Kodaikanal (also known as kodai) is a city and a Taluk division of Dindigul district. Kodaikanal is sometimes referred to as the “Princess of Hill stations” and is a popular tourist destination. Much of the local economy is Hospitality industry based on national and international tourism. Kodaikanal was established by American missionaries around 1845, as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains. Hill stations located at an altitude of 2133 mts. (7000 feet) frequented by tourists in large numbers throughout the year.
Kodaikanal is considered as the 'Switzerland of the East'.
Kodaikkanal is about 60 km from dindigul and 120 km from Madurai. Of all the three major hill stations of Tamil Nadu Ooty, Kodaikanal and Yercaud it is definitely the most beautiful and unlike Ooty does not warrant heavy woolen clothes during winter. It is located on the western crest of the Palani hills amidst thickly wooded slopes, precipitous rocky outcrops, waterfalls, fragrant and colorful flowers with astonishing viewpoints that is incomparable to any place in India. Unlike Ooty where you have to travel long distances to see the places of tourist interest, here you can visit all the places within walking distance. This is nice place not only to escape the heat of the tropical summer and a perennial place of relaxation. Kodaikanal mean cool resting place in summer (kodai).
The collector of Madurai Vere Leving constructed several roads and dug the lake. The climate is quite ideal for blossoms to bloom and the Pambar stream provides excellent water. One of the world’s oldest solar observatories (1899) is also located here.
Kodaikanal tour is best to visit during the time of April to June and from September to October.
Kodaikanal is a romantic hill station for the newly-weds to go for a 45 ha. (60 Acres) lake built in 1863, is located close to the centre of town. The Golf club is about 5 km from the lake. The Golf club has the finest courses in Kodaikanal. Cycles for children, boys and girls are available on hire to go around the lake. Roller Skating – Y.M.H Skating hall, Post Office Road. Pony ride is available on hire. The large number of 'kodaikanal honeymoon packages' are available.
Kodaikanal Tour Information
Set up as a European sanatorium in1845 by the American Madura Mission, Kodaikanal's main hub is an artificial lake, created in 1863. Boat clubs, walking paths, churches, parks and a golf course soon followed and in 1901 an American boarding school for the children of missionaries was started.The British set up Fort Hamilton, a military outpost at Beri Jam, a marsh 21km from Kodai and built a road to Top Station in 1925. Fearing a possible Japanese invasion of South India in 1942, the British hastily repaved the 81km stretch s an escape route from the hills to the harbor at Cochin. With a maximum elevation of 2,481m/8,140ft, the Kodaikanal-Munnar Road was among the highest motorable roads in India South of the Himalayas until closed to traffic in 1990. The historic 3-day trek requires written permits and is one of 17 scenic walks that showcase the area's natural splendor thick shoal rainforests enveloped in mist, the smell of eucalyptus and pine and the fabled kurinji that flowers every 12 years.
Kodaikanal is about 64km south of Palani and 60km from Batalagundu and 20k from Kodai Road railway station.
The starfish-shaped Kodaikanal Lake forms the nucleus of this compact town. Surrounded by eateries and cars selling hot bajjis and tea, the lake's 5km perimeter is ideal for walks (45min), cycling or horse rides. Boats ae available at the TTDC Boat House or Kodaikanal Boat and Rowing Club and anglers can cast a line for carp and trout with prior permission from the Inspector of Fisheries in Kodaikanal.
East of the lake is the bust Seven Road junction, surrounded by hotels, restaurants, curio shops and stores advertising Kodai's home-made chocolates, marsh mallows, incense and aromatic oils.
Southeast of the lake is Bryant Park laid in 1908 by H.D.Bryant, a forest officer from Madurai. The 8.3ha/20.5 acre botanical garden is a storehouse of 325 species of trees, with a separate section for 740 rose varieties and ornamental plants on sale at the nursery.
Just across the road, beyond St Peter's Church (Church of South India), is he legendary Coaker's Walk (open 7am to 7pm), cut into the hill's southeastern ridge by Lt Coaker in 1872. Hemmed in between Villa Retreat and Greenland's Youth Hostel, the 1km paved path offer scenic views. Dolphin's Nose, Pambar River and Madurai can be seen more clearly through the telescope in the small observatory.
