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Old 1st May 2009, 11:08   #1
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Default Kodaikanal - The last unspoilt hill station.....so far

The usual summer question !

Where to go ?

Coorg - too hot
Ooty - boring, spoilt, we went there last year
UK- BA are offering flights at 20k - checked it was 30k all told + my nephews are having exams and money is little tighter

"sigh" said the wife, X is going to Mumbai, Y is going to Langkawi, my beloved friend Sreya is going to her house in Kodai

Kodai! - thats it, lets go!

It is a 9 hour journey

We'll stay in Salem enroute!

Rang the Kodai Club - sorry saar, easter weekend till June 15th fully booked. we have a room from Monday till Good Friday though

We grabbed it!

Week before -Skoda went into tighten suspension. I invested in a set of allen keys. Wondered whether to take the laptop but settled on the diagnostic cable only..just in case! Of course, a clean and polish.

Checked out route via t-bhp and felt we could do it in a day. Planned to go via Perundurai

Mon 6.15: Loaded her up and we whooshed on (the girls in my company define the skoda pace as...whoosh!). Post Hosur, we made good progress. The roads were good except for the irritating speeds humps on the descent approaching Thoppur. Decided to do a course correction and go via Salem.

8.45: Drive into Salem, we arrived at Cenney's Gateway - decent toilets and a good breakfast

9.30: Drive out of Salem- rush hour - nothing compared to Bangalore but slow. Get on the road to Madurai and we proceed. 20km out, I let the wife take over. Her highway driving has improved and I let things be. Plenty of politicians campaigning and driving hard from place to place - best to give them a wide berth. Little girl now has an i-pod of her own so we are not subjected to ABBA.

4 laning in progress so plenty of on road, off road, on road when you should be off, off road when you should be on. Couple of cars play emming and follow us and sometimes curse.

11.30: I take over and an hour later we reach Dindigul.

12.30: Top up the car and ask direction to Kodai road (big mistake - Kodai Road is a place, road to Kodaikanl is another place!).

"Saar - straight, cirrrkal and then raight caat"

We proceed but 15 km on we see no signs, the hills are moving to the right further. We turn back and ask. We are told to take a road below a highway way. Descend down and there is a vague sign but the riad loooks to small for a state highway. We go into Dindigul and a cop seems to signal that is the road. We take it but it leads into a village. The villagers are really helpful and take me to a field and show me a road parallel.

That sign was misleading, it should have mentioned a U turn first. We double back and get on the road. Meanwhile my friend is tracking our movements.

Road to Vattlagundu - the market town prior to the climb is pleasant - treelined and flat. Good visibility so the pace is good.

We then hit the ghats. These are mild and the RS shows what it is made of. PLay predator a la Animal Planet. Patiently stalking tracks, buses and the minute, a safe opportunity opens up - whoosh! Then comes a narrow stretch, am stuck behind an Indigo CS, God bless him - he moves aside when he sees a gap and we climb on.

We stop for 10 min and blast - forgot to charge the camera

So out comes the mobile
Kodaikanal - The last unspoilt hill station.....so far-dsc00123.jpg Kodaikanal - The last unspoilt hill station.....so far-dsc00124.jpg Kodaikanal - The last unspoilt hill station.....so far-dsc00125.jpg


Here is the RS covered in road dust
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Hit the checkpoint and pay Rs 20 entrance. As I roll down the window - find a whiff of petrol. We roll into Kodai and guided by Yogi on the phone reach the Club. The reception is at the peak point of the property. The rooms are near the lake meaning we need to drive down to the lakeside.

Drive to the rooms and people are waiting to unload. Notice a few Bangalore reg cars.

Rooms are clean if spartan but for Rs 2200 - whose complaining.

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I check the Skoda over for the pterol smell. No leaks and fuel consumptionn did not show anything abnormal. Probaby ran rich on the climb up.

Yogi and co call. They are coming over. We climb up to the club house and have tea in the rooms. Kids play badminton. We then decide to go to their house but first we need to ensure our dinner order is placed (2 hour notice reqd)

We drive around the lake. Our friends live on a hill adjoining this. They have an old rambling house which is rented out on short term lets and a really cute cottage.

