Southern India’s popular hill station, Kodaikanal, fondly referred to as the ‘Princess of hills’ is a mesmerising tourist destination that offers scenic views full of lush green hills, waterfalls, lakes and dense pine forests. Surrounded by the Parappar and Gundar valleys on both sides, the Tamil Nadu hill station is situated at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea-level atop the Palani Hills. It is a favourite among all kinds of travellers - budget travellers, backpackers, nature lovers and honeymooners with a variety of tourist places near Kodaikanal. From caves and treks through pine forests to boating in lakes and religious spots, it has got it all!
The list of Kodaikanal tourist places is nearly endless. One can visit the numerous lakes and waterfalls and soak in the calm from its soothing waters or enjoy a boat ride amidst the natural wilderness. If you love adventure, you will find plenty of places to visit in Kodaikanal that will give you a shot of adrenaline such as Dolphin’s Nose, Kumabkarai or the Pillar Rocks. You can choose from the following list of places to visit in Kodaikanal as you enjoy white clouds playing hide and seek with the beautiful green mountains covered in purplish blue Kurinji flowers when you visit this gorgeous domestic destination.
One of the best places to visit in Kodaikanal, Kodaikanal lake is an artificial star-shaped lake located at 2,285 meters above sea level. It was built in 1863 and since then has ranked high amongst Kodaikanal tourist places with thousands of tourists flocking to the destination during summer months for its cold breeze and cloud covered surroundings. Originating from the Palani hills water, the lake that covers a stretch of 60 acres finally flows into a mesmerising waterfall at a height of 180 ft, called the Silver Cascade. When in Kodaikanal, you can’t miss boating at Kodai Lake and visiting the Silver Cascade waterfalls.
Bear Shola Falls
One of the best places to visit in Kodaikanal is the Bear Shola Falls, located just 2 km off the Kodaikanal Lake. Legend has it that this was a bear’s favourite place to drink water and gave it its interesting name. The water gushes out of the Parappar River Stream falling off the mountains against the green backdrop, making it a sight to behold. This Kodaikanal tourist place is loved by nature enthusiasts, adventurers and couples alike. If you want to enjoy these falls in full glory, the best time to visit Kodaikanal would be the monsoons.
Spread across vast forested lands, Berijam Lake in Kodaikanal is a perfect option if you’re looking to explore tourist places near Kodaikanal. Make sure you take the mandatory permit from the forest department before visiting the Berijam Lake. Lose yourself to the refreshing green backdrop of lust forests as you picnic on the lakeside. This quaint lake should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Kodaikanal if you’re looking to spend some quality time with your loved ones or want to try your hand at fishing. But make sure you’ve all the necessary permits!
Another popular spot in the list of places to visit in Kodaikanal is the Mannavanur Lake. Crossing pine and eucalyptus trees on either side of the road, a scenic drive paves the way for this Kodaikanal tourist place. Just like most places in Kodaikanal, surroundings of the Mannavanur Lake also offer rich fauna. You will find exotic birds flying around and may even spot some wild animals. You can even enjoy coracle ride or horse riding or simply soak in the views of the nearby sheep farm where flocks of sheep graze and make for a beautiful backdrop.
Vattakanal Falls is one of the top choices if you are looking for places to visit near Kodaikanal. The best time to visit Kodaikanal is during the monsoon when you can visit the grand Vattakanal falls for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Surrounded by vast landscapes of forest and hills, this tourist place near Kodaikanal promises great views and is quite safe to be around but you should be wearing non-slippery footwear. You can even click pictures for the ‘gram from a bridge near the falls.
If you’re looking to unwind by taking a dip in cool, clear waters of a natural waterfall, Pambar Falls is a great option to consider when deciding on places to visit in Kodaikanal. Located at a meagre 3km distance from the Kodai bus station, this waterfall flows into a natural pool where you can take a dip! The wild and green setting of the Pambar falls makes visiting it a picturesque affair.
Thalaiyar Falls or the Rat Tail Falls as the locals refer to it, is a unique shaped waterfall which is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kodaikanal. Located along the Palani Hill ranges along its green trails in the Dindigul District, the waterfall falls off a height of over 290 meters. Thalaiyar Falls is the highest waterfall in Tamil Nadu and the sixth highest waterfall in India and ranks as the 267th highest in the world. You can click some amazing pictures of the falls from a view tower at the Dum Dum Rock.