For more long distance viewing, drop by at the Kodaikanal Observatory, perched atop the town's highest point north of the lake on Observatory Road. Started in 1898, it is one of the oldest observatories in the world and India's only Solar Physical Laboratory. One of the oldest extant telescopes in the world and rare solar photographs are also on showcase. The exclusive precincts are open to visitors only on Friday between 10am to 12.30pm and 7-9pm.
North of Observatory Road, 1.6km from the lake is Bear Shola Falls, a watering hole for bears in the past. Convent Road heads north of Kodai Lake to Kurinji Andavar Temple 3km away, with spectacular views of the Palani Hills and Vaigai Dam. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, Lord of the Hills, the temple slopes are carpeted with Kurinji, whose purple-blue flowers blossom every 12 years(Watch out for 2016).
From Bryant Park, the road splits into St Mary's Road, which ends in Pambarpuram at St Salette, the oldest church in Kodaikanal. The right of the fork Club Road merges into Upper Shola Road. Upper Lak Road offers a panoramic view of the lake while Fairy Falls Road leads to the wispy waterfall near the Horticultural Research Station. The Upper Shola Road meanders south-west of the lake to Green Valley View (Suicide Point) and a clutch of shops.
Kodaikanal Tourism Information
Kodai Water falls
Fairy Falls, Silver Cascade, Glen Falls and Bear Shola Falls are the main falls that serve as good picnic spots. Bear Shola Falls is about 1.5 km from the lake and can be reached by a picturesque ragged path. Silver cascade is on the ghat road to Madurai 8 km from Kodaikanal. The other falls are also within walking distance from the lake. They are beautiful and charming as their names indicate.
Coaker's is about a km from the Kodai lake. The hill-edged pathway was identified by Er. Coaker in 1872. It runs along a steep slope on the southern side of the hill. It is a semi-circular beautiful path overlooking the plains. The view from here is simply captivating. The distant plains appear to be a dream land.
Kodai Golf Club
Kodai Golf Club is situated on the road to the Pillar Rocks, the Kodai Golf Club boasts of a well-laid 18-hole course fit for competitions at national level. Often the golfers teeing in the early morning accost herds of wild animals. The Club is exclusively for its members. Non-members and holidays golfers, who want to play, have to pay a special subscription. The tourists on the road have a glimpse of the whole range.
Kodai Pillar Rocks
Three boulders stand here, shoulder to shoulder, vertically measuring 122 metres, providing a majestic sight. Pillar Rocks is 7.4 km from the lake.
The Solar Observatory
This is one of the oldest observatories in the world that came into being in 1899. The solar observatory is being used to observe sunspots and their behavior. Solar Physics, Astronomy and Meteorology are the main concerns. It is about 850 ft higher than the lake.
Located about 5.5 from Kodaikanal is this museum devoted to the flora and fauna of the hills. The museum is being run by the Sacred Heart College, a seminary founded in 1895. Some of the archaeological remains are also exhibited here. It is a must for ever visitor as it enlightens on subjects very interesting to hilly habitat.
Kurinji Andavar Temple Kodaikanal
Kurunji is the name of a flower of the hills. That is why in Tamil, the mountainous region is called Kurinji. It is a small bush and blooms one in 12 years. The flowers are a delicate mauve and during the flowering season the hill sides look completely mauve and look like a mauve-tinted fairy land. Near the Prospect Point is the Kurinji Andavar temple. The presiding deity is Lord Muruga just like Lord Dandayuthapani of Palani. The site for the temple was picked by a Ceylonese named Sri Ponnambalam Ramanathan sijply because of the Visibility of Palani 60 km away and 6000fr below. One can also get a glimpse of the Vaigai dam which is 3.2 km from here.
Reaching there Kodaikanal
By Air : The nearest airport for Kodaikanal is at Madurai (121km).
By Rail : The nearest railheads are Kodai Road (80km) and Palani (64km).
By Road : Kodaikanal is well connected in all the main cities in Tamil Nadu.