Travel makes you realize that once is never enough and you can never settle down after having visited a place.It makes you want to explore more and set your itinerary ready for your next trip.
It was the last week of the year 2016 and me and my friend desperately wanted to the escape being stuck behind thise damn monitors and the smelly old carpets of the workplace.Since it was planned at the last minute, we didnt have the luxury of choosing places or hotels or book tickets of our choice.After all, what better excitement than to plan a trip to the hiills at the last moment and wait to see how it unfolds!!! And so we decided to go to Kodaikanal, a popular retreat of the south and sometimes fondly referred to as the "princess of Hill sations".It is situated in the district of Dindigul,Tamil Nadu with an approximate distance of 400 kms from chennai.
Now that we have decided the place, the next question was how do we get there.Since Dindigul was well connected to chennai by train we decided to book train tickets to get there. There are other options to reach Kodaikanal as well.One among them was to reach a station called "Kodai Road" by train. Oh Yes, There are direct trains Chennai to Kodai road but the problem is it reaches pretty early in the morning around 4:30-5 am. I was told that there are buses which wait for every one hour at the Kodai road station.But I would advice against using this route since dawn is pretty early to be travelling in a ghat road uphill and the frequency from this station could be pretty less as compared to Dindigul.Another route is the palani route.You can travel past Dindigul to reach palani by train and then take a bus from there to reach kodaikanal.But then again buses from palani are less frequent to kodaikanal as compared to Dindigul.So its best to get down at Dindigul junction.
Waiting with bated breath,on Dec 28th 10:59 Am, fingers glued to the mouse and eyes staring transfixed at the clock, my fingers hit the submit button hard exactly after a minute, only to find myself logged out and looking at the extremetly frustrating Captcha in vain.But my friend on the other hand had managed to get through and in the next couple of minutes I was happily looking at the two confirmed train tickets to Dindigul junction on Dec 29th 9:40pm.Hurrah!
Since finding a hotel to stay is relatively easier these days, we managed to find ourseleves a decent budget hotel quite far off from the bus stand.The train reached exactly at 6:00AM on the morning of Dec 30th.Local buses to Dindigul bus stand wait just right outside the railway station and is a 10 minute ride from there.There were 2 or 3 kodaikanal buses waiting in the bus stand just as we reached.
Tip 1:Even if you dont manage to find a direct bus to kodaikanal from Dindugul, You can always board a bus that goes to 'Vatlagundu' also Known as 'BathlaGundu' from Dindigul Bus stand. 'VatlaGundu' is a base point for all buses going uphill to Kodaikanal.It is a 40 min drive(around 35km) from DGL.We reached BatlaGundu around 7:30 and boarded our next bus to kodaikanal.There are many government & private run buses that ply every half hour to the hillspot from here. Ticket costs Rs 80/- per person.
Kodaikanal is said to be very famous for its astounding views of mountains.So the ride uphill was sheer bliss.The road snaked through the dense forests greeted occassionally by the monkeys there.As soon as we alighted at the kodaikanal busstand we were again mobbed by the local taxi drivers.One of them handed us a pamphlet which had all the places to visit, tours packages and trips.We checked into our Hotel room around 10:00Am in the morning Freshened up quickly and set about, ready to wander.
After having a quick Bf we decided to visit the Kodai Lake first which was the nearest place to our hotel. It was beautiful to watch the lake setup against the backdrop of the beautiful hills.Being cycle enthusiasts we decided to rent a cycle to cover the entire stretch of lake which spans across 7kms. There are all kinds of cycles available for rent near the lake and the rates vary as per the cycle chosen.
We had this crazy idea of cycling to all these spots. But it seemed almost impossible for both of us as the entire journey goes uphill and cycling up a slope is not so easy(for us atleast:P).So we hired a taxi near the lake. The agend was to cover 5 places and he charged us Rs 1000/.(There are private taxis available almost everywhere in kodai ).Having no other means of transportation we agreed to his demand.(of course u can always bargain).
Moir's View point:The first place we visited was the 'Moir's view point'.This place is a must visit especially on a non-misty day as it offers a panaromic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.Adjacent to this place is the entrance to the beautiful 'Berijam lake' situated among dense forests.However this is a restricted place and you need to inform the driver one day in advance so that he gets permission from the forest depatment. Enroute to berijam lake you can enjoy throwing caps at the caps fly point.
Pine forest:Next stop was at the pine forests.The entire place is covered by the towering trunk of the pine trees.There is nothing much to actually view or enjoy in this place except that this was a very popular destination for many Tamil movie songs of the 80's.