Kodaikanal: The Princess of Hill Stations | A Complete Travel Guide

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About Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal

The serene hill station of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is located in the Dindigul district. Nestled in the Palani hills, the destination is replete with natural bounties and its old-world charm from colonial history. Owing to its beauty, this place is also called the Princess of Hill Stations. In Tamil language, Kodaikanal means “The Gift of the Forest”.  

The history dates back to the times of the early Palaiyar tribe who were the native residents here. In the 1800s, American Christian missionaries and British bureaucrats started turning this place into a retreat to escape the summer heat of the plains. In the 20th century, Kodai was commercialized fully and became a holiday destination for Indians, expats, and foreign travelers. 

What is Kodaikanal famous for?

What is Kodaikanal famous for?

The hill town of Kodaikanal sits at 2000 meters above sea level, on the Western Ghats. The town’s highlight is the star-shaped Kodaikanal Lake, surrounded by lush forests of evergreen trees, rolling hills, valleys, granite cliffs, waterfalls, and grassy knolls. At the same time, the town still exudes the last traces of its colonial past, in its local culture. A sensory treat for all kinds of travelers, it is this endless beauty that Kodaikanal is famous for. 

Places to visit in Kodaikanal

With endless natural wonders, Kodai sightseeing is as exotic as it can get. Some of Kodaikanal best places are mostly in its natural landscape. A comprehensive Kodaikanal tourism covers a tour of hills, forests, lakes, and waterfalls. Most of the Kodaikanal tourist places can be easily covered in a day. But there are more places to visit in Kodaikanal in two days. 

Kodaikanal tourist places list includes but is not limited to these sites – 

Dolphin Nose Point 

  • How to Reach – The viewing point is located at 8 Km from the bus stand. You can take a local cab or a shared taxi to reach the Pambar Bridge, the starting point of the trek to Dolphin Nose.
  • Timings – Sunrise to Sunset (6 AM to 6 PM)
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours (for Treks, 1.5-2 Hours each way)

Bear Shola Falls 

Bear Shola Falls
  • How to Reach – The falls are located at 2 KM from Kodai Lake (centre of the town) and 3 KM from Kodai bus station. 
  • Timings – 10 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours

Devil’s Kitchen/ Guna Caves

Guna Caves
Guna Caves
  • How to Reach – The naturally-formed caves are located at 8.5 Km from the bus station and the best way to reach is to hire a local cab and then trek through the forested caves.
  • Timings – 9 AM to 5.30 PM
  • Entry Fee – Rs 5 (for the camera – Rs 10)
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours

Kodaikanal Lake 

  • How to Reach – Kodai Lake is 3 Km from the bus station. You can hire a cab or a local auto to reach the lake.  
  • Timings – 6 AM to 5 PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours

Coaker’s Walk 

Coaker’s Walk
  • How to Reach – The paved pathway on the hills is located 500m from Kodaikanal Lake and about 1 Km from the railway station. You can walk up to the Van Allen Hospital and start your tour. 
  • Timings – 7 AM to 7 PM
  • Entry Fee – Rs 10. (Camera – Rs 30), Telescope House – Rs 20
  • Time Required- 1-2 Hours

Green Valley View Point 

  • How to Reach – The viewing point is located at 5.5 Km from the bus stand. You can hire a local cab to reach
  • Timings – 7 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – Less than 1 hour

Pine Forest 

Pine Forest
Pine Forest 
  • How to Reach – The viewing point is located at 5.5 Km from the bus stand. You can hire a local cab to reach
  • Timings – 10 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours

Dolmen Circle 

  • How to Reach – The ancient Celtic burial site is located 18 km from Berijam Lake and 8 km from Kodai Lake. You can take a cab from either of these places to reach the dolmens.
  • Timings – 6 AM to 5 PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – Less than 1 Hour

Solar Observatory 

Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
Kodaikanal Solar Observatory 
  • How to Reach – The solar observatory is located at 4.9 Km from Kodai Lake and 6.9 Km from Green Valley View and can be reached by a local cab.
  • Timings – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM (April 1 – June 15); Fridays only 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Rest of the Year)
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours

Places to visit near kodaikanal

Apart from the scenic sites within the town, there are many other places near Kodaikanal. You can opt for Kodaikanal tour packages and explore these. 

