A Weekend In Paradise – Kodaikanal

Nature is the artwork of God. 

Kodaikanal is a city in the hills of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Its name in the Tamil language means “The Gift of the Forest”. Kodaikanal is referred to as the “Princess of Hill stations” and has a long history as a retreat and popular tourist destination.

And I can see why the above hold true.

I visited Kodaikanal recently, along with a couple of my friends – three people including myself – the bare minimum necessary for a trip providing maximum enjoyment.

We traveled over in June, arguably the best time visit – borderline between summer and winter.

Now I will share a lot pictures here as this piece goes by, just to share the immense beauty of the place.

In fact, pictures do speak a 1,000 words. 

We left from Chennai by a 7pm bus, the route being via Puducherry.

Chennai (depart 7pm) -> Puducherry -> Tiruchirapalli -> Dindigul -> Kodaikanal (arrive 7am)

The journey was largely without any incident – just the usual swaying of the bus as we spoke into the night.

We were riding up the Kodaikanal hills by 6:30am, and we were greeted by this view.

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Jewel In The Crown Shining Under Mighty Fire

This was a hillock among the route up-hill to Kodaikanal Hilltop, upon which was perched a villa – basking in the morning sunshine.

Further shots along the way up the hill are shared below. Now I was listening to the famous track ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ which had risen up the charts just a while back at that time, and it was so befitting to the surroundings. The song makes you feel like you are in a dream and listening to it while climbing up these beautiful hills made it feel like I was lost in a dream away from reality forever.

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Still Some Way To Go

I don’t remember exactly, but this seems like the distance from the foothills to the top.

There were many other breathtaking views on the way up.

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Good Morning, Sunshine!
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Hello, World!
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Seeking Greener Pastures?
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Greener Pastures Found, Seeker!

Having reached the hilltop by 7am, we wasted no time in getting ready to see the place. We stayed in a decent budget lodge away from the centre comprising the Government Bus Stand. This was a on the outskirts and a bit isolated from the town, especially at night, which gave a real feel of a hill station. They had a subsidiary taxi service that showed guests around Kodaikanal at affordable rates (which was pretty much big business there anyway).

This was the view from our balcony on the morning we reached.

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Kodaikanal Town Yawns Awake

There was a complementary map provided by the lodge the moment we entered to aid through our sight-seeing. Note that many of these places are overlapping (meaning, two different names for the same place), even otherwise we could cover 75% of the places on a two-day trip. Three days would be perfect to see all the wonderful places here.

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“Souvenir – In remembrance of your stay with us while in Kodai” So says this treasure map

These were the places we visited and activities we engaged in chronological order:
(1) Coaker’s Walk
(2) Upper Lake View
(3) Pine-tree Forest
(4) Moir Point
(5) Kodaikanal Lake 
(6) Cycling Around The Lake
(7) Boating
(8) Vattakanal Falls
(9) Green Valley View
(10) Pillar Rocks
(11) Golf Course 
(12) 500 Year Old Tree
(13) Shopping – Homemade chocolates, 100% pure coconut oil, and other hilltop special oils & spices
(14) Capturing pics, pics and more pics!

(1) Coaker’s Walk:
This is a 1 km pathway along the edge of the hilltop on the southern side of Kodaikanal. It gives a stunning panoramic view of the plains and on a clear day, one can see as far as the city of Madurai. A beautiful optical phenomenon called Brocken Spectre can be observed if the sun is behind the viewer and there are clouds in front of him/her – the viewer’s shadow will be enlarged and projected onto the clouds with a rainbow halo around him – simply splendid. But we were not so lucky to have have witnessed that that day.

But take nothing away, the view is simply brilliant. It feels like you are living and walking among the clouds – like on cloud nine. This is the place where you literally walk among the clouds and the clouds blow towards you. What we see in the city upwards are clouds moving – now project yourself directly upwards – that is where you are if you walk by Coaker’s Walk. Pics below.

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Heavenly View
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Clouds Coming Toward Us
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Tree Lives On The Edge Of Bliss
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Through The Lens

(2) Upper Lake View:

Next up in the list was the Upper Lake View. Nothing much to be said about this – it is self-explanatory, it gives us the upper view of a lake below.

A great view nonetheless.

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You Can’t See Me
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Now You Can

(3) Pine-tree Forest:

This is a forest completely of pine trees and nothing else – not even an innocent shrub to be found anywhere. Only pine trees, sprouting up to excess of 60 feet to be found everywhere. It is more like a jungle than a forest. This started out as pine-tree plantations initially.

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“He Who Plants Trees, Loves Others Besides Himself” -Thomas Fueller
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Strong Scent Of Pines Fills The Place

(4) Moir Point:

This is another valley view point – but unfortunately for us, it started raining and it was just too cloudy that we could hardly see the view.

(5) Kodaikanal Lake:

This is a major attraction here within the centre of the hill town. It is an artificial lake spanning 5 km in periphery.

We did activities like boating and cycling around the lake. Bliss.

