Places to visit:
Kodaikanal Lake –
The loosely star-shaped, 60-acre Kodaikanal Lake is the most popular attraction
of the town and its most important geographical landmark. The 5-km path along the
lake’s periphery is a favored hangout for locals and tourists. People enjoy
strolling, cycling, or horse-riding along this path as much as row boating on the
Bryant Park –
This 20-acre botanical garden was planned and built in 1908 by a forest officer
from Madurai called H.D. Bryant. There are 740 varieties of roses and 325 species
of trees (many flowering), shrubs, and cactuses here. You’ll also find here
a eucalyptus tree dating back to 1857 and an ancient bodhi tree amidst rare flowers
Chettiar Park –
Chettiar Park, on the way to Kurinji Temple, is another beautiful park that’s
quieter than the centrally-located Byrant Park.
Coaker's Walk –
Built by Lt. Coaker in 1872, Coaker’s Walk is a paved pedestrian path cut
along the steep southern slopes of Kodai. The walk winds around Mount Nebo and provides
a panoramic view of places such as Valley of the Pamba River, Dolphin's Nose, Periyakulam,
and even the city of Madurai. You can witness here a fascinating rare phenomenon
called ‘Brocken Spectre’, where 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 in the front.
Bear Shola Falls –
A gently rising footpath leads to the lovely Bear Shola waterfalls in a reserve
Green Valley View –
Formerly called Suicide Point, Green Valley View point has a sheer drop of 1,500
meters (4,900 ft) overlooking the Vaigai Dam to the south. The stairway leading
to the point is lined with shops selling touristy kitsch.
Pine forests –
Mr. Bryant started pine plantations in Kodaikanal in 1906. These pine trees enveloped
in mist are distinctly characteristic of Kodaikanal today.
Shembaganur Museum of Natural History –
The museum has an outstanding taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals,
birds, and insects and a living collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. The
museum also exhibits artifacts of the ancient Palaiyar tribes whose descendants
still live in these hills.
Kodaikanal Observatory –
Founded in 1898, the Kodaikanal Observatory of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics
is one of the oldest observatories in the world. The phenomenon of radial motion
in sunspots was discovered here. The observatory offers public tours and night-time
telescopic sky viewing for tourists.
Dolmen Circle –
Dolmens and kistavens, dwelling and burial places from the Stone and Iron Ages,
at Dolmen Circle date back as early as 5000 BC. This is an important archaeological
Pillar Rocks –
Three giant rock pillars stand 400 ft high on yet another stupendous natural landscape.
Silver Cascade –
At a bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road, 5,900 ft above sea level, Silver
Cascade is a 180-foot waterfall formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake.
Dolphin's Nose –
Dolphin’s Nose is a flat rock projecting over a breathtaking chasm 6,600 meters
(21,700 ft) deep. The spot offers beautiful views of steep rocky escarpments rising
from the plains, and a short walkway from here leads to Pambar Falls (locally known
as 'Liril Falls' after the filming of the famous Liril soap advertisement here in
Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple –
Dedicated to Sri Kurunji Easwaran, this temple was built by a European lady who
came to India, converted to Hinduism, and settled here. This place is also famous
for the Kurinji flower which blossoms only once every 12 years.
Things to do
Boat Club of Kodaikanal offers row boats on hire, with or without a boatman. You
get an entirely different perspective of the abundant beauty of the lake’s
surrounding from the boat.
Cool forest paths and tree-lined roads make cycling popular in Kodaikanal. You can
hire cycles for a nominal rate and breeze through the 5-km road that circles the
lake or make short but slightly uphill excursions to places like Pillar Rocks.
Horse riding –
Horse riding to various nooks and heights of the hills is a favorite activity among
tourists in Kodai. Horse riding routes and distances are usually fixed, but you
can also hire a horse to take off on new soft riding tracks.
The Europeans introduced carp and trout into the higher-elevation streams of Kodai,
making angling or fishing a popular sport. Locally available bait called ‘vadai’
is made from well spiced peanut flour patties fried in oil. The thick crust helps
the bait stay on the hook when attacked by the fish.
There is a plethora of trekking routes you can opt for in Kodaikanal.
2,068 sq km
Kodai cheese (cheddars, gruyere, and processed cheese), homemade chocolates, local
embroidery work items, objects from Cottage Crafts Shop and Art Gallery where you
can buy small art works and other souvenirs
11°C – 20°C
8°C – 17°C
Best time to be here:
- Any time of the year is a good time for Kodaikanal. You may want to consider:
- April-May – Peak tourist season; pleasant weather but crowded; May is a great
time to catch the various horticultural shows held at Byrant Park.
- September-October – Excellent weather and less crowded
- Avoid November for possible long spells of rain and January for its winter chill
What to carry:
- Layered clothing – It may be chilly in the mornings and evenings, but while
trekking or cycling or just moving around, warm clothes can get stifling
- Trekking shoes