The Day After a Sleepless Night

It’s a well known fact that adulthood is filled with many nights where you stay awake and feel groggy the next day.

During MBA this is every single day. I remember going to bed at 4 or 5 am after working and working, sleep for 3 hours and get up in time for the 8 am class.

The first few times, I was feeling normal the next day. But as the sleeplessness began to run into weeks, my mornings after were groggy and headache-filled.

I know how it feels like your brain is swimming and just nodding makes the world spin. I also know how it feels like you can barely move the huge lump your body is.

So, naturally one falls sick. Here are some tips to prevent you from falling flat on your face.

  1. Go Green
    People suggest caffeine but I suggest Green tea. It has the required amount of caffeine to jolt you but at the same time soothes your nerves.
  2. Take catnaps
    This is a miracle-worker. I used to take naps during lunch breaks and free mid-schedule hours. Take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. If you can manage a couple of hours sleep, then do that!
  3. Walk briskly
    Exercising your body, warming it up a bit helps fight fatigue.
  4. Feel the sun
    Sunshine and a walk helps clear your brain
  5. Drink water
    It helps flush out the bloated feel.
  6. Cold showers
    They help calm the nerves in your head
  7. No heavy sugar
    Go for lighter food. Carry snacks to munch through the day.
  8. Emergency energy bar
    I always have an energy bar on me. When I feel myself drooping right before an important seminar, I have a bite.

Stay energetic with these tips!!

PS: Try to sleep as much as you can. Make sure staying up all night doesn’t become a habit.

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Trip Plans for Kodai

Hello all!

I’ve been in this frenzy to convey how Kodai was and what to see there, how to plan for it and stuff like that.

This time, I’m gonna outline how you can plan for trips to Kodai. I’ll be doing a One-day, Weekend, and Week-long trip for you all… 😀

Assuming you all visit Kodai during the tourist/peak/summer season(Feb to May).

ONE DAY TRIP

Plan so that you reach Kodai for breakfast (around 9 AM). You will most likely see the Silver Cascade Falls en route Kodai.

Breakfast at Kodai. Pack lunch.

Visit these places in order, since they all form a loop.

Kodai Solar Observatory*
Pine Forest View*
Moir Point
Guna Caves*
Pillar Rocks*
Green Valley View Point*
Wax Museum
Liril Falls
Upper Lake View*

You can even reverse the order and have picnic type lunch at Pine Forest View. There are people who sometimes skip some of these and go back to town for lunch. The ones marked with an asterisk are a must.

After lunch, you surely can go to Bear Shola Falls and then return to town by evening. Go for a stroll on Coaker’s Walk if there’s still sunlight, sit in Bryant’s Park for a while and snack on something OR You can go to the Boat House for an evening row. You can do some shopping here and follow it up with dinner. Then say adieu to darlin’ Kodai and be on your way back.

If you want a less hectic schedule and want to get down from the Ghats before sunset, then this maybe a better itinerary for you.

Pine Forest View
Guna Caves
Pillar Rocks
Upper Lake View

Lunch at town

Shopping, Horse riding, Cycling  & Boating at Kodai Lake
Coaker’s Walk

Evening Tea & Snacks

Leave by 4 PM

 

WEEKEND TRIP

Plan #1

Day 1

Reach Kodai by 10 AM and have breakfast. If you feel like resting, you can. Or head to the town to see Bryant’s Park. Take a stroll along Coaker’s Walk and work up an appetite. Head for lunch and then take a leisurely ride to the Solar Observatory. Follow it up with the a view of the lake from the Upper Lake Viewpoint and head back to town in time for Evening tea and snacks. Head to the Lake area for shopping, snacks, cycling, riding or boating. End your day with a stroll around the lake and head to your room for dinner and your beauty sleep.

Day 2

If you get the pass, visit Berijam Lake. Then, visit the famous attractions – Pine Forest View, Moir Point, Guna Caves, Pillar Rocks, Green Valley View Point, Wax Museum, Liril Falls, Bear Shola Falls.

