(Last Updated on : 11/03/2015)
Tourism in Kodaikanal
covers the nature tourism sites for the tourists. Kodaikanal has several scenic natural attractions which are enjoyed by its visitors and make it a popular romantic destination for the honeymoon couples. Some of the tourist attraction sites in Kodaikanal are Kodaikanal Lake, Bryant Park, Coaker's Walk, Bear Shola Falls, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, Green Valley View or Suicide Point and many other tourist spots.
Kodaikanal Lake is an artificial lake in Kodaikanal. It is roughly star-shaped 45 hectares of land, built in the year 1863. It is recognized as the most popular geographic landmark and tourist attraction in this region. The rowboats and pedals can be hired at the Kodaikanal Boat Club. The horses and bicycles can be hired beside the lake for short periods. The 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) path that skirts the periphery of this lovely lake is a favourite walk for the locals and tourists alike.
Bryant Park is located just east of Kodaikanal Lake and 500 metres from the bus stand, is a wonderfully maintained 20.5 acres botanical garden. The park was planned and built in 1908 by a forest officer from Madurai
, H.D.Bryant, and named after him. With 325 species of trees, shrubs and cacti, the park is a rainbow of stunning flowers during the peak season. A large section is dedicated to nearly 740 varieties of roses. There is an 1857 Eucalyptus tree and a Bodhi tree which adds a religious significance to the park. Ornamental plants are cultivated in a nursery for sale. The park organizes horticultural exhibits and flower shows every summer, to coincide with the peak season. The entrance fee to the park is nominal, and it is open all year.
Coaker's Walk is constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872. It is a 1-kilometre paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai. The walk, winding around Mount Nebo, starts in front of the Van Allen hospital, running parallel to the Van Allen Hospital Road and joins the main road beside St. Peter's Church, providing a stunning panoramic view of the plains. On a clear day one can view as far as Dolphin's Nose in the south, the valley of the Pambar River
in the southeast, Periyakulam town and even the city of Madurai. A fascinating rare phenomenon called Brocken spectre can be witnessed, when a person can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo. This occurs when the sun is behind the viewer and clouds and mist are to the front. There is an observatory with a telescope halfway along the walk. Entrance fee to the walkway is nominal and it is open all year.
Bear Shola Falls
Bear Shola Falls is a most important tourist destination, which is 3 kilometres from the bus-stand, is a tall waterfall in a Reserve forest. The final approach to this quiet area is a gently climbing foot-path.
Green Valley View
Green Valley View has an excellent panoramic view of the plains and a sheer drop of 1,500 metres overlooking the Vaigai Dam to the south. The stairway leading up to it is highly commercialized and lined with rows of shops to tempt tourists.
Shembaganur Museum of Natural History
Shembaganur Museum of Natural History is located at about 6 kilometres from the bus-stand of Kodaikanal, It was founded in 1895, is open to the public for viewing their outstanding taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals, birds and insects and a living collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. The museum is affiliated with Loyola College in Chennai and exhibits artefacts of the ancient Palaiyar tribes people whose descendants still live in these hills.
Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
Kodaikanal Solar Observatory is located at about 6 kilometres from the bus-stand on Observatory Road; at 2,343 metres (7,687 ft) is the highest location near Kodai. The first observations were commenced here in 1901. Former Director John Evershed discovered the phenomenon of radial motion in sunspots, now known as the Evershed effect. The Kodaikanal Terrestrial Telescope can view a grand panorama including: Sothupparai Dam, Vaigai Dam, Periyakulam and Varaha river. This Indian Institute of Astrophysics facility has a comprehensive Astronomical Science museum with organized public tours, access to the astronomy library, and scheduled night-time telescopic sky viewing. It is open daily to the public during peak season, and a few hours each Friday the rest of the year.
Pillar Rocks is located at about 8 kilometres from the bus-stand. It is a set of three giant rock pillars which stand 122 metres (400 ft) high. Pillar Rocks in Kodaikanal is managed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. Pillar Rocks Viewpoint can be crowded but is not commercialized. There is an excellent public garden adjacent to the viewpoint.
Silver Cascade is located about 8 kilometres from Kodaikanal at a wide bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road, at altitude 1,800 metres (5,900 ft), is a 55-metre (180 ft) waterfall formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake. The water quality is reportedly poor and not good enough for bathing. This impressive waterfall is a popular stop for first-time visitors.
Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint is located at about 8 kilometres from the bus stand, is flat rock projecting over a breathtaking chasm 6,600 feet (2,000 m) deep. It is an undisturbed area of 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) down a very steep rocky trail beginning soon after Pamban Bridge
Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple
Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple, located at about 4 kilometres from the bus-stand, is famous for its Kurinji flower which blossoms in the area only once every 12 years. The deity here is called Sri Kurinji Easwaran, who is in fact Lord Murugan. This temple was built in 1936 by a European lady, who on coming to Ceylon, converted to Hinduism.
She changed her name to Leelavathi and married Mr.Ponnambalam Ramanathan. She is also known as Lady Ramanathan. This temple was handed over to Arulmighu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Thiru Kovil, Palani by Mrs Devi Prasad Bhaskaran (also known as Padmini, niece and adopted daughter of Mr S Natesan Pillai, son in-law of Lady Ramanathan) and her husband Dr R. Bhaskaran.
Berijam Lake is a calm serene lake surrounded by mesmerizing nature at a distance of around 20 km from Kodaikanal. The boating is prohibited as the lake is a source of water for villages. Forest department permission is required and limited numbers of vehicles are allowed to enter the forest area where the lake is situated. Entry is restricted into the Berijam Lake area to between 9.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Bison, deer, panthers and snakes are often spotted in this area. The fire tower, Silent Valley, Medicine Forest, and Lake View are other attractions around the lake.