Posted by: getaway2india | November 20, 2009

Kodaikanal – the best hill station in India!

Kodaikanal – the best hill station in India!

Kodaikanal - The Gift of the Forest!

Kodaikanal is one of the most beautiful, serene and picturesque hill stations in south India. In fact it is the best of the three hill stations of Tamil Nadu – the other two being Ooty and Yercaud. Kodaikanal is situated 7,200 feet above sea level amongst the picturesque Nilgiri Hills. Some visitors even consider Kodaikanal the best hill station in the country! Tranquil and serene it is also the perfect Honeymoon Destination!!!

Kodaikanal Map

The Tamil word Kodaikanal means ‘Gift of the Forest’ aptly describes this quaint, little, hill station. No other name could describe this place better!

Nestling deep amidst thick forests, Kodaikanal is a unique hill station where you would love to walk through the wooded forests. Perhaps stand under one of the splashing waterfalls. Row a boat in the lake. Try horse riding. Or simply admire the endless varieties of flora and fauna.

Kurinji Flower - That last bloomed in 2006. Next Bloom is expected in 2018.

The Kurinji Flower is in full bloom around December once in 12 years, and it bathes the valley in a beautiful sea of blue. Its because of this the hills are known as Nilgiris (Nil means Blue and Giri means Hill). It was last in full bloom in 2006; its next bloom is expected in 2018. Kodaikanal off course is situated in the Palani Hills.

Kodaikanal is the trekker’s dream comes true. You can go off on your own exploration; walk through eucalyptus and blue gum forests; or join organized longer treks through a travel agent. You can do some fishing (but obtain a permit first), boating, horse riding and cycling.

Kodaikanal literally blooms up during the summer festival celebrations in May. Except during the monsoons, from October to December, when the monsoons really pour, the weather is fairly uniform throughout the year. A colorful annual boat pageant is also held.

Water Falls


There are Prehistoric megalith creations – dolmens which are large stone constructions – dating from well before written history, earthen pots and other artifacts which have been found here prove that the earliest residents of Kodaikanal were the Paliyans and Pulyans tribes. Relics and artifacts of the Paliyans can be seen in the Shenbaganur Museum. A few descendents of the Paliyans tribe can also be seen near Kukkal Caves.

However, the earliest modern day settlers of Kodaikanal were the 14th century migrants from the foothills of Palani who escaped to Kodaikanal from the invasions of Tippu Sultan.

Lieutenant B. S. Ward, a British surveyor, was the first European to visit Kodaikanal in 1821. He was looking for a clean and healthy place around Madurai, which would provide relief to the missionaries and other foreigners, living and working in south Tamil Nadu, from the summer heat and the occasional epidemics.

In 1834, the Collector of Madurai climbed up from Devadanapatti and built a small bungalow at Kodaikanal. By the second half of the 19th century, churches and other colonial structures started popping up in and around Kodaikanal. Examples of some beautiful structures are the Union Church built in 1895; La Providence Church for Anglicans built in 1860; and a large number of private bungalows.

In 1863, Sir Vere Hendry Levinge (1819-1885), who was then the Collector of Madurai, created the 60 acres Kodai Lake by damming three streams flowing through. He stocked the lake with fish. He also brought the first boat from Tuticorin. After his retirement, he settled down in Kodaikanal.

A boat club was formed in Kodaikanal in 1890. A new boathouse was constructed in 1910. Since May 1929, the club has permitted tourists to join the club as temporary members and avail of boating facilities.

Missionaries established church properties. Many of the ruling princes built summer holiday-homes. Clubs, school and hotels came up. Civic amenities were introduced. Kodaikanal developed slowly, but steadily.

Kodaikanal is the only hill station in India developed by the Americans. They also established the famous Kodaikanal International School.

The extension of the railway line from Chennai to Tirunelveli (598 kilometers) made Kodaikanal really popular. A station was built at Ammainayakkanur – 80 kilometres from Kodaikanal. (This was later renamed Kodai Road.) The first steam engine arrived in 1875 and made the journey to Kodaikanal far easier. Though construction of the road was completed in 1914, it was opened to the public only two years later – in 1916. And suddenly, Kodaikanal was thrown open to the general public.

