The sleepy village of Kodai as it is called fondly is blessed with the most picturesque views in India. Whether you are a budding photographer seeking adventure or a tired soul looking for some rejuvenation, Kodaikanal could not be a more perfect destination. In the native tongue, Kodaikanal translates to “The Gift of the Forest”, and it is indeed a gift. It is a crowned jewel of the Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu and has a long history of being a peaceful retreat.
A spectacular tourist spot
At a height of 6,998 ft, Kodaikanal is located on a plateau between the valleys of Parappar and Gundar. In the heart of this town lies a lake. The area is rich in both flora and fauna. The surrounding hills and forests keep the elevated town cool throughout the year. In around 1845, the British used Kodaikanal as a refuge from the harsh temperatures in the south and it slowly evolved as a popular tourist destination. Here are a few tourist places you can visit in Kodaikanal.
As it grew, many structures were built to make it more accessible. One of them was Coaker’s walk which was constructed in 1872 by Lieutenant Coaker. It is a one-kilometer long walking plaza that provides the onlooker with mesmerising views of the valleys and forests surrounding it. While you can explore this gorgeous walk at any time during the day, we chose to explore it in the evening.
The setting sun, the misty mountains and lush green valleys are just too beautiful to put into words. But we will try. A glimpse of mother nature at her finest is sure to leave a lasting imprint in your mind. Start climbing this winding walk at Mount Nebo near Van Allen hospital. The pathway connects to the main road above St. Peter’s church. Since the path is fenced on one side, you do not have to worry about your safety. While we walked along the road, you can also opt to cycle. You can easily hire a bicycle for Rs 30 per hour.
The best time to visit is dependent on what you wish to see. If scenic valleys are what you crave, you need to get there before 2 pm. On a clear day you can see the Pambar river, Periyakulam, Dolphin’s nose or even as far as Madurai. But if you are in Kodai in winter, and you want to see snow-like clouds, which is only possible in winter, visit between 3 and 6 PM. For sunrise chasers, the best way is to stay in the nearby Greenlands Hostel. Halfway up the walk, there is an observatory where you can use a telescope which you can get access to for a Rs.5 ticket at the main gate. If you want more than just a brisk walk, you can go on a 7km hike from Bryant Park which will reward you with views from Pillar Rocks. The entrance to the huge park is near the Kodai lake.
The invigorating fresh air and the gentle slope makes Coaker’s walk suitable for all ages. The Kurinji supermarket nearby sells trinkets and souvenirs if you want to take back a memento. For us, the experience itself was etched into our mind. It truly felt like we were walking on clouds.
The Bachem Spectre
For the curious, there is a phenomenon called Bachem Spectre which Coaker’s walk is known for. Some lucky ones can witness their shadow in the clouds with a halo of the rainbow. Sounds impossible? Nope. This can occur if the sun is at your back and the clouds and mist is in your front. If the weather gods are pleased with you, you might just witness the Bachem Spectre for yourself. And no, we weren’t that lucky.
As you climb this spectacular walk, if you start feeling peckish, there are street food vendors selling snacks. You cannot come to Kodaikanal and not soak yourself in this mystical experience. Looking for a place to stay? We recommend two options- Sterling Kodai Lake and Sterling Kodai Valley. The English countryside is beckoning. Whether you choose the classic historical Kodai Lake resort or the beautiful architectural gem of Kodai Valley is up to you. Leave behind your worries and step into the tranquil, serene facade of Kodaikanal. Be sure to book your stay with Sterling.