Travel guide to Kodaikanal – Princess of South India
The idea of writing travel guide came to my mind when I start getting DMs from a number of people and my friends asking how was the place, what other specialties I can see there, how should I reach the place, and related questions. So, I have been to Kodaikanal located in the state of Tamil Nadu and glad that I made this decision. The name of this city is often referred to as “The Gift of the Forest” and beyond any question, you can expect cloud-capped mountains, outstanding weather of Kodaikanal, mesmerizing lakes and valleys, and cliffs covered in mist. And I can totally assure you that your decision of heading towards this Princess of Hill Stations won’t let you down. So, are you ready to explore the contours of amazingly beautiful Kodaikanal?
Brief History of Kodaikanal
Some untimely references about the city have been found in the Tamil Literature from the Sangam period that is said to be occupied by the tribal Paliyan people. Talking about today’s modern Kodaikanal, it was established by the British Bureaucrats and American Christian monasteries. It is also said that place was mainly used as a summer retreat by the British officials and some high-class Indians.
I know some of you might not be interested in knowing the past of a place. So, without talking much of your time, I’ll directly jump to my next section and we’ll see why the place is considered one of the most admired tourist places in the country.
Things to do in Kodai
Well, the city is a year-round destination, however, the best time to visit the hill station is between March to May.
The Kodai Lake
Let’s get started with the icon of this hill station, this star-shaped man-made Kodai Lake is spread across an area of 60 acres. Go and experience visiting the Kodaikanal Lake when the weather seems pleasing. Also, the place allows you to get indulge in a number of different activities that include boat riding, horse riding, cycling around the banks of the lake, and much more. If you’re visiting the place is summers, do not miss the boat parade and flower show organized there. Believe me, when the glittering sun rays fall on the clear blue water, you won’t be able to take your eyes off from this beautiful sight.
One of the best things you can try out in Kodaikanal is walking the Coakers Walk that takes you through some of the splendid spots in the city and is definitely the perfect place to enjoy some leisurely walks. The walk gets started from the place near the Van Allen Hospital and ends at the road above the St. Peter’s Church. Always be camera-ready to capture the pleasant beauty of the hills. Also, as you continue with the walk, you can experience a rare phenomenon at the hills called Brachem Spectre. Are you ready to see the shadow of the clouds with a beautiful rainbow halo around? And this happens when the sun is behind while the clouds and mist is in the front.
Another exquisite tourist or I should picnic spot of Kodaikanal, the Pillar Rocks is located at a distance of 8km from the lake. The place is situated in the middle of lush green and three vertically placed boulders at an altitude of 400 ft. The thing that makes the place a must-visit is its hidden nooks and corners that make the place more fascinating. Also, do not miss visiting the Devil’s Kitchen, a mini garden that remains full of seasonal blooms and adds amazing colors to the place. You can also go on a trek to the Pillar Rocks that allows you to walk through the intense fog and thick woods.
Sacred Heart Natural Science Museum
To all the nature buffs out there, get even closer to nature and learn all the concepts of natural biology. The place offers you almost everything and its wonderful taxidermy collection includes more than 500 species of birds, insects, and animals. You won’t be able to take your eyes when you witness the exotic living collection of over 300 orchid species. The museum also has artefacts of the ancient Palaiyar tribe’s native. All in all, once you visit the place you’ll get to learn some creepy yet useful information.
Shopping in Kodai
I always have this habit of bringing back some unique and special crafts of a particular place. But I didn’t know that Kodaikanal will provide me with such exciting materials. The place has to offer you brass jewelry, leather products, woolen shawls, and what not. One can even get their exotic species like clove, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, white pepper etc. You may even come across some talented potters out there, but amazing pottery products and if you wish to, you can learn the art as well. Some of the famous shopping places in the city are Spices Corner, Corsack, Bazaar Road, Potter’s Shack to name a few.
How to Reach Kodaikanal
Reaching this wonderful hill station is really accessible as the place is connected to the other towns in Tamil Nadu.
The nearest airport to the hill station is present in the nearby cities of Trichy, Coimbatore, and Madurai, and reaching Kodai from any of the airports is quite approachable via road.
The nearest railway station is just 100km far from Kodai Road’s town but I would recommend you to first get down at Dindigul because you from here, you can find the transportation services quite easily.
One can reach the town via roads as well because frequent bus services from places like Madurai, Coimbatore, Chennai, and Trichy are easily available. B
The town is situated in such a location where the temperature stays cool and pleasing all round the year. If you visit the place during summers in the months of April to July, you’ll get relatively cool temperature juxtaposed to other low lying plains in Tamil Nadu and during the daytime, you’ll never get a temperature more than 22ᵒ. July and September are the monsoon months when the place receives maximum rainfall followed by the mildly chilly weather of winters when the temperature barely goes below 8ᵒ C.
Although the town can be visited throughout the year, the best time to be the guest of Kodaikanal is the summer season or should be visited from October when the city is at its best and looks refreshing.
What to pack while traveling to Kodai?
Now, when you have heard this lot of time that the temperature in the city remains quite cool and hardly go up. However, make sure you take the right amount of warm clothes even during summer time because you never know when the temperature drops down. So, it is recommended to wear a few layers of clothes so that you can take them off according to the weather. And you definitely need them during winters.
Also, make sure you are taking/wearing a hooded jacket all the time you’re wandering around the city because of the strong fog and mist in the area. Also, the parts of Kodai can be dry too, so take moisturizers and some creams along.
In a nutshell, traveling to Kodaikanal doesn’t need hardcore planning, just keep these few things in mind and enjoy your vacay time in the best way possible.