10 Best Places to Visit in Kodaikanal That Prove Why it is Called the Princess of Indian Hill Stations. Plan Your Trip Today (2019)

10 Best Places to Visit in Kodaikanal That Prove Why it is Called the Princess of Indian Hill Stations. Plan Your Trip Today (2019)

"The Gift of the Forest" This title is for none other than Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal’s beauty is indescribable and over the years, it has become one of the most desired places to visit in India. It's not just about nature and greenery, there are various places where you can visit, special dishes which you can eat and a new culture which you will meet there. So without wasting any time, Follow this BP-Guide to plan your journey to "The Gift of Forest".

Kodaikanal - The Gift of the Forest

Shrouded in beauty, Covered in mists, Clouded mountains, Green Valleys, Mysterious pine forests, Shiveringly cold yet perfect; Kodaikanal is all these and more. Words cannot make up for the beauty that awaits you at an elevation of 7000 feet. It is the most popular tourist destination, particularly a honeymoon destination. Kodaikanal which means “Gift of the Forest” has the valleys Parappar and Gundar on both its sides. This owes to many beautiful sceneries tourists witness in the hill station.

What’s the Best Season to Visit Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal enjoys a pleasant season throughout the year. But summer and post-monsoon season bring a different kind of beauty to Kodaikanal. Waterfalls are full and flowing abundantly; The lakes are filled to the brim and sparkling in the sun. The weather is perfect for enjoying a good hike or trek the hills. But summer is also when Kodaikanal is teeming with visitors and every tourist spot is likely crowded. It is also when the Grand Annual Summer Festival happens. Every kind of artwork is staged ranging from dance performances, musicals, fruit exhibitions, flower shows, and even boat races.

But monsoon is off-season and leaner when it comes to tourists. It is also the perfect time to visit if you are on a budget. But certain hikes and treks would be impossible without specialized gear. December and January are when the hill station picks up its pace again starting with Pongal. Pongal is celebrated with fervour and is something you should witness if you get the chance to.

How’s the Weather in Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal is the place to be in summers if you are looking for a break from the heat. The maximum temperature would be 30 °C in addition to being breezy and mild. Summers extend from March to June. It is the peak of the tourist season with everything being expensive.

June to September is the monsoon season. The waterfalls are rushing and Kodaikanal takes a new avatar. It is lush with greenery and blooming everywhere. While the frequent rains might hinder your trips, this might be the leanest season of the year. Make sure you are armed with boots and rain gear.

Winter season starts from November and stretches until January. The climate is chilly and can get as low as 10 °C. The days can be pleasant for outdoor activities and adventure. But the evenings can get colder and you might need woollens. This is again the peak season and can be expensive, especially in January.

Best Places to Visit in Kodaikanal

From majestic viewpoints to thundering waterfalls and even puzzling caves, Kodaikanal has everything. Be it the Berijam Lake or hiking to the Pillar Rocks and Dolphin Rocks, the hill station can satisfy every holiday need. In addition to that, the Kurinji Andavar Temple and the La Saleth Church can meet your spiritual needs. While Kodaikanal is loaded with tourist destinations, here are 10 spots that you dare not miss during your visit.

Kodai Lake

Imagine a cool breeze caressing you with the sun shining brightly; The clear waters sparkling and reflecting the light with the lush forest at a distance. That’s Kodai Lake for you. The star-shaped man-made lake was constructed in an area of 60 acres. Created in 1863 by the then collector of Madurai, Sir Vere Henry Levinge, it soon gained its recognition as one of the top places to visit in Kodaikanal. The Palani hill feeds the lake and the outflow creates the magnificent “Silver Cascade” falls.

Fishing and boating can be done on this lake. While the Kodaikanal Boat & Rowing Club provides boats, you need to procure permission from the Inspector of Fisheries for fishing on the lake. Other than that, you can enjoy cycle rides, horse rides or lake a leisure walk around the lake.

Timings - 24 hours
Entry Fee - No Entry Fee

Pillar Rocks

At a distance of 8 km from the Kodai Lake is the Pillar Rocks that rise up to about 400 ft. During the offseason, the tourist spot is shrouded in mist and fog but on clear days, the view is breathtaking and resembles massive pillars standing shoulder to shoulder. The Pillar Rocks stand as a testament to the untouched beauty of Kodaikanal; Make sure not to miss this view.

Not just the rocks, you also get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area, forests, mountains and all. The view along with the small garden on the premises make it a beautiful picnic spot.

