This article was originally published in the TrueJetter Issue of September-October 2017 as the Cherry Blossoms of Kodaikanal. Here I am simply sharing the beauty of Kodaikanal spring in a photo essay.
Travelling to Kodaikanal from Palani is like going through the garden of Eden. There is hardly anything more refreshing than the feel of a spring fresh nip in the air while watching Tamil Nadu‘s sun-scorched plains change into misty blue hills. Lush paddy fields and neon green banana plantations give way to stately silver oaks and rhododendron and magnolias flower like no tomorrow. Dark pines struggle for space with the nearly extinct Shola grasslands and wildflowers carpet every inch of the slopes. Kodaikanal is a very pretty place, especially in late winter when the city‘s Himalayan cherry trees dapple the hills pink.
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Discover Kodaikanal, the princess of the hill stations
A hugely popular destination for honeymooners, Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India, is called the “princess of the hill stations”. Gushing waterfalls, lakes, forests and rocky outcrops, make up the landscape and the region‘s incredibly scenic hinterland offers excellent treks. Small obscure villages tucked away amidst the hills present a timeless charm and Kodaikanal owes its popularity to cool weather, easy accessibility, and flower-filled gardens. With shimmering lakes creating evocative sights, Kodaikanal seldom fails to mesmerize and it is only 120 kilometres away from Madurai. Because of its location, one gets to enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the glue green Vaigai plains at Kodaikanal and numerous biodiversity hot spots surround this British era summer retreat.
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Kodaikanal in spring is a floral feast
During most of the year, Kodaikanal is a lovely dense green patchwork of forests and rolling meadows. Flowers seem to grow out of a thin air there and they are of an incredible variety and colour. While rhododendrons and magnolias burst out dashing pink, white, and yellow flowers, large open-faced dahlias stand like rows of mini suns. Water lilies float quietly on the still water of Bryant Park pond and its prized ornamental plum tree bends with the heavy load of intense pink blossoms. Kodaikanal‘s floral charms do not end there and its real highlight is the abundance of blooming cherry trees in that area. Tall Himalayan cherry trees line the star-shaped Kodai Lake as well and come late winter, they start sprouting in faint pink flowers.
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Kodaikanal Travel Facts
- How to Reach – Kodaikanal is easily accessible from most major towns of Tamil Nadu. The nearest airports to the hill town are located in the nearby cities of Madurai, Coimbatore and Trichy, and these are all well connected by road. The nearest railway station is 100 kilometres away from the town at Kodai Road but Dindigul train station offers better connectivity. There are many bus services suitable for all budget available for Kodaikanal from Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, and Trichy.
- Best Time to Visit – Kodaikanal has a pleasant climate throughout the year. The summer months between March and June, are the best (and most crowded) times to visit Kodai. October is also a nice quiet season, to visit this hill station. Kodaikanal is especially prettier since it is right after the monsoon retreat.
- Weather Conditions – Kodaikanal stays mildly cool throughout the year. The summer (April to July )are relatively cool compared to the rest of Tamil Nadu and the daytime temperature never exceeds 22 degrees. Monsoon is from July and September and these months see the maximum rainfall followed by the mildly chilly winter months with temperatures never going below 8 degrees Celsius.
- Accommodation and Getting Around – Kodaikanal offers plenty of accommodation suitable for all pockets and travel styles. Public transportation is also easily available along with bicycles, motorbikes, cars, taxis, and minibusses. Local sightseeing tours which usually start from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm are also available and Kodaikanal is best explored on foot.
- Attractions Kodaikanal – Due to its missionary settlement past, Kodaikanal is dotted with lovely old colonial architecture. Walk around this hill station to explore its churches, lakes, waterfalls, surrounding forests, and occasional fauna. The Tamil Sangam Literature mentions Kodaikanal as a famous pilgrim spot for the Hindus and the town has several temples as well. The Brocken Spectre is a famous optical illusion that can be witnessed on foggy days at the famous Croaker’s Walk.
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