In the evening go to Chettiyar’s Park and then head back to town for an early dinner and head out.

Plan #2

Day 1

Head out to Berijam Lake around 9 AM if you can garner passes. From there, visit all the attractions mentioned in Plan #1 Day 2. In the evening go to Bryant’s Park.

Day 2

Head out to Coaker’s Walk. After breakfast head to Dolphin’s Nose. After a half day’s trek down and up, you can return to your room for a nap. Pack and head out of Kodai by evening.

 

5-DAY TRIP

Day 1

Visit Bear Shola Falls. Go to the Solar Observatory and have a picnic.Visit the Upper Lake View Point and Liril Falls. Head for lunch to town. In the evening go to the Boat House for a stroll around the lake. Dinner and then bed.

Day 2

Go to Dolphin’s Nose – trek to the view points and if you can, have a trek back to town via La Saleth Church.

Day 3

Around lunch, head to town. Go see the Pine Forests, Moir Point, Guna Caves, Pillar Rocks, Green Valley View Point. Head to town for an evening in Coaker’s Walk. Go shopping.

Day 4

Go to Kurinji Andavar Temple, Chettiyar’s Park after breakfast and head to town for lunch. After lunch, spend some time horse-riding and shopping at the boat house area. Visit the Shenbaganoor Museum or Wax Museum. Go back for dinner.

Day 5

Spend the morning at Berijam Lake. In the afternoon, take a long stroll in Coaker’s Walk and head to Bryant’s Park. Go for a boating. Then pack and say Sayonara.

For trekkers, there is a 3-4 day trek route called the 80-mile round. You can plan a week-long vacation around that.

So that’s all for today folks! 😀

Happy Holidays!

Kodaikanal : A to-do list

I recently travelled to Kodai and had done a bit of reading up on the places to see.

However, I found that while many sites listed many places, only the reviews from people made me understand what was in store.

All blog posts I saw boasted of stunning views. But since I know the place a bit and have travelled there before, I felt that there was too little info.

So, I’ll try to incorporate the things I saw when I went and try to update the info on places I tried but couldn’t see due to improper planning due to lack of proper info. 😦

OK. So the thing is, Kodai is a tourist place where the locals earn an income for the year from a few months’ time. I truly sympathise with their seasonal income problems, but as a tourist/visitor myself, I couldn’t help but be skeptical.

Things to do before the trip:

  1. Confirm the accommodation. Also, make sure you have covered taken-for-granted items like heater, breakfast, towels, soaps, parking, wifi etc. You have to ask for these specifically. Although many hotels boast of parking, they do not have a parking lot. They ask us to park outside on the roadside. So be careful.
  2. Make sure you have a good hotel. Pictures online are deceptive. Read user reviews before booking. This is for budget accommodation. For 4-star and 5-star, they will list out room amenities while booking.
  3. Have a local driver and car who is confident enough to drive steep Ghat roads without making you motion sick.
  4. Be ready with a medical kit. It’s a basic thing, but I’m just emphasising it again.
  5. Be ready to walk. If you’re planning on some trekking then make sure you have trained a bit before. The treks to ordinary viewpoints are steep (Eg: Dolphin’s Nose). You need to walk around a bit anyways.

 

Places to see:

1. Coaker’s Walk

I loved the views, whether it be morning or noon or dusk. It is a walkway on the side of the mountain offering you vast stunning vistas. Entrance fee when I went was Rs 10 per person and Rs 20 for the camera. The trail is only a kilometre long but there are vendors of fruits, snacks and woollens and many benches on the way. There are even some mehendi artists and game stalls put up. You can easily spend a couple of hours here drinking in the fresh crisp air and the panoramic views. There is also a telescope observatory for views of the town, but I was disappointed when I saw only some random roofs of houses. They could have zoomed out a little, I thought!

