We have been to Kodaikanal during December, 2013. It was one mesmerizing trip. It's surprising how being lost sometimes is a way to find yourself.
We boarded the bus from Bangalore on a Friday night and excitement was slowly settling into each one of us. But when a bunch of friends, which included me, my brother and his friends had a whole night in front of them, it would be a shame to waste it on sleep. So, then discussions flooded... On school days, life, philosophy, marriage (although we were in the age group of early to mid-twenties, a person got to put his point!). I almost slept half way through the talk, but with friends, you can never have peace with discussions, it's bound to turn into arguments. But there is a secret solution for all this, FOOD! My friend FOOD. A local dhabha with delicious food, what more can you ask for. Sleep was the next mission.
Mission Accomplished. Woke up to some great scenery, while entering the hill station. We stayed at Hotel Spring Valley. Not a great place, but we didn't care much, as we spent most of our time travelling.
Our first drive was to Pambar falls.
Water rushes down to form a calm stream at the foot of the fall. To me, it was more than beautiful. To say, I wasn't really having the moment of my life back then and a getaway was a must. So, it was an endeavor to reduce stress. To forget what happened before, 'cause when the cold stream touched my feet, I was alive again. And nobody could take that away from me.
Bear Shola Falls
Next we headed to the Bear Shola Falls, that lies very close to Pambar falls. The way to this falls was, even more, beautiful, strolling down the bushy hills and river stream gently flowing. It's believed that once wild bears came here to quench their thirst. I wonder what happened now?
Next we made our way to the stunning Dolphin's nose, named so 'cause it gives an appearance of the nose of a dolphin. About 8km from the city. The 2 to 3 km trek to dolphin's nose was filled with amazing scenery and it was a divine experience by itself. The local vendors selling some yum bread omelette and mouth watering Maggie caught our attention. And I met this handsome little fella.
It was quite foggy that day, thus added a mysterious charm.
And then we reached to the breathtaking view.
It's nearly 6,600 meters (21,700 ft) deep. The Fog was so intense that we could see nothing beneath. Our guide took us to our next destination, Echo Rock. As you walk further Dolphin's nose, you will find yourself in this alluring place. A bit dangerous, with steep rocks. But a little bit precaution will keep you off danger. And we bid farewell with a hot cup of masala chai. To pamper yourself with some hot beverage at such remote area was surprising yet over priced. But we made no complaints while sewing memories.
Next we headed to the mysterious Pine Forest. Our guide said that there was a meteorite crash on the river stream years ago. You can see the river as we photobomb the picture. The impressions of the land where the stream flows are all that is left behind.
It seemed something right out of the movies. Splendid view, silence calming your soul and the gentle sound of the river flowing... Romantic?
Or like one of those horror movies, where you come to some heavenly looking place, rest and out of nowhere a crazy fella comes to knock you down. And what lies in front of you is a never ending road. Creepy? Well... :D
Imaginations aside, this was indeed a beauty.
And look, we found a poser!!!
As we headed back to our hotel, we heard a surprising sound that of a bell. As we peeped out, there it was... An ice cream trolley. There is an inexplicable satisfaction to have ice cream during the winter.
A little friend to add that aww factor.
And we moved to halt again at a temple, unfortunately, I have no memory of. Because the moment I stepped in I found a bunch of cute souls, who took all my attention.
Meet the Guys.
Meet the Ladies.
And meet the Dude!!! He has got a personality!
And the ladies, who insisted I take another pic of them while the Dude photo bombing in the background. Good one :D
And meet my brother, with some of the friendliest kids, I have ever met. A little background for you to have a better picture. These guys wanted us to take a lot of pictures of them. But the energy was unfathomable. While I was about to click there were like two of them, but as I clicked, there were like 5 of them in the picture. As I asked my brother to pose, all of them ran to the spot and pose. Adorable, indeed.
And then there is me :)
These happiest fellows reside at the nearby orphanage. Which reminds me of a great quote from Harry Potter, said by the magician himself
"Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light" - Albus Dumbledore
That day I realized, you don't need a reason to be happy. To be happy is a choice that many refuse to make. And with that, our day ended.
Next morning there was something more to look forward to. As we started our journey at Kurinji Andavar Temple. With many shops lined up at the entrance of the temple.
And when I looked down to the town from there, I was left speechless.
While on our way to the Berijam Lake, we encountered some timeless beautiful sights. Below are just a glimpse of the views. But the feeling which is still fresh in my memory is something one got to experience. On the way to Berijam lake, you can stop at Silent Valley and Caps fly Valley, both of which are beautiful. The silent valley has this enchanting and scary feel to it. Truly a Photographer's destination. Here goes...
The bubble man!
How tiny are we!!!
Berijam Lake is situated in the forested area. And it requires official permission to get an entry. Visiting time is between 9.30 a.m. To 3 p.m. You can have your driver arrange it for you. As you cross the parking area and walk towards the lake which is stretched across 25kms in the perimeter. The calm environment minus the hush rush makes it, even more, beautiful. This lake is considered to be a natural source of drinking water for the city. Initially, a swamp and later turned into a dam and the water reservoir to supply drinking water.
Believe me, there is a lot to explore here. This place will surprise you!!! Just a stroll and I already felt like one of those people in the documentaries taking a trek across the Amazon forest. But much safer, much drier, less dense. Okay... At least, you will get a feel of it. A tiny percent :D
Next was the trip to the Guna Caves. That was a little creepy after listening to all the suicidal stories that took place. I am the curious one walked all around. I am the right one in the below pic. As I went ahead and walked, I found a sign that said "Do not cross", well I did. Curious to know what lay ahead, I walked and it was damn scary. They had no grills for protection and if you don't watch your step, you might end up in trouble. I retreated asap.
La Saleth Church
Next ride was to La Saleth Church. Standing tall for a century and more, yet does not look a year old. This not only captivates your mind but also engulfs your heart and frees your soul. An extraordinary celebration is held at La Saleth church every year on the 14th and 15th of August. This marks the end of a Nine-day festival. This celebration attracts worshipers from around south India. The festival's extraordinary services and a special procession are something to look forward to.
Next was coakers walk. Beauty simply at its best. The weather, the sun, the mist, everything was just perfect!
As we watched the mist slowly consuming the town, time literally stopped. I could stare at it all day. But since our day was about to end, we paced towards Chettiar park.
It was home to many beautiful flowers and plants. The walk around the park was serene. Families having their evening chat and kids busy playing.
And as the day was about to end, we went for a cycle ride. I rode after almost 10 years and I did go all nuts, Hell yeah!!!
The street next to the Kodaikanal lake offered some pleasant things. One of which was Cycling. Double seater charged around 40 and single seater was 20 for an hour. Overall an amazing experience.
Concluding with a great quote by Bill Watterson, who beautifully included it in Calvin and Hobbes:
"That's the difference between me and the rest of the world! Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand Euphoria! "
Happy travelling!!! :)
P.S. All pictures were taken from my Nokia Lumia 920.