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! 🙂

 

 

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