Located amidst the verdant Palani hills, Kodaikanal is one of South India's better known hill stations. Picturesque lake, enthralling waterfalls, woody trekking paths and grassy mountain slopes - Kodaikanal or Kodai offers it all! Brimming with tourists in peak summer season, you need to book your Kodaikanal hotel in advance.
Kodaikanal is located about 120 kms from Madurai. You can take a train from Chennai and alight at Kodai Road station. It is also possible to reach Kodaikanal from Coimbatore, Trichy, Theni or Dindigul by regular bus services. Summer is when the tourists throng Kodaikanal, from April to June. But you can also catch Kodai at a quieter pace during September - January. Summers are pleasant while winters can be colder.
Kodaikanal offers plenty of trekking opportunities for small breaks and hikes. You can take a short trek down some of the spots on the lush Palani hills or plan for an overnight trek. If you are in luck, catch the kurinji flower in blossom. This flower, native to Kodaikanal, blooms once in 12 years.
The lake is probably the area where most of the life in Kodaikanal centers. Visitors can avail boating facilities at the Boat Club. If you are looking for a relaxed holiday, take a leisurely walk around this lake or sit on its grassy embankments.
Cycling is popular around here and you can hire a cycle and pedal alongside the placid lake. Children can also take rides atop ponies and horses. Bryant Park located nearby is another tourist attraction.
St. Peter's Church offers a picturesque view of the steep path going into the ravine. No visitor to Kodaikanal would miss a stroll down Coaker's Walk. This walkway or mountain boulevard was constructed by Lt. Coaker. Walk down this path and you will be rewarded with a wide-angle view of the plains.
A hike to Dolphin's Nose is well worth the effort. Trekking down the 20-minute path carved through jagged stone, you can rest atop the point that offers a panoramic view of the valley. If you are lucky, the mist would clear away to let you glimpse at the majestic hills.
You can view the Silver Cascade falls on your way up to Kodaikanal. Other places of interest in and around Kodaikanal are the Kurinji Andavar temple and Pillar Rock. Climb your way carefully as you tread through the slippery stones to get to the lower rungs of the Fairy falls.
You can pick up some essential oils such as eucalyptus or lemon grass oil. Homemade chocolates of Kodaikanal are simple yet special. You can pick up several types of cheese, if you are a connoisseur. You can pick them up at Kodai Milk Union. Take home some dried flowers and driftwood to enliven your home décor.
Berijam Lake is situated about 21 kms from Kodaikanal and is a huge star-shaped lake that doesn't teem with tourists. You need to collect a pass from the Forest Authority to be able to visit this lake and visitors are allowed on only a few days of the week. The drive to this peaceful location is worth it - you can check out the scenery from various points and even spot a few wild bison, if you are lucky.
There is no dearth of accommodation options in Kodaikanal. From the elegant Carlton that has been around since British times to TTDC run hotel and many others, you can pick a hotel that suits your budget. Awake to misty mornings to catch a spectacular view of the mountain slopes covered in foamy mist.