Kodaikanal is a city in the hills of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Its name in the Tamil language means “The Gift of the Forest”. Kodaikanal is referred to as the “Princess of Hill stations” and has a long history as a retreat and popular tourist destination.
Kodaikanal was established in 1845 as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains. Much of the local economy is based on the hospitality industry serving tourism. As of 2011, the city had a population of 36,501.
A lot of adventure enthusiasts from nearby cities like Chennai and Bangalore take regular bike trips to Kodaikanal’s inviting hills. You can easily explore Kodaikanal on your own without bothering with tour packages. All you need is to follow our guide on the best things to do in Kodaikanal. Read on.
Things to Do in Kodaikanal
1- Go boating in Kodaikanal Lake
A beautiful man-made lake, Kodai Lake is famous for its star shape, clean waters, and silent charm. The shimmering waters lapped in the surrounding greenery are heavenly in a boat ride. During winters and monsoon, evening boat rides offer the rare chance of boating through fog and mist, a most surreal feeling.
You can take stunning pictures of the views, feel at one with nature and even go horse-riding around the lake. Walking along the lake or biking in the twilight hours is one more memorable activity to do.
- Where: Near Bus Stand
2- Explore the haunting Guna Cave
Also known as the Devil’s Kitchen, Guna Cave is a group of caves located between three huge boulders. The cave is made of deep, dark rock formations that are eerie in appearance. Pillar Rocks, as the name suggests, are huge rocks shaped like pillars.
You can also see the spine-tingling exposed tree roots that look straight out of a horror flick. There are bats living inside the deep cave chambers! Tourists should exercise caution while visiting as there is a chance of falling down the steep cave rocks. But a thrilling experience for the daredevils.
- Where: Near Moir Point, outskirts of Kodaikanal
3- Get lost in Pine Forest
On the way to Guna Caves, take time to walk in the picturesque Kodaikanal pine forest. Many Bollywood and South Indian movies are shot here. Trekking through the middle of tall, captivating pine trees is an unforgettable experience.
Be sure not to litter as the forest ministry maintains the area well. The forests are ideal for quiet time in nature and a visual delight for photography buffs.
- Where: Kodaikanal Ghat Road
4-Have a fun outing in Bryant Park
A well-maintained botanical garden full of colorful, blooming flowers, Bryant Park is a great spot for a family picnic. There are play areas for kids, a variety of horticultural gems, a glasshouse, and an attractive rose garden.
There are pretty walking and cycling paths where you can take relaxing strolls. If you’re visiting in summers, you can enjoy the awesome flower show organized here. The park is a great spot to take selfies with flowers.
- Where: Lower Shola Road
5– Trek to Dolphin’s Nose & Echo Point
A thrilling experience for trekkers and adventure enthusiasts, a trek to Dolphin’s Nose is a must. A 1 km trek that takes you to the summit that appears like pointed rock, the trek takes around 3 hours and is a moderately difficult trek.
If you walk further ahead, you will reach Echo Point where the views get even more splendid. The path is rocky and uneven, so wear good hiking shoes and carry bottles of water. Trek trail closes by 6 pm.
- Where: Pambar Bridge
6-Take a scenic drive to Berijam Lake
Located 24 kilometers away from the center of the town, Berijam Lake is a freshwater reservoir accessible via a highly scenic route. You will find amazing flora and fauna in the lake premises including gorgeous water lilies and a range of medicinal plants.
You will need permission from the forest department before the trip and an only a limited number of vehicles are allowed in a day, so leave early in the morning. Some travelers have reported that the forest route leading to the lake is even more beautiful than the actual destination.
- Where: Old site of Fort Hamilton
7-Visit Kurinji Andavar Temple
The temple is famous for Kurinji flower which blooms once every twelve years. They will bloom in 2018 and then in 2030. Other than that, the temple is worth visiting if you want to pay respects to Lord Muruga and enjoy the sights of valleys surrounding the temple.
Other reasons to visit the ancient temple are the charming shops which are located around the temple where you can shop for tribal handicraft and souvenirs.
- Where: Temple Road
8-Take a night safari
plantations and forests that look and feel vividly different during the night safari.
Night views of lakes, Mango Temple and Palani Hills are thrilling and surreal. You can book a night safari at JC Residency. This is a favorite activity of honeymooning couples.
- Where: JC Residency, Convent Road
How to reach Kodaikanal:
Madurai International Airport is the nearest to Kodaikanal, approximately 120 km away. Regular flights of Air India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways are available from here for cities like Chennai, Mumbai, and Bangalore. From outside the airport, travelers can easily avail of bus or taxi services to reach Kodaikanal.
Kodaikanal is linked by road with several prominent cities, including Bangalore (460 km), Trichy (198 km) Chennai (530 km), Ooty (255 km), Coimbatore (175 km) and Kumili (160 km). From Madurai (120 km), it takes less than four hours to reach Kodaikanal via NH 49. Depending upon their budget and requirement, travelers can choose from pocket-friendly state government buses or private luxury buses available from these cities.
Kodai Road (approximately 95 km away) is the nearest railhead that links Kodaikanal with cities like Madurai and Trichy. This railway station mostly serves as the rail-to-bus transfer point for those visiting Kodaikanal, about two to three hours journey. Taxis are easily available from the railway station.
A visit to Kodaikanal can be a thrilling or a tranquil experience, depending on your travel palette and preference. Our guide will help you navigate through the many activities you can do in Kodaikanal and help you pick your favorites. Leave comments below.