Kodaikanal or Kodai is a misty hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. It is often known as Ooty’s little sister (another famous hill town in Tamil Nadu), so much so, that Ooty is often referred to as the “Queen of Hill Stations” while Kodai is called the “Princess”. Apart from its picturesque views over the Kodaikanal Lake, the hill town of Kodai is also famous as the location of the prominent Kodaikanal International School, which sees students from all over the world, hence giving the town its cosmopolitan vibe.
Kodai also happens to be a part of the Western Ghats and you can evidently witness patches of shola forests which are an uncommon characteristic of the Western Ghats. Other distinctive floras found in the region include mahogany, magnolia, rhododendron, and myrtle. Kodai is also home to the rare plant species kurinji shrub – lilac blue in color. It is known for its periodic blossoming once every 12 years. Next probable due date is 2018.
With its magnificent green mountains, breezy waterfalls, and picture-perfect landscapes, Kodai is most famous amongst honeymooners in the country.
Activities that you can indulge in during your stay in the town include boating trips – rent a pedal boat or a kashmiri shikara from the Kodaikanal Boat and Rowing Club; cycling – there are a few rental shops around the lake which rent bicycles to interested cyclists for INR20/hour or INR200/day (approx.); horse-riding stands – they cost around INR60/500m or INR300/hour. Apart from these, you can also indulge in walking around the lake or nearby areas such as Coaker’s Walk. If you wish to get involved into some serious trekking, you need to obtain a permit from the Forest Department. First contact the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Chennai), and then District Forest Office (Kodai). You can also contact Kodai’s tourist office or hotels/hostels such as Greenland Youth Hostel who can help you get in touch with local guides who claim to offer off-the-beaten-path local routes for INR1000-1500 per day (approx.).
Some other important places of attraction include:
Tourists can choose between budget accommodation options such as Snooze Inn which offers rooms with wi-fi for INR800-1000 (approx.). The more opulent option will be to stay at hotels such as Villa Retreat which offers rooms with breakfast and wi-fi for INR2500-5000 (approx.) and Mount Pleasant which offers rooms with breakfast and internet for INR2000-4000 (approx.). If you are travelling with friends or solo and prefer the backpacker style of travelling, Greenlands Youth Hostel provides dorm rooms starting INR250.
The nearest airport is Madurai (approx. 120 km). Other close by airports include Coimbatore and Trichy which are 175 km and 150 km away (approx.). You can easily get a bus from here to Kodaikanal.
You can also choose to take the train and get down at Kodai Road which is 100 km from the main town. Take a taxi from here to your destination, however, do not expect to negotiate much as taxis are the main source of transportation between the town and the station.
Alternatively, you can also take the bus to Kodaikanal. The town is well connected with bus services from Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Palani, Theni, Kodai Road and a few more.