Kodaikanal nesting on top of Palani hills in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu is one of the most beautiful, serene and picturesque hill stations in south India situated at an altitude of 6,854 feet above sea level. Also known as Kodai, it is famous for its lovely starfish-shaped lake, undulating wooded hill slopes and enchanting waterfalls and the place is a hot favorite with holidayers and honeymooners. Kodaikanal becomes a small paradise when the bluish purple Neel Kurinji (Strobilanthus Kunthanus) flowers on the slopes, giving the hills a unique blue-purple sheen. A visit to this town on your tour to India will grant you some of the prized moments of peace and calm distant from the daily toil. However, the Kodaikanal tour packages that are on offer will be interesting and thrilling at the same time.
Extensively visited by tourists and yet very serene, the beauty of virgin nature could be best witnessed in the breathtakingly beautiful hill station of Kodaikanal. Situated 2133 m above the sea level in Tamil Nadu, the magnificent hill station was developed by American missionaries in 1845. On arrival, the tourist is greeted by orchards of pear trees with extended branches
Kodaikanal in the Tamil language means "The Gift of the Forest". Kodaikanal is referred as the "Princess of Hill stations" and has a long history as a retreat and popular tourist destination. Kodai is lot cooler in temperature than lower elevation cities such as Chennai. Much of the local economy is based on the hospitality industry serving tourism.
The word is formed from the two separate Tamil words Kodai and ka?al. ka?al means a wood on a hill-slope, a dense forest or a closed forest. Pronouncing with a short Tamil o as Kodai means the gift. Thus, Kodai Kanal means the gift of the forest. Kodaikanal was created by the forest and its surroundings. By pronunciating with long Tamil 'O' as ko...dai means the summer and kanal means to see, which means a place to see in Summer. Kodaikanal is situated at the end part of the thick forest. Nowadays it is developed but the beauty is still kept. The history of Kodaikanal begins with its earliest residents, The Palaiyar tribal people. The earliest specific references to Kodaikanal and the Palani Hills are found in Tamil Sangam literature of the early Christian era. Present Kodaikanal was recognized by American Christian missionaries and British bureaucrats in 1845, as a safe haven from the high temperatures and stifling diseases of the plains. In the 20th century a few elite Indians came to realise the importance of this enchanting hill station and started migrating here.
Kodaikanal located amidst the folds of the lush Palani hills is one of the most admired serene hill stations in India, which mesmerizes any tourist. With her woody slopes, impressive rocks, ornamental waterfalls and a gorgeous lake, Kodaikanal is a charming hill station for touring located 120 Km/75 mile away from Madurai, at an altitude of about 2133m on the southern tip of upper Palani hills in Tamil Nadu in the Western Ghats.
Meadows and grasslands cover the hillsides. Gargantuan Eucalyptus trees and shola forest thrive in the valleys. Mighty rocks and cascading streams rise up from the valleys. There are many high waterfalls and ubiquitous gardens and flower beds in bloom.
North of the town, elevated hills that slope down into the villages of Pallangi and Vilpatti stand guard. On the east the hill slopes less abruptly into the lower Palnis. A steep escarpment facing the Cumbum Valley is on the south. On the west is a plateau leading to Manjampatti Valley, Indira Gandhi National Park, the Anamalai Hills and the major stiff of the Western Ghats.
The economy of Kodaikanal is principally run by tourism. The town's infrastructure changes every year in grounding for the peak tourist season. Major roads are converted into one-way lanes to control the constant inflow of traffic and special police are brought in for the safety of the tourists and protection of local businesses. Hotels are often completely booked all through the high season, and remain virtually vacant through the off-season. Due to the express development of nearby cities such as Madurai and Coimbatore, Kodai is starting to enjoy year-round tourism.
There are at least 50 hotels catering to all categories of tourists and more than 30 south & north Indian, continental, western and Chinese restaurants, and numerous small eateries and tea stalls. There is an exceptional bazaar where inhabitants, local villagers and tourists come to buy woollen clothes, flowers, fresh grocery, meat, handicraft, hot refreshments, cheap toys, medicinal herbs and oils, hardware, dry merchandise and cooking fuels. The multi-ethnic nature of Kodai is evident on Anna Salai, the main business street, where it is familiar to see local villagers, European and American students and backpackers, foreign retirees and families from other parts of India, all mixed together in their common activity of shopping. Plums, pears, chile peppers, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic and onions are cultivated by porch farmers in surrounding villages. Most of these are trucked to other parts of India and some are sold in the local market. Popular tourist souvenirs include handcrafts, home-made chocolates, postcards and Eucalyptus oil.
Area 21.45 sq.kms
Population 100674 ( 2001Censes)
Altitude 2,133 - Metres above sea level
RainFall 165cms (average)
Temperature Summer - Max :29.0?C Min : 16 .0?C | Winter - Max : 21.30?C Min : 9.0?C
Best Season April to June, and September to October, but can be visited throughout the year.
Cloth Light woollens in the evening during summer and heavy woollens during winter.
Languages: Tamil and English
State Tamil Nadu
ISD Code + 91
STD Code + 04542