Timings - 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Entry Fee - Rs. 5 per person, Rs. 20 for Still Camera

Berijam Lake

A quaint little lake in the middle of the forest, formed as a result of the formation of the dam. The lake itself is a great picnic spot with an amazing view and perfect for bird watchers. What’s special about the lake is the trip through the forest. Along the way, there are a few attractions and viewpoints. If you are lucky you can spot a few animals like bison, deer, monkeys etc.

Travelling to the Berijam Lake needs special permission which has to be obtained beforehand. Monsoons are the best time to visit the lake owing to the lush forest which gets a fresh breath of life due to the rains.

Timings - 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Entry Fee - No Entry Fee

La Saleth Church

Constructed back in 1846, the La Saleth Church is a wonderful blend of both French and Tamil architecture. The century-old catholic church is considered to be highly sacred among the natives and has a regular mass on Sunday and Saturday. The silence and ambience make it an ideal place to be when you are looking for a spiritual experience. The church houses the Lady of La Salette and St. Joseph.

To reach the church itself you need to climb a steep staircase since it sits atop a cliff. And you also get to see an amazing view of the city and the valley. Don't miss the annual festival that happens on 14th and 15th in August honouring Mother Mary.

Timings - Mass Timings: Sunday: 8:00 AM, 10:30 AM. Saturday: 4:00 PM.
Entry Fee - No Entry Fee

Coakers Walk

Source www.yatra.com

A 1 km winding path on the southern slope of the hills, The descending mist gives you feel of walking amidst clouds; That’s Coaker’s Walk for you. It was built by Lt. Coaker in 1872 mainly for the tourists. Apart from the long relaxing walk you also get an incredible view of the valley known for its flowers and lush beauty.

To the south lies the Dolphin’s nose and the city of Madurai, To the south-east lies the River Pampar; The walk itself leads to the Telescope House that gives you an amazing view of the valley. Photographers, amateur and professional are bound to love the walk and the scenery. Though the walk is open until late evening, plan to be there in the morning. By late afternoon the mist descends cloaking the path and the view.

Timings - 7:00 am – 7:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Entry Fee - Rs. 10 per person, Rs. 30 for Still Camera, Rs. 20 for telescope house

Bryant Park

Bryant Park, the brainchild of Glenn Bryant, a British army officer, is located within walking distance from the Kodaikanal Lake. Spread over 20.5 acres, the park has over 350 varieties of trees. Of which the most famous is the 160-year-old eucalyptus tree. While the park is huge and well maintained with different varieties of flowering plants, the most important feature is the rose garden which boasts of about 740 types of roses including rare and exotic varieties.

During on-season, the park is in full bloom and is a riot of colours with every shade in the spectrum. Look out for the Annual Horticulture Show which showcases the park in its full glory.

Timings - 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Entry Fee - Rs. 30 per person for Adults, Rs. 15 per person for Children, Rs. 50 for Still Camera

Kurinji Andavar Temple

Sitting atop a hillock with the Palani hills as a backdrop is the Kurinji Andavar Temple. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan and is a must-visit even if you are not looking for a religious experience. The temple also gives the visitors an amazing view of the hills, valleys, the plantations and the quaint villages nearby. If you are lucky enough, you’d get to enjoy the Kurinji flowers carpeting the entire area. They are purple flowers that bloom once every 12 years.

Timings - 7:00 am – 7:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Entry Fee - No Entry Fee

Silver Cascade Falls

Your first stop in Kodaikanal is on the way to the city from Madurai; The SIlver Cascade falls are so refreshing and tempting, that you cannot drive by without making a stop here. The waterfall is created by the overflow of the waters from the Kodaikanal Lake falling from a height of 180ft.

A perfect stop on an otherwise long and tiring journey, you can also swim or take a dip in the Silver Cascade Falls provided the temperature is acceptable. Fruit sellers line the path to the falls selling delicious fruits, freshly cut and sumptuous

Guna Cave

Though situated on a hiking trail, the Guna Cave formerly known as the Devil’s Kitchen was relatively unknown until the famous movie Guna starring Kamal Hassan. Since then it has been renamed as Guna Cave and is located midst the popular Pillar Rocks.

Legend has it that the cave has also once served to be a pit stop for the Pandavas during their journey. Apart from the historical importance, the cave is shrouded in natural beauty and pine forests making it a popular tourist destination.

Timings - 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Entry Fee - Rs. 5 per person, Rs.10 for Still Camera

Mannavanur Lake

If relaxation and stress release is your thing, Mannavanur Lake ought to be your pitstop. Located in a village by the same name, Mannavanur Lake is an idyllic place where there is nothing to do other than relax. The trip to the lake is interrupted by streams, small falls and carrot fields.

