The “Princess of Indian Hill Stations”, Kodaikanal is one of the most frequented tourist destinations in Southern India. Nestled in the green carpet of the Nilgiri forests, Kodaikanal literally means the “Gift of the Forest” according to the local dialect. Easily accessible, there is so much to soak in if you are a nature lover and looking for some peace and tranquility. Though it has been deemed as a destination that is overwhelmed by the number of visitors, you can always seek a trail that is less taken. The town is a hub of local culture. You won’t see a big bazaar but you certainly would be charmed by the small shops selling a variety of items, ranging from nut based chocolate to locally made pottery items. Most tourists visit Kodaikanal for its outdoor activities including the countless number of trekking options. Well, the next time you plan to visit this heaven, here are some things you might not want to miss:
- Capture the Panorama of Nilgiris
Kodaikanal or Kodai, as we lovingly call it, is a completely different experience if you have been to the Himalayan hill stations in North India. There aren’t any snow-laden peaks but see in any direction and you will get a full view of lush greenery and clouds. The best time to visit Kodaikanal is in the monsoon when the forests come alive with a thousand birds and waterfalls raging at almost every step. If you don’t mind the continuous pour and drizzle, take a hike along the Coakers Walk. Not far from the main bus stand, it will be one of the most serene experiences you will have in your lifetime. It isn’t just about the panoramic views of the green Nilgiris, but the relaxing silence and a breeze that smells of nature.
- Morning Hike to Dolphin’s Nose
Sounds like a place from a storybook, eh! Dolphin’s Nose is another viewpoint that you shouldn’t miss in this part of the southern hills. The point is on a rocky cliff that allows you a bird’s-eye view of the whole town. Take a morning hike and find yourself hanging in between the clouds!
- Paddling on Kodai Lake
There’s no turning back without checking the serene Kodai Lake! Located at the heart of the small town, this 4-km wide lake was built in 1863 by Sir Vere Henry Levinge. The surrounding mountains add to its beauty, thus making it one of the most-visited places in Kodaikanal. There are a number of other reasons behind its popularity. Firstly, Kodai Lake is easily accessible and is connected to the town by motorable roads. Consequently, anyone can reach this piece of heaven. Secondly, the lake offers a variety of boating and water sports activities. Hire a paddle boat and gently sway across the placid waters. The cool breeze will easily get you into a slumber! This is when time stops and you wish this were your whole life! After you are done with the boating, take time out in just lazing by the gardens around the lake. A variety of birds will keep you enchanted!
- Night Camping
Another amazing thing about hills is the pure skies. While you will see the most amazing cloud formations all throughout the day, given the time of the year, you will also get an opportunity to camp under the stars. Night camping in Kodaikanal is certainly one of the most amazing experiences you will have of the hills. The exotic flora and the dense canopy make things even more exciting. There are several night camping spots in Kodai and it won’t be hard for you to find one during your stay. However, some of the best points are located around Pine Forests, Dolphin’s Nose and Vattakanal.
- Savoring Coffee Chocolates
If you are any kind of chocolate lover, Kodaikanal will entice you like never before. The town is in fact popular for its locally made white and dark chocolates, along with its spices. This is also a place where you can buy chocolates by kilogram and not small packets, like the ones in the supermarket! There are several shops selling them and the best part is that you can browse through dozens of different flavors before you pick any! For dark chocolate lovers, the Brazilian Coffee chocolate is the most recommended one. Inside the delicious layers of dark chocolate is also a crunchy roasted coffee bean that will blast your senses. Apart from the special treks and experiences, Kodaikanal is also blessed with several waterfalls, each one unique in its own way. Some of the most popular ones include Silver Cascade, Pambar Falls, Fairy Falls, and Bear Shola Falls. With heights ranging between 50 and 150 feet, they all pour down into the magical forests underneath. All waterfalls are accessible through trek routes and you shouldn’t miss taking a dip!