This view is from Coaker’s Walk

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2. Bryant’s Park

Right opposite to the entrance to Coaker’s Walk is this Park. Again a nominal entrance fee is required. There are various flowers in bloom and lush lawns. Perfect for a picnic, but the monkeys are very notorious so be very careful. You can relax on the lawns and enjoy the midsummer azure skies. However, it has been mentioned a lot that the park is in a state of decline/disrepair. A one-time visit for sure.

3. Bear Shola Falls, Silver Cascade Falls etc

All the falls are majestic and truly awe-inspiring right after the rainy season but in summer you might see only a small body of water flowing down rocks. Make sure you know the condition of the waterfall before you go. I was not surprised to see a very narrow stream flow down in the middle of summer.

4. Berijam Lake

I got contradictory info regarding the entrance to the lake. While one said a pass can be obtained any time, another said we had to wait from 7 AM onwards at the Forest Office till it opens at 9.30 for a pass and that too there won’t be any guarantee you’ll get one. So, due to time constraints we decided to put off this place. But I’ve heard amazing reviews about this place. It is a still lake in the middle of the reserve forest area and I believe has no boating. The thrill lies in the forest ride and the scenery it affords.

5. Pillar Rocks

A view of the beautiful rock formations. A visit to be done for the views again. You can spend maybe 5 mins for the views and the pics to be clicked. Outside the park, you’ll find many shops to buy stuff.

This view is from the Pillar Rocks View Point

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6. Moir Point

One-time visit. A small memorial park with views of the mountains. Max 10 mins.

7. Pine Forest

Most famous for selfies and group pics. You can admire the age-old trees and have a mini-trek going through the forest. Pretty place.

This is a view of the Pine Trees

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8. Upper Lake View 

A view of the Kodai Lake from a nearby hill. The view is good and is on the way to the Observatory.

9. Solar Observatory

I loved the way to the observatory more. The walk was truly beautiful with pine trees surrounding you, the fresh air you breathe in and the very beautiful selfies you just can’t ruin with your clumsiness.

10. Green Valley View Point

Another viewpoint but with huge barricades due to its inauspicious past. Didn’t visit it though.

11. Kodai Lake Boating

Take an extended boating for yourself to enjoy the serene winds and splashing sounds.

12. Cycle around the Lake

No words but one “YES!”

The Kodai Lake

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13. Dolphin’s Nose

Although I went upto the place, I didn’t go trekking. But, had I known I would have to trek I would have prepared and gone. Most of the sites mentioned it as a viewpoint but it needs hiking down to get to it. And hiking back up. This is one place I know I would have loved going to and am sorely regretting not being able to. The drive to the starting point of the trek is a bit scary (according to me). Only a single car can go, the roads are winding and sinewy and not in a good condition. On the right side you have a rock wall and on the left you have just a cliff. Either hire a very reliable driver or go walking. I found that walking seems to be a safer option for people like me who hold on to the handle bar all the way to the point. But countless vehicles come and go without any problems, just good manoeuvring. Be prepared with food and water and half a day’s hike. Good boots are definitely needed. The trek is maybe 2 kilometres. You need to hike down a forest path. Many who thought could go without good boots have slipped. You can buy/hire long walking sticks right at the entrance. Buy one, don’t be miserly here. You will need it. There are 3 viewpoints on the trek. Going down is slippery but easy, but climbing up is steep and a bit difficult. My advice: Start around 9.30 or 10 AM and return before 3 or 4 PM. Have a reliable guide with you.

14. The many trekking trails

Kodai is trekker’s paradise and you will find many forest trails that you will love. According to me,  these trekking trails are the best. I’d say go for the trekking or you’ll regret it. The best views and the closest you’ll feel to nature are then. Of course, you should have a reliable guide to take you around. PS: Always stay safe guys…

I remember only these. Of the above I just loved Coaker’s Walk, Boating, Cycling, Pine Forest and the overall forest driving!!!

