Kodaikanal’s cool climate is a blessing for all kinds of travelers, be it backpackers, families, or honeymooners. This mist-laden hill station has a lot on offer ranging from spectacular viewpoints to pristine waters.
To help you have a great vacation, here is a list of the best places to see in Kodaikanal.
Top 15 Places To Visit In Kodaikanal
- Kodai Lake
- Green Valley View Point
- Pillar Rocks
- Bear Shola Falls
- Coaker’s Walk
- Berijam Lake
- The Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint
- Mannavanur Lake
- La Saleth Church
- Kodai Chocolate Factory
- Thalaiyar Falls
- Bryant Park
- Silent Valley View
- Silver Cascade Falls
- Kurinji Temple
1. Kodai Lake
Occupying the heart of the city, Kodai Lake is the star attraction of the town. Tourists can soak in the serene beauty here, catching sights of the surrounding Palani Hills. This 154-year-old lake is skirted by a five-kilometre path ideal for activities like horse riding, cycling, balloon shooting and skating. Rowing boats, paddle boats and motorboats are also available at the Kodaikanal Boat Club.
A simple bicycle ride along the well-paved path takes riders past several bungalows covered in vibrant blooms. To give yourself a break, head to one of the small kiosks by the lake and eat like a local, sipping on a cup of garam chai.
Go for: Boating and cycling.
2. Green Valley View Point
This viewpoint falls on the way to the Pillar Rocks, near the Kodaikanal Golf Club, and offers mesmerising views of the 1,524 metres deep valley. On clear days, it is also possible to spot the Vaigai reservoir from here.
This place remains misty, so sunny days are good for enjoying an uninterrupted view. Along the way leading up to this location, there are small shops and food stalls great for a cup of hot coffee. It is advisable to get to this place between 10 a.m to 3 p.m as mist starts forming a cloud over the valley as the day advances.
Go for: Sightseeing
3. Pillar Rocks
Pillar Rocks are three vertical granite boulders encompassed by green forested hills. This spot is known for a beautiful bird’s eye view of the city. Tourists have to cover a distance of 8 kilometres from the Lake Tower to come here for picnic and exploration. There are many tea shops and dhabas on the way that serve lip-smacking local delicacies.
A major highlight of this place is the ‘Devil’s Kitchen’ or ‘Guna Caves’, existing between the majestic pillars. Visitors are restricted to enter certain sections of the cave because of its deceptively dark trenches. This site is great for those who seek to explore the hidden wonders of Kodaikanal.
Go for: Picnic and exploration.
4. Bear Shola Falls
A must-see tourist attraction, this small cascade flows amidst green plantations of the Tamil Nadu state, closely surrounded by rugged terrain, trees and bushes. This spot is ideal for picnics, and families often make a trip to this hideout for a quiet break. Popular with trekkers and tourists alike, this place sums up the beauty of Kodaikanal.
Monsoons (October to May) fill the waterfall to the brim and are considered best for a visit. Remember to carry along a camera to capture the breathtaking scenery.
Go for: Sightseeing and photography.
5. Coaker’s Walk
Another must-see spot on the list, Coaker’s Walk is perfect for a peaceful walk admiring the beauty of nature. It was constructed by Lt. Coaker, the cartographer of Kodaikanal, in 1872. It is 1 km in length and runs along the steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai road. On a cloudless day, you can also spy on other attractions like Dolphin’s Nose, Pambar River Valley, Periyakulam and the city of Madurai.
You can also walk up to the Telescope House from Greenlands Youth Hostel or Villa Retreat for close-ups of the Kodaikanal Valley and nearby township. Try to reach Coaker’s Walk by 2 p.m. so that you get ample time to enjoy the unobstructed views before dusk.
Go for: A peaceful walk and views.
6. Berijam Lake
Apt for boating and sightseeing, Berijam Lake is a freshwater reservoir in the upper Palani Hills spanning approximately 59 acres.
This region holds ecological significance due to rich varieties of flora and fauna found in its catchment area. Shola forests dominate the landscape of this region sheltering a variety of wildlife species like Bison, Indian Elephant, Nilgiri Langur and Deer. Resident and water birds can also be spotted flocking around the lake, making for a great close-up shot.