Kodaikanal has quite a few Schools J

  • Kodaikanal Public School.
  • Kodaikanal Christian School.
  • Zion School.
  • Kodaikanal International School (KIS).
  • Kodaikanal Christian College – Prakashapuram, Kodaikanal.
  • Bhavan’s Gandhi Vidyashram – part of the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan.
  • keypeeyes
  • St. Peter’s Matriculation School


Annai Therasa University

But only one Hospital L

  • Van Allen Hospital – The only hospital available in Kodaikanal. Established by American missionaries. For major treatments, you have to go to Madurai hospitals.

To See:

Kodai Lake

Kodai Lake

The centre of all activities in Kodaikanal is the beautiful star shaped Kodai Lake. If you are going in winter, do the boating in the evening, as it’s an amazing experience to boat through fogs settling on the lake. A 5 kilometers long road skirts the 60 acres lake. Rowing boats, pedal boats and other kinds of boats belonging to T.T.D.C., Boat Club and Carlton hotel can be hired on an hourly basis.

Fishing is permitted. But prior permission has to be obtained from the Inspector of Fisheries.

Pony rides for a quarter, half and full round of the lake are available. Ponies can also be hired on hourly basis. Bicycles also are available on rent.

Berijam Lake – perhaps the most pristine of the three lakes in Kodai.

Berijam Lake

Bryant Park

A must see. Its main entrance is on the road surrounding the lake and is a 10 minute walk from the entrance to the boat club. The beautiful Bryant Park, stretching across 20.5 acres of undulating greenery is situated in the heart of the town. It was planned and given shape in 1908 by Mr. H.D. Bryant, a forest officer of Madurai.

Bryant Park

The Park is situated on the eastern side of the lake, well within walking distance. It has a collection of over 300 species of plants. The Park contains a 150 years old Eucalyptus tree and a historic Bodhi tree. A portion of the Park contains 740 varieties of roses.

The glasshouse in the Park displays exotic indoor plants and some very good plant arrangements. There is a large lake with water lilies and other aquatic plants.

Bryant Park

The Park also has the rare Kurinji plant which flowers once every 12 years. The Kurinji last bloomed in 2006.The Park authorities also sell ornamental plants at reasonable prices.

Coaker’s Walk (1 kilometer)

Coaker's Walk

In 1872, Lt. Coaker cut a 1 kilometer long path along the ridge of a steep slope around Mt. Nebo on the southeastern side of Kodaikanal. The narrow, winding path offers some of the best views of the plains. There is a telescope house on Coaker’s Walk from where you can see distant vistas.

On a clear, cloudless day, you can see the Dolphin’s nose in the south, Pambar river valley in the southeast, Periyakulam and even the city of Madurai.

Dolphin's Nose

If you are lucky, you could witness the rare phenomenon called `Brachem Spectre’. When the sun is behind you and the cloud and mist in front, you could see your shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo.

If you wish to catch the scenic valleys, the best time to visit the place would be before 2PM. But if you want to watch snow-like clouds (only in winter) beneath you form an ocean, reach the place between 3PM and 6PM. Try and catch the sunrise here or in the nearby Greenland Hostel. A marvel! Also try out the telescope near the main gate.

The Pillar Rocks (7 kilometres)

Huge steep cliffs which look like “Pillayar” (Lord Ganesh in local language Tamil). Watch out for the cross at the top of the mountain hoisted by an English adventure enthusiast.

Pillar Rocks

The three pillar-like rock boulders about 122 meters high stand next to each other.

It is amazing how one minute you clearly see the three pillars. Then within minutes, the mist and the clouds swirl up and cover the pillars. The pillar rocks become invisible!

Usually, early morning is the safest time to ensure visibility.

Pine Forests

The pine tree is not a native of India. It was introduced from Britain. This man-made pine forest, the floor covered with a soft, plush, natural carpet of pine needles, with pinecones lying all around, is an ideal place for picnic.

Pine Forest

Silver Cascade Falls (8 kilometres)

Silver Cascade Falls, Kodaikanal

The overflow of Kodai Lake has created one of the most popular spots of Kodaikanal – the 54 meters high Silver Cascade falls. This fall is located on the Ghat road on the way from Madurai to Kodaikanal just 8 kilometres before Kodaikanal. You will see it as you enter and leave Kodaikanal. This is also a favorite bathing spot for tourists.

