Located amidst the folds of the Palani Hills, Kodaikanal is one of the most popular hill stations of Tamil Nadu. Nestled between the Parappar and Gundar Valleys, the town is situated on a plateau above the southern escarpment of the upper Palani Hills. Perched at a height of 2133 m above sea level, this hill town is under the administrative control of the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu.
To the north, Kodaikanal is guarded by high hills that slope down into the villages of Vilpatti and Pallangi, while to the east, they descend to the lower Palani hills. To the south of the destination, lies the Cumbum Valley; while to the west lies a plateau which leads to the Manjampatti Valley and the Anamalai Hills.
History of Kodaikanal
The word Kodaikanal in Tamil means Gift of the Forest. Known also as the Princess of Hill Stations, Kodaikanal is one of the most popular holiday destinations in entire South India. The Palaiyar tribal people were believed to be the earliest residents of this place. In addition, the earliest mention of the area in the chronicles of history can be found in Tamil Sangam Literature of the early Christian era.
In 1821, Lt. B.S. Ward was the first British to set foot on this land. In 1860, the first ever church was constructed in this town, which was accompanied by several other developments. These took place between 1860 and 1871, when prominent leaders like the Governors of Madras, Sir Charles Travelyon and Lord Napier visited Kodaikanal. By the 20th century, a few elite Indians came to realise the worth of this hill station and started relocating here.
Things to do in Kodaikanal
Some of the prominent attractions of Kodaikanal include Coaker’s Walk
, Bryant’s Park
, Bear Shola Falls
apart from the lake which is the main focus. Besides being a famous tourist destination, Kodaikanal is also known for eucalyptus oil, plums, homemade chocolates and pears. In addition, the place is also famous for the Kurinji, the flowers that blossom only once in twelve years.
Travelling to Kodaikanal
The nearest airport to reach Kodaikanal
is at Madurai (120 km) which has connections to Chennai and Coimbatore. However, the airport at Coimbatore has more frequent connections to the rest of the country. It is situated at a distance of 180 km from Kodaikanal. Taxis are available from both the airports and cost about INR 2500 from Madurai and INR 4000 from Coimbatore.
Kodaikanal is also well connected by bus to destinations within the state and neighbouring states. Buses are available from Madurai and Dindigul which terminate at the bus stand in the city centre. Bus services are also available from Bengaluru, Kochi, Coimbatore and Chennai.
Trains can also be availed to reach Kodaikanal. The nearest rail station is Kodai Road, which is 3 hours away by bus. However, Coimbatore Junction is the nearest major rail head with frequent connections to major destinations in India like Bengaluru, Ernakulam, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram etc.
Kodaikanal is a year round destination; however, the best time to visit is from April to June, which is also the peak tourist season and again from September to October. In summers the temperature ranges from 11⁰ - 20⁰ Celsius. In late February and early March, the temperatures are lower and the nights can be chilly. It is best to avoid the monsoon season when there are heavy downpours and the region is covered in mist.