It was 2 years back I still remember Dec. 2016… I was studying and our National conference was to be held at kanyakumari, the southern most tip of the India. And we all are very big fan of south movies with this conference we got chance to visit southern places. As our conference was to be in kanyakumari. We were sure to explore its famous places. Kanyakumari is at the lowest tip of india. I was very much exited to visit kanyakumari since i have heard the famous bollywood song of Chennai express "Kashmir tu, main kanyakumari". Kanyakumari is very famous for its beaches, waterfalls and historical heritage. so here are the tourist places of kanyakumari you must visit in your vacation trip with family or honeymoon trip.
We sorted some of the famous places nearby the place we were staying at kanyakumari and few others that were far away and . As we are going to the southern tip of india i wanted to visit famous places which are near to the kanyakumari but needed a whole day for the tour such as trivandrum and kodaikanal. I mentioned my wish to visit the famous Shri Padmanabham Swamy temple of Trivandrum; as I was much eager to see the place because of the firing news of that time, of extracting millions of rupees and tones of gold from the temple by its hidden rooms. Isn’t that giving goosebumps to you too?? So we planned visiting Trivandrum from Kanyakumari as it is only two hours away from kanyakumari for visiting this famous temple. Now it was the time to search for some more places to visit at trivandrum. We sorted out kovalam beach, poovar backwaters as the othe major places to visit at the way to the temple.
The trip to Trivandrum would demand just 1 day, 3 days for the conference and visiting nearby places in the evening and 2 days for catching up places near Kanyakumari; thus making 6 days in total. But that’s too less if you are travelling to southern India as there are lot more places to explore. Even during planning a sojourn to southern part of the country, one is always tempted to include places like Ooty, Coimbatore and Kodaikanal in the itinerary. Although they are not very far from each other, covering all these places in a single trip along with conference sounded impractical and we settled with Kodaikanal. So the plan seemed to be in place now. We will travel to kanyakumari by train, attend our conference and check out nearby places during our 3 days of stay there. Then we will proceed to Trivandrum and go back to Kanyakumari to travel to Kodaikanal. All planning done, now its time to execute the plan…
Finally the day we have been waiting all this while came and we began our journey on 3rd December 2016 by boarding train from Raipur junction in the state of Chattisgarh. We had our bags packed and stuffed with home-made delicacies (You know how Indian moms are right?) to savor during our 43 hour journey. I know that sounds quite long but we were too excited to complain about it, plus you can appreciate the much needed break that comes with travelling in Indian Railways if you happen to be a lazy bum like me.
We arrived at Tirunelveli quite early in the morning (5:00 A.M.) and had to take a bus to Kanyakumari from there. We had booked a T.N. Tourism bus online well in advance so as to avoid any inconvenience. The bus dropped us right in front of the hotel we had booked which also happen to be located quite near to the venue of conference. It was the inaugural day of the conference and we got ready straight away after checking into the hotel and preceded for registration. After attending the scientific sessions, we went for stroll to get a glimpse of what the city had in store for us.
We took an auto to reach the sunset point situated a few kms away. As we reached there, we joined quite a gathering to witness the mesmerizing scene. Yes, the sun sets daily and there is nothing new in that but the sound of water hitting the rocks, the cold breeze of the dusk carrying tiny sand particles along with the clamor of the public eagerly waiting for the sun to set transcended the experience and made it a picture perfect moment. We found a clean place to dip our legs and enjoy the joining of the orange ball of fire with the raising blue water waves.
The crystal clear beaches with some rocks covered with algae and beautiful small shells of the water molasses. There were some sellers, selling different types of shells in the locality at throw-away prices. Finally the time had come as the sun went down and down; making its way through the cloud and eventually drowning in the horizon. Such a peaceful and breathtaking moment!! We took some pictures and headed back to our next destination.
Mayapuri wonder wax museum justify its name. Its actually a mayapuri where you can get an experience of 3D painting hall, wax gallery, 9D theater, VR adventure and lot more. It is just two minutes away from Kanyakumari railway station and also just 150 meters from our hotel. We thought of checking it out before calling it a night. As we reached the entrance of this museum, it appeared as a funky and attractive place welcoming the guests to reveal the mystery lying inside.We purchased tickets and went inside.
Timings: Monday to Sunday: 8.00AM to 8.00PM, Public Holidays: 8.00AM to 8.00PM
Ticket Rates: Wax Museum - 100Rs, 9D Cinema - 120Rs and VR 120Rs
Believe me when I say it’s a statue and not real!