The name of the falls is interesting enough to attract a number of tourists. A popular swimming spot, the Fairy Falls located in Pambarpuram, offer a great space to spend some quality time with your loved ones or even just by yourself. Watch the water gushing out from the top of the hill and rejuvenate your city-wrecked soul.
The list of places would remain incomplete without a mention of the Guna caves. Discovered in 1821 CE by BS Ward, an English officer, the cave remained hidden from the tourists for many years till 1991 when a Tamil movie ‘Guna’, that starred the famous actor Kamal Hassan changed its fate. Located 12 km away from Kodainal, Guna caves is one of the best places to visit near Kodaikanal. If you want to make your trip adventurous, exploring the beauty of Kodai pines at Guna caves should definitely be on your list of things to do in Kodaikanal.
La Saleth Church
Built in 1846, La Saleth Church is the oldest catholic church in Kodaikanal. A perfect blend of Tamil and French culture and architecture, the church offers a panoramic view of the hills at 7,000 ft above sea level. If you want to get an insight into the local culture of the hill station or simply put your mind at peace, don’t miss a visit to this 150 year old shrine.
Kodai Chocolate Factory
Bring your Willy Wonka dreams alive as you take in the aroma of the delicious cocoa at the Kodai Chocolate Factory and witness the making of a variety of chocolates. One of the most recommended places to visit in Kodaikanal, Kodai Chocolate Factory was started in 1999 and specializes in chocolates, coffees, aroma oils etc. Their products are completely vegetarian. If you love chocolates, don’t forget to visit the Cloud Street, PotLuck, SG Cottage Industries and of course, the Kodai Chocolate factory to treat yourself with delicious chocolate varieties.
If you love trekking and rewarding yourself with a great view at the end, Perumal Peak is one the best places to visit near Kodaikanal. Located at a height of 8,005 ft above the sea level, this peak of the mighty Western Ghats offers panoramic views of the valley. Adventurers will love the trek as it may get slightly tedious. You can also visit the quaint Perumal Malai Village on the way and get a taste of the local culture.
Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple
This Lord Muruga or God of hills temple is one of the most spiritual places to visit in Kodaikanal. You shouldn’t miss it even if you’re not religious as the temple offers gorgeous views of the Palani hills and Vaigai Dam. The temple is also popular for the Kurinji flowers that turn the hills into a beautiful purplish blue and grow once every 12 years.
If you want to enjoy the mesmerizing views of the valley and sit out to enjoy the hill station’s ethereal surroundings, Pillar rocks is one of the best places to visit in Kodaikanal. The 400 meter long rocks naturally shaped as pillars stand together seemingly piercing the sky. This adorned with a mini garden creates the perfect picnic spot and is a top tourist place for families in Kodaikanal. Don’t miss the enchanting view of the surrounding villages and hills while gorging on a plate of potato and onion bhaji available outside the garden. Monsoon is probably the best time to visit Kodaikanal as misty white clouds and mist dance all around these Kodaikanal tourist places and make the whole experience quite magical!
You can enjoy stunning views of the Kodaikanal valleys, plains and hills from the Suicide Point or the Green Valley View. The Kodaikanal tourist place also offers views of the Vaigai Dam that will leave you awestruck. The Green Valley View is called Suicide point because of its dangerous 5,000 ft drop. It is situated just 5.5 km off the Kodaikanal Lake and is one of the best places to visit near Kodaikanal. You can pick up some souvenirs from the local shops around that sell ornaments, a wide variety of flowers and even handmade chocolates.
This protruding flat rock at the height of 6,600 feet like the shape of a Dolphin’s nose isn’t for the faint-hearted. Popular for the scenic views and the adrenaline rushing experience of standing at the edge of the rock, Dolphin’s nose is one of the best places to visit in Kodaikanal for adventure lovers. One can also trek up to this Kodaikanal tourist spot and enjoy some quality time amidst the lush greenery.
An important historical monument, Moir point is a tourist place in Kodaikanal that is tucked right at the entrance to a serene jungle leading all the way up to the Berijam Lake. One of the best viewpoints in Kodaikanal, the monument was constructed in 1929 to commemorate Sir Thomas Moir’s contribution in building the Goschen Road. Moir point is one the many places to visit in Kodaikanal from where you can soak in the views of lush green hills of Tamil Nadu.
A unique place that should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Kodaikanal is the Wax Museum which is also India’s first Wax Museum. Located near Green Valley, the cozy museum displays the Last Supper, the Crib along with a few other known personalities. Interestingly it also hosts wax statues of Indian personalities such as Sai Baba, Gandhiji, Adi Shankara, Lord Krishna among others.
