After a hectic two-day road trip to the Holy city of Rameshwaram (read about it here), we wanted to spend some time in a hill station before heading back to home. We had two places in mind, which were easily accessible by road from Rameshwaram. One was the famous hill station of Ooty and another was Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal being closer than Ooty was decided upon as the perfect destination to spend the remaining two days of our holiday. Kodaikanal is a hill station 120km northwest of Madurai in the Palani hills. It is more relaxed and intimate than its big sister, Ooty (Kodai means ‘Princess of Hill Stations’, while Ooty is called the ‘Queen’). This holiday was technically my first ever family trip and so I wanted to make the most of it by making sure that everyone was having a good time and spending some quality time with my family. The weather was quite pleasant as expected and it reminded me of my school days back when I studied at a boarding school situated in the Himalayan valley. Kodaikanal is a small city and had a lot of crowd coming in from the big cities like Madurai, to enjoy a quick break and escape the heat wave of the city. There are quite a few sites worth visiting in the city during your free time. Being a small place, most of them are just a few minutes’ drive away from each other. Here are some of the things which we did on our trip and which I think are worth considering, if you ever plan to visit that part of the country.
Centred on the beautiful lake, the city of Kodaikanal resembles the famous hill station in Northern India, Nainital. Kodai Lake offers beautiful sceneries of the city which is simply breath-taking. Paddle boats are available for minimal cost, if you wish to explore the lake and spend some time admiring the beauty of the city from the lake. During the winter season, clouds take over the city and with less than 10% visibility; the lake just turns into a truly majestic attraction. Kodai Lake is something you just can’t ignore if you are in the city because no matter which part of the city you stay or wander in, the view of the lake and people paddling their boats in the lake will convince you to try it out for yourself.
Pillar Rock is another major tourist attraction in the Kodaikanal. Located about 8 kms away from the centre, one can see the three granite boulders that stand vertically, shoulder-to-shoulder. Measuring a height of around 400 ft. from the ground, these pillars are known for offering a bird’s eye view of the beautiful surrounding vistas. The chambers located between the two pillars are also known as ‘Devil’s Kitchen’. Since a lot of tourists come to this spot, there is a huge street known as the ‘Food Avenue’, which is full of various types of fruits and many mouth-watering Indian snacks to lure them.
At about a 20-minutes’ drive from the city, there is another extremely photogenic spot known as the ‘Pine Forest’. It’s also knows as the treasure of Kodaikanal because pine trees are rare in India and this is the only region which has a forest full of pine trees. Natural light eases through the Pine trees and highlights the plethora of colours found in the area. A lot of tourists can be found taking pictures continuously, since the place is truly worth being captured through the lens. I don’t really have a proof of this but I have been told that a lot of 90’s Bollywood movies used to be shot here back when greenery used to be an important part of love songs. This is one of the many spots you should include in your to-do list while visiting Kodaikanal.
Berijam Lake is a picturesque freshwater reservoir hidden amidst dense forests near the beautiful hill station of Kodaikanal. It is situated in the upper Palani Hills, at the original location of Fort Hamilton. Located at about a 24-kms drive from the city, the lake is located in the forest which is controlled by District Forest Office (DFO). To drive into the forest, one needs special permission from the DFO. Only a limited number of cars are allowed to enter the forest per day. So if you are planning to visit the lake, you have to get a permit early in the morning. Another option is to buy a ticket of the buses operated specially by the District Forest Office and park your car outside the main gate of the forest. The process might sound like a lot effort for just a visit to a lake but it’s really easy and straight forward. It takes hardly 10 minutes to get a permit. The Berijam Lake is one of the major attractions within the region and driving inside the forest has its own fun.
Silver Cascade Waterfall:
As you drive to the city of Kodaikanal, the first attraction to catch your eyes just before entering the city is a beautiful natural waterfall called the ‘Silver Cascade Waterfall’. It’s a natural waterfall and was developed as a tourist attraction thanks to of its crystal clean water cascading from the180-feet high cliff. It is a wonderful roadside scenery, not to be missed en route to Kodaikanal. It makes for a picture perfect stop on the way to the city. The water force is even higher during the monsoon season and getting closer to the waterfall, tends to get a little riskier so tourists are advised to be extremely careful.
Other than the above mentioned spots, Kodaikanal has many other tourist attractions which could have been included in the list. But since we had limited time to spend, we couldn’t visit all the famous places. Below are a few more places one should consider visiting while planning a trip to the beautiful city of Kodaikanal.
- Silent Valley
- Kin Kong Face Rock View
- Guna Cave
- Green Valley View
- Bryant park