September 3, 2018

Kodaikanal Princess of Hills and Nearby Places


Kodaikanal is also called Princess Of Hills. It was Mid-August, drizzling now and then, with cold breeze touching you,  I am sure you will be amazed to see the hills surrounding you, filled with clouds. Words are not enough to express the feeling, you need to be there. Look at the intense green foliage on the hills and clouds kissing the tree tops and gliding up. OMG !! Temperatures were ranging from 11 to 15 degree Celsius this time. At the altitude of 2100 meters above the sea level, this is one of the favorite sight seeing place for many in South India.

As usual, Let me share few photos to impress you all about the place...


Berijam Lake Forest Guest House Kodaikanal
Isn't it beautiful ? 

Poombarai Terrace Fields Kodaikanal
what a color and the clouds on the other side, I am sure during Pongal (January) this would be even more awesome !

View of Kodaikanal from Coaker's Walk Kodaikanal
Clouds passing by..... View of Kodakanal from Coaker's Walk

Note: If you want to see photos directly, keep scrolling a bit and skip these details. 


Best time to visit

Looks like August, September and October may be the best time to visit this place as it will not be crowded and also everything looks so green and nice. At Mid-November to December,  you may not be able to see the places as everything will be covered with mist and clouds and temperatures touches 8 degree Celsius.

Also you may want to avoid during summer time i.e. Feb till June as it will be heavily crowded and it may not be so green.


Reaching Kodaikanal

I am sure you will love to drive through the winding Ghat roads, no hairpin bends though. I am sure you will love the views as you keep driving up. The roads are well laid and wide except for very few places. We went via Salem, Namakkal and Dindigul, which is 465Kms from Bangalore. You can also go via Palani, which is another famous site for the Lord Murugan temple on a small hill. This hill and the temple can be seen on a clear day at 79Kms distance from Palani view point in Kodaikanal. I have captured it as well and see below the photos.


Accomodation

There are plenty of options to stay here. Starting from The CarltonGreat Trails by GRT Hotels, Hill country holiday resorts , Hotel Sivapriya, Hilltop Towers, Sterling resorts, , ...etc ...etc. We wanted to try a home stay and Dalethorpe was one of the good options which is right opposite to Woodys, we liked the food as well here. As I always suggest, go through review sites to know the latest trends and feed backs from travelers and decide the stay option.


Food options

Hotel Sivapriya, Hilltop Inn has both Veg and Non-veg hotels separately and was good as well. We tried and liked Kovai Annapurna Veg in Bazaar Road.  There are plenty of options for Non-veg but selective few for vegetarians.


Places to see

Most of the places are like view points in and out of Kodaikanal.  Waterfalls will have water only after rains i.e. September, October till December and during summer they will be empty.


In Kodaikanal

1. Kodaikanal Lake - 5Km Cycling or Tandum cycling, shopping, Boating
2. Coaker's walk (opposite to Bryant park) and views from here are awesome.
3. Bryant or Anna park
4. Dolphin's nose - View point
5. Silver cascade falls
6. Museum - Natural history museum
7. Fairy falls or Liril falls - The advertisement for Liril soap shot from here and hence this name
8. Bear shola falls
9. Kurinji Andavar temple
10. Green valley view point
11. Pillar rocks and Guna caves
12. Kodaikanal Solar observatory
13. Pine Forest


Near Kodaikanal
1. Berijam Lake
2. Mannavanur Grass fields
3. Poombarai Terrace fields


Planning your trip and Tips

If you want to roam around and see all the nearby places, you need to stay for 3 nights. If you are not planning to drive around, make use of Tour operators or Taxis for day plans. Check wherever you stay for these. I have listed the places below, in their order. They all come in the same route, so you can visit them all at once.


Day 1: On the way to Kodaikanal and In Kodaikanal

First, you get to see Manjal Aaru Dam view point and DumDum Rock view point and Thalaiyar waterfalls on the way to Kodaikanal.

a. You hit upon a Toll gate and right after that is the Silver Cascade falls. You cannot go near or take bath.

b. After the falls little further you go, you get to see a board for Sacred Heart Museum. This is a Natural history museum which holds collection of Birds, Butterflies....and lots. Worth visiting.

c. Check in into your stay option, have Lunch and start exploring the places around. We suggest to try Coaker's walk and Bryant Park. Also take the Tandem cycle and roam around the Lake that is 5Kms. If you like, visit the Kurinji Andavar Temple and/or Bhatra Kali Amman Temple. Take good rest.

Below is the timelapse from Coaker's walk:



Day 2: Berijam Lake and places en route

Mannavanur Deviation:  Carry enough snacks and food as this might take a while to return back. We suggest you start this bit early, have your breakfast before 8:30AM and start towards Berijam Lake. You will find a Checkpost and that is closed. You will also see boards here. On your right the road continues to Mannavanur. Yes you are at right place, park your vehicles to the roadside and keep waiting till 9:30AM. The forest officers will come and open this gate by 9:30AM. Be careful here, lots of monkeys around to flick snacks from you. Once you park, they come from somewhere looking for food. Sit on top of your car and keep waiting.