Believe me when I say that the scene inside was different as the first thing that we saw was Jack Sparrow!! No that can’t be true. I sprinted to touch him and to my disappointment it was his life like was statue. So silly of me to expect it to be real in the first place!
The museum continued to surprise me and presented with real looking figurines of various celebrities and great leaders. What are and what collection! Lots of appreciation and admiration to the hard work of the people who devoted their time and effort to create such art works! As if that was not enough, the museum ended up in a 3-D painting hall. The spiderman hanging quite effortlessly on the wall, a monster was ready to eat us, a lion prowling towards us, an angelic bird bowing to greet us. We rushed towards the tunnel, jumped over the plank of wood to cross the big crater over the floor and finally reached the exit of the museum. I was over 26 but I genuinely felt a kid at heart back there.
You know there are those days when you think you are lucky and it keeps getting better? It was one of those days as it was not over yet and we happened to witness a 9D show. Yes you heard it right. Even the guard sensed our curiosity and tried to test our patience by making us wait. At last the wait was over and we went inside. We were given 3 D glasses and sat inside a boat shaped box.
The lights were turned off, the boat lifted above the ground level by a few inches and the show started. I hooted and shouted so much throughout the show and came out with a sore throat, not that I am complaining. It was a long and exciting day and we marched towards our hotel to call it a night and plan for the next day.
After attending the technical sessions of the conference, we made our way through the streets diverted from the main road and headed to see the beautiful Catholic Church. The streets were decorated with the multicolor flags hanging and swirling all over our heads. Vibrant shops selling toys, cosmetics and artificial ornaments were set up on either side of the road.
Finally the road ended up in a square to reveal this mighty church painted in white and appeared no different than any castle of European King. We went inside and offered our prayers and gratitude to the almighty. The church was charmingly decorated with fresh flowers and it seemed only fair to click some pictures for our archives.
They say there is a mythological story for the name of almost all the ancient cities in India. This city derived its name as the people in the area worship the goddess in the form of an adolescent girl child. So Kanya meaning a girl and kumari meaning adolescent. There are very few temples in India which have the statue of deity of this age.
We went inside and waited as there was a sea of people queued up to get a glimpse of the goddess and offer their respects. As its common with almost every temple in India, there were priests all over the place for performing yagnas, darshans and other rituals.
Darshan Timings: Morining: 4.00AM - 1.00PM, Evening: 4.00PM - 9.00PM
After what seemed eternity, we get inside the main temple and the beautiful, charming goddess wrapped up in shining red attire stood before us. We bowed to her highness, took vermillion in the form of prasad and left the temple premise in a giffy.
The local market of the city is just a few strides away from the tender and you can get whatever you want here if you are patient enough. We split up and went to different shops according to our interests and I went inside a handloom emporium having quite a range of the traditional kanyakumari silk saree among other crafts.
I was able to lay my hands on a medium sized wooden serving tray for 280 bucks which is a steal price with such a pretty article. Since I have to travel quite a lot on this trip, I chose to not purchase anything else to increase my luggage but I could not leave such an opportunity to window shop along the cloth and toy shops. Beautiful handmade jute bags were quite an attention seeker and I had to really console myself to not give in to the urge of buying them. May be next time!!
Any trip to Kanyakumari is incomplete without witnessing the famous rock and we found ourselves standing in a queue early next morning. We took the tickets and walked through a narrow passage to the harbor to catch the steamer. We had to wait for a few minutes for the steamer to come and take us from the mainland to the rock.
We were given life jackets and the steamer made its way through the waves and we reached the famous rock. I must mention that footwears are not allowed inside and had to be kept aside before you can climb up the rocky slope to reach the top of the rock which houses the “mandapams”.
After taking a few pictures and roaming around, we entered the meditation hall and found bourselves in the midst of a hall with pin drop silence. Of course photography was not allowed inside and it had a huge statue of Swami Vivekananda. There was a book shop which had a nice collection of the books of Swami Vivekananada’s preaching.
We proceeded to the next mandapam where the footprint of goddess Kumari was embedded on the rock. After strolling a bit we came across an astrological map engraved over the rock. It only seemed logical to click some pictures and head over to the next spot on the itinerary.
The Thiruvalluvar statue is in the standing position which is clearly visible from the vivekananda rock memorial which situated just a few meters from it.I enquired about the way to visit the figurine only to be informed that the statue was closed for the visitors and can only be viewed from a distance. The statue stands 40 meters tall and is a tribute to the renowned regional philosopher.
