In the year 1821, while surveying the mountain ranges of Palani, Lieutenant Ward, an Englishman, climbed up from Kunnavan Village of Vellagavi to Kodaikanal, where the earliest residents were the Palaiyar tribals. Later, in 1834, J C Wroughten, the then sub-collector of Madras and C R Cotton, a member of the Board of Revenue, built a small bungalow at the head of the Adukkam pass. But after the visit of Dr. Wite in 1836, and his observations about the hill station, botanists began moving into Kodaikanal.
This exotic location at 7000 feet and above, attracted many more. A boat club was set up in 1890. Today, a well-lit 9 km circular cycling and walkers’ path around the lake is a big attraction.
It is not known how the place earned the name Kodaikanal, but the Tamil interpretation could mean “Gift of the forest”.
Kodaikanal is the most famous for Kurinji flowers. These flowers bloom once in 12 years and turn the slopes into carpets of colour giving it brilliance and grandeur.
The Kodaikanal Lake was created by Sir Vere Hendry Levinge, the retired Collector of Madurai who had settled down there. He constructed a bund to form a lake and stocked the lake with fish. He then bought a boat from Tuticorin.
This park was conceived and landscaped by a British army officer called Bryant. It houses over 350 types of trees, shrub and cacti. Its 170-year-old Eucalyptus tree is a major attraction.
Solar Physical Observatory
This observatory, set up in 1988 at an elevation of 2343 meters, is owned and operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It is the highest point in Kodaikanal.
In 1872, E R Coaker identified this hill-edged pathway. One can enjoy a great walk out here.
Dedicated to Lord Murugan, the temple is associated with the Kurinji flowers that bloom once in 12 years. While Kurinji means hill, Andavar means god – hence Lord Murugan is worshipped as the God of the Hill.
Green Valley View
At one point in time this was also called suicide point, but it has been reinforced now for no eventualities. The views are spectacular indeed.
An interesting natural rock formation that stands 122 meters high and is located 7 kms from the lake.
This site, a monument to Sir Thomas Moier, provides lovely valley views.
Silent Valley View
This is a silent zone and children should necessarily be accompanied by adults.
Berijam Lake View
The entry to the Berijam Lake area is restricted by the Forest Department and visitors will be allowed between 9.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is a Forest Rest House in the near vicinity with limited accommodation.
This nicely maintained park has beautiful flowering plants and lawns which are a great attraction.
Established in 1895, this museum was set up to preserve specific archaeological remains and the flora and fauna in the vicinity. It houses the best Orchidarium in the country with more than 300 species of exotic orchids on display.
Silver Cascade Falls
Compared to other natural waterfalls it does not hold much ground, but this overflow from the Kodaikanal lake drops down 180 feet and gets that much more spectacular in the hilly backdrop.
La Saleth Church
This is one of two shrines [the other one being in France] dedicated to our lady of La Saleth. This 150-year-old church holds the extraordinary 9 day La Saleth festival every year.
This city is famous for its locks and its biriyani. It has a fort on a small rock hill, and was on the border of 3 prominent kingdoms in South India once upon a time.
Original burial urns that were unearthed here and models of dolmens are exhibited for public viewing at the Shehbaganur Museum.
This spectacular waterfall, also known as the Rat-Tail Falls, is the third highest in India and is 975 feet high. It is inaccessible to tourists and can only be viewed on the ascent to Kodaikanal from the Kodai road.
These caves are overhanging slabs of different types of metamorphic rocks called charconite and granulite at 6200 feet. The Kukkal Caves are ancient rock shelters that show traces of the descendants of original leaf clad Paliyans.
Built in the 9th Century by Cheran King Cheraman Peruman, it stands at a height of 150 meters and has 693 steps. Known as Arulmigu Dandayithapaani Swami Temple, it is one of the most sacred shrines of Lord Murugan. The idol of the lord here was created and consecrated by Sage Bogar, one of 18 great siddhas, out of an amalgam of navapashanam or nine-herb combination. The temple celebrates Thai Poosam and Panguni Uthram and is visited by more than 7 million pilgrims each year.
Fairs & Festivals
This takes place every year in the month of May. Flower show and the boat pageant are the best attractions of the festival. Thousands of tourists participate in this festival season.
August 14th – 15th SaletteMatha Festival
Mariamman Festival for one week in the month of May every year
Cycles are available on hire at Rs. 30/- and Rs. 20/- per hour, for adults and children, to all visitors to go around the lake.
Pony rides, a fascination for both children and adults, is available too at Rs.100/- per hour
One of the beauties of Kodaikanal is its lake. Boating facilities are available and you may swish through the waters and celebrate your holiday at ease.
Permitted. Please contact Inspector of Fisheries at Kodaikanal.
Kodaikanal is a golfer’s paradise. Temporary memberships are available on a daily use basis for the Gold course. Other services like use of trolley are charged extra. The course is located 5 kms from the lake.
Hotel Tamil Nadu [TTDC],
Fern Hill Road, and Youth Hostel.
Phone: 04542 -241336-241339.
Road: Kodaikanal is connected by road with all-important towns. Regular bus services are available from Kodaikanal to Madurai, Palani, Kodaikanal Road, Theni, Dindigul, Tiruchirappalli, Kumili, Erode, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli.
Rail: Kodai Road railway Station [80 kms] and Palani railway station [64 kms]
Air: Madurai , Tiruchirappalli [200 Kms] and Coimbatore [170 Kms]