May 2019 - My birthday was coming up and what do you expect a traveler to do on her birthday? Travel obviously! So I started looking for places I could manage in a weekend and also which would help me escape this scorching summer for a few days. Most of my travels are in the north, because I am a mountain lover, but this time I thought why not give one of the southern hill stations a visit! Then only a friend told me about a travel group, based in Bangalore called The Nomadic Lust ( https://www.facebook.com/The-Nomadic-Lust-354169052101703/) who were planning for Kodaikanal/Vattakanal during my birthday weekend only. She had traveled with them before and she had only positive reviews about them. I was intrigued and checked the itinerary of the trip. Not only were they covering everything possible in a weekend but the cost was just 3500 ₹. Even I would not have been able to manage everything in just 3500 if I had traveled solo. I talked to the person who was organizing the trip ( Anupam Nag, Phone - +91 8348972619) and I was assured that he knows what he is doing and thus I booked the trip.
Located in the hills of the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, 7200 ft above sea level among the Western Ghats of India, in the Palani Hill Range. In the Tamil language the name means "The Gift of the Forest".
A small village, few kms away from Kodaikanal on the southern tip of the upper Palani Hills. "Vatta" means circular in local language and the name Vattakanal is derived from the apparently circular setting of mountains around the valley.
How to reach?
If you are taking a flight then closest airports are Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore. From the airports you can take private cabs or trains.
If you are taking a train then you can get down at Kodai Road or Dindigul and then take cabs.
I took a bus from Pune to Bangalore and then met the group with whom I was supposed to start this trip. There were 12 people in total and after a brief introduction we started our journey on Friday night in a 13 seater mini van from Bangalore.
After a full night journey and through the winding roads of the Western Ghats, we finally reached Vattakanal at 9am. Kodaikanal is quite crowded, so I was glad we were staying in Vattakanal, far away from the crowd. After walking and hiking for 2 km, we finally reached our homestay (Leo's homestay) situated on the top of a small hill. We had one cottage for 12 people with two rooms (5 beds), one bathroom and a kitchen. The cost was 10000 ₹ for a night including wifi charges and 3 meals (2 breakfast and 1 dinner). Though the journey was tiring but the view from the cottage took away my breath.
I was happy that I was spending my birthday away from my cubicle in this beautiful lap of nature. The temperature was around 18 degree Celsius.
After having a delicious breakfast of some mouth watering Idli prepared by the homestay owners we started our hike to the Dolphin's Nose View Point, one of the most popular tourist spots in Kodaikanal. It was just a 2km walk from our homestay and that too downhill so we were sure we would cover it easily. But the condition of the road made us realize how wrong we were. But the view all around made every step worth it. After taking numerous photo breaks, we finally reached the Dolphin's Nose. It provides a bird's eye view of the scenic landscape of the surrounding mountainous area. It is a flat rock jutting out of the mountain, overlooking a deep cliff, with its shape akin to that of the nose of a dolphin. The best thing is it is one of those very few places which has not yet been fenced due to safety concerns and that makes it more thrilling. Sitting on the edge of the Dolphin's Nose made me realize why I travel. To have experiences like these.