To protect this biodiversity from human intrusion, the Forestry Department Office has made it mandatory to seek entry permits.
Go for: Boating and sightseeing.
7. The Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint
The majority of visitors at this spot are trekkers seeking some adventure. The edge of the cliff ends in a protruding flat rock at an altitude of 6,600 ft resembling the nose of a dolphin. Thus, this natural rock formation was named ‘Dolphin’s Nose’.
After covering a distance of about 8 km from the central town, a kilometre-long trekking trail starting from the Vattakkanal hamlet leads to this point. This trek is a popular one among the locals for mesmerising views of the surrounding valleys. On sunny days, you could also get a complete view of the Periyakulam town and Vaigai Lake.
The best time to visit this viewpoint is from October to March.
Go for: Views and photography.
8. Mannavanur Lake
This lake is laced with dense vegetation and tall eucalyptus trees. The drive from the city towards the lake takes you past farmers washing their yields, grazing sheep, small tea shops and mist-laden hills. Moving further, as one turns towards the Poombarai village, the sight of grasslands blending into clear waters of the lake looks almost like a painting.
Apart from sailing through the lake on a Parisal – a local boat, you can also take a tour of the sheep and rabbit farm, or trek around the hilly terrain.
Go for: Boating and farms tour.
9. La Saleth Church
The La Saleth Church is just two kilometres from Kodaikanal. It is one of the two churches in the whole world commemorating the memory of ‘Lady of La Saleth’ which makes it an immensely popular place of worship. The other one is located in France.
A smooth flight of steps leads to the entrance of the church painted in a soothing colour theme of blue and white. Christian conventions and culture remain distinct at this place even after more than 150 years. The interiors of the church look beautiful with the Statue of ‘Our Lady of La Salette’ blessing pilgrims with serene composure. This shrine is a graceful example of Tamil-French architectural excellence.
Go for: Sightseeing and worship.
10. Kodai Chocolate Factory
The chocolate industry got a headstart in this hill town with the discovery of cacao plant. Steadily, this place evolved into a destination for some of the most significant chocolate producing factories in India. From coffee bean chocolates to fruit-flavoured ones, the variety is huge.
Pay a visit to Pot Luck, Cloud Street, Chocolate Factory or SG Cottage Industries to get your hands on some amazing sweet treats.
Go for: Tasting and buying chocolates.
11. Thalaiyar Falls
With a height of 297 metres, it is the highest waterfall in Tamil Nadu and sixth highest in India. It originates in the slopes of Palani Hill ranges in the Dindigul District, and the only way to get to its top is through a challenging hike, permitted only at the bottom in dry seasons. It is easier to admire its stunning view from the Dum Dum Rock viewpoint. From this spot, it looks like a white, long and narrow strip of water cutting the cliff face into two.
At the crown of the falls, a natural rock wall on either side restricts the flow of water into a rat tail shape, lending it the name ‘Rat Tail Falls’.
Go for: Sightseeing and hiking.
12. Bryant Park
The pathway of the Coaker’s walk leads to this botanical garden. Blooming on eastern side of the Kodai Lake, this park is known for over 325 species of trees and almost 85 varieties of flowering plants. It also houses an exotic rose garden section with the rarest species of roses on display. A eucalyptus tree that dates back to India’s First War of Independence in 1857 and an age-old Bodhi tree are also popular attractions.
Visit this park in the evening to witness the spectacular movements of sun at dusk.
Go for: Picnic and photography.
13. Silent Valley View
Popular as a sightseeing spot, this viewpoint is located on the Berijam Lake road, near Pillar Rocks. It is a refreshing treat for nature lovers with a calm atmosphere and bright green surroundings.
This place is best visited in early mornings and late afternoons when it is easy to have a clear view. Being well connected by road, tourists can either walk till the viewpoint or reach here by taxi. To make matters adventurous, cycles and bikes are also available on rent.
Go for: Views and photography.
14. Silver Cascade Falls
Serving as the perfect pit stop in-between the long journey from Kodaikanal to Madurai, these falls offer a stunning sight. Water from the overflowing Kodai Lake comes thrashing down from a height of 180 feet collecting into a pool of water.
On days when the temperature is right, you can dive in to ease the travel fatigue and have seasonal fruits for a quick bite.