Moir Point: Once the forest officials come and open the gate, Keep driving from here. You will reach Moir Point. From here, I heard only 25 vehicles are allowed to go inside further. Many tourist vehicles are stopped here. But you can continue further. You will get a form to fill and get a seal from Forest official. Once it is done, keep driving. Once you reach Berijam Lake, take this form and get it signed there and return the same here at Moir point upon return. It is simple and nothing to worry. Drive carefully and slowly as you are entering the forest.

Silent Valley View: From Moir Point, keep driving from the check post after formalities(filling form and get seal), first you will hit upon the Silent Valley View. Views are awesome from here. Too windy when we went.

Small Incident on the way to Berijam Lake

When we went, just right after this Silent View point, there was a huge tree fell and no one can move further. Two cars were parked in front of us. Did not know what to do. Suddenly two more cars and a van came behind. They all came down to see what is the issue. One person said, lets remove this tree. I was like "what? ... how... ...." and surprised. But looking at him, I got the confidence and yes lets remove it. Many came together and started to push it to side. One brought an Arival (Sickle) and started cutting the branches. Everyone together pushed to side and made the way. Wov..... awesome. Together anything can be done. Yes, I have seen it in action.

Caps Valley View Point: Go further from Silent Valley view and you will see Caps Valley view. It is the same valley view from other side. Keep driving from here. You will hit upon another view point that is called "Berijam Lake View point". You can see huge Pine Trees and clouds kissing them and going up. It is so beautiful to see them from here. This place is too windy as well and it is so cool.

Below is the timelapse of this view point:



Pine Trees and Berijam Lake: Driving further, on the way you will see plenty of Pine trees, continue and you will reach Berijam Lake.  Don't forget to carry the form to get signature from the Checkpost here. You can see the Lord Murugan Temple on left side and lake on right side. Nothing much other than this lake and the forest guest house. But if you are in right season this place looks beautiful.

This lake seem to have the pure water and surrounding villagers use this for drinking water. One more thing, Lotus and Lily will grow in water only when the water is so pure. They also clean the water and make it so cool.

After this start returning back. At Moir point you need to return the signed copy of the form.

Pine Tree Forest (Tourist attraction): Obviously multiple movies shot here. Very famous tourist attraction in Kodaikanal. Again lots of monkeys here as well. Be careful. You can go inside, take photos, see the beauty of those huge Pine trees. Enjoy with them, see them dancing to Winds. Wov... wonderful.

Guna Caves: Wondering what is Guna ? Yes the name came as the Movie "Guna" by Tamil actor Kamal Hassan was shot here. Due to multiple incidents, the cave is closed now. But there is a view point and also the roots which are above the soil are major attractions here. see below the photos of the same.

Pillar Rocks View Point: Among these rocks only the Guna caves are situated. From inside the cave, when you reach the other end, you get to see the view of the valley. Long back during my college days, I remember we had gone inside with my colleagues. But now this is closed.

Green Valley View point: It was almost 3:00 PM when we reached here. Unfortunately, from the view point you can only see dense clouds and nothing else. Yes, in Kodaikanal unless you are at right moment this will be the case. At late evenings, there will be clouds covering the entire place.

Dolphin Nose View Point: Based on the timing, you can continue to visit this. This is another view point. We did not visit as it was already cloudy at Green Valley view point.

After all these above you can reach the town and do some shopping in Bazaar road. Also visit temples if you like.

Day 3: Mannavanur Grass Lands and places en route

Again, carry enough snacks and food as this might take a while to return back. We suggest you start this bit early, have your breakfast before 8:30AM and start towards Mannavanur Grass Lands. You might need to drive a lot, cross multiple hills to reach this. But you will love it. The drive is very scenic.

Waterfall: On the way we saw a waterfall, but not so much water. see the photo below. Lots of birds can be seen on the way.

Palani View Point: This is one of the spot, everyone stop to see the Temple that is 79Kms from here, The famous Palani Murugan Temple can be seen with a binocular or a Zoom lens if you own one.  I had my zoom lens and luckily it was clear, and we could see the temple. See the photo below. In fact we were at this place by 10 AM, hence it was clear. While we came back at around 2, nothing can be seen as it was covered by clouds completely. There are few shops here and they help you point to the temple.

You can also see Pallangi village on your right hand side and the Pallangi water falls. Also on your left side is the Maha Lakshmi temple on a small hill.

Maha Lakshmi Temple: Very beautiful small temple on a hill, you could see Goddess Maha Lakshmi.

Poombarai Village and Terrace Gardens: You could have heard about Terrace farming and the famous Rice terraces of China. If you have watched BBC Bluray documentary "Wild China" you know it better.  But for the first time, we get to see this in India 'here in this village. I think photos can tell you a lot than I write about it. As Pongal is the famous festival in Tamilnadu, around that time, the entire village does harvesting. If you get a chance to visit this place during early January or late December, it would be awesome. Entire terrace field will be ready for harvest.

Mannavanur Grass Lands and the Lake:

I have seen Grasslands in Sakleshpur, Chikmagalur, but this is another beautiful place. Amidst the valley there is a lake adding beauty to the entire place. Very scenic. There is a boating as well. On the grass fields, they have some dirt-bike which is on rent. See below the photos. Enjoy the locally grown carrot to energize yourself.