The Mahatma Gandhi memorial is situated near the sea-shore and is mainly a hall housing the rock where ashes of the father of the nation for the last time before immersion.The memorial holds quite a sentimental value to the followers of the great leader and is treated no different than a temple, so it came as no surprise that foot wears were not allowed inside.
Timings: 7.00AM - 7.00PM Everyday
As we entered the hall, walls were decorated with teachings of the mahatma. As we revisited the life and times of the great man through the boards and placards we can’t help but admire his greatness and contribution in making this country independent. Finally we made our way to the exit of the memorial and climbed up on the narrow round stairs leading to the top of the memorial. Both the Vivekananda rock memorial as well as the Thiruvalluvar statue stood splendidly in the vicinity and clearly visible from the roof.
Now it was time to check out the far away tourist attractions of the city and we booked a cab from our hotel reception to witness many more admiring places of this part of the country.
A view of the vivekanand rock memorial and the Thiruvalluvar statue from the roof top of Mahatama Gandhi memorial
Located at Nagercoil, this mighty temple is at the center of many mythological stories. This temple is dedicated to lords Bhamha, Vishnu and Mahesh and has archeological as well as architectural importance. We were amazed to see a tall statue of Lord Hanuman (22 Feet) and Nandi (13 Feet in height and 21 feet in length) inside.
Unfortunately, I was not able to see the face of Lord Hanuman as some ritual was underway and the face of the God was covered in some form of veil. The hallway had huge black pillars carved out of stone on either side of the passage which were 1035 in numbers! The excellence of the stone workmanship is appreciable throughout the temple.
Darshan Timings: Morning: 4.30AM - 11.30AM, Evening: 5.00PM - 8.30PM
We saw the four musical pillars which are one of the major attractions of the temple. We passed all these mandapams and reached at the exit of the temple where small makeshift shops were set up to sell religious souvenirs. We felt blessed to have witnessed such an interesting example of art and culture.
I won’t be wrong when I say that this palace is love at first sight. It indeed is. We kept our footwears at the entrance and walked past the hot bed of sand through the courtyard. Photography was not permitted inside- not that you need one to keep an image of the palace in your mind. The beautiful palace was decorated with wooded furniture and dark pillars. As we went upstairs, we saw various areas dedicated to host several functions for the king. There was a conference room also having wooden furniture and shelves for keeping flowers (not flower pots!) for frangrance.
Timings: 9.00AM - 4.30PM Everyday
Adjacent to this was separate bed rooms for the king and the queen. Then was the dining area. The kitchen was a large hall with various storage pods for keeping a stock of the groceries. We passed through the weapons room which was closed unfortunately and entered the hall which had large portraits of different rulers of the dynasty on both the walls. There were different terraces and balconies which gave clear and perfect view of the garden. After seeing all the dwelling places we came across a stage like mandapam whose pillars were carved out of sandalwood tree and the floor to my amazement was made of jaggery mixed with different ingredients.
We passed different sections of the palace and reached the exit. I was stunned by the display of luxury and opulence of the king’s lifestyle along with the sense and responsibility of managing the kingdom smoothly. Adjacent to the palace was a museum which showcased the household items of the kings. We came out of the palace and there was a local flee market that sold different handicraft items. We strolled leisurely for a while and headed to our next destination.
The entrance of the fort premises is lined with local vendors selling roasted corn and some other snacks. We bought tickets and went inside to have a view of the fort.
Timings: 8.00AM - 5.00PM Everyday
This fort dates back to 18th century and is believed to be built as a part of coastal defense line up of the Travancore kingdom. The fort had a pond at the center and was surrounded by mighty walls on all sides. We saw a couple having a pre-wedding photo-shoot in the fort. We climbed up the stairs and the view of the beach was mesmerizing and serene. There was not much to do here so we clicked some photographs and moved on to our next destination.
After travelling for nearly 2 hrs, we arrived at this beautiful waterfall made by the Kodayar River. It is one of the safest waterfalls in Kerala to enjoy bathing but due to lack of time we decided to enjoy the waterfall just by dipping our feet followed by a boat ride. We bought the tickets for the boat ride and went on board to enjoy the evening. The irresistible fall of the river was making melodious sound and the scene was worth watching. While some enjoyed dipping their body in the water body, there were a few like us who preferred to dip their soul in the experience instead and watched it from a distance.
We crossed the waterfall and reached a temple. The temple premise was really clean and the mandapam (stage where God sits) was made of black rock. We went inside and seek blessings of Lord Shiva and moved on to reach a bridge. Climbing the bridge revealed fascinating scene of many mahouts cleaning and washing their elephants. We tried to catch the attention of these elephants by making silly noises for a while and finally one of them responded by showering water towards us by his trunk. Perhaps he was annoyed, it was a victory nonetheless and we were a happy bunch as we reached the bank where we had to board our boat again.