We hang out and return for a great Roast chicken

Last edited by ajmat : 1st May 2009 at 18:31.
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Old 1st May 2009, 11:50   #2
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Default Day 2

Plan as follows:

Coakers Walk, over to our friends for lunch and golf

Our freinds come over. Kids mess around outside
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We then walk upto Coakers Walk. Plenty of vendors hanging around selling fresh vegetables, stuffed toys and of course photo portraits. It is hot but the views are spectacular
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We walk back to the club and see an old church. Some pics of the stained glass
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We chill out in the club. Kids play badminton

Last edited by ajmat : 1st May 2009 at 11:52.
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Old 1st May 2009, 12:07   #3
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We then pop over to their place for lunch. We eat in the garden something not done for a long time! The flora is amazing
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After lunch, Yogi and I drive to the Kodai Golf Club. This place is amazing. The hills are awesome. You tee off but have no idea whether the hole is as it is on the other side of the hill. The inclines are steep. Also , some of the holes involve hitting across./ over the road and tourists love to stop and watch you!

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We only finished 9 hols. the caddies were pooped. Decided to come again and finish the course. Went home and retired for the night

Last edited by ajmat : 1st May 2009 at 12:25.
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Old 1st May 2009, 19:02   #4
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Default Day 3

The plan was to go boating and then bike around the lake. However there was a big temple festival and a lot of tourists were expected. Time to getway.

Yogi calls and suggests we go to Berijam. We need to get special permission from the Forestry Department. They get permits for two cars and we set off.

Berijam is about 20km outside Kodaikanal. The entrance is 10km and then you descend down a forst road to the lake which is anoth 10km. Only 20 cars are allowed per day. Apprarently, a lot of narcotics were grown/ processed until it was made off limits to the general public.

Yogi and co appear at the club and we follow them. They are in a Premier Padmini (his late father in laws - kept as sentimental value). It has reasonable pace until we reach the hill climbs. Then it sounds like a hen trying to disgorge and Ostrich egg.

We reach the Berijam entrance
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Yogi's wife goes in to the guards office and they validate her pass. Then it is my turn. They are a bit wary as I have a "foren" reg. Am asked to give a "cleaning" fee. They never asked her as she was a lady. Gave Rs 50.

We drive in. The descent is awesome. Nice weather, sunroof open, it is surreal
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We drive down and reach the lake and a barrier. we cannot go further. A few Qualii were around. We get out and lok at the swamp lake. We decide to walk on the nature trail
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It was nice and relatively unspoilt. "relatively" - despite restrictions, we saw disposable dinner plates, a couple of used diapers and a smashed windscreen dumped around.

Lunchtime, so time for a picnic. We drive back to the lake. there is a clearing to park the cars and a nice spot across the road on the side of the lake.
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Several cars stop plannng to park in the clearing but drive on seing that the prime spot is taken. Lunch over, we decide to head back. We stop at a few scenic spots on the way
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Where there are tourists, are food and also monkeys. Got this close range
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The fiat chugs on, we stop and take various pictures and catch up. Pass the Forest entrance and hand in the psses and we carry on. Yogi's wife is driving the Fiat and the lack of power frustrates her. We stop at Pillar rock but it is too foggy to view. Igive her the Skoda...and the ladies vanish.

I join Yogi in the Fiat, my head touching the roof, knees kissing my stomach, no belts - how did we manage happily in those days ?

Reach the club for tea. Ladies go to buy snacks and my wife meets a long lost aunt who insists on a visit. Reclaim the Skoda and go to Yogi's house. Ladies decide to visit this aunt and so....they whack the Skoda.

1 hour, 2 hours pass. They appear on the third hour

Excuses as follows - we went to there and met the neighbours and someone from Bangalore, they made so many connections with each other, it amounted to a free for all gossip exchange

Next excuse - coming back, there was a huge bison blocking the road

They picked up a nice chicken pie from the club and that was dinner
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Last edited by ajmat : 1st May 2009 at 19:10.
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Old 1st May 2009, 19:24   #5
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Default Day 4 - chilling out

We did the more touristy things like boating and riding.

