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Information about Kodaikkanal

Kodaikkanal, a popular hill resort is situated about 120 kms from Madurai. It is a highly scenic drive from Madurai that climbs over 2300 metres and runs through coffee plantations and forests. This quiet hill station is situated at an altitude of 2133 metres on the southern tip of upper Palani hills in the Western Ghats. It covers an area of 21.45 square kms. This tourist spot was first discovered by the Europeans in the Palani Hills in 1821. The town nestles around the man-made Kodai Lake. Kodaikkanal has thickly wooded slopes, well laid out walking paths through picturesque prospects, waterfalls and steep rock outcrops. Boating on the lake is a popular pastime activity. Kodaikkanal is rich in flora and fauna. The Kurinji, which blossoms once in 12 years is the unique plant of Kodai, and fill the hill slopes with the blaze of purple. The speciality of Kodaikkanal is the delicious home-made chocolate which are available in many shops in the town. Tamil and English are the main languages which are spoken in Kodaikkanal.

History of Kodaikkanal

In 1821, the British Lieutenant Mr. Ward climbed up from the Kunnavan Village of Vellagvi to Palani Hills in Kodaikkanal. In 1834, the Madurai Collector climbed up from Devadanapatti and built a small bungalow at the head of Adukkam Pass. In 1836, Dr. Wight visited Kodaikkanal and recorded his observations, which were later very useful to the botanists. In 1844, Mr. Fane, an Englishman built godowns in Kodaikkanal and familiarized with hill area. In 1845, the American Mission people with the help of Mr. Fane. built the two bungalows “Sunny-Side” and “Shelton”. Later, six American families came up and stayed at Kodaikkanal. Later, various British houses also appeared. In 1864, Colonel Hamilton gave his opinion that Berijam lake area is the best place in the Palani Hills to establish a military cantonment or sanatorium. After fifteen years, one of the British District Magistrates of Chennai built a house, followed by various other people. Sir Vere Levenge also changed the landscape of the hill resort by putting up a dam on the stream to form an exquisite lake that reminds of Switzerland. Thus, Kodaikkanal was established as a hill station on the Palani Hills to serve the needs of the British and Europeans in India. In the 20th century, an Indian Elite visited Kodaikkanal and purchased property and utilized the facilities of British and Americans and thus Kodaikkanal becomes a mixture of different societies.

People of Kodaikkanal

The first people that lived in the hills were dolmen builders, who left here several visible artifacts. The Paliyans and Puliyans are the two tribes that lives in the Palani Hills. Kukkal Caves, which is about 35 kms, away from Kodaikkanal, show the traces of the Puliyans. The Paliyans were the segmentary tribes. 
The Puliyans settled as agriculturists. According to the survey report of 1821, the Puliyans were the aborigines of the Palani Hills and followed the Tamil culture.

Tourist Attractions in Kodaikkanal

The Kodai Lake, Solar Physical Observatory, Bryant Park and Coaker's Walk are the main tourist attractions in Kodaikkanal. Besides this, Kurinji Andavar Temple, Green Valley View, Pillar Rocks, Silent Valley View, Berijam Lake, Shenbaganur Museum and Palani are the other tourist attractions in Kodaikkanal.

Kodai Lake

The Kodai Lake is spread out in the star shape and covers an area of over 60 acres, skirted by 5 kms long blacktapped road. The Kodai lake is the focal point of Kodaikkanal. This lake was created in 1863 by Sir Vere Hendry Levinge (1818-1885), who was the collector of Madurai and retired and settled in Kodaikkanal. He constructed the bund to form a lake and stocked the lake with fish. He brought the first boat from Tuticorin. In 1890, a boat club was formed and the members take the ride in the boat. In 1910, a new boat hose was constructed. From May 1929, only few tourists were permitted to avail boat ride, as temporary members. Then the boat service was extended to the public and tourists in 1932.

