Set 2100 metres above sea level, Kodaikanal is a popular hill stationretreat in South India. The cool climes of Kodai offer holiday makers respite from the steamy plains of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states. Encompassed by verdant slopes that are punctuated by waterfalls and cascades, Kodai presents some awesome scenic views of the plains below.
The surrounding forests provide great trekking trails for the outdoor enthusiast and if you are not too adventurous, the Lake located at the heart of the Kodai town is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll or boat ride.
How to Reach Kodaikanal?
By Air : The nearest airport at Madurai (120 km) gets daily flights from Chennai, Bangalore, Trichy and Mumbai. From the airport you can hire a cab or take the local train to reach Kodaikanal.
By Rail : The nearest railway stations are 3 hrs from town. Palani to the north and Kodai Road to the east connect to Chennai and Trichy and to Madurai respectively. From these stations it’s a long 3 hour wind up by road which would be quite enjoyable unless you are prone to journey sickness.
By Road : There are bus services to Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Madurai and Trichy. The shortest route is from Madurai (4 hrs), the longest from Bangalore and Chennai (12 hrs). There is an option between state services and private operators, and various degrees of luxury and speed. But if you are planning to go around or are even prone to sickness, then hiring a car is the best way to travel.
Best Time to Visit Kodaikanal
Visit Kodai from April to June or August to September. This is when the weather is at it's best - temperatures stay in the region of a comfortable 20°C to a bracing 10°C.
The summer festival that is held at all Tamil Nadu hill stations in May features flower shows, dog shows, boat races and the like. This is the high season, so Kodai becomes a little more crowded than usual. July to October are also great months weather-wise, less full, and cheaper.
The months between October and March are wet and cold, so it is best to avoid being here at this time.
Things to do in Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal is about nature and pretty much all the things to do here revolve around it! One can go off on one’s own exploring the surrounding hills or book a trek with a travel agent. Coaker’s Walk winds around the town and has a view of some breathtaking sights of the surrounding countryside. A popluar pastime in Kodai is boating on the lake, so try it! There really isn’t anything by way of nightlife but you could catch a movie at the local cinemas. Shop for some toda silver jewellery to take back home.
Places Near Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal has a few places nearby you can visit.
Palani (62 km) and Pollachi (61 km) are two small towns near Kodaikanal. The road to Palani winds along coffee, orange and banana plantations. The Malaikovil Subrahmanya Temple is a pilgrimage destination and devotees climb 659 steps to reach it. Pollachi was an important trading town. 2000 yr old roman coins were discovered here. It’s still a bustling town serving visitors to the Annamalai Sanctuary and travelers who are making their way across to Munnar in Kerala.
The Annamalai Park (Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary) is spread out over 960 sq km and protects a large variety of wildlife: tiger, panther, sloth bear, the Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, wild boar are some. There are many varieties of bird and the reservoirs support a large population of crocodile. Though most of the park is closed to visitors you are allowed to trek around with a permit and a guide. It is even possible to stay in the forest rest house for a night.
Hotels in Kodaikanal – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Kodaikanal ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.