Go for: Views and swimming.
15. Kurinji Temple
Dedicated to Hindu god – Lord Muruga, this temple is believed to have been built in the 1930s. The temple was christened after a purplish-blue flower called Kurinji that blossoms in these valleys once in every 12 years.
It is situated on top of the hill and displays the colloquial Dravidian architectural style. From here you can see tiny villages on Palani Hills and a stretch of carrot plantations on the terraced slopes.
It is reachable via a 10-minute drive from the center of Kodaikanal town. You can take an auto-rickshaw, a public bus or taxi.
Go for: Sightseeing and worship.
If you have more time in hand, you can also visit Chettiyar Park, Kodaikanal Golf Club, Lutheran Church, Pambar Falls, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, Bison Wells, Subrahmanya Temple, and Perumal Peak.
Regarded as ‘Princess of the Hills’, Kodaikanal has a distinct charm! Luring tourists with lakes, mountains, waterfalls, temples, myths, and legends, a trip to Kodaikanal promises an experience worth cherishing.
How to Reach
Since Kodaikanal is a principal hill station in Tamil Nadu, it is quite well connected to various parts of India. The hill station is a popular tourist attraction for honeymooners as well as for those who are traveling with their family.
Those who are planning to travel by air can book tickets to Madurai airport, which is about 120 km from Kodaikanal. There are a number of taxis and cab services available here to take you to your location. Alternately, you may also arrange for transportation from your hotel. There are a number of domestic flights to Kodaikanal from various parts of India.
Those who want to travel by train should get their tickets till Kodaikanal road station which is about 95 km away. The station also acts as a rail to bus transfer point and a number of cab services here are also available. One can get here from major cities like Trichy and Madurai.
Those who want to travel by road can take a bus from all the nearby cities like Bangalore, Trichy, Chennai, Ooty, Kumili, and Coimbatore among others. The best way to reach Kodaikanal is by NH 49. There are both state government buses as well as luxury buses to choose from.
Where to Stay
There are both luxury options as well as budget options to stay in the hotels in Kodaikanal. The entire region is very tourist-friendly and the hotel staff is very warm and accommodating. You can choose rooms of your choice conveniently through the Oyo app. The hill facing rooms are the most in-demand and so if you are planning to visit during the peak seasons, try to book your rooms well in advance. You can also choose your rooms depending on the distance from the railway station, the airport or from their distance from the sightseeing spots. You can also choose rooms depending on whether they serve vegetarian or non- vegetarian food. Your vacation is sure to become extra because of the accommodation facilities you get here.
What to Eat
Kodaikanal eateries try to cater to the taste buds of all the tourists visiting this region and so the restaurants here serve all kinds of cuisine. The coffee here is to die for, as the coffee beans are availed from some of the best coffee plantations in South India. Moreover, most of the food items here are very reasonably priced. You can try out places like Abby’s Kitchen, Hotel Astoria, Pastry Corner, Altaf’s Café and similar eateries to indulge your taste buds. There are Tibetan restaurants as well and there is nothing like a plate of hot momos to indulge your taste buds in the cold weather.
Where to Shop
Considering this is one of the most famous tourist spots in Tamil Nadu, there are a number of shops here that are great for picking up trinkets, jewelry, and souvenirs. One of them is the Danish Display, which is famous for selling scented candles, wooden handicrafts and aromatherapy oil. You will also get spices and aromatic oils for massages from the shops here. Do not miss out on the Kodai Chocolate factory, which is one of the best places to get handmade chocolates. Similarly, Kodai cheese is known for its luscious local flavor and it is hard to find this quality anywhere across India. Spice’s Corner will help you replenish your stock of whole and ground spices and add an aroma to your food which you have seldom experienced before. Almost all the supermarkets here sell local blends of tea and coffee and they will make for great gift packages back home. Shalimar’s Weaves is another famous spot for picking up handmade scarves, stoles, shawls, dress materials and pure pashmina, which is hard to come by in this part of the country.
Your trip to Kodaikanal is sure to leave you asking for more and before long, you are sure to plan your next trip to this amazing hill station in the south of India. The wonderful places to visit in Kodaikanal will surely make you fall in love with this place.
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