Green Valley View (5.5 kilometers)

It has a more than 5000 ft steep drop from this point. Very near the Golf Club, the Green Valley View gives a panoramic view of the entire Vaigai Dam. The valley is very deep and dangerous. Some individuals have committed suicide here. For this reason, this place is also called “Suicide Point”. A sturdy fencing has been constructed. And you can see plenty of rhesus monkeys. The narrow path leading to the viewpoint is lined with shops. You can purchase eatables, handicrafts and toys.

Solar Physical Observatory (32 kilometers)

Solar Physical Observatory

The country’s only Solar Physical Laboratory, the Kodaikanal Observatory of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, was founded here in 1898 at the highest point in Kodaikanal at an altitude of 2343 meters in the beautiful Palani hills in Southern India. All the activities of the Madras Observatory were shifted to Kodaikanal.

Visitors can observe the stars and planetary movements during visiting hours and on prior appointments.

Kukkal Caves (40 kilometers)

The Kukkal Caves offer a beautiful campsite – ideal for trekking. You can also see traces of earliest known inhabitants of the region – the leaf clothed Paliyans.

Dolmen Circle (18 kilometers)

The Dolmen Circle is a place of great antiquity and great archaeological importance. Pre-historic remains, original burial urns and models of dolmens were unearthed in this region. These can be seen in Shenbaganur Museum.

Shenbaganur Museum (5.6 kilometers)

Shenbaganur Museum

The Shenbaganur Museum founded in 1895 is maintained by the Sacred Heart College, a Theological Seminary. It contains a very good collection of archaeological remains and flora and fauna of the region.

A Spanish Father Ugarthe contributed his major collections to the Museum. This place also contains one of the biggest orchidariums in the country containing more than 300 species of orchids.

Kurinjiandavar Temple – about 4 km from the lake is a temple whose presiding God is Lord Muruga. The flowers inside the temple bloom once in 12 years. One can get a view of the Palani Hills and the Kodaikanal Town from this temple. During the winter, the view of Kodai city and Palani from the two ends of the temple is blocked. However, in summer, the visibility is good and hence the experience too.

Silent Valley View

Devil’s Kitchen – a cave known more to the locals, in between “Green Valley View” and “Pillar Rocks”. Watch out for the deep hidden ravines. What would appear like mere dark gutters are actually a deep fall. Many unsuspecting people have fallen prey to the “devil’s trap”. So,watch your step! It became very famous after the movie GUNA. Very steep and risky to get in. No one is permitted to enter in to the cave as it is so dangerous. It is dark inside the cave and light beams peer through narrow openings.

Guna Caves (Devil's Cave)

References :

Getting In

By Air

The closest airports to Kodaikanal are Madurai 120 km and Coimbatore 175 km.

By train

Nearest railhead is Kodaikanal road. Kodairoad Station is nearly 80 km.

By Road

Distances by road (from Kodaikanal)
Chennai 520 Kilometres
Ooty 264 Kilometres
Trichy 197 Kilometres
Coimbatore 175 Kilometres
Madurai 120 Kilometres

By car

Reach Kodai Road Station (which is 80kms from Kodaikanal Rs.1000/- approx), Dindigul or Madurai and then take a cab to Kodaikanal. Ask the resort to arrange for the pick-up. The drive from Kodai road takes approximately 2 hrs while the drive from Madurai takes approximately 3 1/2 hours and from Dindigul it takes about 2 hrs.

From Cochin/Kochi (Kerala) it is 295 kms via the hill station of Munnar (Kerala).The route to be taken is Kochi-Muvattupuzha-Kothamangalam-Adimali-Munnar-Devikulam-Poopara-Bodi-Theni-Kodaikanal which is the NH49 Kochi-Madurai.

From Alappuzha or Kottayam, the route is via Kumily along Kottayam-Kumily road, KK Road

  • Munnar to Kodaikanal Route 170Kms:

Munnar – Devikulam – Bodimettu – Bodi – Theni – Periya Kulam – Ghat Road – Ganguvarpetty – Thalaiyar Falls View – Oothu – Mooliyaru – Machoor – Mayiladum Parai – Perumal Malai – Kodaikanal – Approx 170 KM.

