HILLS IN THE MIST
As you leave behind the hot Tamil Nadu plains and approach the cool, pine-scented air of Kodaikanal, 2,133 metres up in the Palani hills, you’ll feel the same way as a bunch of early British and American missionaries. In the early 19th century, these foreigners who stumbled into Kodaikanal were so touched by its beauty and grateful for the escape from the heat that they set about building a town here. They built homes and churches, cut paths, paved roads, introduced new trees such as eucalyptus and pear, and, around 1863, built the Kodaikanal Lake, a defining motif of the town’s natural splendour today.
The Kodaikanal Lake is ensconced in the centre of a sublimely beautiful setting - wooded hill slopes, large rocks, winding roads, skipping waterfalls, and fruit orchards that constantly disappear and reappear in the mist. Beautiful churches are tucked in between British-style villas, and rare flowers like kurunji appear beside delectable plums and pears. Paths and soft-trodden trails appear out of nowhere in the hills.That explains why walking, hiking and trekking are major activities in ‘Kodai’. Day and half-day hikes are an excellent way of taking in the natural wonders of the place. Boating on the Kodaikanal Lake, cycling, and horse-riding are other ways to enjoy the beauty of this hill town.
Kodaikanal has one of the oldest observatories in the world - the Kodaikanal Observatory. As you look above the moonlit pines and watch the stars through a mighty telescope, the vast faraway skies seem fittingly close.
- Altitude: 2,133 metres
- Area: 2,068 sq km
- State: Tamil Nadu
- Distance from nearby towns/ cities: Madurai 120 Km, Coimbatore 170 km, Chennai 520 km, Bangalore 500 km
- Take away: Kodai cheese (cheddars, gruyere, and processed cheese), homemade chocolates, local embroidery work items, objects from Cottage Crafts Shop and Art Gallery where you can buy small art works and other souvenirs
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11°C – 20°C
8°C – 17°C
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Any time of the year is a good time for Kodaikanal. You may want to consider:
April-May – Peak tourist season; pleasant weather but crowded; May is a great time to catch the various horticultural shows held at Byrant Park.
September-October – Excellent weather and less crowded