Known as the”Princess of Hill Stations”, Kodaikanal is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty. This hill town is nestled at 7,000 ft in the upper Palani Hills in Tamil Nadu. Replete with verdant forests, serene lakes and gushing waterfalls, it is an ideal place for those looking to escape the monotony of daily life and reconnect with nature. If you are planning to visit Kodaikanal, here is all you need to know to plan your trip, including a rundown of the top 12 tourist places in Kodaikanal.
A Quick Glance Through
- How to Reach Kodaikanal
- Best Time To Visit
- Top 12 Tourist Places
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Other Nearby Tourist Attractions
- Where To Stay
How To Reach Kodaikanal
Madurai airport (120 km) is the nearest airport to Kodaikanal. It has direct flights from cities, like Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
Other nearest airports are in Coimbatore (175 km) and Trichy (198 km). You can easily get a cab or a bus from the airport to drop you to your hotel in Kodaikanal.
The nearest railhead is in Kodai Road (80 km), which is well connected to Madurai and Trichy by train. It’s just about 2 hours 15 minutes drive from Kodai Road station to Kodaikanal town.
By road, it is easily accessible from the major cities in Tamil Nadu, like Madurai, Dindigul, Trichy, Coimbatore and Chennai. Buses also ply at regular intervals from all these cities to Kodaikanal.
Refer to the map above for driving directions from Kodai Road to Kodaikanal.
Best Time To Visit
Kodaikanal experiences pleasant and cool weather throughout the year. You can plan a trip to this hill station whenever you want.
Avoid monsoon season if you are interested in trekking because the slippery tracks make it extremely difficult to trek.
Tourist Places in Kodaikanal
The hill town of Kodaikanal is dotted with numerous scenic attractions. You should be able to cover most of the popular tourist spots on a three-day trip. Scroll down to know what awaits you in Kodaikanal.
1. Kodaikanal Lake
Surrounded by lush green Palani hills, the star-shaped Kodaikanal lake lies right in the heart of Kodaikanal town.
Also referred to as Kodai lake by locals, it dates back more than 150 years into history. The lake was built in 1863 by Sir Vere Henry Levinge, the then Collector of Madurai. Kodaikanal lake is one of the most buzzing tourist places in Kodaikanal.
There is a plethora of things to do near the lake. You can ride a horse, rent a rowboat or a pedal boat and spend some quiet time admiring the entrancing beauty of the lake.
Those who enjoy cycling can hire a bicycle and go cycling around the panoramic Kodai lake.
One more unique attraction of Kodai lake is a flower called neelakurinji (blue-coloured kurinji). It is said that the flower blooms once in 12 years. So, even a glimpse of this flower is extremely rare.
2. Coaker’s Walk
Less than a kilometer away from the Kodaikanal lake, Coaker’s Walk is a 1 km long walkway on the steep slope of the gorgeous Palani hills.
It is one of the most preferred places for photography in Kodaikanal since it offers spectacular views of the rolling hills, lush green valleys and the plains below.
You can get some breathtaking shots of the picturesque landscape on your camera. Clouds are all around the pathway on a cloudy day and you get a feeling of walking in the clouds.
Coaker’s Walk is named after Lieutenant Coaker who is credited with the construction of this beautiful pathway.
3. Pine Forest
About 20 minutes drive away from Coaker’s walk, a vast expanse of pine trees adds to the splendour of this hilly town.
Pine trees are not native to the state of Tamilnadu. In 1906, Kodaikanal pine plantations were started by H.D. Bryant, a British forest officer from Madurai.
Over the years, pine forests have emerged as one of the must-visit tourist places in Kodaikanal.
This picturesque forest is so inviting that you can’t stop yourself from taking a long walk on the floor covered with dried pine leaves and cones.
It is a perfect spot to spend some relaxing moments away from the chaos of the city and delve into nature’s pure beauty.
4. Bear Shola Falls
Head next to the charming Bear Shola falls which is not more than 25 minutes drive from Pine forest.
The falls is known to be the watering hole for bears living in the surrounding forest area. However, bears have not been spotted for many years now. Shola is a type of forest that surrounds this beautiful falls.
It is a seasonal waterfall and can be best seen during monsoon or right after the rainy season when the falls is in its full swing.
There is about a km nature trail for adventure seekers through the woods starting from the base of the falls.
5. Bryant Park
Keep aside about an hour’s time to visit this lovely garden located at a distance of 2.5 km from Bear Shola falls.
The park is named after H.D. Bryant, the then forest officer of the region who got this park built in 1908 with a view to preserve the natural beauty of Kodaikanal.
