Kodaikanal – The Princess of Hill Stations
Kodaikanal is a lovely lake town situated near Palani in the hills of Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. It is popularly known as “The Princess of Hill Stations”. The name Kodaikanal in Tamil means “The Gift of the Forest”. However, the name has four more possible interpretations based on how it is pronounced in Tamil language. It is referred to as “a place to see in the summer” owing to its pleasant climate. It could also mean “the end of the forest” in a geographical sense as it is at the summit of Palani Hills. The place is also stated to mean “the forest of creepers/wine”
Major Attractions in Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal offers an array of places to visit according to one’s likings and preferences. Some of the major tourist attractions of Kodaikanal are:
The Kodaikanal lake is an artificially created lake built in 1863 by Sir Vere Hendry. The lake covering 24-hectare is bordered by a 5 kilometre path. Boating, horse-rides, cycling, and a stroll along the lake are the highlights of this place.
Bryant Park was landscaped by a British Army Officer, Glen Bryant. It is a well maintained botanical garden found east of the lake and 500 meters from the bus stand. It covers an area of 20.5 acres. The park is open throughout the year and offers a rainbow of flowers and ornamental plants. The Flower Show conducted during the month of May every year is a real treat for the eyes.
Running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodaikanal is the 1-kilometre paved pedestrian path called the Coaker’s Walk, named after Lt. Coaker. It is at a distance of 500 meters from the bus stand. The place assures one of the best views extending to the Dolphin’s Nose in the south, the valley of Pambar River in the southeast, and the town of Periyakulam and Madurai.
Pine Tree Forest, Kodaikanal
Found southwest of Kodaikanal, Pine Forest is yet another prominent tourist spot of Kodaikanal. Here, one can witness the myriad of pine trees aligned to as far as our vision goes. The pine plantations was started by Mr. Bryant in the year 1906. Photographers and nature enthusiasts would simply love this place. Scenes from various Indian movies have been shot here.
Poombarai Village (Kuzhanthai Velappar Temple)
The scenic village of Poombarai is 15 kilometres from Kodaikanal bus stand. At the heart of Poombarai village is Kudhanthai Velappar Temple which comes under the administration of Palani Temple. The temple houses the shrine of Lord Murugan in standing posture and has a history of over three thousand years.
Green Valley View
The Green Valley View formerly called the Suicide Point is a little more than 5 kilometres from the bus stand. It offers a breathtaking view of the Vaigai Dam to the south. The valley below this point is very deep and goes down to around 5000 ft.
Shenbaganur Museum Kodaikanal
The museum also known as Fauna Flora Museum was established in 1895. It is at a distance of around 5 kilometres from the Lake. Tourists can witness over 300 species of exotic orchids and a phenomenal taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals, birds and insects. It’s a place best suited for people inclined towards science and facts.
Kodaikanal Solar Observatory Museum
Located 6 kilometres from the bus stand on Observatory Road at 2343 meters is the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory Museum. A grand panorama of Kodaikanal through the Terrestrial Telescope, the popular Astronomical Science Museum, Astronomy Library are some of the captivating attributes of this place.
Pillar Rocks View Point
A set of three giant pillars standing 122 meters high, 8 kilometres from the bus stand are the Pillar Rocks Viewpoint. The beautiful view from the rocks makes it a crowded place. You could also visit the public garden adjacent to the view point.
Deep narrow chambers between the three giant Pillar Rocks is the Devil’s Kitchen, now known as the Guna Caves (named after the Tamil movie Guna). Its mystery and adventure has led to many tragic incidents in the past and hence entry inside the cave is now prohibited.
Silver Cascade Waterfalls
Experience a refreshing environment at the Silver Cascade Waterfalls. At a distance of 8 kilometres from Kodaikanal, this waterfall was formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal lake. It is a perfect stop-over to have a break while on your journey from Kodaikanal to Madurai.
Dolphin’S Nose View Point
A quiet retreat to experience the beautiful valley of Kodaikanal at its best would be The Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint. This viewpoint, as the name suggests, is based on a flat and protruding piece of rock similar to a dolphin’s nose. It’s a splendid way to experience the peace and tranquility in the atmosphere of a hill station.
Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple
This Murugan temple, situated 4 kilometres from the bus stand, refers to Lord Murugan as the “God of Hill”. The area surrounding the temple is famous for Kurinji flower which blooms once in 12 years. You could have an amazing view of Palani and Vaigai Dam from this temple.
This viewpoint is 21 kilometres South West of Kodaikanal Lake. It is a reservoir that hosts many species of animals, birds, plants and fishes. Entry is restricted by the Forest Department between 9.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. It’s a perfect place for bird watching, amiable photography and for some quiet nature time.
Things to do in Kodaikanal
Apart from spending time in nature’s lap, Kodaikanal offers a host of other recreational activities such as cycling, pony rides, boating and angling. Tourists can also shop for some quality Eucalyptus oil, homemade chocolates, plums and pears and woolen clothing.
Ideal time to visit Kodaikanal
You can visit Kodaikanal anytime during the year as the temperature is always moderate, however the best time would be in the months of April to June, September and October. Watch out for the Summer Festival that takes place every year in the month of May.
How to reach Kodaikanal
Buses are available from Madurai Aarappalayam bus stand and Batlagundu. Frequent buses are also available from Palani, Kodairoad and Dindigul. The nearest Railway Stations to Kodaikanal are – Palani Railway Station in the north (64 kilometres) , Kodaikanal Road Station down south (80 kilometres), Dindigul Junction in the east (100 kilometres) and Madurai Junction nearly to the east (114 kilometres). The nearest Airports are in Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli and Tuticorin.