In this article, you will come to know about Kodaikanal:
- Kodaikanal hill station overview
- How to reach Kodaikanal
- What are all the important attractions to see in this hill station.
Kodaikanal hill station overview:
The Kodaikanal is India’s top 10 hill station and is located in the state of Tamilnadu. Kodaikanal is an extremely beautiful and cool town. At an altitude of 6700 feet, it is one of the most visited hill stations in India and the number one hill station in Tamilnadu.
Thick cloud forests, extensive lakes, enchanting waterfalls, quaint walking trails, stunning viewpoints, and old temples are the major attractions in Kodaikanal.
Kodaikanal is situated in the Palani Hills range which is a branch of the evergreen western ghats mountain range.
How to reach Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal hill station is located in Tamilnadu state bordering Kerala State. It is well connected by flights, train, and road.
The nearest airports to Kodaikanal are:
- Madurai-120 km
- Trichy-150 km
- Coimbatore-180 km
The nearest train station is Kodai Road that lies on the train route between Dindigul and Madurai. Madurai station is the most convenient railway mode of transport to Kodaikanal. From Madurai, you can also hire a car or catch a bus.
Several buses ply to Kodaikanal from almost all the big cities in South India such as Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai, Bangalore, Cochin, and Mysore.
Chennai is located about 440 km from Kodaikanal. From Bangalore City, Kodaikanal is 310 km away.
Important Attractions to see in Kodaikanal.
I think I have seen approximately 30 attractions in Kodaikanal some 25 years ago. I guess I might have missed a couple of places and there may be some additions and deletion (I doubt).
Some of the places are not in the list of regular tour operators in Kodai as it is shortly known. Ask your hotel travel desk to arrange a knowledgeable taxi driver. Show him your preferences after reading this article till the end and he will take you there with a smile on his face, indicating his acknowledgment of your preparedness.
Berijam Lake, Kodaikanal
The water in the reservoir (dam) is for drinking purposes and hence no boating is allowed on the lake. It is located about 12 km from the heart of Kodaikanal town close to the end of the Pillar Rocks road.
If you are coming from Munnar, you will find the sprawling 60-acre Berijam Lake on the way.
And if you are game, you can walk the distance because you will have a chance to see some wild animals such as bison, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrels, elephants, porcupine, several species of deer such as mouse deer and barking deer, and leopard.
If you spend some quiet time at the site of the lake, you will spot several beautiful birds, attracted by their swift movements and chirps.
Some of the avian ranges you can see in Kodaikanal are:
- Serpent eagles,
- Pariah kites
- Rose Finch
- Several species of Warblers
The area surrounding the Berijam Lake is full of excellent flora that includes pine, eucalyptus and acacia trees.
Tell your cab driver that you want to see swamp area, herbal garden, and a few shoals. He will help you to get the required permission to enter the highly protected ecosystems.
If you are an avid nature lover and forests are your most beloved places, try to stay overnight in a forest rest house. You need permission from the authorities and you will have to make your food arrangements.
Dolphin’s Nose, Kodaikanal,
Dolphin’s Nose is nothing but a viewpoint of which there are several in Kodaikanal hill station. The gorge that you see from the edge of Dolphin’s Nose will make your mouth agape. The stunning sight will remain etched in your memory forever.
See the above image of Dolphin’s Nose in full screen. It is just awesome.
The views are different when there is no cloud and when foggy. It was dense fog when I went and the entire ravine was filled with mist. I felt like taking a plunge. The urge was irresistible, even now.
To reach this picturesque spot, you have to climb an arduous 3 km trail.
Never miss seeing the Dolphin’s Nose in Kodaikanal, an important and a must-see attraction. You will not get a second chance.
Bryant Park, Kodaikanal
Bryant Park is for all age groups who cannot have enough of green and flowers, especially the wildflowers of bio-rich Kodaikanal. This important Kodai attraction is located very much within the town and is always thronged by visitors.
Since the 20-acre Bryant Park is located on the other side of the famous Kodai lake, tourists automatically walk towards the park after their boating stint in the lake.
The famous rose garden corner in Bryant Park is a major attraction. The next big attraction in Bryant Park is the greenhouse nursery.
How much time do you think you can spend on this strikingly green earth? I would spend half a day.
Ask around for the nearly 160-year old eucalyptus tree and take a photo with it.
Bryant Park is a multi-color attraction in Kodaikanal.
Silver Cascade Falls, Kodaikanal
Just 8 km separates the Kodai Lake and the attractive and gentle Silver Cascade Waterfalls. As the name suggests, water falls gently from 180 feet as a cascade over the granite rocks.
The whole area is covered with dense forest which is a haven for the mountain birds.
Since this a major sightseeing place in Kodaikanal, several hotels and lodges have come up offering cheap to expensive accommodations.
When you go to the Silver Cascade Waterfalls, don’t forget to buy aromatic oils, homemade chocolates, and cheese.
Pine Forest, Kodaikanal
Does the image of pine forest seem familiar to you? Yes, you have seen it Hindi films being shown as a place for romance or melancholy. What a combination!
This beautiful place is not normally included in local tours but if you insist, you will be taken to this captivating pine tree grove.
The Pine Forest has become one of the most famous sightseeing attractions mainly due to the cinema film shooting.
Choose to see the pine forest near Moir Point that is less crowded. If your visit coincides with the advent of mist, then, the entire place becomes absolutely dreamy and picturesque. Don’t go alone to the pine forest in Kodai; go with your spouse.
Guna Caves, Kodaikanal
Originally named “Kukkal Caves”, it took the name ‘Guna caves” after it became famous when it appeared in Tamil film Guna. It is also known as “Devil’s Kitchen’.
