A Road Trip to Kodaikanal – The Princess of Hill Stations

Last summer I went to Kodaikanal with my college friends just to get away from my mundane life. Back then my parents were looking for a suitable groom for me and I was a little frustrated with the search. Kodaikanal was a welcome break for me.

Located in the hills of Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal is often referred to as the “Princess of Hill Stations” and for good reasons. The word “Kodaikanal” loosely means “The Gift of the Forest” which it undoubtedly is. Kodaikanal every year attracts lot of tourists, who are looking for an escape from their mundane lives.

A panoramic view of Kodaikanal city
A panoramic view of Kodaikanal city

Kodaikanal can be visited throughout the year, but October to March is the ideal time to visit.

Travel Options

By Air:

The airport nearest to Kodaikanal is Madurai, about 120 kms away. Others in line include the Trichy airport and the Coimbatore airport, 150 kms and 175 kms away, respectively. From the airport, you can easily get a bus to Kodaikanal.

By Bus:

Regular bus services are available from the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Madurai and many more.

By Train:

Many tourists take the rail route and get down at Kodai Road, which is about 100 kms away from the main town. From here, you can get a taxi. Being the only mode of transport from Kodail Road to Kodaikanal, the taxi rates are non negotiable.

By Car:

Kodaikanal is easily accessible by road from Chennai (439 kms) and Bangalore (305 kms). It’s only about 3.5 hours away from Madurai.

Places to visit in Kodaikanal in 2 days:

1. Silver Cascade Falls

Silver Cascade Falls
Silver Cascade Falls

On entering the town, you will be greeted by the Silver Cascade Falls on the Madurai-Kodai road. The gushing sound of the 180 ft high waterfalls will mesmerize you. But the best time to see these waterfalls would be during the rainy season. There are public toilets nearby also to freshen up from the long journey.

2. Kodaikanal Lake

At the famous star shaped Kodaikanal Lake
At the famous star shaped Kodaikanal Lake

Lakes have a special place in my trips. Kodaikanal Lake is a start-shaped man-made lake which is a popular tourist destinations and is famous for its fairy-tale boat rides. There are several beautiful species of flora border lining this quaint, pleasant river.

Instead of boating, I opted to ride a couple’s bicycle with one of my friends around the lake, which later proved to be quite strenuous for me as the lake is huge. Honestly, I had a tough time balancing the bicycle straight.

Top Tip: Do bargain with the bicycle vendors. And check out the bicycles before you hire them.

3. Bryant Park

Children playing at the Bryant Park
Children playing at the Bryant Park

Bryant Park is one of the biggest park in Kodaikanal and very near to the Kodaikanal lake, because of which it attracts a lot of tourist attention. The well maintained park is a delightful picnic spot for the locals as well. You can enjoy long walks or sit in one corner, observing everybody around you.

4. Coakers Walk

Never miss the sunset at Coakers Walk
Never miss the sunset at Coakers Walk

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Kodaikanal, Coakers Walk is a perfect place for you to take amazing pictures of the view of Kodaikanal, cycle or go for a relaxing stroll at any time during the day! Coakers Walk is constructed and named after Lt. Coaker in 1872.

Top Tip: You can purchase some amazing homemade chocolates from the stalls just outside the Coakers Walk.

Roasted corns are the best snacks along with hot cup of tea in hill stations.
Roasted corns are the best snacks along with hot cup of tea in hill stations.

We spent rest of the evening cooking and playing monopoly in our homestay. This was my first experience staying in a homestay which was delightful.

5. Pine forest

Day 2 began with us taking crazy photos in the pine forest. The pine forest is well maintained by forest officials and is a favorite spot for directors of South Indian films. We saw a big pet turkey roaming around in the pine forest. This was the first time I saw a live turkey apart from reading all about the Thanksgiving day.

6. Mannavanur Lake

Mannavanur Lake was perfect to spend the entire day!
Mannavanur Lake was perfect to spend the entire day!

This lake, as the name suggest is located in Mannavanur village, which is around 34 km away from Kodaikanal. This lake is undeniably the most peaceful place you can visit in Kodaikanal. You can enjoy the serene view of the lake by just sitting idly in the vast stretch of greens or you can take up a small coracle ride.

View from Mannavanur lake
Isn’t this view gorgeous?

You can also walk around or take a short horse ride to explore the scenic landscape. Only downside of this place is poor cell reception.

Happily posing for a shot
Happily posing for a shot

As soon as we walked out of the lake, we were greeted by rain and took shelter in a nearby roadside eatery. We gorged on some hot Egg fried rice while enjoying the nuances of rain.

7. Guna Caves (Devil’s Kitchen)

Located on the steep southern slope of the Palani Hills, is a rock formation called Pillar Rocks: three massive rocks about 400 ft. tall, standing adjacent to each other and protruding out of the cliff face. Legend has it that the Pandavas once stopped in Kodaikanal and cooked their meals here while they stayed in this area but its truth is debatable.

Guna Caves - A hotspot for tourists!
A hotspot for tourists!

The caverns in between these rocks and the cliff face were formerly known as the Devil’s Kitchen, due to the visual effect of fog passing the cave, rising up and coming out of an opening that resembles a chimney.

The region was an infamous hiking spot prior to the 1992 Tamil movie ‘Guna’. Several scenes from the movie were shot within this Cave, and this ended up making it a famous tourist destination and later being renamed as Guna Caves. There is a small fee to enter these caves.

8. Dolphin’s Nose

A glimpse of Dolphin's Nose from the adjacent park
A glimpse of Dolphin’s Nose from the adjacent park

By the time we reached Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint, it was closed for the day. Dolphin’s Nose provides a bird’s eye view of the scenic landscape of the surrounding mountainous area.

We got a glimpse of the rock which looks like the nose of a dolphin from a nearby children’s park. Drenched in rain, we sat at the nearby tea stalls, drinking tea and having bhajjis [fritters].

Top Tip: If you like trekking then a trek to the Dolphin’s nose is a must. The summit offers a panoramic view of the area below and on clear days, you might be able to spot the Periyakulam Town as well as the Vaigai Lake. The trek isn’t a very strenuous one and you might also take a detour to the small village of Vellagavi which is on the same track.

9. Sunset ViewPoint

A beautiful view from the famous Sunset point
A beautiful view from the famous Sunset point

After coming down from the Dolphin point, we went to a sunset view point by descending some 200 steps and reaching a small balcony area from where you will get the amazing view of the lush mountains. You can sip on some hot masala chai (tea) and enjoy the view until it gets dark. You need to climb back those steps before it completely becomes dark because their is not street light on those steps.

Read More: A Road Trip to Masinagudi – A Much Needed Respite From City Life

On our way back to Bangalore, we took a detour to visit Valparai, a quaint hill station in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu.

Caught this beauty on our way to Valparai

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