The boatman was a jolly person. He merely understood Hindi but still managed to communicate with us in a broken hindi which turned out to be quite funny making the ride pleasing. He showed us various spots, birds and tree before dropping us back to the boarding point. We thanked him for the joyful ride and headed towards the exit where the local vendors were selling home-made chips and other snacks of different flavors. They were filled with authentic spices and were really different and amazingly tasty. You have to try these Kerala chips. South india is famous for its different taste along with different style of presenting food. If you are visiting south india then you must try some south indian cuisine here.
We reached the Kalkulam taluk of Kanyakumari District to visit this hanging trough. Built over the Pahrali River, it is the longest and highest aqueduct of South Asia. It was a must visit on our itinerary as the mere thought of hanging between the hills is mesmerizing. We left our taxi at one end of the trough and asked him to meet us on the other side. The starting point of the bridge presented us with a clear view of the complete straight bridge hanging amidst a picturesque green background and ending up into another gigantic hill.
We walked through the bridge, leaning past vast expanse of green forest and hill with calm water flowing underneath. We stopped at few points to click some pictures. The view from top (115 Feet high) made us feel giddy and we decided to not look below. Enjoying our way as we walked in the air between the hills, we finally reached the other side of the aqueduct. The locals were selling pineapples, coconut and regional fruits. We gorged on some sliced pineapples and coconut water. The pineapples were sold at such a cheap price of Rs 5! This was really a jaw dropping bridge to visit.
We had already covered many places in Kanyakumari district and it was time to visit the next city. Trivandrum! Yes, no trip to southern India is complete without visiting Trivandrum. As I mentioned earlier, this part of our country has lots of hidden places and experiences to explore and we are on our way to Trivandrum to find that out soon.
On the way to Trivandrum
We booked a cab for the day and decided to visit the places between Kanyakumari and Shri Padmanabham Swamy Temple in Trivandrum. Loading our bags with the munchies for the way, we were all set for the day long trip. Throughout the day, we visited many places and I am jotting them down and I highly recommend including these places in your itinerary.
When we were exploring this places our guide has told us that famous bollywood atcress Padmini was from here, who has given remarkable movies like Mera naam Joker, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti and many more.. he has also told that trivandrum a capital of Kerala is also first choice for bollywood film makers to shoot their mesmerizing songs.
We started our journey to Trivandrum by visiting the holy temple of Shri Saibaba situated at Mukkolakkal Muttathara of Tamilnadu. The temple is quite famous amongst the locals but we were too early to reach there and couldn’t get the glimpse of Saibaba but managed to see the other idols at the temple. I was amazed to see the Lord Ganpati’s statue wearing “Panche”- the traditional dress of south India. We took the blessings of the lords to start the pious day and headed for our next destination.
I was fortunate enough to pay a visit to this mighty temple. I knew very little about the deity or temple and was really curious about the 7 majestic gates that were alluring the news recently. We arrived at Trivandrum and were instructed by our cab driver to leave our footwear and phones in the car itself as they were not allowed inside the temple. It is customary to wrap the waist with traditional white dhoti before entering the temple. There were shops at the entrance of the temple selling the dhotis, we purchased some for each of us and proceeded to the security check.
Inside the temple, we were welcomed by huge pillars providing a support to the heavily carved roof. The temple is constructed by black stones and we saw people sitting on either sides of the pathway chanting prayers. We crossed the people and reached the hall with a long queue of devotees waiting for their turn to catch a glimpse of the God. We had only 2 hrs in hand and it seemed impossible to make it to the main temple with this queue size. Luckily there was an option get special tickets to join a comparatively shorter queue.
Timings: Morning: 3.15 am to 4.15 am (Nirmalya Darshanam), 6.30 am to 7.00 am, 8.30 am to 9.15 am &
Evening: 5.00PM - 6.15PM, 6.45PM - 7.20PM
The main temple where the Lord rests had a small door which must be crossed before reaching the stage from where the God can be glimpsed and prayers can be offered. We entered the door and found ourselves amidst huge crowd waiting to see the almighty. On our left there was a smaller stage where there were tiny statue of gods. A lady was making these statues sleep and placed them into decorated cribs. To our right was the main Garbhagrih (sanctum sanctorum) of Lord Padmanabham Swamy.
