Kodai or Kodaikanal is on the southern crest of the Palanihills, about 120
km from Madurai, at an altitude of 2100 mt. It is surrounded by wooded slopes,
waterfalls and precipitous rocky outcrops.
Founded by American missionaries in 1845, Kodaikanal is steeped in history.
Relics and artifacts of the Paliyans who once lived in these hills can still
be seen in the Shenbaganur Museum. Eventoday, a few Paliyans can beseen
near Kukal Cave. In the early days, there were no roads people had to travel
by bullock-cart and palanquin, braving the dangers of the forests. Slowly
Kodaikanal developed, missionaries established church properties, many of
the then ruling princes built summer holiday-homes, clubs were opened, school
and hotels were built, and civic amenities were introduced.
Kodaikanal Hills is an idyllic getaway for regular tourists, trekker and
honeymooners. Blessed with nature's breath-taking beauty, the star-shaped
lake dominates this sleepyhill-station. Location
Situated on the southern tip of the upper Palani Hills (Western Ghats) at
an altitude of more than 6854 ft. Kodai is 120 km north-west of Madurai;
510 km away from Chennai, 262 km from Coimbatore and 615 km from Bangalore.
Driving into Kodaikanal from Palani is a dramatic experience, reminiscent
in parts of the drive up the Ghat road from Kallar to Ooty. It is a relief
to leave the hot, dusty plainsbehind and drive up into the cool hills. The
vegetation changes gradually from palm-fringed paddy fields to wild brush
with flaming blossoms to plantations interspersed with stately silver oaks.
The view of the Amaravathi Dam, a shimmering sapphire sheet of water is
an unforgettable sight. Driving higher, banana trees give way to tall eucalyptus
trees, and the whole countryside is dotted with wildflowers in jeweledcolors,
magenta and purple predominating. There is a marked nip in the air, as one
reaches for ones cardigan, or shawl. At a bend in the road, the shimmer
and roar of the Silver Cascade waterfall welcome the tourist.
Arriving in Kodai town, one is greeted by orchards of pear trees with their
graceful branches silhouetted in artistic curves against the evening sky
like stark Zen etchings. Buildings with gabled roof dot the skyline. Broken
fragments of light from the setting sun are caught and kindled in the wind-rippled
water appearing like a myriad lamp floating on the lake. Soon, as though
on cue, lights start twinkling all over the hillside, and even the stars
pickup the message, and heaven and earth are a riot of light, as though
beaming messages of goodwill to each other. PLACES TO VISIT
The Coaker's Walk offers some fantastic views of the surrounding plains.
Another superb vantage point, is the Kurinji Andavar temple, dedicated to
Lord Murugan, which provides a panoramic view of the lofty hills, that embrace
Kodaikanal. Some of the popular picnic spots in the resort, are the Green
Valley View, Pillar Rocks, and Bear Shola Falls. Nature seems to have blessed
Kodai in all her magnanimity, a fact evident from the immense profusion
of exotic flora and fauna of the area. The amazing orchid collection at
the Shenbaganur Museum, has granted Kodai international fame. Kodai is also
blessed withthe rare bloom of the highly elusive Kurinji flower, that makes
a dramatic appearance, once in 12 years.The Kurinji last bloomed in 1992.
The resort is also home to various species of birds, thus rendering it a
bird - watcher's delight.
Kodaikanal promises to be an ideal getaway, for those cravingfor an invigorating
yet soothing holiday, away from the madness of the city. Excursion
There are several excursion spots in and around Kodaikanal.
Dolphins Nose: located about eight km from the lake, is a flat projecting
rock from where one can have a breathtaking view of the yawning chasm
The Perumal Peak: about 11 km from Kodaikanal, isa trekkers delight.
Climbers begin their ascent from the Neutral Saddle.
Berijam Lake: supplies drinking water to Periyakulamtown, and is 21 km from
Kodaikanal (beyond the Pillar Rocks). It is a popular picnic spot with a
Kukal Cave: 40 km from Kodaikanal, is a favouritecamping site for trekkers.
Reportedly, descendants of the Paliyans still live here. Travel Information
Air:The nearest airport is Madurai, 120 km away. It is well connected
to other airports.
Train:The nearest railway station is Kodai RailwayStation, which is 80 km
Road: Kodaikanal is connected by road with important towns. Regular bus
services are available from Madurai, Palani, Kodaikanal Road, Theni, Dindigul,
Tiruchirapalli, Kumuli (Thekkady) and Coimbatore.
Kodaikanal, Hill Stations in India