One of the top eating places to visit near Kodaikanal is Altaf’s cafe, offering a wide range of Mediterranean dishes to cater to tourists from abroad. Located on the way to the Dolphin’s nose, Altaf’s cafe offers a natural sit-out area to serve you some mesmerizing views on the sides. Try their hummus and tahini or the falafel and shakshuka plates. Order a comforting cup of ginger lemon honey as you wash it all down along with soaking misty clouds that cover up the valley.
You must try food at this 100-years old building when you’re visiting Kodai Lake. Laid out on its own private valley, Woody’s ambiance and food makes it one of the best places to visit in Kodaikanal for some yummy vegetarian dishes. With a wide variety of cuisines on its menu ranging from North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and Continental, you can eat to your heart’s content as you gorge on appetizers, mains, and desserts sitting in the pretty garden area or by the rustic fireplace.
The Royal Tibet
The Royal Tibet, as you can figure out from its name, offers lip smacking Tibetian dishes and non-vegetarian food options in Kodaikanal. Sip on its flavourful soup or steaming hot momos or binge on the most delicious variety of authentic momos including chicken, cheese, potato and mutton options.Winter is the best time to visit Kodaikanal when you can gulp down on the hot soups and noodles.
If you’re a pizza lover, there is no better place than Cloud Street to try out thin-crust pizzas loaded with fresh ingredients and generous doses of cheese. Located on the PT road, this restaurant is a popular tourist place near Kodaikanal that is a favourite because of its great food quality. Don’t miss out on their signature dishes including pastas, BBQ chicken, and sizzlers. If you have a sweet tooth, lemon cake at Cloud Street is a must-try.
When you’re looking to grab a quick bite and craving some good old rolls, just head to Muncheez. With a variety of options for rolls, shakes and smoothies, Muncheez is a hot favourite tourist place near Kodaikanal. Choose from Indian and Continental options and wash it down with some hot tea when you’re enjoying it with the cold weather, one of the best times to visit Kodaikanal.
Silver Oak is a great option when you’re looking for fine dining in Kodaikanal. Located at the Carlton Hotel, the stylish restaurant will satiate your cravings for Continental, Mughlai and North Indian delicacies. If you’re tired of cafe food and want to treat your taste buds to some spicy curries and North Indian dishes, this is one of the best tourist places near Kodaikanal that has a buffet available.
Aromas of Kodai
Offering great food without burning a hole in your pocket. Aromas of Kodai is a multi-cuisine delicacies which is one of the most loved tourist places near Kodaikanal. You can indulge in their sandwiches or pancakes or go for the authentic North Indian, South Indian, Chinese or Continental dishes. The casual dining restaurant attracts many foreigners and tourists because of its great service and yummy food options.
A must-try for non-vegetarians, Mann Manam in Kodaikanal is a rustic outdoor restaurant offering the most delectable meat, seafood, chicken dishes cooked in an authentic South Indian style and served on a banana leaf. Giving you a taste of the local cuisine, Mann Manam is one of the finest eateries in Kodai that treats your taste buds as well as eyes with scenic views of the hill station.
A great option to get a taste of the Kodai cafe culture, PotLuck is a cozy outdoor café that serves the best coffee along with Spanish omelettes, Quesadillas, pasta, sandwiches, and more at affordable prices. A European styled setting with some great beverage options like tea, cold coffee and cappuccino will offer you a refreshing break from your daily exploring.
Tourist Places to visit in Kodaikanal offer an interesting mix of sightseeing attractions, historical places and some of the country’s best shopping, food and drink nightlife places. Some of the most talked about tourist attractions in Kodaikanal include the Vattakanal Falls, Kodaikanal Lake, Bear Shola Falls which is among the best and most visited in the country. walking on Laws Ghat Road and trekking to Dolphin Nose are among the most popular activities to experience the best the city has to offer.
Sightseeing in Kodaikanal would include hills to celebrated temples and lake destinations, Kodaikanal offers a range of options for all types of travelers, be it families, couples or solo travelers. Eclectic and vibrant, the city is both cosmopolitan and yet full of traditional flavors and nuance. There’s never a shortage of places to visit in Kodaikanal.
Kodaikanal is well connected to all major cities in India by air and all modes of public transportation. The best way to get around the city is on public transportation and taxis.
The best time to visit most places in Kodaikanal the months between April to February, when the weather is cool and perfect to experience all the top tourist attractions in Kodaikanal.