Berijam Lake 

Berijam Lake
Berijam Lake 
  • How to Reach – The lake area is located at 22 KM from bus station. You can book a cab or rent a local car to reach the lake.
  • Timings – 9 AM to 3 PM
  • Entry Fee – Rs 100
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours

Palani 

  • How to ReachKodaikanal to Palani is about 66 KM and takes nearly 2 hours to reach. You can rent a car from the town or book a local outstation cab to travel.
  • Timings – NA
  • Entry Fee – NA
  • Time Required – 1 day

Thalaiyar Falls 

Thalaiyar Falls
Thalaiyar Falls 
  • How to Reach – This natural cascade is located in the Palani Hills is an inaccessible attraction to the general public as there are no roads to it and the only way of reaching the top is through hiking.
  • Timings – 10 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 hours
[Also Read: Coonoor – Darjeeling of Nilgiris: A Complete Travel Guide]

Best time to visit Kodaikanal

Surrounded by hills and forests and abundant water bodies, Kodaikanal weather remains pleasant all year round. The summers are cool and breezy while winters are misty and chilly when temperature drops to 12 degrees Celsius (in December). December is the best month to visit Kodaikanal but you can also travel during spring to enjoy the outdoors.

Things or Activities to do in Kodaikanal

From boating to trekking, trail walking, hiking, or even walking through the town, you can explore all places in any way that suits you. 

1. Trek through the Kodaikanal hills. The dense forests and steep hills are perfect for trekking and hiking. The Bear Shola Falls, Pillar Rocks, 80-mile Round, Dolphin’s Nose, and Devil’s Kitchen are some of the best trek routes in Kodai.

2. Visit Moir Point, one of the most significant and best viewing points in the town. The point runs through wooded areas and runs all the way up to Berijam Lake and offers breathtaking views of the valleys and surrounding forests.

3. Explore the eclectic art scene of Kodai. The galleries around the Lake exhibit some great works of local and international artists.

4. Have a day picnic and swim in the sparkling Fairy Falls. The natural streams form the source of the Pambar River and join the Vaigai River. The waterfall is also a great spot for hikers and nature photography.

5. Try your hands at local pottery art. Potter Shed on the Seven Roads Junctions offers trial sessions and workshops for tourists and travelers.

How to reach Kodaikanal

By Train

You can also travel to Kodaikanal by train from nearby metro cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, and Chennai. There are daily and weekly trains from Chennai to Kodaikanal and Hyderabad to Kodaikanal. The nearest railway station is Kodai Road. You can book a local cab or hire a car.

By Road

This hill station is well connected by roads to nearby major towns like Madurai, Trichy, Palani, Theni, Dindigul, Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Chennai. There are regular state-run and private buses from these places to place. You can also opt for outstation cabs and private cars to travel from any of these cities/towns to Kodaikanal.

By Flight

There is no direct flight service to this hill station. The nearest airport service is at Madurai International Airport (IXM), about 120 KM away. You can book a flight to Madurai from any major city or town in India. From there, you can book an airport taxi or rent a car to travel to this hill station. 

Places to stay in Kodaikanal

Like its landscape and culture, Kodaikanal stay is also a great experience, depending on where you live. Here are some of the best resorts in Kodaikanal 

  • Red Lynch
  • SaffronStays Kurinji Estate
  • The Tamara Kodai
  • Hotel Raindrops
  • The Fern Creek

Places to eat in Kodaikanal

The flavours of Kodaikanal is a mix of local, national, and international, owing to its huge traveler community.

These are some of the best places to eat in Kodaikanal – 

  • Silver Oak Restaurant (At The Carlton), The Carlton Hotel, Lake Rd
  • Cloud Street, 1st Floor, Opposite Govt. Tourist Office, P.T. Road, Sunday Market Road
  • Nia’s Garden, Convent Rd, Brooklyn
  • Ten Degrees, Poet Tyagaraja Rd
  • Altaf’s Café, Dolphin Nose Road, Vattakanal

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Kodaikanal: The Princess of Hill Stations | A Complete Travel Guide
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Kodaikanal: The Princess of Hill Stations | A Complete Travel Guide
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The serene hill station of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is located in the Dindigul district.
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Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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