We reached the main spot of the temple from where we can have the glimpse of the God only to found that the God rests inside the dark room with three consecutive doors. From the first door and you can see the big palm of the statue hanging out of the bed in which God is resting. Although the room is dark and the statue itself is blackish, one can still make out crown and face of the God. The main trunk of the statue is visible from the second door and as you reach the third door, you can see the feet of the God. I was overwhelmed with the darshan of the God and decided to wait in the corner to admire the statue for a few more minutes. As the crowd kept on increasing, we had no option but to leave with a heavy heart.
Priests were distributing “Prasads” outside the temple and I asked one of the priests about the mysterious seven gates and their location and was told that it is a sacred place known to selected people and cannot be disclosed. We came out of the temple and were yet to recover from this unique experience as none of us had seen a resting statue of any God before.
Having covered all the religious places, it was time to explore the flora and fauna of “God’s own country” and spend some time amidst nature. Poovar backwaters happens to be one of the most recommended place and a popular tourist attraction. We reached the small office which is meant for booking the boats and offered different packages. Not wanting to miss anything, we opted for the package covering all the sightseeing locations of the backwaters.
Cost of Package: 3500 Bucks
Timings: 8.00AM - 6.00PM
Our boat as well as the boatman was ready and we begin our ride along the wide water body surrounded by lavish green trees on either sides and crossed a beautiful bridge to reach the narrow zigzag way. At times, we had to bend our heads town so as to avoid the hanging braches of the tree. The boatman showed us various water insects and animals and we also spotted some rare varieties of birds among the mangrove forest. The boatman was a nice and jolly person and kept the entire ride entertaining; at times he kept telling us that there is an anaconda over there, on a few other occasions, he would tilt the boat as he made way through dense bushes.
On our journey, we covered several points like the Elephant Rock, Statue of the Christ, the resting area of the houseboats, some floating restaurants etc. Finally he took us to a beach which was quite peculiar in the sense that it has two water bodies on its either sides. Yes you heard it right, there are sandy land on the middle, ocean on one side and a sea on the other. We were indeed amazed by such a sight. The State Tourism Board had placed barricades on the ocean side of the beach so as to prevent tourists from entering in the danger zone. The beach was crowded with people enjoying and some vendors were selling coconut water and some snacks. Although the beach is not too wide, but the scenic beauty of the place is worth every penny and time you spend to reach here. Rays of the sun falling over the sands made them glitter like gold and the beach aptly gets known by the name of “The Golden Sun-lit Beach”.
We were quite absorbed in the beauty and contrast of the water bodies surrounding the beach; the deep ocean waving towards us while the calm sea flowed effortlessly. The boatman requested us to get back into the boat as we were running out of time and we headed back to the boarding point after clicking some quick photographs. Passing through the happily waving mangrove trees and chirping birds we reached back to the office where our taxi was waiting for us to take us to our next destination. After the Poovar backwater, we decided to explore some more beaches and stopped at a famous South Indian food restaurant. The food was served in the typical south Indian style and our plate was a big banana leaf decorated with different bowls stuffed with local delicacies.
The aroma of the food was irresistible and although the food tasted a little bit different from what our taste buds are accustomed to, we emptied our plates quickly out of sheer hunger and excitement. After getting completely recharged, we were all set to proceed to our next destination-Kovalam.
We had heard that the Kovalam beach happens to be one of the most attractive and popular tourist destinations in Kerala. Our cab driver took us to the light house beach which is very sought after place amongst film makers as many Bollywood and Tollywood have been shot here. The driver recommended us to try out mouth watering sea foods here but to his disappointment we all were vegetarians. We reached in the vicinity of the beach location and the approach road to the beach was quite sloppy and curvy like a slide and the ride was apparently like a roller coaster. We reached the parking area and told the driver that we whould be back in 2 hours.
Just as we crossed the parking area, the beach started with a clear line of silvery sand glittering. What a view! As we stood there, to our left was green land harboring tall palm trees; to our right was blue water waving from mighty never ending ocean and underneath our feet was a sheet of silvery glittering sand. Such a beauty can never be described in words and can only be witnessed. You can only sit down and admire the place for as long as you can. We were not alone as the beach was filled with many people sitting and resting under umbrellas enjoying the sound of the waves and the beauty of the beach.
And if you are bored just by sitting at the beach and doing nothing, there are many guides and shops on the beach to offer different water activities. Some of the visitors were indulged in these activities and they looked no bigger than tiny colorful dots amidst the mighty stretch of blue water. Seeing their excitement, we were pumped up and decided to do something as well. To begin with, we took a steamer to check out the nearby island.
