Cradled in the Southern crest of the upper Palani hills,
in the Western Ghats, 120 kms from Madurai, Kodaikanal rises
2, 133 meters above sea level founded by American missionaries
in 1845, Kodaikanal is steeped in history. Relics and
artifacts on the Paliyans who once lived in these hills can
still be seen in the Shenbaganur Museum.
The South Indian hill resort is steeped in History, set amidst
the most scenic surroundings and still enjoys the status of
“Jewel of South Indian Hill Resort”.
[These Eco Tour Programs are best
run with minimum 6 travelers to a group & more]
KODAIKANAL : Cradled
in the southern crests of the upper Palani hills, in the
Western Ghats, 120 kms. From Madurai, Kodaikanal rises 2133
meters or 6998 ft. above sea level. Founded by the American
missionaries in 1845, Kodaikanal is steeped in history. Relics
and artifacts of the Paliyans who once lived in these hills
can still be seen in Shenbaganour Museum.
Driving into Kodaikanal from Palani is a dramatic experience,
it is a relief to leave the hot dusty plains behind and drive
up into the cool hills. The vegetation changes gradually from
the Palmfringed paddy fields to wild brush with flaming
blossoms to plantations interspersed with stately oaks. The
view of the Amravati Dam a simmering sapphire sheet of water
is an unforgettable sight. Driving higher, banana trees give
way to tall eucalyptus trees and the whole country side is
dotted with white flowers in jeweled colours, magneta and
purple predominating. There is a marked nip in the air as one
reaches for ones cardigan or shawl. At the bend in the road
one is greeted by the shimmer and roar of the Silver Cascade a
natural waterfall which seem to extend a natural welcome to
visitors at Kodaikanal.
Arriving in Kodai town, one is greeted by Orchards of pear
trees with their graceful branches silhouetted in the artistic
curves against the evening sky like Star Zen etchings.
Buildings with setting Sun are caught and kindled in wind-
rippled water appearing like the myriad lamps floating in the
lake. Soon, as though on cue light start twinkling all over
the hill side and even the star picks up a message and heaven
and the Earth are a riot of light as though beaming messages
of goodwill to each other.
Arriving at the Kodai Club, one has the impression of stepping
back into the colonial India. The lounge with its period fire
place, the piano, the Leigh hunt prints, the liberty stocked
with books by Elvelyn Waugh, Anthony Trollope and the bar with
stuffed heads of bison, tigers dear horns and picture of the
laughing cavalier by Franz Halls, the restaurant with old
English plates, a glowing hearth fire and landscape prints,
are all British legacies.
As one relaxes in the chamber of the Kodaikanal Club a
cheerful logfire dances a tableau of flame and shadow on the
hearth, keep out the chill of the night.
One wakes up with the air of expectancy refreshed after a good
nights sleep. The tree fringed lake greets one in the morning.
The lake is the cool heart of Kodaikanal. It is the legacy of
the then Collector, Sir Vere Livinge, who formed in by damning
the valley where three streams flowed. It spreads over an area
of 60 acres and is skirted by a three mile tarred road.
Just across the Kodaikanal Club is the Kodaikanal School an
imposing campus of verdant manicured lawns, dignified trees
and soiled stone buildings.
Almost cheek by Jowl with the Kodaikanal School is the
Lutheran Church - a Gothic stone building with stained glass
windows and modern paintings and batiks portraying scenes from
the life of the Christ.
On the east of the lake is the Bryants Park named after the
forest officer who planned its layout around the turn of the
century. Beautiful Pine and Eucalyptus trees grow here. There
is one ancient Eucalyptus trees dating back to 1846, 250 feet
high and 10 feet wide.
About a km from the lake is the Coakers walk offering a
fantastic view of the plains and the distant hills. There is a
rugged pristine beauty about these vistas and the mist rising
in the veils from the valley below gives the place an unreal
Driving along the cool green darkness with the trees making a
canopy overhead, one reaches green valley view. Gnarled
Cypress roots make a natural crazy path to the sheer drop of
1,000 feet which overlooks the Vagai Dam. Clouds are banked
like snow and a violent haze envelops the distant hills. Here
too, the mist rises from the valley imparting a solemn out of
this world beauty to the scene.
Past the Golf Club is the 114 acre Golf Links, another
colonial legacy. Thick wood lines the road leading to the
pillar rocks. These are the tree vertical pillars standing
shoulder to shoulder measuring 112 meters. The ground drops
sheer below them creating a dramatic impact and affording a
stupendous view of the valley below.
The abundance of pear orchards is the striking feature of the
Kodaikanal landscape. Here and there a solitary snowy blossom
seems to peep out tentatively to reconnoiter the weather
conditions and one has a hint of the profusion of pear
blossoms to follow.
The Perumal peak about 11 kms from the Kodaikanal is a
trekker’s delight and is all day expedition. Kukkal cave 40
kms away is a favorite camping site for trekkers.
The nearest airport is Madurai - 120 kms away. It
is well connected to the gateway city of Madras.
April to June.