Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tourism      Hill Stations      Tamil Nadu     Kodaikanal    


Place : Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Altitude : 2.133 m
Temperature : Max 17.3C, Min8.3C in winter; Max 19.8C, Min 11.3 C in Summer
Significance : Kodaikanal is one of the three popular hill stations in Tamil Nadu with wooded slopes, mighty rocks, enhancing waterfalls and a beautiful  lake
Best Season : Any time except the late monsoons (September to November)
Clothing : Light woolen in the evening during summer and heavy woolen during winter
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Kodaikanal referred to as 'The Princess of Hill Stations', is situated amidst the folds of the verdant Palani hills in the Western Ghats at an altitude of about 2133 m. The beautiful hill station covering an are a of 21.45 sq.km. is located 120 Km away from Madurai, in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu. 

Kodai hills was occupied by the primitive tribes of Paliyans and Pulyans in the 14th century and later by the villagers of Palani foothills who fled from the plains to escape the oppressive rule. The Europeans started exploring the place after Lt. B.S. Ward, who visited Kodai hills in 1821, submitted a report about the beauty and the climate of the place. Developed in the 18th century, the hill station was gradually established by American Madura Mission and British Missionaries who built dwellings, churches, schools and introduced and planted new trees to make Kodai what it is today. Several dignitaries who visited the place also contributed to the all around improvement  of the place. Now Kodai is surrounded by thickly wooded slopes, waterfalls and a beautiful man made lake in the centre around which the town is located. The hill town is renowned for its educational institutions of international repute.  The Kodaikkanal Observatory, surmounting the hill is one of the most important and the only one of its kind institutions in India for the study of meteorology, solar physics and allied subjects.

Kodaikanal has a bracing climate where temperature do not vary much from summer to winter. Fruits like plums and plantains grow abundantly on the wooded slopes apart from a wide variety of flowers, among which is the famous Kurinji flower which blooms once in twelve years. Kodaikanal is a relaxing and an ideal for those who want to get away from the heat and haze of the dusty plains during the summer months. Contact District Forest office (DFO) (Phone:  91- 04542 -240287) near Hotel Tamil Nadu, for trek details and necessary permissions. Beri- Jam (23 km), a beautiful reservoir amid dense forests is a lovely trek. 

Lake View : One of the main attraction for the tourists of Kodaikanal is the man made Kodai lake which is at a distance of 3km from the bus stand.  This star-shaped lake glittering like a jewel amidst the emerald Green wooded slope, was created in 1863 by Sir Vere Hentry Levinge(1885), who was the Collector of Madurai, retired and settled in Kodai. By spending his own money he converted the marshy land with several streams into a lake by constructing a strong bund. He brought boats from Tuticorin and arranged boat rides in the lake and stocked the lake with fish. He introduced several foreign trees and fruits such as Pine forms and Pears; and planned and executed several approach roads to Kodaikanal. This 60 hectare lake is surrounded by fine tarred road of 5 km length which takes about 45min to walk. At the lake you may indulge in activities like boating and angling.  The boat club provides boats for hire. Luxury boats are also available. Now tourists indulge in walking, sailing, riding horses and cycles in and around the lake. Fishing also can be done obtaining permits from Inspector of Fisheries. Ponyrides by children and adults around the lake are part of Kodai Holiday. The boat club  (Ph: 04542-241315) and the Levinge memorial overlook the  water. must be made of a phenomenon called `Brachem Spectre' in the Coakers walk which occurs very rarely- one  can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo, when sun is behind him with cloud & mist in front. An entry fee of Rs.5/- is collected per head here.

Brynt Park : This Park is situated in the heart of the town, 0.3 km from bus stand. The park was originally planned and formed by a forest officer of Madurai, Mr. H.D. Bryant in 1908 and named after him. The beautifully maintained park extends over an area of 20.5 acres and is noted for flowers, hybrids and grafts. From its olden days there is an artificial pool.  There are 325 species of trees and shrubs. Cut flowers are exported from here. A glass house which shelters over fine varieties of flowers can be seen here. A Flower show is conducted every year during May, as a part of Summer Festival. There is an Eucalyptus tree aged 150 years and a 'Bodhi' tree which adds to the significance of the park. Ornamental plants are cultivated in a nursery for sale. A big section is allotted for nearly 740 varieties of roses.

Coakers Walk
In the year 1872, Lt. Coaker cut a path along the ridge of a steep slope on the south eastern side of Kodai,  which commends a magnificent view of the plains below. Just 1/2km away from the town, this hill-edge path way was named after him as Coakers Walk. The 1km walk winding around Mt. Nebo starts near van Allen hospital and joins the main road above St. Peter's Church provides a wide-angled spectacular view of the plains. It offers some of the best views of the Plains. On a cloudless, clear day one can have interesting sights, such as Dolphin's nose in south, valley of the Pambar river in South East, birds eye view of Periyakulam and even the city of Madurai. A special mention

Kurinji Andavar Temple : The temple located about 3.2 km from the lake is dedicated to Lord Murugan. In Tamil literature "Kurinji" means "Hilly Region" and "Andavar" means God. From this temple, one can get a view of the northern plains and Palani Hills. The purple blue kurinji flowers that blossom once in 12 years carpets the slopes around the temple.

Bear Shola Falls : So named because it once attracted bears, it is a favourite picnic spot, about 1.6 Kms from the lake, and 2 kms from the bus stand. Bear Shola Falls can be reached through a picturesque rugged hill path. There are many other falls in Kodai, the main one among them is the silver cascade.

Pillar Rock : Situated 7km from Kodai is the Pillar Rock, three granite formations over 120 m high, stand shoulder to shoulder, providing a beautiful view. It has a mini garden with lovely flowers. The Pillar rock is full of caves and chasms, a delight for the adventure seeker. There are over 100 dolmens and other megalithic remains that has been discovered in the Palani hills, all datable to around the 2nd century AD.

Flora and Fauna Museum : The Flora and Fauna Museum about 5.6 Kms from the lake, is maintained by the Sacred Heart College at Shembaganur. A Theological Seminary was founded in 1895. It is devoted to the archaeological remains and the flora and fauna of the hills. One of the best Orchidoriums in the country with more than 300 species is also located here. A Spanish Father Ugarthe, contributed his major collections to the Museum.  A wide ranging collection of birds classified  into ground birds, water birds, tree birds and  large high flying birds such as Black Eagle, Bengal Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Crested Hawk-Eagle. 

Silver Cascade : The waterfall is Located on the Ghat road leading to Madurai and is about 8Kms from Kodaikanal. The overflow of Kodai Lake comes down here as 180 feet high falls. If the temperature of water is suitable, tourists can take bath in the falls.  

Summer Festival :  A summer festival is held every year in May in which boat races, flower and fruit shows are specially organized to add to the splendor. Cultural programs are also conducted during the festival.