Referred to as “Princess of Hill stations,” Kodaikanal is a popular tourist destination in the hills of Dindigul district in Tamil Nadu. The town of Kodaikanal is located on a plateau above the southern escarpment of the upper Palani Hills at 2,133 metres, between the Parappar and GundarValleys. These hills form the eastward spur of the Western Ghats on the Western side of South India. It has an irregular basin as its heartland, the centre of which is the 5Km circumfrerence manmade Kodaikanal Lake.
North of the town, high hills that slope down into the villages of Pallangi and Vilpatti stand guard. On the east the hill slopes less abruptly into the lower Palanis. A precipitous escarpment facing the CumbumValley is on the south. On the west is a plateau leading to ManjampattiValley, IndiraGandhiNational Park, the Anamalai Hills and the main body of the Western ghats.
The earliest residents of Kodaikanal were the Palaiyar tribal people. The earliest specific references to Kodaikanal and Palani Hills are found in Tamil Sangam literature of the early Common era. Kodaikanal is a summer forest and was established in 1845 as a refuge from the high temperatures, a place that the first missionaries to settle used as a refuge to escape the overbearing and mosquito-ridden heat of the plains. In the 20th century a few elite Indians came to realise the value of this enchanting hill station and started relocating here. The local economy is mainy based on the hospitality industry serving tourism.
Kodaikanal is known for its rich flora. Gigantic Eucalyptus trees, cypress and acacia are the dominant trees that flourish in the valleys. Pear trees are also numerous with fruits of high quality. Competing with the fruit trees are the flowering ones of rhododendron and magnolia. Mighty rocks and cascading streams lie above the valleys. Many high waterfalls and ubiquitous gardens with flower beds in bloom, fills the scenic beauty of the place. The town also abounds with the beauty of a kind of yellow wild flowers. Meadows and grasslands cover the hillsides adding to the beauty of the natural scenic view to the place.
The place is a travelers paradise to refresh, rejuvenate and experience natures bounty in full. The place offers locations with spectacular views of nature. The BerijamLake is the most pristine of the three lakes in Kodai. A plastic free zone, the lake is beautiful, serene and lies within a reserved forest region and hence visitors need permission to visit this lake. Further, during peak seasons, a limited number of vehicles are allowed in per day. The route to Berijam lake is more scenic than the lake itself. The ChettiarPark is filled with many coloured flowers and greenery. The place offers natures best for photos and also has a play area for kids. The Coakers Walk, is a place to see the beauty of valleys (before 2PM) and offers views of scenic clouds form an ocean beneath. (Only in winter between 3PM and 6PM) The telescope near the main gate helps to see the far off pillar rocks with clarity.
The Bryant park is a nicely maintained huge park, surrounding the lake and is a 10-minute walk from the entrance to the boat club. The flower shows at this park during summer is very famous. During the winter, a boating during evenings through fog settling on the lake in the KodaiLake is an amazing experience. The lake is located close to bus stand.
The Kurinjiandavar Temple, dedicated to Lord Muruga, with a birds eye view of the Palani Hills and the Kodaikanal, during summer, is a must see place. The flowers inside the temple bloom once in 12 years. The Green Valley View/Suicide Point with more than 5000 ft steep drop from this point and Pillar Rocks with huge steep cliffs are some famous spots of the place. So also is the cross at the top of the mountain of the pillar rocks hoisted by an English adventure enthusiast.
Some more of the other popular scenic locations of the place include Devil’s Kitchen, the Guna Caves, the cave which became very famous after the movie GUNA, Pine Forest with a great view of long, pine trees and Silver Cascade , a nice waterfall on the road side from kodai road just before 4-5 kms from kodai kanal. The Old Suicide Point 5 minutes before the pine forest, with breathtaking view, the Bear Shola falls and the wax museum situated near Green Valley View/Suicide Point are the others.