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Kodaikanal - Princess of Hill stations

STATE - TAMIL NADU

DISTANCE - 180 KM From Munnar, 120 KM From Thekkady

 
CONNECTION

By Air : The nearest airport to Kodaikanal is in Madurai and is around 120 km away. Flights operate to all major cities of India.

By Rail : Kodai Road Railway station is the nearest rail head which is 80 km away from Kodaikanal. All major passenger trains passing through this network have a halt at this station.

By Road : Kodaikanal is well connected to all major cities of Tamil Nadu. Transport buses from nearby cities and towns ply to Kodaikanal with appreciable frequency. Luxury coaches are also an option.

ABOUT KODAIKANAL

Kodaikanal on the southern ridge of Palani Hills in the Western Ghats, Kodaikanal is around 120 km from Madurai. It is sitting on an altitude of 6,854 feet above sea level and is among the most visited tourist destinations of South. The 'Princess of Hill Stations' is how sometimes Kodaikanal is referred. It also has the distinction of being the only hill station in India to be established by Americans. The town is surrounded by thick dark forests and it seems as if this gem of a hill station is actually being enviously guarded by this dark forest. In fact the name Kodaikanal itself means 'The Gift Of forest'. The hill station is full of natural marvels like Fairy Falls, Coaker's walk, Green Valley view, Pillar Rocks and Dolphin's Nose. For peace lovers, it offers serene and calm atmosphere that is intoxicating and refreshing whereas for adventure lovers, it proves to be a heaven with ample of trekking opportunities available throughout the town. The town is not densely populated with only around 30,000 residents. Tamil is the main spoken language but English is also widely understood.

PLACES OF INTERESTS IN KODAIKANAL

Pine forests : Kodaikanal has several scenic natural attractions which are enjoyed by its visitors and make it a popular romantic destination for newlyweds. These are described in order of distance from the bus-stand. Kodaikanal Lake, 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the bus stand, is an artificial, roughly star-shaped 45 ha (60 acres) lake built in 1863. It is recognized as Kodaikanal's most popular geographic landmark and tourist attraction. Rowboats and pedalos can be hired at the Kodaikanal Boat Club with its main entrance near the only five-star hotel in Kodaikanal, The Carlton. Horses and bicycles can be hired beside the lake for short periods. The 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) path that skirts the periphery of this lovely lake is a favourite walk for the locals and tourists alike.

Bryant Park : Just east of the lake and 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the bus stand, is a wonderfully maintained 20.5 acres (8.3 ha) botanical garden. The park was planned and built in 1908 by a forest officer from Madurai, H.D.Bryant, & named after him. With 325 species of trees, shrubs and cactuses, the park is a rainbow of stunning flowers during the peak season. A large section is dedicated to nearly 740 varieties of roses. There is a 1857 Eucalyptus tree & a Bodhi tree which adds a religious significance to the park. Ornamental plants are cultivated in a nursery for sale. The park organizes horticultural exhibits and flower shows every summer, to coincide with the peak season. Entrance fee to the park is nominal and it is open all year.

Kodaikanal Solar Observatory : Coaker's Walk,500 metres (1,600 ft) from the bus-stand, constructed by Lt.Coaker in 1872, is a 1-kilometre (3,300 ft) paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai. The walk, winding around Mount Nebo, starts in front of the Van Allen hospital, running parallel to the Van Allen Hospital Road and joins the main road beside St.Peter's Church, providing a stunning panoramic view of the plains. On a clear day one can view as far as Dolphin's Nose in the south, the valley of the Pambar River in the southeast, Periyakulam town and even the city of Madurai. A fascinating rare phenomenon called Brocken spectre can be witnessed, when a person can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo. This occurs when the sun is behind the viewer and clouds and mist are to the front. There is an observatory with a telescope halfway along the walk. Entrance fee to the walkway is nominal and it is open all year.

Bear Shola Falls : 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the bus-stand, is a tall waterfall in a Reserve forest. The final approach to this quiet area is a gently climbing foot-path.

Green Valley View : (formerly called Suicide Point) 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) from the bus-stand and near the golf course, has an excellent panoramic view of the plains and a sheer drop of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) overlooking the Vaigai Dam to the south. The stairway leading up to it is highly commercialized and lined with rows of shops to tempt tourists. 