  • Kochi to Palani 280Kms:

Kerala High Court, Kochi – Chalakudi – Athirapally Water Falls – Watch Maram – Sholayar Power House – Malakkappara – Upper Sholayar Dam – Valpara – Waterfalls Estate – Attakatty – Loam’s View – Monkey Falls – Aliyar Dam – N.S.Sungam – Gandi Kala Nilayam – Erusalam Petty – Jolipetty – Palani ( Nearly 280 KM ).

Kerala High Court , Kochi – 0 KM

Chalakudi – 46 KM ……

Athirapally Water Falls – 78 KM ……

Watch Maram – 96 KM

Sholayar Power House – 113 KM ……

Malakkappara – 133 KM ……

Upper Sholayar Dam – 138 KM

Valpara – 162 KM ……

Attakatty – 189 KM ……

Aliyar Dam – 203 KM ……

N.S.Sungam – 213 KM

Erusalam Petty – 226 KM ( Better road thru Erusalam Petty – Mukkonam – Udumalpettu to Palani ) ……

Jolipetty – 240 KM

Palani – 278 KM

Pioneer Tours & Travels , is a proactive travel organization in Kodaikanal for the last 10 years, started by Mr A Sultan. Transaction level operations are executed by a team of professionally qualified professionals, who are well versed with the complexities of Travel & Tourism Trade. [1]

You can view and download a map of Kodaikanal from the following sites:


  • Cycle around the lake – and watch the clouds while they slowly descend onto the water; cycles are available for hire at the lake on an hourly basis. It is possible to cycle to other places although cycling one way will be difficult due to the hilly terrain. Do check the cycles before setting out.
  • Boating at the Kodai lake – paddle and row boats are available at the lake. Entrance is via the Kodaikanal Boat Club.
  • Trekking – Kodai offers several scenic trekking spots, including one which is to walk along the stream which goes to dolphin nose. Kodai tourist office has a trekking guide which is available for free there, which lists all the possible trekking routes and difficulty levels. The tourist office advises people to take guides and offers to provide them, although this is not necessary. An easy trek is the Perumalmalai trek which is the tallest mountain that area.
  • Wander About – Kodai has numerous waterfalls and beautiful views not mentioned in the tourist guides, so wandering about can bring you to some spectacular place.
  • Horse Riding – Right near the front of the entrance to the boat club, you can rent a horse (with the trainer) to take you around the lake.


  • Cheese Factory – Various Cheeses.
  • Home made Chocolates – Kodai’s shops are stocked with home made chocolates. These are a lot cheaper compared to the major brands.
  • Eucalyptus Oil and herbal oils– A Variety of oils that claim to relieve joint pains and other aches are also available at every shop.

There is a State Bank of India (SBI) ATM near the petrol pump at the Seven Road Junction which accepts other banks cards as well.



  • Eden Paradise Restaurant, Paradise Compound, Laws Ghat Road. Serves Tasty Ethnic Keralite Cuisine
  • Astoria Veg Reasturant – This is one of the best vegetarian restaurant in the Kodai
  • Rasoi, 106 Maratha Shopping Complex, Annasalai. Serves excellent Gujarat and veg. Punjabi thali. The Chola Batora and alu Paratha are their specialties.
  • Tibetan Brothers – PT Road. Your slice of Tibet in Kodai. The food is mouth watering and authentic Tibetan and Chinese. Try the steamed pork momo or the Thukpa. The owner who doubles up as a waiter is very courteous – and very passionate about his country. So the restaurant walls are plastered with photos of Lhasa, Potola palace and the Dalai and Panchen lamas.
  • Tava, 7 road junction. Outstanding Sindhi food, express service.
  • Pine & Petals’, JC Residency, Convent Road, Naidupuram. Multi-cuisine restaurant.
  • J.C. Residency, Convent Rd, Naidupuram [3].
  • Villa Retreat, Coaker’s Walk, [4].
  • Paradise Inn, Laws Ghat Road, Kodaikanal.
  • Kodai International, [5].
  • Carlton Hotel
  • Hill Country Holiday Resorts[6]




There is a shop near the bus stand where you can get some standard Indian whisky, beer, vodka, etc.

Place to Stay

There are a plenty of hotels and resorts to suit all tastes and pockets. The Carlton is a five star hotel and therefore a little expensive. I am listing only a few of the better ones.