The ride on the clear blue waves with moist winds gushing on our face was really breathtaking. On reaching back to the beach, we tried Jet Ski and what a wonderful and exciting experience it was! We strolled on the white sand across the ocean line and came across huge rocks on the ocean. The tourism department had put up a notice board informing the tourists that the rocks were quite slippery and instructed not to climb on them so as to avoid any accident. We approached the extended side of the beach and witnessed gigantic boats anchored on the beach. The boats belonged to the local fishermen and had large sheets of fishing nets.
We moved back along the beach to reach the main area where people were indulged in water activities. Having come to this far in our journey it would be a shame if we did not get into the ocean. The temperature of the water was perfect and we walked till we dipped ourselves till knees. We stayed there for some time, click a few pictures and moved back to the mainland.
Didn't I say earlier that the name of the place was Light House beach! The main attraction of the beach is the structure painted in stripes of white and bright red. The tower looked amazing and we were not fortunate enough to go to the top of it but one can only guess what mesmerizing view it would have been. So what if we can't go all the way to the top of the light house, we could still see the entire beach stretched as far as our eyes could see; the waving ocean meeting the blue sky at the horizon; tall multicolored buildings at the shore. We glanced at our watch and realized it was time to go back to our cab. We walked our way up and found many cloth shops selling swimming costumes and beach-wear dresses. We reached the parking lot and found our cab driver waiting for us.
The Samudra beach was a quiet beach with not many tourists; however, the scenic beauty of the place was breathtaking. The smooth waves of the ocean hitting white sand of the beach; bordered all over by the coconut and palm trees looked amazing. We were already running late and just managed a 15 mins walk along the beach side before we decided to go back. I would highly recommend this heavenly place for persons seeking solitude amidst natural beauty.
Keeping back all the sweet memories of the day spent at Trivandrum and Kovalam, we reached our temporary residence at Kanyakumari. The most awaited leg of our journey- the hill station of Kodaikanal was about to begin.
Kodaikanal- The queen of hills
We had booked the tickets of the bus managed by the state tourism to travel from Kanyakumari to Kodaikanal. It was an over-night journey and we finished dinner at our hotel and left for the nearby bus stand, The journey was quite chilly as little did we know that we will be entering the bon-chilling hilly terrain of Kodaikanal right after leaving the tropical climate of Kanyakumari. We kept shivering through-out the journey and the road is serpentine with several sharp turns as we climbed up.
You are in for a surprise throughout the journey; just as you fall asleep a sudden thud and you will find yourself on the floor of the bus! Just joking; they do drive cautiously. But really, if you want to enjoy this roller-coaster ride, stay awake throughout the ride (the buzzy environment will make you sleepy at sometime or other); or take a bus during day time if you have a day to spare. I was worried that my luggage might have fallen in between the journey but was relieved to receive my bags safely on reaching Kodaikanal. I was too excited to reach and explore Kodaikanal and kept pestering bus attendant all the time with my silly questions like “Bhaiya, kodaikanal kab pahuchenge?”, “Bhaiya Kodaikanal aa gaya kya?” to which he replied courteously every time “Madam abhi time hai, aa jayega to bata doonga”. People in this travel business really possess divine power to handle queries of travelers each day; without losing their calm. Finally we reached Kodaikanal as early as 5 A.M. in the morning. The atmosphere was bone chilling and with great effort we managed to drag our bags, reached the nearby shed and balled up on the chair like a tortoise. It instilled some confidence when we saw many tourists having similar experience as we waited for our hotel pick-up taxi that we had pre-booked online. Meanwhile tourist guides from different travel agencies approached us offering different tour packages from their respective brochures. We took a few of the brochures along with their contact numbers as it was too early to make up our mind about selecting one.
On reaching the hotel, we enquired about these tour operators at the reception. They assured us that travelling through them is safe and they do cover all the tourist attractions of the Kodaikanal. We went through the brochures and selected our package. We contacted the tour operator and were to pick up by 8:30 sharp! We quickly checked into our rooms and were ready for our adventurous trip.
Kodaikanal is one of the best hill station of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. After exploring this city we got to know that kodaikanal is fully covered with waterfalls, lakes, grassy hills and forested valleys. We stayed for 2 days in Kodaikanal and here are the details of the places we visited:
The travel guide parked the vehicle, took tickets for us and followed to show this scenic beauty. Climbing down few steps, we reached at the vicinity of the fall. The guide advised us against going too near the water as the rocks might be slippery.
