The loosely star-shaped, 60-acre Kodaikanal Lake is the most popular attraction of the town and its most important geographical landmark. The 5-km path along the lake’s periphery is a favoured hangout for locals and tourists. People enjoy strolling, cycling, or horse-riding along this path as much as row boating on the lake’s waters.
This 20-acre botanical garden was planned and built in 1908 by a forest officer from Madurai called H.D. Bryant. There are 740 varieties of roses and 325 species of trees (many flowering), shrubs, and cactuses here. You’ll also find here an eucalyptus tree dating back to 1857 and an ancient bodhi tree amidst rare flowers and hybrids.
Chettiar Park, on the way to Kurinji Temple, is another beautiful park that’s quieter than the centrally-located Byrant Park.
Built by Lt. Coaker in 1872, Coaker’s Walk is a paved pedestrian path cut along the steep southern slopes of Kodai. The walk winds around Mount Nebo and provides a panoramic view of places such as Valley of the Pamba River, Dolphin's Nose, Periyakulam, and even the city of Madurai. You can witness here a fascinating rare phenomenon called ‘Brocken Spectre’, where a person can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo. This occurs when the sun is behind the viewer and clouds and mist are in the front.
BEAR SHOLA FALLS
A gently rising footpath leads to the lovely Bear Shola waterfalls in a reserve forest area.
GREEN VALLEY VIEW
Formerly called Suicide Point, Green Valley View point has a sheer drop of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) overlooking the Vaigai Dam to the south. The stairway leading to the point is lined with shops selling touristy kitsch.
Mr. Bryant started pine plantations in Kodaikanal in 1906. These pine trees enveloped in mist are distinctly characteristic of Kodaikanal today.
SHEMBANANUR MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
The museum has an outstanding taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals, birds, and insects and a living collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. The museum also exhibits artifacts of the ancient Palaiyar tribes whose descendants still live in these hills.
Founded in 1898, the Kodaikanal Observatory of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics is one of the oldest observatories in the world. The phenomenon of radial motion in sunspots was discovered here. The observatory offers public tours and night-time telescopic sky viewing for tourists.
Dolmens and kistavens, dwelling and burial places from the Stone and Iron Ages, at Dolmen Circle date back as early as 5000 BC. This is an important archaeological site.
Three giant rock pillars stand 400 ft high on yet another stupendous natural landscape.
At a bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road, 5,900 ft above sea level, Silver Cascade is a 180-foot waterfall formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake.
Dolphin’s Nose is a flat rock projecting over a breathtaking chasm 6,600 metres (21,700 ft) deep. The spot offers beautiful views of steep rocky escarpments rising from the plains, and a short walkway from here leads to Pambar Falls (locally known as 'Liril Falls' after the filming of the famous Liril soap advertisement here in 1985).
KURINJI ANDAVAR TEMPLE
Dedicated to Sri Kurunji Easwaran, this temple was built by a European lady who came to India, converted to Hinduism, and settled here. This place is also famous for the Kurinji flower which blossoms only once every 12 years.