Places to see
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In 1895, in Shenbaganur was opened college for Jesuits. Students and professors carried away with the study of the local flora and fauna. Over time, the college became the Institute of Natural History with a rich museum. There are represented numerous species of birds, butterflies, mammals, and reptiles.
On the high bank of the lake is situated Astrophysical Observatory, built in 1889. The laboratory has a small museum, open on Fridays. To see the basic settings of observatory, you have to climb up the hill. The observatory is one of the oldest in the world.
Park Bryant is actually the botanical Garden, opened in 1980, planed and set out for many years by the British officer, whose name it bears. Chetyar Park – located in 3 km from the city on the rise in the mountain, near the temple Kurindzhi Andavar. In this park, if you’re lucky, you can see a very rare case of flowering bush Kurindzhi. Kodaikanal – is a place where growing Kurindzhi, a bush with pale purple flowers that bloom once in 12 years. The last flowering of this plant was observed in 2004, although some plants are blooming and sometimes not on schedule, breaking a 12-year cycle, although this is very rare. In the area you can find many waterfalls, the most important of which is Silver Cascade.
This tiny church, in 3 km from the north-eastern shore of the lake, is devoted to Muruga. It was built in 1936 by European woman Lilavathi Ramanathan, who converted to Hinduism. Inside those you will see statue of Ganesha, supported by two peacocks. Temple was named after a flower Kurindzhi. Indians appreciate this temple, and often come here to perform rituals and prayers.
This mountain temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga Malaykovil. At the foot of the hill on which stands the temple, you could often see pilgrims shaving their heads as a sign of submission. Pilgrims donate their hair to God. Hair of pilgrims is sold to tourists, which provides a good income for temple. There are 659 steps that lead to the temple on which the pilgrims rise. At the entrance to the church you will see a statue of Ganesha, supported by two large two-headed cobras. On the steps of the temple burn wax torches, which the pilgrims are changing to new, rising to the temple. Men and women with sandalwood oil in the hands are on either side of the staircase and apply oil on the foreheads of new pilgrims. View from the top of the temple hill is simply mesmerizing. The temple has become even more popular after electrolift was installed, allowing the old and sick pilgrims to climb up. In the temple take place many festivals, the most famous of which – Tai Puja is held in January and collects about 200,000 pilgrims. During the festival, pilgrims carry colorful peacock feathers, sing and play musical instruments. The closer to the temple – louder are songs and sounds of instruments.
Kodai lake provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the surroundings, using the boat. The boat can be rented near the hotel “Carlton” or in travel department.
Golfers will be interesting to visit the local club, founded in 1895. Originally field consisted of ten holes, and the coating was dirt. In the early 50’s the number of holes was increased to eighteen; in 1986, the field was covered with grass. The field is located at a height of 2000 m above sea level. If you come to play in the early morning, you can see the passing herds of buffalo and deer. Sometimes here stare wild boars. However, the only real threat to a golfer are monkeys, often stealing balls. To play, tourists need a temporary membership in the club for a fee.
Kodaikanal, better known as Kodai, is located in 120 km north-west to Madurai at a height of 2100 meters. The city is situated on the spurs of Palani hills and surrounded by breathtaking wooded slopes, clear waterfalls and deep canyons.
Kodaikanal – this is not just a place for those who want to escape the summer heat, but for those who would like to make fascinating trekking in the surrounding woods, to find peace and quiet. On the surrounding slopes you can find a lot of relic and exotic plants, extracts of which are sold in stalls on the streets. The rapid growth of access to forests has forced the authorities to take measures to protect the local nature.
occupies a prominent place on the anthropological map, because at the surrounding hills were found several prehistoric settlements of the Stone Age, dating from the V century BC.
There are also ancient megalithic constructions, resembling of Stonehenge, of unknown origin, and dolmens, which were the habitats of ancient people. These monuments are poorly investigated. After thousands of years, on these hills were settled two tribes: palayvan and puglia. The first residents were clearly the jungle inhabitants.
At 40 km from Kodai, in caves Kukkal were found traces of their culture. They wore clothes made of leaves and grass, ate roots, fruits and honey and hunted flying squirrels. Puglia were agricultural tribes who practiced terraced farming. Idyll was broken in the XIV century, when from Koimbatora plateau vellalans came here, to farm. They were more technologically advanced than the locals, so these aliens turned local people into slaves.
In XVII-XVIII centuries this place was frequented by soldiers of Vijayanagar, Marathas and Muslims. Local residents were pushed up into the mountains.
The first well-known European to visit Kodaikanal, was in 1821, Lieutenant B. Lord. He held a residence in the local village Vellagavi. There were a lot of American missions in the south of Tamil Nadu. Foreigners can hardly stand the heat in the region and often suffered from the diseases. Therefore, they needed some suitable place with a mild climate for rest and recovery. Lord Lieutenant he had found a nice mountain village, which is easy to reach from Madurai. The construction of houses for the rest of the Europeans had begun. The American missionaries built themselves houses in the southern part of the Kodai, now called Shelton. In 1860 there appeared the first church. Then the Jesuits settled in the town. The governors of Madras came here to have a rest. The lake, the main attraction of Kodai, was created by people. Europeans also planted many gardens with a lot of beautiful plants and trees in it.