Wonderful climate, gentle slopes of rich greenery, marvelous mountains, scenic tourist spots like Kurinji Aandavar temple, Kookal village, charming star-shaped Kodai Lake and many other scenic spots make Kodaikanal, a favorite tourist hub for many.

Do you know that, this little charming hill station has a significant place, which is vital to the fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics?

Established way back in the year 1899, Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, a part of Indian Institute of Astrophysics, is a very important observation center which conducts research on many important aspects related to the Sun. This solar observatory is located on the Palani Hills, at a distance of around 4 km from Kodaikanal town.

Kodaikanal Solar Observatory - Kodaikanal Tourist Attraction

This photo, “Kodaikanal Solar Observatory” @Wikipedia from
(211 KB) Fabian8 made available under an Attribution license

It has the privilege of being one of the oldest observatories of the world with lot of scientific data collected from decades. The observatory has a 20cm refractor which is very valuable in studying comets and occultation phenomenon (occultation occurs when an object passing through the view of observer hides another object). For folks keen on astronomy, this refractor lens is made available for viewing the wonders of night sky, with approval and permission of authorities.

The observatory also has a high frequency Doppler (based on a particular effect of sound called ‘Doppler effect’) radar, a Seismograph – an instrument for measuring special seismic waves caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and related activity and a GPS receiver (Global positioning system).

The ‘Astronomy Museum’ which showcases several pictures including a ‘live’ solar image and Fraunhofer spectrum (Dark lines caused by elements present in sun’s atmosphere) adds more glory to this observatory.

Another additional attraction of this solar observatory is the library which is very popular because of its vast collection of works on Astronomy, Solar terrestrial physics and Astrophysics.

So on your next trip to Kodaikanal, do not miss visiting this observatory. It is fascinating how this age-old observatory is the only reference point carrying previous observations of time, often looked to by scientists around the world. For children, a visit to this place will be enjoyable and educative too.

Nearby Sterling Holidays Resort: Kodai – By the Lake & Kodai – Valley View

Distance from Kodai – By the Lake: 4.9 km, 10 mins

Distance from Kodai – Valley View: 6.9 km, 13 mins

Closest City: Madurai – 120 km

Other nearby attractions in Kodaikanal

  • Bear Shola Falls
  • Berijam Lake
  • Dolphin’s Nose
  • Kodai Lake
  • Dolphin’s Nose
  • Silent Valley View
  • Silver Cascade Falls