The area is covered with dense forest with myriad trees forming a cool canopy. When I visited some 25 years ago, this sightseeing attraction was silent and eerie. Today, I saw hundreds of people thronging the cave area but only from a distance, looking down at the cave as the way down to the caves is wet and slippery due to frequent drizzling.
If you are lucky on a less crowded weekday, you can see some of the ancient tribes such as the Paliyan tribe.
The Kukkal Caves are located some 15 km distance at a good altitude of over 6000 feet!
Bear Shola Falls, Kodaikanal
There are several hotspots for bird watching and they are called ‘Shola’ which means a small forest/garden derived from the Tamil word ‘solai’.
Bear Shola is famous for both bird watching and the mini waterfalls. Baer Shola Falls is located within the Kodaikanal town, just 3 km from the Kodai’s star-shaped lake.
Waterfalls and even gentle water streams in hills are much more attractive than you see the same on the plains. The water is clear and chilly and the sound mesmerizing.
Bears roamed this Kodai attraction once and hence the name.
Another striking aspect of these important attractions to see in Kodaikanal is the presence of numerous wildflowers of various hues and sizes. They attract you unconditionally.
Tourists visit Bear Shola, stay for a few minutes and leave. However, avid trekkers find the place irresistible to stroll. An arduous climb takes them to breathtaking sights of valleys, gorges, wildflowers and wild birds of various species.
The woods are lovely, green and aromatic. The sholas of Kodaikanal urge you to stay in their lap for at least two hours to listen to the jungle sounds and birds’ songs.
Moir Point, Kodaikanal
Moir Point is an observation point in Kodaikanal and an important attraction. It is located about 5 km from the Kodai lake.
Walk beyond the viewpoint and enter the green forest, especially when it just stopped drizzling. The aroma of the earth, the trees and flowers are heady.
After a short walk, you will reach a clearing and see the Berijam Lake.
The Moir Point is also an excellent place to stay for a night or two. You will simply fall in love with the place and the views.
You can find a handful of hotels in Moir Point, Kodaikanal. I believe all are very expensive, starting from Rs.3800 per night.
The view down the gorge is breathtaking and very scary too. However, you will not be afraid at all if the canyon is filled with thick cloud. I had been to Kodaikanal a few times and I never could see the bottom of the ravine that is said to be a massive 5000 feet drop!
The Suicide Point has a sober name “Green Valley Viewpoint”. However, everyone knows it only as ‘suicide point’.
The added attraction at this place in Kodaikanal is the number of brilliantly colored wildflowers, some of them are very big with a long stem.
You can go to the suicide point by car but I would suggest you walk the distance off. The trail is gorgeous! Myriad flora, chirping birds, mist, and monkeys along the trail will make you glad that you chose to hike the 6 km from Kodaikanal lake.
Next to the Kodai Lake, the Coakers Walk is the most visited attraction in Kodaikanal. Watch a short video below. You will swear you have never seen such a dreamy and romantic place but only in films.
All along the narrow path adjoining the misty valley, you can shop paraphernalia such as stuffed toys, inflatable animals and cotton candy.
The sight is stunningly beautiful. The feeling of walking on a paradise lane surrounded by the clouds will hit everybody. After all, you will be walking on a paved pathway located at 7000 feet above the sea! Naturally, there will be clouds most of the time. It is a lifetime experience. Go and feel like you are on ‘cloud 9’, literally.
You can reach the Coakers Walk from Kodai lake in 10 minutes of walking.
- Pillar Rocks, Kodaikanal
Imposing rocks are embraced by the slow-moving dark clouds; nature at its best at this sightseeing place in Kodaikanal.
Hundreds of tourist will be seen at this place buying snacks, drinking tea, and capturing the beautiful scene in their cameras. There will be a slight drizzle always. Don’t open your umbrella to shield you. Just enjoy the chilly water drops from heaven.
Did you notice the pillar-shaped rocks in the video? They measure nearly 400 feet each!
Pillar Rocks in Kodaikanal is 8 km from the Kodai bus stand. Plenty of local transportations are available at the bus stand. Ignore the offers and see if you can get a horse to take you to the pillar rocks site. The horseback ride through the forest can be exhilarating.
This can be visited only if you have time as the other 10+ attractions that you read thus far will keep you occupied for two days of your weekend. Therefore, consider the following attractions of Kodaikanal starting from Thalaiyar Waterfalls as not major sightseeing places in Kodaikanal.
However, after you see a short video clip of Thalaiyar Falls, you are not likely to ignore it at any cost.
The locals take pride in this fact and one more; the Thalaiyar Falls is the sixth tallest in India.
Amusingly, the Thailayar Waterfalls carries another name, “Rat Tail Falls”.
When you reach this beautiful attraction of Kodaikanal, go atop a watchtower erected at Dum Dum Rock and see if you can spot the Manjalar dam.
Other Attractions Not Mentioned Above:
Below are several more attractions in Kodaikanal where the tourists rarely go. It is not that they lack in beauty; on the contrary, there are untouched by pollution and retain their natural rustic charm.
- Fairy Falls
- Vattakanal Waterfalls
- Pambar Falls
- Upper Lake
- Perumal Peak
- Dolmen Circle
- Chettiar Park
- Shembaganur Museum
If you love going to hill stations every year during vacation, you can choose to visit Kodaikanal and repeat your visit for three more years to see all the attractions. Still, you will feel you had not had enough of this sheer paradise on earth.
There is no dearth of hotels, vacation rentals and farmhouse stays in Kodaikanal. Food will be mainly South Indian and North Indian cuisine.
Seasonal fruits are also big attractions in Kodaikanal that include all the mountain fruits such as plums, mangosteen, hill plantain, and dragon fruit.