Horticulture and as a demonstration centre. The various methods of training, pruning, budding, grafting, potting seed collection etc, are taught to the students of Horticulture as well as to the visitors.
Kodai Lake One of the main attractions for the tourists of Kodaikanal is the Kodai lake which is at a distance of 3kms from the bus stand. In 1863, Vera Levinge, a former District Collector of Madurai settled in Kodaikanal after his retirement. He was the man of resource and creative ideas for this lake. By spending his own money he converted the marshy land with several streams of lake by constructing a strong bund and brought boats from Tuticorin. It is reported that the foreign resident's even used to swim in the lake. The lake is spread over 60 acres and surrounded by fine tarred road of 5 kms length, the maximum depth in 1962 was 11.5m but it is now about 9m due to siltation. The average depth is 3.0m. The boat club provides boats for hire. There are luxury boats also. The famous Carlton hotel is facing the lake and the hotel is having their our boats for their customers.
Chettiar park, managed by the township, is on the way to the Kurunji Temple. It is 3.2 kms from the Bus Stand. Unlike other areas this park is very quite, and those who love calm timepassing can prefer this park.
Coaker's Walk It is a narrow pedestrian path, constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872, a one kilometer mountain road which runs along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai road which is 1/2km away from Kodai. The walk winding around mt. Nebo starts near van Allen hospital and joins the main road above St. Peter's Church provides a wide-angle spectacular view of the plains. On a cloudless, clear day one can have interesting sights, such as Dolphin's nose in south, valley of the pambar river in South East, birds eye view of Periyakulam and even city of Madurai. One must be aware of a fascinating phenomenon called 'Brachem Spectre' . A very lucky person can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo, when sun is behind and cloud and mist is in his front. The valley views along paved Coaker's Walk (admission Rs 2, Camera Rs. 5, Time: 7 am to 7pm) are superb when the mist clears. There's an observatory (admission Rs. 3) with telescope about halfway along. You can start from either end, near Greenlands Youth Hostel or Villa Retreat, and the stroll takes all of five minutes.The views from Pillar Rocks, a 7km hike (one way beginning near Bryant Park), are also excellent. Greenlands Youth Hostel and Villa Retreat can organise guided walks, and guides can also be arranged through the tourist office (Rs. 50 to 70 per hour). .
Kurunji Andavar Temple
Kurunji Andavar Temple This temple situated 3 kms from the lake, is a famous shrine dedicated to Lord Muruga. In Tamil literature Kurinji means 'hill region' and Andavar means 'God'. Hence Lord Muruga is referred as 'God of hill'. This temple is associated with the Kurinji flowers, which carpets at hill sides and bloomes once in 12 years. From this temple one can have a view of Palani and Vaigai dam.
Kurinji Poo (Flower) It is flowering once in 12 years. It last flowered in the year 1992. During that flowering period the honey from this place will be good for health.
The Mariamman Temple, Vinayagar Temple, Murugan Temple, two mosques at Ellis Villa and Munjikal, sacred Heart Church, Munjikal, Francis Xavier Church, Gorapur, St. Mary's Church, Lassalette, St. Joseph's Church, Luthern Mission Church, Lake End, offer the devout a relaxed and genteel place to pray.
Physical Observatory This oldest world famous institution was built in 1898. It is nearly 6 kms from the bus stand and situated at the highest point in Kodai hills at 7700 ft. It has a well equipped productive laboratory doing quality research work. Its director Evershed discovered the phenomenon of radial motion in Sunspots - known as Evershed effect
Silver Cascade This water fall is located on the main ghat road, 8 kms away as one approaches Kodai from Kodai Road. Overflow of Kodai lake takes 180 ft leap over a steep cliff, to crash into a pool beside the ghat Road.
Bear Shola Falls
Bear Shola Falls An ideal picnic spot 1.6 km from bus stand and within 2 Kms off the lake, where once bears came to drink water. Hence the name of the falls became Bear Shola falls. Cross the lake bund, pass the Telephone exchange on your right, and at the junction take the lower road there comes Clifton Hotel. The approach is rugged hill path. The falls are at the best in rainy season.
Pambar Falls "Grand cascade" is another name for this magnificent falls. It can be reached by a steep, precipitous path behind Pambar house. Racing down Pambar Raivine is Zig-zagging leving stream that cascades over a series of rock formations. It is 4kms away from Kodaikanal.
Thalaiyar Falls This is also called as Rat tail falls.The widest falls, ranging from 13th kilometer on the ghat road to kodai.It is one of the highest falls in India, with their 975ft sheer drop.
To reach Kukkal Caves which is at a distance of 40 kms, travel by bus upto Poombarai and then give a walk. It is preferable to take a local guide. After walking through geranium plantations, pine and wattle forest, the Kukkal forest rest house can be reached. The early morning hike from the rest house will lead to beautiful shola with wild large orchids. One should be beware of leeches.The caves here are actually overhanging slabs of rocks. This rock shelter is at an altitude of 1500 m. The cave reveals traces of earliest settled tribals, Paliyans who used to wear leaf clothing. Overviewing the caves are Manjampath valley where bisons can be seen.
Pillar Rocks Three granite boulders each vertically measuring a height of 400 feet stand shoulder to shoulder. It is located 8 Kms from the lake tower over the panoramic view. In the shadows of the pillars are shady woods that invite picnickers. The chamber between the two pillars is called Devil's kitchen.
To reach Dolphins nose at a distance of 8 kms from the bus stand, one has to follow the route specified here.There is an old road after crossing Pambar Bridge near levinge stream. A rough curve rounds the hillside which leads to a point where a flat rock projects over an awful chesm of 6600 feet deep. This is Dolphins nose. On the way, beautiful views of plains and steepy rocky eascarpeints called rolling hills can be seen. The old village of vellagavi can be reached through the rugged bridle path
Vembadi Peak is the second highest peak with a height of 2466m. A right turn in Berijam road and a steep climb leads you to the top. From the stone summit, one can have a magnificent view over Berijam lake, Vandaravu range, Mannovanur sheep farm , Poombarai valley and over all Kerala. The hike will begin from Kodaikanal TV Tower.
Shenbaganur Museum This museum is MNaintained by the Sacred Heart College – Theological Seminary founded in 1895. It is devoted to archaeological remains and the flora and fauna of the hills. One of the best orchidoriums in the country with more that 300 species of orchids is also housed here. It is about 5.6 Kms from the lake. A Spanish Father Ugarthe, contributed his major collections to the Museum. Entrance fee Rs one per head.
Best Time To Visit Kodaikanal
Summer - Max :29.0°C Min : 16 .0°C | Winter - Max : 21.30°C Min : 9.0°C . Best Season to visit Kodaikanal is April to June, and September to October, but can be visited throughout the year.