A Traveller's Diary

Subtitle

ENCHANTING KODAIKANAL

Kodaikanal, a hill station in South of Tamil Nadu, a popular tourist destination with acres of dense forest surrounding it.

We were told '' the pleasurable scenic beauty of kodai would definitely enslave us''  

 

To escape the burning temperatures of May and celebrate my 30th birthday  , we planned a trip to this place which is called as a Gift of  Forest. 

A weekend getaway from Chennai, at the border of Tamil nadu and Kerela, with Madurai city  at its  foothills , this is a Princess of Hill Stations.

We took a convenient train, Pandian Express, from Chennai after our day work at night 9pm and were dropped at Kodaikanal road station early next morning. 

The only disadvantage or better put as to protect the  greens from the harms of cruel pollution, the nearest station/ airport is 3-4 hours from the town unless you decide to take a bus.

So 3 hours uphill after getting down at the station via a pre booked cab (either by your own/ hotel) took around 800 bucks .

 

The drive uphill is breathtaking, with huge trees all around, deep valley on one side and rocky hills on the other.

A WATERFALL EN ROUTE KODAIKANAL

 

8.30am and we checked into the hotel in the heart of the city. 

[ There is a huge list of hotels in this place since its a tourist destination from 5* to 3* and youth hostels, whatever suits your budget. If you a first timer as we were always check into a place which is in the heart of the city and all the major sites approachable. You may choose from Villa Retreat or Zest, or if otherwise 58 properties with a view and luxury are Sterlings and the  Carlton being the best]

 We booked Hotel Villa Retreat. A 3 * property, not very huge but had an overwhelming view. Overlooking the valley,  hospitable staff, gratifying food, comfy rooms is what every body looks for.                          

           VIEW FROM OUR ROOM 

After the b'fast of  idli's, poori, sandwiches we stretched ourselves and got onto the bed to catch up with our incomplete sleep and ease the tiredness of travel.

1pm, and it looked as if it was already evening. Cool breeze, birds chirping and clouds covering the sky, it was a perfect view for this romantic couple  

We planned to skip lunch at the hotel, and instead grab some bite at the local sellers.

Walked down the streets, ate whatever we came across, mirchi bhajji to start with :) KODAI LAKE

A 5 min walk got us to the famous Kodai Lake. ahh!!!      

Lake in the middle and eucalyptus trees surrounding all around, we rented a bicycle at no more than 20pp/hr and skipped the boating and cycled the way enjoying its charming beauty.                                  

 One side of the lake had all these tiny shops selling herbal oils, spices, ginger tea and woolleens while on the other end there was a huge Bryant park blosomming with daisy, panzy, rose, marigold, dog flower, dalyia in between the lush green lawns.  FLOWERS BLOSSOM AT BRYANT'S PARK

 

There are also many shops selling fresh fruits banana, peaches, plums, mangoes which were quite big and are a must try.

I was told that this place has huge cocoa plantation so it was seen as numerous shops selling home made chocolates, Rum choco, walnut, nut, almond, milk and many more and yes they sell it in grams! *Donot return without your pack of assorted chocos*

Sat by the lake, sipping warm tea, eating curd rice and admiring the natural beauty.

After an hour, we wlaked our way to the town area, holding hand in hand and singing along. We came to a point called Peter's road. Its a 7 road junction.

At the junction is the famous residential school; Kodai International school spread over a huge area. 

 ANNA SALAI: TOWN MARKET

Anna salai on side, which goes further down to the  bus top. Theres a famous shop, Pastry Corner, where you must have its fruit cake and another shop adjacent to it selling hot chocolate. Its something to die for ( finger lickin' good, believe me, nothing can beat it)

The begining of another street has a Kodai club, though only for its members.

The 3rd road goes down and has cute little eat outs, like Pottery where you can shop for some blue pottery and sit in its balcony trying banana cake, pumpkin soup etc.

