Kodaikanal (Tamil: கோடைக்கானல்) is a city in the hills of the taluk division of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Kodaikanal is referred to 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 Kurinji Flower is in full bloom around December once in 12 years, and it bathes the valley in a beautiful sea of blue. Its because of this the hills are known as Nilgiris (Nil means Blue and Giri means Hill). It was last in full bloom in 2006; its next bloom is expected in 2018. Kodaikanal is also sometimes referred to as “Princess of Hill stations.”
By plane The closest airports to Kodaikanal are Madurai 120 km and Coimbatore 175 km.By train Nearest railhead is Kodaikanal road. Kodairoad Station is nearly 80 km.
By car Reach Kodai Road80kms Rs.1000/- aprrox,Dindigul or Madurai and then take a cab to Kodaikanal. Ask the resort to arrange for the pick-up. The drive from Kodai road takes approximately 2 hrs while the drive from Madurai takes approximately 3 1/2 hours and from Dindigul it takes about 2 hrs.
From Cochin/Kochi(kerala) it is 295 kms via the hill station of Munnar(kerala).The route to be taken is Kochi-Muvattupuzha-Kothamangalam-Adimali-Munnar-Devikulam-Poopara-Bodi-Theni-Kodaikanal which is the NH49 Kochi-Madurai.
- Berijam Lake – perhaps the most pristine of the three lakes in Kodai
- Coakers Walk– If you wish to catch the scenic valleys, the best time to visit the place would be before 2PM. But if you want to watch snow-like clouds (only in winter) beneath you form an ocean, reach the place between 3PM and 6PM. Try and catch the sunrise here or in the nearby Greenlands Hostel. A marvel. Also try out the telescope near the main gate.
- Bryant park – A must see. Its main entrance is on the road surrounding the lake and is a 10 minute walk from the entrance to the boat club.
- Kodai Lake– If you are going in Winter, do the boating in the evening, as its an amazing experience to boat through fogs settling on the lake.
- Kurinjiandavar Temple – about 4 km from the lake is a temple whose presiding God is Lord Muruga. The flowers inside the temple bloom once in 12 years. One can get a view of the Palani Hills and the Kodaikanal Town from this temple. During the winter, the view of Kodai city and Palani from the two ends of the temple is blocked. However, in summer, the visibility is good and hence the experience too.
- Green Valley View/Suicide Point– has a more than 5000 ft steep drop from this point. The monkeys are a good attraction at this point. Renamed Green Valley View, apparently to prevent people from being lured to commit suicides.
- Pillar Rocks – huge steep cliffs which look like “Pillayar” (Lord Ganesh in local language Tamil). Watch out for the cross at the top of the mountain hoisted by an English adventure enthusiast.
- Silent Valley View
- Devil’s Kitchen – a cave known more to the locals, in between “Green Valley View” and “Pillar Rocks”. Watch out for the deep hidden ravines. What would appear like mere dark gutters are actually a deep fall. Many unsuspecting people have fallen prey to the “devil’s trap”. So,watch your step!
- Guna Caves – a cave which became very famous after the movie GUNA. Very steep and risky to get in. Think public are not allowed to enter this cave nowadays. A very good place to take pics..
- Cycle around the lake – and watch the clouds while they slowly descend onto the water; cycles are available for hire at the lake on an hourly basis. It is possible to cycle to other places although cycling one way will be difficult due to the hilly terrain. Do check the cycles before setting out.
- Boating at the Kodai lake – paddle and row boats are available at the lake. Entrance is via the Kodaikanal Boat Club.
- Trekking – Kodai offers several scenic trekking spots, including one which is to walk along the stream which goes to dolphin nose. Kodai tourist office has a trekking guide which is available for free there, which lists all the possible trekking routes and difficulty levels. The tourist office advises people to take guides and offers to provide them, although this is not necessary. An easy trek is the Perumalmalai trek which is the tallest mountain that area.
- Wander About – Kodai has numerous waterfalls and beautiful views not mentioned in the tourist guides, so wandering about can bring you to some spectacular place.
- Horse Riding – Right near the front of the entrance to the boat club, you can rent a horse (with the trainer) to take you around the lake.
- Cheese Factory – Various Cheeses.
- Home made Chocolates – Kodai’s shops are stocked with home made chocolates. These are a lot cheaper compared to the major brands.
- Eucalyptus Oil and herbal oils– A Variety of oils that claim to relieve joint pains and other aches are also available at every shop.