The town was established as a summer retreat to protect from the heat and humidity of the lower plains of southern India in 1845 and is often referred to as ‘the gift of the forest’. Kodaikanal is located on a plateau on the southern side of the Palani hills forming the eastern side of the Western Ghats mountain range in southern India. The hill town sits at an elevation of 2,133 meters above sea level and is surrounded with thick shola forests, flowery meadows and grasslands. The center of the town is characterized by a large manmade lake known as the ‘Kodai Lake’. The major source of the town’s income, like the other hill towns around India, is tourism.
The earliest reference of the town can be found in the Tamil literature from the Sangam Period and was said to have been inhabited by the tribal Paliyan people. The town was established by the American and the British missionaries and was largely used as a summer retreat by the British officials and a few elite Indians. The town is also famous for housing the rare Kurunji flower which blossoms once in every 12 years and covers the town in a blue-ish mist.
Located in the Western Ghats at a high altitude location, Kodaikanal enjoys a temperate subtropical highland climate. Nevertheless, the temperatures stay cool throughout the year due to the town’s location. The summer months between April and July are relatively cool compared to the low lying plains of Tamil nadu and the daytime temperature never exceeds 22 degrees. Monsoon months between July and September see the maximum rainfall followed by the mildly chilly winter months with temperatures never going below 8 degrees Celsius.
Best Time to Visit
Kodaikanal is one of the best perennially visited hill stations in India. Although the town is located in the subtropical belt of the southern India, it enjoys a cool and temperate climate throughout the year. The best time to visit is said to be the summer months between March and June, nevertheless the town can be visited from October after the monsoons retreat right up till the beginning of the monsoon season in July.
Attractions/Things to Do
Known by several monikers such as the ‘Princess of the Hills’, ‘Switzerland of the East’ and ‘Set of Southern Emeralds’ etc., Kodaikanal is one of the finest hill stations in India. Being established by the missionaries in the 19th century, the town is famous for its colonial architecture, Churches, lakes, waterfalls, surrounding flora and fauna. Being mentioned in the Tamil Sangam Literature Kodaikanal is also a famous pilgrim spot for the Hindus and has several temples as well. The Brocken Spectre is a famous optical illusion that can be witnessed on foggy days at the famous croaker’s walk.
Kodai Lake, Bryant Park, Bear Shola Falls, Green Valley Views, Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, Croaker’s park, Guna Caves, Silver Cascade, Dolphin’s Nose, Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple and Berijam Lake etc. are few of the several locations and attractions in the town of Kodaikanal. To learn more about popular tourist destinations in Kodaikanal, please visit: Top 8 Places To Visit In Kodaikanal, The Princess Of Hill Stations.
How to Reach
Kodaikanal is well connected to the other towns in Tamil Nadu. The nearest airports to the hill town are located in the nearby cities of Madurai, Coimbatore and Trichy, which are all accessible via roads. The nearest railway station is 100 kilometers away from the town at Kodai Road but it is advised for the visitors to get down at Dindigul, as transportation services are much easier to find here. The town is accessible via roads and several buses from Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Trichy are available.
Distance from Major Cities
1. Kodai Road – 100 kilometers
2. Munnar – 161 kilometers
3. Madurai – 115 kilometers
4. Ooty – 253 kilometers
5. Chennai – 520 kilometers
6. Cochin – 300 kilometers
7. Bangalore – 450 kilometers
8. Coimbatore – 171 kilometers
9. Mumbai – 1,436 kilometers
10. Hyderabad – 1020 kilometers
11. Panji – 1,045 kilometers
12. Delhi – 2,600 kilometers
13. Jaipur – 2,565 kilometers
14. Ahmedabad – 1,945 kilometers
15. Chandigarh – 2,821 kilometers
Accessibility and Accommodation
Being a tourist town the town is no short of any transport or accommodation facilities. There are several hotels and lodges that fit every kind of tourist budget. Bicycles, motorbikes, cars, taxis, buses can all be availed for getting around the town. The tourists can also avail the local sightseeing tours which usually start from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. Exploring the town on foot can also be done, provided the long distances are covered with a taxi or a hired vehicle or bicycle.