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Highlights : 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”.      
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[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 quality.

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.

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