There are a number of short-trips one can plan while staying in Kodaikanal. Below are the most popular options:
Berijam Lake: This is a protected area around 25KM from Kodaikanal. For access to Berijam Lake, one has to get a permit the previous day from the Forest Department Office (on the left as you approach Kodaikanal on Laws Ghat Road around 3KM before 7-roads junction). To get there, continue on Golf Club Road and onto Berijam Lake Road. Good spots to stop on the way include Silent Valley and Caps Fly Valley - the views are just wonderful from these locations. On the way, there is also a slight detour to ‘Berijam Lake View’ - the location provides a sweeping view of the lake from up above. Once there, there is a short 0.5KM walk to the lake per se, which has a perimeter of over 20KM during the wet season.
Note: as it is a protected forest, there is a return cut-off of 4PM and so one has to plan accordingly. Latest entry is 12 noon. The permit itself is issued at the office (see above) between 8:30AM and 10AM all days except Sundays.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple: Madurai is about 115KM from Kodaikanal and the first 50KM is Ghat Road which can slow you down. Even so, as most visitors go to Madurai for the Meenakshi Temple, rather than spending overnight in Madurai, an alternative is to do a day-trip from Kodaikanal. Under normal traffic conditions, the trip takes about three hours one-way. As the temple is in the middle of the city, the area around it is always crowded and using one of the valet parking lots around is the best option (the Kirtilal lot next to it is Rs 50). Entrance to the temple is free although there are a variety of special passes and such to gain access to certain areas. Also, no sandals or CAMERA - there is a security service for cameras for Rs 10 and for the general locker (for sandals), the fee is at your discretion. There is a museum called the thousand-pillar museum inside (entrance is Rs 5). Also, on the other side of the road at the exit is the 100-pillar Mandapam area, which is a good shopping spot - quality is lax, but saris, churidhars, shorts, etc can be bought very cheaply there.
Bear Shola Falls, Rat Tail Falls (aka Thalaiyar Falls) & Silver Cascade Falls: Bear Shola Falls is close to Kodaikanal town area, although the other two falls may be more accessible as they are on the way when coming to Kodaikanal through Ghat Road. To get to Bear Shola Falls, go on Law’s Ghat Road onto Observatory Road, and right onto Bear Shola Road (around 3KM total) - once you get there, there is a short hike to the falls. The area around the falls is very beautiful but the falls dry out during the summer - so, if you want to see the actual falls, go during the wet season. When taking the Ghat Road turnout from Dindigul-Theni Highway, Rat Tail Falls come first at around the 20KM mark and Silver Cascade Falls (formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake) is closer to Kodaikanal town.
Green Valley View (previously “Suicide Point”), Pillar Rocks & Guna Caves (previously “Devil’s Kitchen”): These three attractions are on the same road within 8KM of Kodaikanal town center. To get there from the Lake, take Upper Shola/Lake Road and continue South on Pillar Rocks Road. Green Valley View or Suicide Point borders Kodaikanal Golf Club and is at around the 5KM marker from the town. The place is frequently foggy but the good news is that it can quickly clear as well. The valley below provides a fantastic view and on a clear day, one can spot the Vaigai Dam. About 2KM West on the same road past the Golf Club is Pillar Rocks. There is a small entry fee of Rs 2 per person, parking is a mess and there are a lot of street vendors. There is a small park along with the valley view. Here again, the mist can be a problem, but even if the view of the pillars is fogged out, waiting for ten minutes or so usually yields a clear if transient view. Guna Caves (click for photos) or Devil’s Kitchen (click for video) is physically on Pillar Rocks (the caves are the chambers between the pillar rocks with dangerous openings into ravines)- to get to the access point, drive a little bit further. The site is now cordoned-off as several lives were lost every year due to the dangerous nature of the terrain there - there is no escape, if you slip and fall.
Chettiar Park & Kurunji Andavar Temple: Chettiar Park is a smallish park maintained by the horticultural department on the way to Kurunji Andavar Temple. It is a terraced garden park and the entrance is Rs 30. The temple is a Murugan Temple constructed by a European lady in 1936. It is on a hill and provides sweeping views of the Palani Hills on one side and the town-areas on the other. As the name implies, the temple is also known for the Kurunji flowers which blossom once in 12 years (next blossom should be 2018).
For hikers there are a number of options near Kodaikanal. They include Perumal Peak (a two-hour hike in the Ghat region to a wonderful panoramic spot - around 12KM from the city at Perumal Malai), Dolmen Circle (three rocks from the Stone Age era - near Pannaikadu, around 30KM from Kodaikanal off Ghat Road), Kakkal Caves (around 28KM from Kodaikanal via Observatory Road, Poombarai Road, and Kookal Dam Road), and to cap it all “the 80-mile round” (three-day trekking trail). One needs to be in good physical shape, get permission from the Forest Department, and ideally use the services of an expert local trekking guide to enjoy any of these.
The Solar Observatory (Fridays only off-season) on Observatory Road about 6KM from town center and Shembaganur Museum of Natural History (aka Sacred Heart College Museum - Tuesdays off - 10AM to 11:30AM and 3PM to 5PM) also around 6KM from town center (it is on the way when coming to Kodai from Ghat Road) are good options for people interested in those areas.
Last Updated: 01/2014.
Last Updated: 01/2014.