Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu)
Though all the four major South Indian states are known for their tropical weather, vast coastline and beaches and Deccan Plateau, the region boasts of having some fine hill stations. These hill stations are highly cherished tourist destinations. Kodaikanal is one of the finest hill stations in India. Known as the Princess of Hill Stations, Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is noted for its sunny and equable climate and for its enchanting beauty. It stands amidst great sylvan beauty on the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills at a height of 2133 metres above sea level. Its luscious greenery, wooded slopes, lakes and enchanting water fall form a visual treat to the visitor. Fruits like plums and plantains grow abundantly apart from a wide variety of flowers. The pride of Kodaikanal is Kurunji, a rare flower which blooms once in twelve years making the hill slopes a blaze of purple. The place has been developed as a health resort. With its many lakes and rocky escarpments, it is suited for a quiet rest as well as for vigorous relaxation. The best season to visit is from April to June and September to October.
There are many places and monuments of immense touristic interest in Kodaikanal.
Kodaikanal Lake: The star shaped Lake spread over an area of 24 hectares is the main attraction of this hill station. Fishing and boating are the main sports here.
Coaker's Walk: A picturesque walk running along a steep slope on the southern side of the hills. It provides an excellent view of the plains below.
Bryant Park: Situated on the eastern side of the lake is a beautiful park where periodical flower and horticultural shows are held.
Pillar Rocks: Deriving the name from the three boulders standing shoulder to shoulder vertically to a height of 122 metres, providing a panoramic view, this place is a popular picnic spot.
Orchid Museum: Known as Shembaganur Museum, it was founded by the Sacred Heart College, a Theological Seminary, in 1895. This remarkable house is having more than 300 species of Orchids. This is a popular place for botanists and garden enthusiasts.
Kurinji Andavar Temple: An ancient temple dedicated to Lord Subramanya as Muruga, which is a popular place of worship. Ideally situated on one point of the hill, one can survey the southern plains including the Vaigai Dam.
Astro Physical Laboratory: Situated at an altitude of 2347 metres the highest point, it was founded in 1899 for the study of Solar & Astronomical Physics.
Telescopic Houses: There are two telescopic houses at this place; one is near Kurinji Andavar temple and another at Coaker's Park.
Though Kodaikanal itself is enriched with many places of tourist interest, there are places of tourist interest due to their natural charm and historical importance.
Water Falls: There are several beautiful waterfalls around Kodaikanal which are worth visiting. Silver Cascade is situated on the ghat road at a distance of 8 kms. Bear Shola falls is very near and it is an ideal picnic spot. Glen Falls and Fairy Falls also provide excellent views and are ideal for picnic. The Kembakkorai waterfall is about 12 kms away.
Beryjam Lake: Hardly 21 kms away from Kodaikanal, beautiful Beryjam Lake is the chief source of drinking water for Periakulam town. The Bear Shola waterfall is a very popular picnic spot.
Perumal Peak: Perumal Peak is about 11 kms away from Kodaikanal. It is a 2400 metre high peak offering excellent opportunity for trekking, starting from Perumal Malai village, a point known as Neutral Saddle.
Kukkal Caves: (40 kms.) Kukkal Caves are though now- a-days a favourite site for picnic makers, these caves were once the natural habitat of ancient cavemen. 40 kms away from Kodaikanal, it is now a favourite camp site for trekking.
How to reach Kodaikanal:
Kodaikanal is 120 kms from Madurai, 135 kms from Coimbatore, 80 kms from Kodai Road railway station and 64kms from Palani railway station.
Kodaikanal can be reached by excellent roads. Regular bus services are available from most of the cities in South India. Taxis and auto-rickshaws can be hired for local sightseeing on the hills.