First went to the Boat Club and we went rowing around the lake
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After that we went horse riding. It is regulated - fixed cost. The kids got on and rode. Then the horses are stopped and we are asked whether to go on. Allowed it twice but we could see the meters ticking!
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Get back to the club and a badminton match is in progress
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Go to the club for lunch and then it is time for some unfinished business - the golf course.

Before that, we visit Pillar Rock
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The second half was not so tough - plenty of tourists watch us tee off while the caddies give a Golf 101 briefing to them.

We finish and then the caddies show us "suicide Point" adjoining the Golf Club
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Get home for dinner and return to the club. Order sandwiches and then settle the bill. That was an event

The person at the counter was drunk or imcompetent

He tots up a bill, twice what was estimated. I then go through and find he charges bills of another room.

I rip them out and he still comes up with a total which is over the top. I then snatch the calculator and show him actual cost. he can see the anger welling up and cows down.

I ensure Yogi makes a complaint !
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Old 1st May 2009, 19:32   #6
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Default Heading back

We leave early at 6.30am

15 k m down the road, we are stopped at the check point.

A government bus has a puncture and blocked all traffic. No one has come up. So advised to go back - we decide to carry on and try our luck. We see a queue o a few minibuses.

Notice a Qualis trying to pass the stricken bus. It looks possible. The passengers encourge us and fold our mirros. We edge forward and then we are told that there is no passage beyond this. Am about to reverse only to find the Qualis has moved on and we are then waved on. This cost us 30 in

We drive down. The queue is 3 km longs. Lots of "night riders" from Bangalord and Kerala comng up. The journey is the reverse except my daughter felt nauscious on the way down (guess why!). Th

We reach salem around 11.00. Stopped for a snack at Chenneys. Rolled into Bangalore at around 3.00. Karnataka Roads being what they are, we landed with a bump.

Being Good friday, it was easy sailing

All in all, a great holiday. Once the dual lanes are completed, will certainly go there more often for a spot of golf!
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Old 1st May 2009, 23:39   #7
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Ajmat did you visit that waterfall?
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Old 2nd May 2009, 19:01   #8
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We passed it on the way up. Not much water so did not merit a pic
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Old 2nd May 2009, 19:36   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
We passed it on the way up. Not much water so did not merit a pic
And what about that match stick jungle? Did you go to the other side of Berijam lake?
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Old 3rd May 2009, 00:02   #10
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Nice travelogue. It would have been better if you used your camera instead of cell phone camera. I was supposed to go there this log weekend, but due to some reason could not.
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Old 3rd May 2009, 00:20   #11
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Ajmat, nice writeup. Brough back the memories from 4 years ago when i & my wife went there for honeymoon.

There are some waterfalls deep in the hills where only few people go. The tour organizers have that on the menu but very few people pick that up. They take you to a church by vehicle and then it is all trekking. Great viewpoints of waterfalls and valley. We even got drenched in a fall. While going to the viewpoint for the valley i found small shacks offering slippers for rent.
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Old 3rd May 2009, 09:59   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
Nice travelogue. It would have been better if you used your camera instead of cell phone camera. I was supposed to go there this log weekend, but due to some reason could not.
Ahem, except for the climb up and the golf course pics, all the other pics are from a camera!
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Old 3rd May 2009, 10:05   #13
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Your camera sensor needs cleaning. Nothing heavy at this point but do not allow them to sit tight there. Follow your instruction manual to clean it.
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Old 3rd May 2009, 10:05   #14
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Nice one there Ajmat !!
I agree completely with the Kodai Road confusion. Kodai Road-Dindigul-Vatalagundu is like a triangle.

Can anyone get permits to enter that jungle to the lake? If yes, how?

Abhi
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Old 3rd May 2009, 10:08   #15
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Nice travelogue but why only one single lonely pic of the RS. I can see the front chin of the RS has had close encounters with many obstacles.
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