Pillar Rocks : pillar Rocks 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the bus-stand, is a set of three giant rock pillars which stand 122 metres (400 ft) high. Managed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, The viewpoint can be crowded but is not commercialized. There is an excellent public garden adjacent to the viewpoint.

Guna caves : Guna caves made popular by the Tamil movie Guna, previously called Devil’s Kitchen, are deep bat-infested chambers between the three gigantic boulders that are the Pillar Rocks. The deep narrow ravines of the caves are now closed to public due to the tragic deaths of twelve youths there. These dangerous caves are highly protected now, and tourists can see sections of the cave system from afar.

Silver Cascade : Silver Cascade 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Kodaikanal at a wide bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road, at altitude 1,800 metres (5,900 ft), is a 55-metre (180 ft) waterfall formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake. The water quality is reportedly poor and not good enough for bathing.This impressive waterfall is a popular stop for first-time visitors. There are a few souvenir and fruit vendors and many monkeys here. There is also a smaller but more serene waterfall below the bridge which crosses the stream here.

Dolphin's Nose : Dolphin’s Nose 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the bus stand, is flat rock projecting over a breathtaking chasm 6,600 metres (21,700 ft) deep. It is an undisturbed area 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) down a very steep rocky trail beginning soon after Pambar Bridge. Orange juice vendors along the trail offer a welcome rest stop. Beautiful views of steep rocky escarpments rising from the plains can be seen. The old village of Vellagavi can be reached through a rugged bridle path here. A short paved walkway leads from the road here to Pambar falls (which is also locally addressed as 'Liril Falls' after the famous Liril Soap Advertisement filming in 1985).

RELIGIOUS PLACES IN KODAIKANAL

Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple : Kurinji Andavar Murugan Tample 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the bus-stand, is famous for its Kurinji flower which blossoms in the area only once every 12 years. The deity here is called Sri Kurinji Easwaran, who is in fact Lord Murugan. This temple was built in 1936 by a European lady, who on coming to India, converted to Hinduism. She changed her name to Leelavathi and married a Mr.Ramanathan. She is also known as Lady Ramanathan. This temple is under the management of Arulmighu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Thiru Kovil, Palani.
 
WHEN TO GO KODAIKANAL

The climate of Kodaikanal is pleasant throughout the year, but the best time to visit Kodaikanal is from April to June and from September to October.

WEATHER FORECAST

Kodaikanal experiences rain between the months of June and September. The average rainfall is about 1650 mm, annually. Temperature varies from moderate to quite cool - during March to May. In January, night temperatures sometimes drop to freezing, and thin ice is seen on the lake edges.
 
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN KODAIKANAL

Kodaikanal Festivals : All the festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu are popular in Kodaikanal. Summer festivals are celebrated at hill stations of Tamil Nadu including Ooty, Kodaikanal and Yercaud. These summer festival involve many Cultural programs, adventure sports, boat races, flower and fruit shows, etc,. add charm to the festival.

Kodaikanal Culture : Kodaikanal is a place, which is known for its wondrous and ancient churches. The rich Christian culture and traditions of Kodaikanal still stand apart. One of the primordial churches is the Mother Salette church, which is 133 years old. Every year on the 14th and 15th of august, a unique carnival takes place at this church.

Solar Physical Observatory : It was found in 1989 at the top most point in Kodai at an altitude of 2343 m. Visitors are allowed to closely observe the stars, planetary movements during visiting hours and on prior appointments.

FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN KODAIKANAL

Breakfast or tiffin includes idly(steamed rice cakes), dosai (a pancake made from a batter of rice) and lentils crisp fried on a pan, vada(deep fried doughnuts made from a batter of lentils), pongal (a mish mash of rice and lentils boiled together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cummin seed), uppuma(cooked semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cummin seed and dry lentils.)

Lunch or meals consists of cooked rice served with an array of vegetable dishes, sambar, chutneys, rasam (a hot broth made with tamarind juice and pepper) and curd(yogurt). For a non-vegetarian lunch, curries or dishes cooked with mutton, chicken or fish is included. The meals is incomplete without crisp papads or appalam.



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