Tamil Nadu has two amazing hill stations. One is Ootacamund and the other is Kodaikanal, we decided to visit the latter since it’s known for its pristine natural beauty. Kodaikanal in Tamil means ‘the gift of the forest’ and that is exactly what it is with gorgeous greenery all around and a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius, there is nothing more one can ask for.
Our first few stops were at the two lakes that Kodai, as it is popularly known, is famous for. Beria Lake which is surrounded by a forest has some very useful medicinal plants.
There is a large variety of flora and fauna around the lake’s peaceful surroundings. Kodaikanal Lake is the second lake we visited; it is man-made, star-shaped and spreads over 60 acres, once again amongst green surroundings. Here tourists go boating and fishing and we tried both activities.
Getting a bird’s eye view of Kodai is easy. We climbed up the Pillar Rocks, which are about 122 metres high and got a great view of the Kodai Valley. Coaker’s Walk is where nature is at its best. It is named after Lt Coaker who mapped Kodai and highlighted the various places. It was a heavenly place far from the maddening crowds. Guna Cave or Devil’s Kitchen is slightly scary as it looks innocent in appearance but there is a deep fall into a hidden ravine as one enters it.
Waterfalls dot Kodai and we marvelled at the beauty of Silver Cascade and Bear Shola Falls. Kodai is a trekker’s and hiker’s delight. There are many paths and routes that one can take to wander through the lovely greenery while admiring beautiful life on the trees and bushes.
The annual flower and vegetable show is held at Bryant Park and tourists from across the country come to admire the flowers, ferns and plans. To witness South Indian culture we visited the Shenbaganur Museum and Krinji Andavar Temple which has Lord Murugan as the presiding deity.
The boat club of Kodai is the most popular place with over 900 members who love to row on the lake using the many boats and punts on hire.
What can we buy in Kodai we asked the locals? Since we wanted to take back memories we shopped for carved handicrafts, aromatic natural oils and dried flowers. Delicious homemade chocolates and marshmallows were also on our list and of course the famous Kodai cheese. We bought lovely shawls and jewellery at Khadi Emporium and earthy cups and vases at Potter’s Shack.
Food in Kodai consists of international cuisines. South Indian snacks and dishes, Tibetan, Continental, Chinese, Gujarati, Hyderabadi, Punjabi the list is endless as foods from all over the country are available. There is enough to keep everyone happy and the vegetarians and non-vegetarians in our group were a well fed lot. Lots of fruits as well as fresh vegetables are also part of the cuisine. We had a great time in Kodai and have made a mental note to visit the place again in the future when we want to get into the lap of nature.