  • The Kodaikanal Club, 7 Roads Junction,Kodaikanal – 624 101.Phone: (04542) 241341
  • Kodai Resort Hotel, Coaker’s Walk, Kodaikanal – 624 101.Phone: (04542) 240632, 240633
  • Hotel Kodai International, 17/328, Lawsghat Road, Kodaikanal – 624 101. Phone: (04542) 240767
  • Hotel Tamil Nadu TTDC Ltd, Fern Hill Road, Kodaikanal – 624 101.Phone: (04542) 241336/7)
  • Hotel Hilltop Towers, Opp Kodai International School, Kodaikanal.


  • Greenlands Youth Hostel, next to Coaker’s Walk. This is the best place if you want the best view and also the feel of the bygone times. You can get dormitories as well as single/double rooms and the prices are very reasonable. However, do book in advance. Fresh food both veg and non veg available. one kilometer distance from the crowded areas. Quiet place facing the valley view. Friendly people.
  • Staying in Cottage or a Bungalow is always better than staying in a closed AC room in a hotel. If you stay somewhere 3-4 km from main city you might get cheaper cottages and bungalow that too with good view.

However, If you wish to stay close to the main city area,

  • Hotel Astoria (Budget) would be a good option.
  • Hotel Bala International is another option. Both are at just 5 mins walking distance from Coaker’s walk and Kodai lake.
  • New Gold Nest, about 3 km away from the lake and on the way to the Kurinjiandavar Temple. This property comprises individual cottages which are located overlooking the valley and offer enchanting views of the clouds rising through the gaps in the mountains.
  • Lilly’s Valley Resort 17/178 Sivanandi Road, Kodaikanal-624 101, Tamil Nadu India. [7] 1 1/2 Km from Heart of town or 15 Mins walking distance.

Lilly’s Valley Resort was the very first resort to be built in Kodaikanal in 1982 by Mr. Raj A. Sukumar. Sukumar was born in the southern tip of Tamil Nadu, India. After traveling all over India, and in many parts of the world in the 70’s he took up residence in Canada. During this period he happened to visit Kodaikanal and felt the place resembled somewhere in England he had seen! After falling in love with this place he brought the property in Kodaikanal and wanted to be a part of its future.


  • Kodai Resort Hotel in front of Coaker’s Walk, [8]. Good Cottages and good lawn with Birds flying Ducks in the garden.
  • Snooze Inn, [9]. A well run budget hotel situated in the heart of Kodaikanal, known for its clean rooms and prompt service.
  • Villa Retreat, next to Coaker’s Walk, [10]. Strategic location, mind blowing views. A nice little cozy resort located bang on the Coaker’s walk. On walking distance is Kodai lake, Coaker’s walk and Bryant Park. The hotel staff is very courteous and helpful. The rooms are clean with simple decor. Best thing is they serve fresh food hence request the customer to order well in time. Good variety for both Veg and Non-Veg cuisine.
  • Valley View Inn, Luxury hotel in the true sense. Three star – Nearer to Coaker’s Walk, [11]. High quality veg food.


  • Carlton Hotel. This is one of the best hotels with a great view of the Kodai Lake. Book in the off season and you could get a 3 night’s package for about 16K (for 2 people) with food and sight seeing. A good time for the honeymooners would be to go during the winter season. The hotel is within 5 minutes walking distance from restaurants and the local market. Also, there are small eateries and shops right outside the hotel.

The Carlton – Lake Road, Kodaikanal – 624 101.Phone: (04542) 240056 – 71


Tourist Office (Govt. of Tamil Nadu): Township Bus Stand Rest House Complex (Next Bus Stand), Kodaikanal, Phone: 241675

Tour Operators:

Get out




  2. i like u place

  3. beautiful place of kodaikanal my lover fav place

    • Thanks Riya…thats very kind of you 🙂

  4. this is heaven on earth .i really love this place alot. i really like the climate .this is place were i ll send my old age.

  5. this is the place if u visit once.u definitely want visit it again

  6. Kodai is the most beautiful place, which we have seen in South India. We love to go there again and agian.

  7. thanx …..its amazing…..mindblowing

  8. very nice post . Thank U for sharing such a great information on Kodaikanal.

  9. i like it……

  10. The Great informative article on Kodaikanal I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing a to z about this wonderful hill station. I like all the photos including flooded silver cascade.

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