Kodai Lake, Kodaikkanal
Bryant Park, Kodaikkanal

Bryant Park
The Bryant Park is situated on the eastern side of the lake. This park is known for the flowers, hybrids and grafts. Cut flowers are exported from here. A glass house which shelters fine varieties of flowers can also be seen here. A Flower show is conducted every year in the month of May, as a part of Summer Festival.

Shenbaganur Museum
The Shenbaganur museum is maintained by the Sacred Heart College, a Theological Seminary founded in 1895. This museum houses the archaeological remains and the flora and fauna of the hills. This museum is also one of the best orchidorium in the country and more than 300 species of orchids are housed here. This museum is about 5.6 kms from the lake. A Spanish Father Ugarthe, contributed his major collections to the Museum. 

Solar Astrophysical Observatory
The Solar Physical Observatory is situated about 32 kms. from the Kodai Lake. This observatory was founded in 1989, about 850 feet above the lake. This observatory is the top most point in Kodaikannal. It is mainly used for research in meteorology and solar physics. During visiting hours and on prior appointment, the visitors can closely observe the stars, planetary movements etc.

Palani is situated about 64 kms. from Kodaikkanal and a famous pilgrimage center of the South. This place is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Dhandayuthapani.

Solar Physical Observatory, Kodaikkanal

Kurinji Andavar Temple, Kodaikkanal

Kurinji Andavar Temple
The Kurinji Andavar temple is situated about 3 kms from the lake. This famous temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga. The word Kurinji means hill region in Tamil and Andavar means God. Hence Lord Muruga is sometimes referred as God of Hill. This temple is also associated with the Kurinji flowers, which blooms once in 12 years and carpet the hillside. From this temple one can have a view of Palani Hills and Vaigai Dam.

Silent Valley View
The Silent Valley is situated away from the Pillar Rock-Berijam lake road. The silent valley gives a thrilling valley view. Children are allowed to see this valley only with precautionary defence steps.

Coaker’s Walk
Coaker’s Walk, the hill-edge path way was identified by Engineer Coaker in 1872. The Coaker's Walk is situated about a km from the lake and runs along a steep slope on the southern side of Kodaikkanal. It offers some of the best views of the plains. A Telescope house is also situated at the Coaker's Walk. Through the telescope located at the way, one can have a panoramic view of the valley and nearby towns.

Boat Club
T.T.D.C boats, Carlton boats provide boating facilities here. Annual boat pageant is held in May during the Summer Festival.

Green Valley View
The Green Valley View is situated about 5.5 kms from the lake and located near the Golf Club. As the Valley is very deep and dangerous, so it was once known as the suicide point. This valley offers a beautiful view of the entire Vaigai dam.

Pillar Rocks
Three boulders stand shoulder to shoulder vertically to a height of about 122 meters in the Pillar Rocks. These rocks provides a beautiful view. It is located about 7.4 kms from the lake and has a mini garden with lovely flowers. 

Berijam Lake
The Berijam Lake is located about 21 kms. from Kodaikkanal lake. The town of Pleriyakulam gets drinking water from this lake. It is a fine picnic spot and offers beautiful scenery. In 1864, Major Douglas Hamilton wrote that the vicinity of this lake is the best site on the hills. The Berijam Lake View offers panoramic landscape of Berijam Lake and is located before reaching the lake.

Festivals of Kodaikkanal

The Summer Festival is the main festival which is celebrated in Kodaikkanal. The summer festival is celebrated in the month of May every year. Boat Pageant and flower show are also held on the occasion. It is a major attraction for the tourist.

How to reach here

By Air: 
The nearest airport is located at Madurai, about 121 kms and Coimbatore, about 135 kms from Kodaikkanal. 

By Rail: 
The Kodai Road Railway Station, about 80 kms and Palani Railway Station are the nearest railway station.

By Road:
Kodaikkanal is connected by road with all important towns like Madurai, Palani, Kodaikkanal Road, Theni, Dindigul, Tiruchirappalli, Kumuli, Erode, Bangalore and Coimbatore. 

To know the distances from Kodaikkanal click here.

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