But the fall was too tempting to resist and we couldn’t help but to dip our feet in water. We clicked some photographs near the falls and located a narrow trekking path to reach another beautiful fall. Climbing up and jumping down the rocky path, we crossed many big scary trees and held each other for support as we reached another point.
These falls are the extension of Pambar Falls; only more beautiful and more intense than the former. The water was more forceful and the rocks seem more slippery here. Kodaikanal was already too cold for our comfort and this fall was even colder. We were quite awestruck by the size of the fall and quietly watched the glittering water falling over rocks making loud noise and wearing them off. The real power and excitement water carries within itself can be really appreciated at such places. Although we would have loved to spend some more time amidst the roaring water and goose bumps from chilly breeze, the guide was too insisting to take us to the next spot.
Trekking from the Fairy Fall, we reached the Lion’s cave. Just to make it clear, there wasn’t any lion there at the moment but it’s been told that the cave used to be its den. Some showed the scratches reportedly made by the Lion’s paw so as to give some credibility to their claim.
We peeped inside in all the direction as much as we can see to confirm that there wasn’t any lion inside. Although it was dark and we were afraid, we still managed to click some pictures and asked the guide to quickly move on to the next spot.
Nearly all the places of tourist attraction at Kodaikanal have a nominal entry charge for the visitors. We took tickets and as we entered the main gate, we noticed that we were walking on what seemed to be the edge of some hill. It was a wide pathway with solid fencing giving a mesmerizing view of the hills, clouds and greenery everywhere.
Timings: 7.00AM - 7.00PM
Entry Fees: 10Rs P.P, 20Rs for Telescope House
The sun kept rising and hiding between the clouds making the scene more beautiful. To our left was this breathtaking view and to our right were different stalls of handmade ornaments made by locals. We stood at the side of the barricade and tried to see down for a while. What a breathtaking view!!
The clouds were really floating below us as we saw the lush green valley covered thickly by trees and the view was obstructed every now and then with white curtain of cottony cloud floating around. This was an out of the world experience as atleast I could have never imagined such a view even in my dreams.
Amidst the croakers walk, there was a small telescopic centre. There were 2 telescopes which were pre aligned to show the areas clearly. We went ahead to see through them and saw a checker board painted green in color and surrounded by thick brown border which happened to be the farms of the locals of Kodaikanal.
They were in steps like pattern and the panoramic view the telescope presented was amazing. The second telescope was set to have a glimpse of the Kodai Lake. A wide blue lake covered with fog and tiny small colorful boats embedded over it were really a visual treat to our eyes.
We were told that this church was one of the oldest churches of the country. We entered the church premise and were greeted by a heavy rainfall. The weather in Kodaikanal is really unpredictable! Running all the way we reached inside the church. I knew very little about the Christian Gods & Goddesses and our tour guide told us that the graceful statues were of “Our Lady of La-Salette” & St. Joseph. We bowed our head in front of the deity & then gazed all around the hall. The walls were painted beautifully by different colors. After spending sometime in the peaceful atmosphere there, we dashed our way back to the vehicle as it was still pouring.
On our way, we halted at the local Jain temple. Although it was a small temple, it had a very beautiful and interesting architectural design carved out of white marble. The temple had arches supported by numerous pillars.
The main statue inside the temple belonged to Lord Mahavir Swami carved out of black stone. We offered our prayers and took his blessings as we headed for our next destination.
Next on our itinerary was the mesmerizing Bryant Park. We bought entry tickets to witness this beautiful garden which is constructed in the step architecture.The garden presented with many hidden wonders consisting many wide varieties of flowering plants and trees. Many ornamental plants added to the beauty of the garden.
Timings: 9.00AM - 6.00PM Everyday
Entry Fees: 30Rs - Adults, 15RS - Childens, 50Rs - Still Camara
Bushes were shaped in different designs and the beauty of the garden was at its peak as it began to drizzle lightly as we wandered inside the garden. We were able to witness the sparkling silver water droplet on the tip of the leaves. The miniature rainbow on these droplets created by rays of Sun made the entire view magical. It was time to move beyond the fairy tale setting and catch our next destination.
9. Kodai Lake:
We marched past the row of shops selling umbrellas, caps, bags and similar items on our way to Kodai Lake. The shops also sold home-made chocolates and marsh-mellows in abundance. The first glimpse of the beautiful Lake was breathtaking; showcasing large stretch of the water body with tiny colorful toppings of many boats over it.
The temperature of the Lake was so low that our feet went numb and there was mist all over the Lake giving false impression of vapor rising from the water. We booked a boat and spend some time on the lake. It was so cold that we could hardly paddle the boat and could hear the sound of our teeth clattering. We covered the round trip of the lake and reached the harbor to get out of the boat.
