Kodaikanal is an ideal and popular hill resort, often referred as the ‘Princess of Hill Stations’ in India. Kodaikanal offers some great tourist places, several scenic natural attractions to enjoy for tourist. It is located at an altitude of about 2,133 Meters high and covers an area of about 21.45-sq-km. The hill town is famous for its educational institutions of international repute.
There are some waterfalls and lakes that are worth visiting in and around the town. These places serve as perfect picnic spots, providing the right setting for relaxing. The high rising mountains, surrounding Kodaikanal, offer haunting images of clouds settling upon them, with lush expanse of flora around. The foggy weather, the cool breeze and the lingering locales, leave you asking for more.
Kodaikanal tourist places
The main attraction of the hill station is undoubtedly, The lake is situated at an elevation of 2285m above sea level and looks magnificent with its star shaped glittering waters, set in the midst of lush green slopes in the heart of the city. Renowned as Kodaikanal Lake, it covers an area of about 60 acres and is the pulsating center of the town. Being surrounded by a wide footpath along its edges, the lake is the hub of all leisure activities in the town. The activities popular at the lake site are horse riding, boating, strolls etc.
Bryant Park is located on the eastern side of Kodaikanal Lake. It is essentially a botanical garden, which was planned and landscaped by a British Army Officer, Mr. Bryant. This gave the park its name. Being a producer of diverse flower species like roses and lilies, it is a significant center of horticulture activity. Every year, a horticulture show is organized here in the month of May, which attracts many visitors. The show exhibits varied flowers, fruits, vegetables and even provides education regarding the same.
Silver Cascade, 8 kilometers from Kodaikanal at a wide bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road, at altitude 1,800 meters, is a 55 meters 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.
Bear Shola Falls
This is an ideal picnic spot 1.6km from the bus stand and within 2 kms of the lake, where bears used to come to drink water. Hence the falls were named after this. Cross the lake bund, pass the telephone exchange on your right and at the junction take the lower road. The approach is a rugged hilly path. The falls are at their best during the rainy season.
‘Grand cascade’ is another name for these magnificent falls. It can be reached from the steep slopes behind Pambar house. Racing down the Pambar Ravine is a zig-zagging stream that cascades over a series of rock formations thus creating the unique Pambar falls. Pambar falls are 4km away from Kodaikanal.
Pillar Rocks are located around 7 km from the center of the town. These are basically three stones, which uniquely jut into the sky up to a height of 400m. Holding a mini garden, it proves to be an ideal location for witnessing gleaming sunsets and poignant night view of the city.
Flora Museum is located at the Sacred Heart College in Kodaikanal. It is a must visit spot for the tourists, especially nature lovers. The ‘Orchidarium’ here provides an opportunity to witness a collection of more than 300 species of orchids and other exotic plants that have been meticulously collected in and around Nilgiris.
Green Valley View
The Green Valley View is one of the favorite tourist attractions of Kodaikanal. Knotted cypress roots have created a natural bizarre path up to the sheer drop of 1,000 feet that stands opposite to the Vaigai Dam. The exclusive Kodai Golf Club is located very near Green Valley View.
Shenbaganur Museum of Natural History, 6 kilometers from the bus-stand, founded in 1895, is open to the public for viewing their outstanding taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals, birds and insects and a living collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. The museum is affiliated with Loyola College in Chennai and exhibits artifacts of the ancient Palaiyar tribes people whose descendants still live in these hills.
The Astrophysical Observatory is located at the highest point of Kodaikanal. It is primarily a research center in meterology and solar physics. Built in 1889, the observatory allows the tourists to witness the planetary movements of celestial bodies. It even houses a museum, which exhibits models illustrating complex scientific phenomena.
Kurinji Andavar Temple
Kurinji Andavar Temple is located at a distance of 3 km from the lake. The small shrine has been built essentially in the Pallava style and is dedicated to Lord Muruga. In Tamil, ‘Kurinji’ means hill region while ‘Andavar’ means God. Thus, Lord Muruga is referred as the God of Hill here. Besides, it is also famous for Kuranjini flower, which blossoms once in twelve years.
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.
The cave reveals traces of the earliest settled tribals, Paliyans, who used to wear leaf clothing. Over viewing the caves is Manjampath valley, where bison can be seen. It is reported that descendants of the Paliyans still live here. Kukal Caves is around 40 km from Kodai. You can travel by road upto Poombaraj and then walk. It is recommended to take a local guide. After walking through geranium plantations, pine and wattle forests, the Kukal forest rest house can be reached. The early morning hike from the rest house will lead to beautiful locations with wild large orchids. One should be beware of leeches. The caves here are actually overhanging slabs of rocks. This rock shelter is at an altitude of 1500m
Half km from the bus-stand, constructed by Lt.Coaker in 1872, is a 1 kilometers 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 south, the valley of the Pambar River in the southeast, Periyakulam town and even the city of Madurai. A fascinating rare phenomenon called Brocken spectra 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.
It is situated at a distance of 8 m from Kodaikanal’s bus stand. It is flat rock which projects over an unfathomable gorge. This is known as the Dolphin’s Nose. One can enjoy impressive views of plains, steep, rocky cliffs known as Rolling Hills.
Vembadi Peak is the second highest peak in India with a height of 2466 m. A right turn in Berijam road and a steep climb leads you to the top. From the stone summit, one can have a magnificent view over Berijam lake, Vandaravu range, Mannovanur sheep farm, Poombarai valley and over all Kerala. The hike begins from Kodaikanal TV Tower.
Some Religious Places
The Mariamman Temple, Vinayagar Temple, Murugan Temple, two mosques at Ellis Villa and Munjikal, sacred Heart Church, Munjikal, Francis Xavier Church, Gorapur, St. Mary’s Church, Lassalette, St. Joseph’s Church, Luthern Mission Church etc are other religious spots of Kodaikanal.