Situated on an altitude of 2100 metres above sea level, Kodaikanal has a vast variety to offer the tastes of different kinds of tourists. While the weekend goers have a host of 'tick off the list' sight-seeing options, long stay guests can do treks, walks and just absorb the beautiful natural surroundings.
Sobriquets like 'Queen of the hills' are doled out fast to hill stations, but this one truly deserves this and even a more glamorous one for having been host to a variety of people - the hill tribes Palaiyars, British bureaucrats and over the last few decades, thousands of visitors. Pleasant weather, lush green surroundings and a prominent lake to add to its topography, Kodaikanal is a great getaway to beat the sultry heat of South India. It lies on the east of the Western Ghats of India and has an array of things to offer, other than the predictable tourist trappings. One can dive right in the middle of upteem sight-seeing options or choose to do nothing! Walking trails, forest paths and idyllic villages flank the town of Kodaikanal, also referred to as Kodai for ease. Presumably derived from its ever pleasant weather, Kodaikanal means 'Forest of Summer' in the local language, Tamil.
Situated on an altitude of 2100 metres above sea level, Kodaikanal lies in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. Its proximity from towns like Chennai, Bangalore and Coimbatore makes it a favourite for weekend goers. Kodaikanal's diverse flora gives a beautiful backdrop to the lake town and plenty of intermittent breaks of meadows, forests and hills.
Kodaikanal's history dates back to tribal settlements from prehistoric times. Ancient dolmens and artefacts have corroborated that this was a burgeoning settlement ages ago. Later primitive tribes made the region their home till repeated invasions from Tipu Sultan drove them out to the foothills instead. Modern history of Kodai was shaped by the occupation of American Christian missionaries and Britishers in mid 1800s. Like many others hill stations of South India, the Britishers saw this as a respite from the oppressive heat of South India. Soon, the status changed from that of a mere summer capital to a full blown settlement with churches and schools for the British families. Till date, the lineage has provided with remnants of British architecture and extensive churches. The work of the missionaries came about with the visit of Lt. B.S. Ward, a surveyor, who visited the town in 1821. Churches and learning centres apart, the missionaries were also responsible for the manmade lake that hit a chord with many tourists. This came about when Bier Leverage, collector of Madurai initiated work on the lake.
Kodaikanal imbibes its Tamil Nadu lineage by culling out wonderful regular and special South Indian dishes like dosa, idli, vada, uttapam, sambhar and rasam. Having been a tourist hub, there has been tremendous adaptation to the tastes for the benefit of travellers. It is not difficult to get a range of cuisines in local restaurants. Home-made chocolates are something that you can pick as souvenirs or just keep handy for a sumptuous snack. You will find plenty of shops in the main street to pick these from.
Tamil is the main language spoken in Kodai. Being extremely tourist savvy it is not difficult to get by with English and Hindi as well. You will also find people speaking a spattering of all other South India languages.
Kodaikanal has a vast variety to offer the tastes of different kinds of tourists. While the weekend goers have a host of 'tick off the list' sight-seeing options, long stay guests can do treks, walks and just absorb the beautiful natural surroundings. The main attraction of Kodai lies in its diverse topography and rich flora. The unique Kurinji flower with its 12 year blooming cycle has been an attraction of the Western Ghats for many. The valley is covered in these bizarre blue blooms periodically. The next season to look out for is 2018. Like many other hill stations, viewing points and waterfalls are in plenty. These make for excellent picnic spots. To find some undiscovered trails, get to the fringes of Kodai, away from the tourist centres. Read more