Kodaikanal, Princess of Hill stations
Flowers at Botanical garden
Kodaikanal is very popular hill resort in Tamil Nadu, India. Kodaikanal is a city at an altitude of 2133 metres (6,998 feet) on the southern crest of the Palani hills in the Western Ghats. You can visit throughout the year. Madurai is the nearest airport (120 kms) and Kodai Road (Old name is Ammaianayakkanur) is the nearest railway station (80 kms). Regular bus services to Madurai and Tiruchirappalli are available.
Kodaikanal means in Tamil "The Forest of Creepers", "The End of the Forest" or "The Forest of the Summer". Kodaikanal or Kodai in short has a rich floral wealth. Kodai is famous for its kurinji flower which blossoms in the area only once every 12 years. It attracts tourists from all over India. Very good trek routes are available. Here we name the places you must visit.
Sacred Heart College, Shembaganur
Silver Cascade falls is 55 metre (180 feet) high, the first attraction, on the Madurai - Kodaikanal road. The excess water in the Kodai Lake comes down as a fall. It is at about 8 kms from Kodaikanal.
Shembaganur Museum of Natural History is a theological museum created in the year 1895 by Jesuit fathers and is maintained by Sacred Heart College. The museum, 5 km from Kodaikanal, is famous for its wide collection of numerous specimens of butterflies, moths, snakes and mammals. It is a haven for anthropologists. The museum is also famous for its orchard which houses more than 300 species of trees and flowers. Tuesday is holiday.
Welcome to Museum
The Pillar rocks, 8 km from the Kodai Bus stand, are three granite boulders measuring a height of about 120 metres (400 feet) from the ground and the chambers that are seen between the two pillars are known as Guna caves (Devil's Kitchen). A cross appears on its top. This place is an excellent viewpoint with a public garden. Returning from this place, you can see a Golf course on your right.
Green Valley View (Suicide Point) has an excellent panoramic view of the plains, valleys, hills and the Vaigai dam. 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) drop. Please visit the place after 10 am and before 3 pm. Be watchful! There are plenty of monkeys going after eatables you carry. It is 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) from the bus stand. The ideal time to visit here is between early mornings and late afternoons.
Monkey's View of Green Valley
La Saleth Church is a 150 years old Roman Catholic church. It is the second church dedicated to Our Lady of La Saleth. In 1846, Maximin and Melanie reported seeing Virgin Mary on Mount Sous-Les Baisses in France, weeping bitterly. Mother Mary continued to weep even as she spoke to them and then the apparition vanished. It was approved by the Church in 1851. There is a Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette in La Salette, France.
La Saleth Church
Coaker's walk is named after Lt. Coaker who prepared the map of Kodaikanal. The walk is winding around Mount Nebo about 1 km, starting from the Van Allen hospital and ending at the main road beside St. Peter's Church. This walk, running parallel to the Van Allen Hospital Road, was discovered in 1872. It provides a stunning panoramic view of the plains. On a clear day one can view as far as Dolphin's Nose in the south, the valley of the Pambar river (Liril falls) in the southeast, Periyakulam town and even the city of Madurai. A fascinating rare phenomenon called Broken spectre 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. The ideal time to visit here is before 2:30 pm in the afternoon as mist will start to set in over the valleys by late afternoons.
Coaker's walk entrance
100 year old Dr Van Allen Hospital
Kodai Lake is an artificial (man-made) lake that takes the shape of a star and is spread over 60 acres, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) circumference and an average depth of 3 m. The lake was created in 1863 by Sir Vere Hentry Levinge, who was the collector of Madurai. He came to this place after his retirement and converted this marshy land with several streams of lake. Boat club offers pedal and rowing boats with different seating capacities. Cycles and horses are available for rental in the lake area.
Happy family on Pedal Boat
Bryant Park, a botanical garden, seen on the lake's eastern side, houses plenty of different varieties of flowers, rafts as well as hybrids in 20.5 acres (8.3 ha)area. A British forest officer by the name Bryant was the one who landscaped this park in the year 1908 and hence it is named after him. This is the place where the annual vegetable and flower show is held during the month of May. A glasshouse in the park contains wide varieties of flowers, ferns and other ornamental plants. With 325 species of trees, shrubs and cactuses, the park is a rainbow of stunning flowers during the peak season. A large section is dedicated to nearly 740 varieties of roses. There is a Eucalyptus tree (planted in 1857) and a Bodhi tree.
Bryant Park Entrance
Dolphin’s Peak, 8 km from kodai, is known for offering bird’s eye view of the plains and villages located nearby. The point can be reached from the old road after crossing Pambar Bridge.
Bear Shola falls is called so because in earlier days bears used to come and drink water from this. If you visit this place during rainy season, you can see bears.
Berijam Lake is situated about 23 km from Kodai. Sighting of bison, leopard and other chirping birds are very common here. You can visit Berijam only after you get the permission from the District Forest Officer. Entry is restricted into the Berijam Lake area. Visiting hours is between 9.30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Pine forests In 1906, with a view to growing valuable timber, Mr. Bryant started the Kodaikanal pine plantations in the south-west to Kodaikanal. You can see pine trees in all places.
Tourist souvenirs on sale
Only in Kodaikanal you can see the kind of beautiful yellow wild flowers. Cypress, eucalyptus and acacia are the dominant varieties of trees. During August, temperature is 11oC to 18 oC. Tourists can buy woollen clothing, flowers, fresh grocery, meat, handicrafts, hot snacks, inexpensive toys, medicinal herbs and oils, hardware, dry goods and cooking fuels in bazaar. Handcrafts, home-made chocolates, postcards and Eucalyptus oil are tourist souvenirs. The cosmopolitan Anna Salai is the main business street. Plums, pears, chile peppers, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic and onions are cultivated here.