Switzerland of the East
|State||: Tamil Nadu|
|Type of Tourism||: Hill Station|
|Area||: 21.45 square kilometers|
|Population||: 32,931 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 2,133 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: All round the year, especially from September to June|
|Clothing recommended||: Heavy Woolen in Winter, Light Woolen in Summer.|
|Languages spoken||: Tamil, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (04542), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 624101|
|What to buy||: Assorted Cheeses, Home Made Chocolates, Eucalyptus Oil, Herbal Oils, Aromatic Oils, Winter Oil, Herbal Tea, Coffee, Spices, Flowers, Fruits, Marshmallows, Jam, Peanut Butter, Brown Bread, Muffins, Woolen Clothes, Tibetan Warm Clothes, Shawls, Handicrafts, Toys, Jewellery, Leather Items, Bone and Walnut Wood Articles, Ceramic Items, Handloom, Embroidery, etc.|
|Local transportation||: On foot, cycle, bus|
Snuggled amidst the Parappar and Gundar Valleys in the southern ridge of upper Palani Hills in Western Ghats, Kodaikanal, popularly referred to as ‘Kodai’ is one of the most cherished and most sought after hill resorts in India. Perched at the altitude of 2133 meters above the sea level, Kodaikanal, entitled by the moniker; the ‘Princess of Hill Stations’ is a paradise both for the nature lovers and the honeymooners. Endowed with the infinite natural charisma featured by its majestic hills, dense forests, huge boulders, enchanting water cataracts, charming lakes, far-reaching orchards, aromatic coffee & spice plantations and alluring flora, Kodaikanal is an ethereal Arcadia descended from the heaven. Particularly acclaimed for its Kurinji Flowers blossoming once in every 12 years, Kodaikanal is indeed a poet’s inspiration and a painter’s imagination. The serene and composed environs and the intoxicating air of Kodaikanal coupled with the breathtaking scenery mesmerize its beholders to no extent. The title Kodaikanal has derived from Tamil Language which means ‘The Gift of the Forest’. The sylvan beauty of this dazzling hill station is indeed an unparalleled present bestowed upon the humankind by the almighty universe. The bewildering pulchritude of Kodaikanal renders this vicinity a just right summer escape and an ideal vacation retreat with your loved ones. Kodaikanal, cram packed with the immeasurable and never-ending deluge of loveliness and exquisiteness is an unsurpassed creation of Mother Nature. You have not tasted the true essence of elegance if you have not witnessed the incessant beauteousness of Kodaikanal.
History Of Kodaikanal
In ancient times Kodaikanal was inhabited by Paliyan Tribes. The earliest references to the name Kodaikanal and the Palani Hills are found in the Tamil Sangam Literature of the early 1st century AD. The present day Kodaikanal as a Hill Resort was established by American missionaries in collaboration with British bureaucrats in the year 1845 to escape from the scorching heat and tropical diseases of the Deccan Plateau.
B. S. Ward, a British Lieutenant was the first westerner who climbed up the hilly ranges of Palani in 1821 and reported Kodaikanal to be a place offering beautiful panoramas and salubrious climate. The subsequent visitors of Kodaikanal were Mr. J.C Wroughten, the then Sub-Collector of Medora, Mr. C. R. Cotton, a member of the Madras Presidency and Dr. Robert Wight a celebrated botanist from London. ‘Sunny Side’ and ‘Shelton’ were the two initial bungalows built at Kodaikanal by six families of American missionaries from Madurai.
The first person to actually settle at Kodaikanal was Major J. M. Partridge of the Bombay Army who built a house there in 1852 AD. With the establishment of a residence by Blackburne; the Collector of Madurai, the growth and expansion of Kodaikanal was accelerated. Kodai’s first church; the ‘Anglican Church of St. Peter’ was founded by a group of Americans and British in the year 1853. Gradually the number of British Officials and American Missionaries visiting and settling at Kodaikanal increased. In later years a lake was constructed here and Eucalyptus & Wattle trees imported from Australia were introduced to Kodaikanal Plateau. In 1871, Kodaikanal was visited by Lord Napier; the Governor of Madras who established a bungalow named Napier Villa here. During this time the fame of Kodaikanal as a pleasant summer retreat increased and it came to be widely accepted as an alternative to Ootacamund.
Lt. Coaker who built the Coaker's Walk in 1872 is reckoned for creating the most descriptive map of Kodaikanal. By 1883 Kodaikanal had become the regular summer retreat for many British and Americans and the hamlet had 615 permanent residents. Eventually, roads, lakes, observatory, hospitals, bungalows were built and this small hill station of Kodaikanal grew into being a thriving holiday destination. Elite Indians came to realize the worth of this delightful hill station only in 20th century and started frequenting this paradise personified. Today Kodaikanal is a foremost Hill Resort of Tamil Nadu and a flourishing tourist destination repeatedly visited by millions of domestic as well as foreign travelers every year.