Kodaikanal is a popular hill station in Tamil Nadu state of south India. I was very excited about my Kodaikanal trip, not only because I was going for a trip after a long time but also because it was my first ever trip to any hill station in south India. Now since we have shifted to Bangalore , I will be covering most of south India in coming times. So for kodaikanal after doing some research we decided to go by train and return by air. The nearest railway station is Kodai Road which is again 90 km from the hill station. From here you can go by taxi or bus. So we booked Tuticorin express for our journey to Kodaikanal. The nearest airport is Mysore airport which is about 120 km from Kodaikanal. For accommodation there are a number of hotels available in the hill station since it is a popular destination. After a thorough research we booked Hotel Rahat Inn (which we regretted later).
Out train reached at Kodai Road at about 7 in the morning (12 May 2018). At the station itself we booked a taxi for Kodaikanal for INR 1800. The drive to Kodaikanal after you leave the city part is quite scenic like any other hill stations. On the way we stopped at Eden-Garden for breakfast, a restaurant, popular for stop-over I guess as both of our drives stopped there. There is a fall on the way called Silver cascade fall, which is also a tourist spot. We didn’t stop there as it was very crowded and traffic was moving very slow there, but we had a view of it through our taxi. From their onwards the traffic moved very slowly, on enquiring, the driver told us that that was due to huge rush to the hill station.
We covered three hour journey to kodaikanal from the railway station in about 6 hour, as the hill station was so crowded that there was huge traffic jam o the way. We finally reached our hotel at 2 in the afternoon. We decided to set for our tour of city after freshening up. The hotel had some tour agent with whom we discussed the tour package. All tour agents in Kodaikanal have certain fixed destinations.
below are some of the tour packages provided by tour operators
Hotel Review : We booked hotel Rahat Inn after reading reviews on various travel websites. The hotel location is good, besides the main road and about 1 km away from Kodaikanal lake.Rooms provide good views of surroundings. The rooms were small. No fans or AC in rooms, they say it is not required in Kodaikanal whether, but we felt the need of one. Hot water is supplied for limited times. There are limited TV channels. Pre booked meal menu is limited. And if you have a palate for food other than south Indian dishes, you would be totally disappointed. Also the travel agent they are associated with is very costly as compared to others. Our car broke down on the way to Kodaikanal forest and they didn’t compensate for it, the other day also they provided us a very unprofessional driver who charged us 300 Rs just for switching on AC for just 20 Km!
Places to visit in KodaiKanal: Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill station with nice weather and lot of greenery. But some parts of our travel was spoiled due to huge rush in the hill station, most of the time we were sitting in our car and it was moving with the speed of a tortoise. So we reached kodaikanal at 2 , when we asked our travel agent to take us for sightseeing he told us that since it is already after noon and the place is too much crowded it was not possible to go around in car, but we can walk towards the lake which was just 1 km away.
So first day we visited kodaikanal lake which is a man made star shaped lake. There are many shops and local vendors around the lake , one can do boating in the lake. Bicycles are available on rent to take a ride around the lake. You can also take pony ride. We decided to take a walk around the lake. The area around the lake is 5 km and we covered those 5 km. In between it started raining and we had to take shelter beneath a tree. When we returned back to hotel it was already dark.
Second day we decided to go as per the tour plan provided by our travel agent. We decided to cover Valley Tour and Forest Tour 2 as suggested by our travel agent. We started early as we were to cover forest tour. You need to have permission of forest department for that tour. Although we started early but again the route was so crowded that it took us a long time to reach Moir point, the place from where the tour starts and also our car broke down on the way. Our driver told us that he can’t take car inside the forest because if it stops in the middle of the forest no mechanic will be allowed to come inside and we would be stuck! So we had to give up our forest tour instead we did valley which was local sightseeing and viewpoints. But since the valley was totally clouded we could not even see the views.
So our first day tour was
Forest Tour: not done as our car broke on the way
Moier point: hugely crowded , no views as valley was clouded
Pine forest: an interesting forest spread in 500 acre of land
Guna Caves: Some mysterious fenced caves, a and a view of valley
Golf Course: Just a drive through as it is under military
Pillar Rock : a single rock carved on mountain
Green Valley View (Suicide Point) : You have to pass through a narrow passage of stairs with shops on both side. The point is fenced and the view was not visible.
Pamber falls : also known as liril falls as first liril add was shot here
Wax Museum : A small museum with some wax figures.
You can skip the above tour if you have limited time in the city. Except Coaker’s Walk which gives a nice view of the city and Upper Lake View gives a beautiful view of Kodaikanal lake
Next we went for
Picnic tour with trekking
This was the best part of entire day as we did forest trekking bare footed!
We first went to Vattakanal falls and from there trekked to other versions of the same fall which is given different names at different points like at one point it is called Vattakanal, a little distance below it is called Neptune falls and a little further it is known as fairy falls . Lion cave and dolphin nose is also located in the vicinity.
We also noted that the travel agents will say big things and convince you to believe that these places are far away but actually they are close to each other and you can cover 2 to 3 tours in one day.
On third day, which was our last day in kodaikanal we went for Poombarai Village tour which is situated about 50 km from kodaikanal. Our driver told that it was an old village which is famous for cultivation of vegetables. There is a 1000 year old temple, Kulandai Velappar Temple, in the village. On the way we also visited Mahalami temple. Again Palani view was not visible due to clouds. It took us only 3 hr to do this tour, not as exaggerated by the tour agent. After completing the tour we came back to Kodaikanal .
We bought homemade chocolates, oil and spices. Kodaikanal is famous for these things. After having our lunch at Tawa restaurant in kodaikanal we started for Madurai airport.