You could either stretch and enjoy the view or check out the rabbit farms and sheep farms nearby. Or some trekking maybe, if the weather permits. There are perusal rides on the lake and also horse riding for the interested.

Timings - 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Entry Fee - Rs. 10 per person

How to Reach Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal fondly called as “Princess of the Hills” is a famous summer refuge for youngsters and particularly sought out by honeymooners. The hill station is located at about 120 km away from the city of Madurai in the Palani hills.

By Road

  • Kodaikanal has well-connected roadways from all major cities in South India. You could either avail public or private bus transport and reach the hill station via the Kodai road; Or reach Madurai or Dindigul and take a taxi to Kodaikanal. You could also make it a road trip; Kodaikanal is just 3 ½ hours away from Madurai. If you taking your car, make sure the fuel tank is full. There are not many gas stations on the way.

By Train

  • The nearest railway station to Kodaikanal is the Kodai Road Station which is about 100 km away from the main city. Taxi is the only means of transport from this point onwards, hence the prices might be expensive and non-negotiable.
  • Another option is to use the Dindigul Railway Station; Dindigul is a much bigger city and you have more options to reach Kodaikanal from Dindigul. You can either avail a taxi or take a bus to Kodaikanal.

By Bus

  • Dindigul and Madurai are the closest cities to Kodaikanal and buses ply at regular intervals from these cities. You can also board buses from Chennai, Pondicherry, Trichy, Palani and Coimbatore.

By Air

  • The nearest airports are Madurai at 120 km, Trichy at 150 km and Coimbatore at 175 km. From there you can either avail a taxi or a bus.

Must-Try Restaurants in Kodaikanal

Is your travel complete without exploring the local cuisines? To finish your travel on a high note we have a list of restaurants that you simply cannot miss while in Kodaikanal.

Cloud Street

Cloud Street is easily the best Italian eatery in town. If you are craving for some pizza, pasta and the stuff, this is the place to be. While you are there order yourself some thin-crust pizza loaded with cheese and extra toppings. The other signature dishes not to be missed are sizzlers, beefsteak, BBQ chicken, chocolate brownies and lemon cake.

Location: Poet Tyagaraja Road, Opposite to Chandhai Market, Kodaikanal
Timings: 09.00 am to 09.00 pm; every day

Astoria Veg Restaurant

Craving for some vegetarian dishes? Astoria is your haunt. Be it hot steaming idli, dosa and sambar, or dal, roti and sabzi, Astoria satisfies your cravings easily. They make a mean Kadai paneer, kulcha, gobi masala and their North Indian Thali is to die for.

Location: Anna Salai, Kodaikanal
Timings: 08.00 am to 09.00 pm; every day

Tava

Not another vegetarian restaurant but the best vegetarian in town. The calming ambience, scrumptious food and reasonable price makes this highly sought out among the locals and the tourists alike. Ask for a seat out in the sun and order one of their specialities. Don't miss out their parathas (aloo, cheese and paneer) and makai simla mirch.

Location: PT Rd, 7 Roads Junction, Kodaikanal
Timings: 11.30 am to 08.45 pm; every day

Royal Tibet

As much as the Indian cuisine, Kodaikanal is also known for its Tibetan restaurants and Royal Tibet tops the list. When the weather drops, order one of their egg noodles and garlic chicken with a healthy dose of garlic sauce. It just about completes your day on a high. While you are there check out their momos; Cheese and potato momo, chicken momo and beef momo.

Location: P.T Rd, Above J’s Heritage, Kodaikanal
Timings: 12.00 pm to 04.00 pm and 05.30 pm to 09.00 pm; every day

Aby’s Café

Make it a point to visit Aby’s cafe no matter what! Not a big establishment but a unique one that stays with you long after you have left. Serving up European and continental cuisines, Aby’s cafe is known for its chicken momos, burritos, sandwiches, burgers and more. But specifically, don't miss out their french toast and coffee. While you wait for the food, enjoy a round of board games they have for you.

Location: P.T. Road, Kodaikanal
Timings: 11.30 am to 07.30 pm

From our editorial team

Stay Calm and Helthy on Nature's lap

Eating outside can be good but no one can compare the mother's food like the same way, other developed cities and countries can be good but there is no comparison with mother nature's lap. It keeps you calm healthy and free from all the tensions. So try to make the trip to any natural place where you get fresh air and peace of mind. Kodaikanal is one of these places so visiting here will be way more than worth compare to visiting some overpopulated developed city. Happy Tripping.