After this, you can start to return back. On the way back stop at the Observatory.

Solar observatory (Indian Institute of Astrophysics): This is allowed only between 2PM to 4PM in noon. On the way back, you can stop here and see this place.


Kodaikanal Tourist Map
You may need to Zoom this to read the place names...very useful to plan and know the tourist sites in Kodaikanal


Shopping
Local fruits and Vegetables: You must try the fresh bright colored carrot,  Banana (Rasthali, Poovan, Red Banana) and Star fruit
Spices: None of the spices are grown locally, but are coming from the state of Kerala
Chocolates: Somewhat hyped, but still you get variety of chocolates... You may try Nuts and Fruit based chocolates
Gifts: Bronze items and other local items
Around the lake: You get to see shops selling Caps, Sweaters and Blankets



Moving onto the Photos...... 



Manjalaar Dam View Enroute Kodaikanal
Manjal Aaru Dam view en route to Kodaikanal

Thalaiyar Falls En route to Kodaikanal
Thalaiyar Water Falls En route to Kodaikanal, 297 Meters - Highest falls in Tamilnadu 

Silver Cascade Water Falls Kodaikanal
Very close to Kodaikanal, Silver Cascade waterfalls 

Kurinji Flower at Kodaikanal during August 2018
This year 2018, you get to see these rare Flowers - Kurinji, flowering only at 12 years once

Bryant Park Kodaikanal
You will love to spend some time in this 

Bryant Park Kodaikanal
Nice flowers at Anna Park or Bryant Park

Coaker's Walk Kodaikanal
Board at Coaker's Walk 

Coaker's Walk Kodaikanal
View from Coaker's Walk 

Silent Valley View Kodaikanal


Silent Valley View Kodaikanal
Roots showing up above the soil

Caps Valley Kodaikanal

Kurinji Flower at Cap Valley Kodaikanal

Mathikettan Sholai Berijam Forest Range Kodaikanal

Lord Murugan Temple Berijam Lake Kodaikanal

Green Lichens on top of Trees at Berijam Lake Kodaikanal

Berijam Lake Info Board Kodaikanal

Berijam Lake Road Kodaikanal

Bison seen en route to Berijam Lake Kodaikanal
Luckily he was busy chewing his food and not bothered us

Pine Forest en route to Berijam Lake Kodaikanal
So beautiful....... 

Roots showing up above Soil at Guna Caves Kodaikanal

Roots showing up above Soil at Guna Caves Kodaikanal

Board at Kodaikanal
Nice board by Forest Dept: In English it says "One Tree can give one crore match sticks, One match stick can burn one crore trees"

Pillar Rocks Kodaikanal
Do you see the falls below ? 
Pillar Rocks Kodaikanal
Another view of Pillar Rocks 



Upper Lake View Kodaikanal
One full round of this Lake is about 5 Kms.....

Bathrakali Amman Temple Kodaikanal
Bhathirakali Amman Temple

Waterfalls en route to Poombarai Village Kodaikanal
Waterfalls on the way to Poombarai Village, before Palani View Point

Palani View Point Kodaikanal
The hill you see last is the famous Palani Hill and the Temple can be seen.... it is 79 Kms from this view point, Zoom to see the temple.
Palani View Point Kodaikanal
This is the actual shot from Palani View Point, already started getting cloudy



Pallangi Falls and Village seen from Palani View Point Kodaikanal
Pallangi Village and Waterfalls can be seen from this Palani View Point

View from Palani View Point Kodaikanal
Another view from Palani View Point

View from Palani View Point Kodaikanal
You may need to zoom in to see the Palani Temple

Maha Lakshmi Temple Kodaikanal
View of Maha Lakshmi Temple from Palani View Point

Orange Lichens on Tree at Kodaikanal
Different color Lichens on top of Trees at Palani View Point

Poombarai Terrace Fields Kodaikanal
View of Poombarai Village and the Terrace fields

Mannavanur Grass Lands Kodaikanal
View of the Grasslands

Mannavanur Grass Lands Kodaikanal
Information Board at the entrance 

Mannavanur Grass Lands Kodaikanal
Wov.....

Lake at Mannavanur Grass Lands Kodaikanal
Do you see the horses and a small bridge? 

Lake at Mannavanur Grass Lands Kodaikanal
Yes, there is Boating at this place

Terrace Fields at Poombarai Village Kodaikanal


Terrace Fields at Poombarai Village Kodaikanal

Kurinji Andavar Temple Kodaikanal
View of Kurinji Andavar Temple

Temple Timings Kurinji Andavar Temple Kodaikanal
The Temple is open thorough out the day 6AM to 7:30PM, no worries. 

Info Board at Solar Observatory Kodaikanal
Now you know the timings...

Hope you liked this Blog post, feel free to share with your friends. Have great time visiting this wonderful place. 

You might also like to visit other hill stations, visit my blog post on Chikmagalur. Below is the link. http://myjourneysinindia.blogspot.com/2016/09/chikmagalur-and-nearby-places.html 




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