The cab driver told on our way to the forest that the pine trees are useful for many purposes especially for making currency notes. We entered the forest and to our front lay the sky kissing pine trees which weren’t too thick at trunk but were very tall. The forest covered and large area and as we walked inside it kept on getting dense. We were cautioned by our guide to not wander too deep in the forest. We clicked some photographs and proceeded to our next destination.
The sky kissing pine trees..
The high flowing Silver Cascade Falls is situated along the road and did not demand any special effort. The fall resembles a huge show piece besides road for the attraction of tourists.
The fall was surrounded by the iron fencing which not only provided a safety net but also served as a spot to enjoy the view. There were shops on either side of the fall selling seasonal fruits, wooden items and other souvenir items.
The Kurinji Andavar Temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan and is famous for the presence of unique kurinji flowers.
We entered the premises and saw the centre main temple surrounded by many small temples around. We bowed our heads to the god and reached the backyard of the temple by walking past the kurinji flowers. The backyard gave an amazing view of the tall lush green mountains and the cottony clouds filling our eyes with serenity.
Darshan Timings: 7.00AM - 7.00PM Everyday
The narrow ways we crossed to reached various destinations...
These caves are a famous spot amongst hikers.There was a watch tower to see the cave, but the thick fog hindered the view. But there was much more to see and enjoy along the way.
We were amazed to see the formations made by the tree roots that were too unique to be found elsewhere. We took photographs and enjoyed in the teeth chattering weather.
As we reached the parking area of the spot, we saw a large queue of the vehicles parked along either side of the road. We could presume that the spot must be really famous and mesmerizing thereby attracting large of number of tourists.
We stepped out of the vehicle and begin trekking our way to the entry gate. We were quite excited as we crossed row of shops selling cold drinks, fruit juices, water and packed snacks and made our way to the road covered with pebbles. Steps on the road were carved through roots of the trees on the either side of the road. The pattern of the road kept on changing as we marched on and reached the viewing spot from where one can see the deep valley. Depth of the valley kept fading away on the dense green forest. We passed by the guest house for tourists and saw some local venders selling different exotic fruits of the valley.
The local venders were helpful enough to guide us all the way to the spot. We crossed a narrow canal on our way followed by a small village with scenic landscapes as we reached the spot. The Dolphin’s nose is actually a large block of rock that has popped out of the main body of the mountain giving a pseudo-appearance of a dolphin’s snout. The beauty of this large block of the rock emerging out of the mountain can really be appreciated from a distance of few meters from the spot.
We were initially told that the walk to the spot is about 5 kms but rocky terrain and hurdles along the way made it quite a work-out and we were exhausted from walking all the way to the spot. There was an echo point where the people were shouting their names into the mountains. The mountain was quite high and big trees underneath appeared as tiny dots from the top and the mainland was completely shadowed by thick layer of forests.
The clouds were far below the place where we were standing and words fail to describe the awesomeness of the place. Finally we picked ourselves to walk back towards our cab.
With a narrow entry gate and simple architecture, the museum seems like any other house of the town, but as one gets inside, it’s a different world altogether. It is a heaven for biologists and nature enthusiasts and one cannot resist spending hours inside. The skeletons of wide varieties of animal species are well preserved and beautifully kept there. The museum also exhibits rarities of plat species but unfortunately, photography was not allowed.
Basically a pillar, the spot is named after Sir Thomas Moir. The place presents an excellent view of the large hills and deep valleys. We reached the point but due to dense mist and drizzles, we were not able to get the entire view of the place.
After taking the entry ticket, we reached a small yet beautiful Chettiar Park. The scenic beauty of the place was at its peak because of the well maintained garden and the mighty hills around. The cold wind gushing to your face gives a wonderful feeling difficult to put in words.
There were many people sitting and enjoying this breathtaking view.The garden was very clean and was constructed in a step like pattern. There were many venders selling hit & fresh sweet corn outside the garden which added to the enjoyment.
After seeing many places in Kodaikanal, it was finally the time to bid adieu to this wonderful place. We booked bus from Kodaikanal to Madurai which was at evening so we kept enjoying the roller coaster ride and the scenic way all along the way.
Timings: 9.00AM to 5:00PM
Entry Fees: 10 INR, Camara: 25 INR
We kept on thinking about the beautiful place we just left throughout our journey. The beauty of nature and numerous wonders hidden inside will dwell in our memories forever.
The trip to the southernmost tip of India was really a treat to our eyes and soul.....