Had I been a trekker, then I would have done that too!

Enjoy the beauties of nature, people! 🙂

 

 

Kodai at its Peak (Tourist Season)!

Ah…the joy of travelling cannot be rivalled.

I was fortunate to be able to visit Kodaikanal “The Princess of Hills” this week.

I have to say that the wind was chilly, the roadsides were green and brown, the sun was too bright and I loved every single second. It doesn’t matter that I have gone there before.

Every place no matter how familiar it is will always show you something new every time. That’s perhaps why I get this craving to just pack up my bags and go somewhere, anywhere.

For those who have never felt wanderlust, it must be hard to imagine. But, every few months, I become restless. My feet and my heart itch to just tread new grounds.

I’ve tried explaining to my friends but they just looked at me and laughed and asked “You a Gypsy or what?”

Maybe in a previous life…who knows??? 😀 😉

Well, back to Kodai.

January to May is indeed the right time to visit Kodai, mainly because of the views of the distant lush valleys and towns. During monsoon, the roads become dangerous sinews with landslides and slippery slopes and of course leeches as well. The winter season is a great time to visit too, according to me, because you’ll have thick fog blanketing the world around you. You can see ice forming on your breath, the whole world wakes up at 10 AM and goes to bed by 5 PM. You can pile on mountains of sweaters, you can put off taking bath and when you do you get to spend hours in a hot shower. You can curl up to a roaring fire and a cup of hot something. A lazy life…ah so blissful.

So…here I am…in Kodai at the peak of tourist season. I had just read a news article on how there were traffic jams in Kodai and I dismissed them as a one-time occurrence. Ah. I was proven wrong.

I had plotted out the places to visit in a very systematic manner. I know the place a bit and knowing the best timings to visit those places helped me prepare more.

Alas, all my planning went to waste!

All the tourist spots are situated in a 10 km circumference from town. And even as I travelled the highway more than 100 kms away itself the traffic began. There were always 2 vehicles behind me at all times and since the road led only to Kodai, we were all headed to the same destination. On the way, we had a tourist bus break down in the middle of the road, preventing vehicles from moving on either side. And let me tell you that this road is narrow. Two cars can go in opposite directions, barely brushing the sides!

So imagine if a bus is parked in the middle of this road!

There was a gap on the right side of the bus which could allow small cars. I was not sure if my car would go through so we waited, not knowing how long we’ll be stuck. Then, some guys motioned to us that we would fit. And with great trepidation we reached the other side with no scratches.

Once we reached the town, we were shocked and amazed. Not in a good way. The small roads were packed with tourist buses, lots of cars, walking tourists…it was a nightmare!

The distance to our hotel was to be covered in 15 mins but the traffic jam and crazy motorists made us cover that distance in less than an hour!

We ventured out after lunch, thinking everyone would be busy sleeping/eating. We took our car to the first tourist spot as planned and we could see minivans and tempos and cars and buses lining up for parking space a mile away from the tourist spot.

Over the trip, we spent more time waiting in jams and for parking space than we had at the places we intended to visit. We even skipped going inside after seeing the crowd at a few places.

Granted, we had seen them before, but the views are truly breathtaking!

It was a side of Kodai that I hadn’t seen before. All the roads were filled with people from many countries and states. Various kinds of vehicles queued up everywhere. All the eateries filled up with hungry tourists and all the hotels (from lodges to 5-star) were filled to capacity. Many tourists were seen searching for rooms in town and then moved to the outskirts where even the smaller and less comfortable ones were filled.

We saw shops doing their business like nothing else. For us, we travelled around the town dismissing all the throngs of eager sightseers, opted to take long rides through the forest roads to enjoy the less crowded places, but even in the middle of the reserve forest, we could find crowds taking selfies.

And by crowds, I mean it in every sense. Throngs, masses of people, a sea of humanity.

This is how the Pine Forest usually is. 2.jpg

And this time, when we visited, this was how it was. Now you can understand!

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