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“Advice From A Lake: Be Clear, Make Positive Ripples, Look Beneath The Surface, Stay Calm, Shore Up Friendships, Take Time To Reflect, Be Full Of Life!”
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Pit-Stop Anyone?
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Panoramic View Of The Lake
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Clouds Descending – Water And Sky Unite

(6) Vattakanal Falls:

This, for me, was the highlight of the trip.

Situated a bit far from Kodaikanal town, we left for Vattakanal Falls on the morning of the 2nd day.

These are low lying waterfalls nestled among the forests.

This is no exaggeration or overstatement – the whole place gives you a feeling like you are personally in the ‘Avatar’ film – such a surreal and stunning experience!

And these pics below are proof and more of that.

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Entering The ‘Avatar’ Arena
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Clouds Descend
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Wherever Do You Lead?
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Vattakanal Falls In Full Flow
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Crystal Clear Water

(7) Green Valley View:

Green Valley View, (formerly called Suicide Point) is another brilliant point for panoramic view of the plains.

It is dotted with many commercial activities – business of teas, homemade chocolates and spices.

Sadly it was too cloudy by the time we reached the place and nothing was visible of the plains.

(8) Pillar Rocks:

Pillar Rocks, 8 kilometres from the bus-stand, is a set of three giant rock pillars which stand 122 metres (400 ft) high.

Previously entry was allowed into the rocks, but that became banned recently after alleged incidents of people not returning – not very sure if they were verified or not. Again, this is a spot which is vulnerable to clouding. The clouds were just moving away as we visited the place, displayed brilliantly below.

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1/3 – Completely Covered
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2/3 – Almost Uncovered
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3/3 – Voila!

(9) Golf-Course:

A perfect past-time of the affluent in Kodaikanal.

This looked like greenery upon greenery itself!

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Clouds Engulf The Golf-Course In Its Midst
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Golf Course On Cloud 10?

(10) 500-Year-Old Tree:

This is supposedly a tree, an old tree, in fact, a very old tree – 500 years in all!

Common name: Shola Jamun: A rare forest giant found only in the montane tropical shola forests of Southern India. (reference http://www.outreachecology.com/landmark/lti_l043/)

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The Tree Far Behind With A Visibly Wide Trunk – 500 Years Old

There were wild litchis being sold by the viewpoint of this – trust me it did look wild – thorn like protrusions on top of the fruit which were actually harmless.

(11) Shopping:

Kodaikanal is famous, just like any other hill-station, for its homemade chocolates, spices, tea, coffee, oils and soaps. The garments sold by the side of the Kodaikanal lake are affordable and of decent make.

The homemade chocolates, though, are not to be missed! Each and every corner is dotted with shops selling these.

Concluding:

Kodaikanal lives up to the name of “Princess of Hill Stations” – in fact it exceeds the name itself.

A perfect plan would be a 3 day trip to cover all the places of tourist importance and stellar beauty. Small groups are preferable to have more fun.

Best time would be June/July/August when the winter has not yet set in – this way most viewpoints would be visible in all its beauty – and also the summer is a bit away too.

“It is easier to go down a hill, but the view is so much better from the top.”
-Henry Ward Beecher

“The clouds are the only birds that never ever sleep and migrate incessantly.”

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23 Comments

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  1. Nice pics .. should visit kodai !

  2. Durga rangasayee January 31, 2017 — 3:44 pm

    Very nice read .superbly expressed showing how much the writer was touched by the whol e experience . Makes us also want to feel and share the experience by Visiting Kodai.

  3. The entire journey is well captured.

    As goes the famous saying: “Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

    The reader is bound to inculcate a sense of feeling which allures him to definitely visit the place.

    Looking forward to visit soon 🙂

  4. Nice description. Even without looking at the pictures, one can see the beauty of nature, smell the pine air, feel the cold winds.., taste the chocolates, sip the hot tea; in fact experience everything kodaikanal! Good job Shakthi!

  5. I love travel stories and I must say I really enjoyed reading this one…Very well described.. Just loved it!
    Thanks for sharing, Shakti! 🙂

  6. Hey Shakti,
    Looks like you had an amazing ‘walk to remember’ ‘into the wild’.
    Fantastically expressed the best of that ‘paradise’.
    A perfect brush up of my memory at Kodai. #rejuvenated

  7. Superb shakti. Could feel the beauty of kodaikanal through the wonderful descriptive write up and the lovely pics. Keep it up shakti.

  8. Wow! A nice picture journey through the hills. It’s so heart warming to see the beautiful mountains, just like reading a Ruskin Bond book.

  9. Why has juggy or vice or virus not commented anything???!!!!

  10. Edit: why has juggy or varun or vivek not commented anything?!?!

  11. What a detailed travelogue! Loved the photos , truly captivating. I know now where to look before planning a trip to kodai!

  12. Prithviraj k Patil February 3, 2017 — 7:04 pm

    Awesome bro !
    I liked the way you expressed !
    Moreover I being travelholic found this post very interesting.
    Keep going 🙂

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