Go a little further and you have Royal Tibet. A place recommended to us by the locals for Tibetian food. Tried its Momo soup, hakka noodles, steamed momos but were not very satisfied with the taste :(

Road which goes to the Hilltop hotel, bakery is very crowded for the fact that it stalls the biggest and the best bakery, Hilltop bakery. From a variety of crossiants, cakes, bakes, biscuits you get everything here. we ordered for my birthday cake and were told that it could be collected in half an hour. In the stipulated time, we were handed over a freshly baked pineapple cake {jus' Imagine!} 

 

 6pm and we took the 7th road that lead to the lake,  and returned back to the hotel. 

8.30pm all the market shuts and dinner at all the hotels is served latest by 8.45pm. Early dinner (:P coz at home we take at 10.30; bad habits) and a post dinner walk in a cool weather snugging our hands in the jacket was lovely.

Next morning, was 'my day' (birthday). We got up early , 5 am. It started with Rahul showering flowers on me and our room full of balloons. We planned to see sunrise today.

 MORNING VIEW FROM THE HOTEL LAWN

 

Adjacent to the Villa, a 2 min walk,  is a famous view point called The Coaker's walk . Going there we realised that the entry gate to the view point opened only at 7 :(

 

Disappointed, we walked further up the road and came near the Youth hostel, to realise that it gave the same bountiful view  with no tickets too :):)

 

It was mesmerising. The rising sun infused so much positive energy and brightness.

Actually, Coaker's walk, is a path with a breathtaking view with our hotel on one side and youth hostel on the other end.

We could see the pillar rock, which is an entrance to the caves from the point and there is also a telescope view available which opens only at 9 am.

  We came back and slept a little more (we are big time sleepy bugs :P)

B'fast in the lawn, followed by cake cutting session in the room with all the party poppers and snow spray on me  

                                             

                                                                    DOLPHIN'S NOSE

 PILLAR ROCK SITE

 

At noon, our cab was booked for Nature trail, a 40 km drive from the town. There are other view points too, Dolphin nose, Pillar Rock caves { though we are not allowed to enter them, its just a view point}, Observatory.

 The drive was delightful. Passing through magnificient forests, pine and eucalyptus tress all around, it appeared magical.

 PINE FOREST

Virgin spots of attraction, The Palani hills , the elephant view, crossing small villages scattered here and there , plum and the peach trees farms, pine forests (where we are told lot of movies are shot), small waterfalls every few kms, terraced gardens all over, we got ourselves packed with south Indian meals on the way only to have it by the Mannavanur Lake.

 

 

                                                          NATURE TRAIL: TERRACED GARDENS

                                                           VILLAGE VIEW FROM THE ROAD  

This place we were told is owned by central Govt, unlike the rest by the Forest dept. Its a huge green  flat land with a lake in the centre . This is the view upto a distance atleast till our eyes can see. A 5 min walk from the road which further goes to Munnar (another hill city in Kerela) , pony available too to pick and drop you till the lake. An ultimate splendor spot for those who love to be close to mother nature.

We could hear nothing but gentle stream of water running somewhere in the distance, one or two cattlle  grazing the greens nearby, and hours and hours could be spent here. It was so unlike our cities, with not even a single sound and only fresh pure air to breathe with such an eye tonic for those worldly troubled eyes and disturbed mind.

 

 It was time and we had to move back, though didnt want to, so tried to capture every moment in our lens!

It was like being lost somewhere near Kodaikanal. 

 We drove back in silence, because there was nothing beyond what we had seen, just gazing on the emerald green slopes.

On returning to the hotel, I got gifted a very memorable hand painted greeting card alongwith a big bag of home made , Kodai special chocos from the management. Everything was so grand and making it a perfect birthday!

We refreshed ourselves, and walked to the lake to buy a few souveniers. We picked up bottles of eucalyptus oil, aloe vera, sandalwood powder and Rahul got us a discount of 40% on it . I kept asking him how did he, and he just smiled and we walked.

Respendent dinner of malai kofta, paranthas, chapatti and panner bhurji was an  ideal dinner  which we had over a candle light.

It was a superb day indeed and we could not stop talking, recollecting till our eyes closed in the bed. (sweet dreams)

Next morning, bags packed, and ready to head for Madurai airport which was a long journey from the hill station. 

The unblemised paths of deep valleys and steep mountains got captured in our memories forever!