Sprawling more than 20 acres land, there are several types of flowering plants, shrubs and cactuses on display in the garden.
The park organizes a magnificent flower show every year in the months of May-June displaying a wide variety of flowers that draws a lot of tourists from all over the world.
This well-maintained botanical garden is one of the most loved tourist places in Kodaikanal.
You may also like: 15 Most Beautiful Gardens in India.
6. Silver Cascade Falls
On day 2, start with Silver Cascade falls which is almost 8 km away from Kodaikanal. About 180 feet high, this waterfall originates from the overflowing of Kodaikanal lake.
The silvery water of the falls gushing through a rugged hilly terrain presents a scenic picture to the visitors.
The falls look absolutely gorgeous during the rainy season. It is one of the most preferred tourist places in Kodaikanal for photography.
Situated on the main Ghat road it is the first attraction to lay your eyes on if you are approaching Kodaikanal from Madurai.
7. Vattakanal Falls
You are bound to stumble upon this beautiful waterfall on your way to Dolphin’s nose. Surrounded by dense evergreen forests on both sides Vattakanal falls is a treat to the eyes of the viewer.
Those who enjoy bird watching will love this place. The scenic location of the falls is also a perfect place for photography.
8. Pambar Falls
Known as the “Grand Cascade” Pambar falls is another picturesque falls on the way to Dolphin’s nose view point. It requires trekking through a steep path starting from a point behind Pambar house.
The crystal clear waters of the falls cascade down to form a plunge pool. Pambar falls and the area surrounding it also offer birding opportunities. Several types of birds can be sighted around the streams.
9. Dolphin’s Nose View Point
Amongst the many scenic tourist places in Kodaikanal, Dolphin’s nose is one of the most popular spots for adventure seekers.
The view point gets its name from a natural formation of the rock that resembles the nose of a dolphin. On a sunny day when the sky is clear, you can see a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and the valley below.
A steep rocky trail to Dolphin’s nose view point begins soon after you reach the Pambar bridge. It also offers enchanting views of Periyakulam town and the Vaigai river.
10. Silent Valley View
On your way to Berijam lake, don’t miss the awe-striking landscape of the lofty hills and echoing valleys near Silent Valley view. This is a popular stop for tourists and photographers for clicking awesome shots of the beautiful surroundings.
11. Berijam Lake
A picturesque drive through the woods will take you to Berijam lake located deep inside the forest. Permission from the Forest department is required to visit the lake.
It’s a serene place away from the chaos of the city to spend some quiet time amid nature. Keep aside half a day for the Berijam lake trip.
Tip: Only 25 private vehicles per day are allowed inside the forest. Make sure to reach the Moir point check post by 9 am. In case the maximum number of vehicles limit is reached, you can still travel by forest department buses that run at a frequency of 30 minutes.
If you are interested to know about the top 20 major and stunning lakes in India, check this post.
12. Pillar Rocks
On your way back from Berijam lake to Kodaikanal, make a halt to visit these naturally placed rocks looking like giant pillars. It offers awe-inspiring views of the majestic mountains and echoing valleys on a sunny day.
Tip: Don’t visit this place on a cloudy day. You will miss the wonderful views this place has to offer.
Other Nearby Tourist Attractions
If you have a few more days to spare, visit Mannavanur lake which is almost 30 km away from Kodaikanal. A scenic drive through eucalyptus and pine forests takes you to this lake.
Guna cave is another attraction that you can see but it’s more like a view point as visitors are not allowed inside the cave.
Kurinji Andavar temple also known as Murugan temple, dedicated to Lord Muruga (The God of Hill) is quite popular amongst religious tourists. Devotees can visit the temple to seek blessings of Lord Muruga.
Ooty, counted amongst one of the best hill stations in India, is approximately 252 km from Kodaikanal. The enchanting hill town, Munnar in Kerala lies some 166 km away from Kodaikanal, roughly 5 hours’ drive.
You may also like: 12 Best Tourist Places in Munnar.
Where To Stay
There are plenty of hotels in close proximity to Kodai lake. Sterling Kodai Lake and Villa Retreat are nice options. For luxury seekers, The Tamara Kodai resort can be a good choice.
TTDC (Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation) offers budget accommodation – hotel Tamilnadu, which is merely 3.5 km away from Kodaikanal lake.
Over To You Now…
Encircled by misty rolling hills and green valleys Kodaikanal truly embodies nature’s best. Which all spots have you seen from this list of the top 12 tourist places in Kodaikanal?
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