Genral Information - Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal is one of the most popular hill resorts in India. Kodaikanal (also known as Kodai) is a city and a Taluk division of Dindigul district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is a charming hill station, stands amidst sylvan beauty on the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. With its rocks, woods, lovely lake and bracing air, Kodaikanal is an ideal hill resort for the tourists. History :
The unique flowering plant Kurunji Strobilanthus Kunthanus that last bloomed in 2004, is nature's gift to Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal located amidst the folds of the verdant Pali hills is one of the most popular serene hill stations in India, which mesmerises any visitor and is frequented all through the year.
Kodai is situated at an altitude of about 2,133-m high and covers an area of 21.45-sq-km. The hill town is renowned for its educational institutions of international repute. The hill-plantain fruits and plums are known for their freshness and taste. Berijam lake, one among the beautiful lakes of South India, spreads over an area of 24 hectares.
There is proof of settlement of prehistoric tribes at Kodaikanal by visible artifacts such as dolmens homes of great stone slabs. After the primitive tribes of Paliyans and Pulyans in 14th century, villagers of Palani foot hills fled into Kodai hills, to escape from the oppressive rule in the plains and also from the invasion of Tippu Sultan. Place To See :
The first European to visit Kodaikanal was Lt. B.S. Ward a surveyor in the year 1821. His Head Quarters was Vellagavi village. There were many American missions in South Tamil Nadu. The foreigners could not bear the oppressive heat in Tamilnadu and they faced sickness from epidemic diseases and consequential deaths. They wanted neat and healthy natural surroundings near Madurai to rest and improve their health. They were happy to find from the report of Lt. B.S. Ward about the hills with wonderful climate and easy accessibility from Madurai & Periyakulam. Many English and American missionary people visited Kodaikanal through various routes. Notable among them are J C Wroughton -Sub Collector, C R Cotton Judge and Dr. Weight. Dr.Fane built two houses in 1845 in the lake road. More houses were built by British Govt. The American Missionaries moved in and built a lot of dwellings in the southern side which is still there and now called 'Sunny Side' and 'Shelton' . In the year 1860, the first church was built jointly by the Bishop. American Madurai Mission built the union church in 1895. From year 1860, there was all round improvement due to the visit of several dignitaries. Roman Catholics came, purchased a bungalow for Jesuit fathers, as rest house which is now called La Providence in upper shoal road. Governors of Madras Sir Charles Travelyon and Lord Napier visited in the years 1860 and 1871. One major JM Partridge of the army introduced Eucalyptus and wattle trees in the year 1867. Bier Leverage, collector of Madurai lived in Pamhar house after his retirement. Only through his tireless efforts and initiative the man-made Kodaikanal lake, the foremost attraction of the tourists was formed. He arranged boat rides in the lake. He planned and executed several approach roads to Kodaikanal. He introduced several foreign trees and vegetables such as Pine Forms and Pears. In the year 1872 Lt. Coaker cut a path along the ridge of steep south eastern side which commends a magnificant view of the plains below. The path was named after him as Coaker's Walk
Travel to Hills in the Past
In the very early days, most of the visitors to the hills came from Madurai. They had to walk in the steep grueling way. The popular route was from Periakulam to Kistnamma Naik Tope by road through bullock carts & Rom Tope through the hills. One has to climb 2000 metres height by foot paths. This route was called Coolie Ghat Road.Those who were not able to walk can hire dhoolies (a sort of palanquins) carried by hirers. Some went up by riding ponies. There were many risks. Some dacoits from Kalla tribes came but they soon vanished after seeing the high level of protection. Also there were interruptions by appearance of wild beasts like panthers, elephants, bisons etc. Loud noises were made to chase them away.
In the year 1875 Southern Railways extended train route from Chennai to Madurai and Tuticorin. Due to this facility many tourists from far off places visited. They alight at Kodairoad Station and travel by bullock up to Tope and then ascend the climbs.The government deputed Engineer Major Law to study and submit a plan to build a moterable road to the hills. After a long delay, the road was completed in 1914 and at last allowed for traffic in 1916. Public buses began to ply in the road from 1916.
Coaker's Walk - No sightseeing tour of Kodai is commence without the customary amble down Coaker's Walk. This strip of paved road on the steep south eastern mountainside is equipped with an observatory. This 1 km walk offers great views. How Get There :
Bryant Park - This beautifully landscaped botanical garden was set up by a British forest officer. The garden is adorned by colourful flowers and shady trees.
Pillar Rocks - It is one of the most popular attractions of Kodai. This 400 feet high vertical column of three rocks is a delight to see.
Silver Cascade - This is the most popular waterfall of Kodaikanal. Located at about 7 km outside town this waterfall is formed by the backwaters of Kodai Lake.
Kurinji Andavar Temple - This temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan.The purple blue flowers of the kurinji carpet the slopes of the temple.
Kodai Lake - One of the main attractions of Kodaikanal is the man made Kodail Lake. This star shaped lake was created by Sir Vere Hentry Levinge, collector of Madurai , in 1863. One can enjoy boating in the lake.
Berijam Lake - Berijam Lake located at a distance of 21-km from Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is one among the beautiful lakes of South India. Spread over an area of 24 hectares, the lake is star shaped and is known for its pure water.
By Road Accomodation :
Kodaikanal is connected by road with Chennai (520 km), Ooty (236 km), Trichy (197 km), Coimbatore (138 km), Kumili (160 km), and Madurai(120 km). Regular bus services are available from Madurai, Palani, Kodaikanal Road, Theni, Dindigul, Tiruchirapalli, Kumuli (Thekkady) and Coimbatore.
Kodai Railway Station (80 km) and Palani Railway Station (64 km).
Airport at Madurai (120 km) and Coimbatore (135 km). The nearest airport at Madurai (120 km) gets daily flights from Chennai, Bangalore, Trichy and Mumbai. From there on it is possible to reach Kodai by train and road.
If you looking for a serene stay in a beautiful hill resort, then you should check into one of the hotels in Kodaikanal. Set amidst the folds of the Pali hills, Kodaikanal has a breathtaking beauty.
Hotels in Kodaikanal give a picturesque view of the hills around. This coupled with the salubrious climate and delectable range of cuisine, makes your stay in Kodaikanal a memorable one.
Some of the prominent hotels in Kodaikanal are:
Kodaikanal is not a perfect shopping destination but you can take back some souvenirs and curios from here. you can also shop for handicrafts and handlooms, which you can buy at Khadi Emporium, Handloom Co-operative Stores and Government Sales Emporium. Eucalyptus oils found here are quite popular.
All the festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu are popular in Kodaikanal. Summer festivals are celebrated at hill stations of Tamil Nadu including Ooty, Kodaikanal and Yercaud. These summer festival involve many Cultural programs, adventure sports, boat races, flower and fruit shows, etc,. add charm to the festival.