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Old 27th February 2011, 23:46   #1
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Default PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Planned to take the Mondeo for a long drive as it had been subjected to a lot of testing and fixing over the past few weeks. Took the Friday off and decided to make it a three day trip. Was really looking forward to driving the Mondeo on the highways. I have the habit of going for a drive every night and noticed that there were a few issues with the car on a late night drive just before the trip. There was jerking and a lack of power at times especially when the car had run for a while. Seemed like a real bad start for the impending trip on Friday. Went to Ford on Thursday and created enough noise there for them to take me seriously and got to know that the ignition coil and the fuel pump had gone or were in the process of going.

Really miss the OHC VTEC here. Had been through so much over the last six years and not even a whine. Anyway, I have no one to blame but myself.

Dumped the car at Metro ford as none of the afore mentioned parts were in stock and needed to be procured. Decided to take my wife's ever reliable swift for the trip. I had never been to Kodaikanal and had read a lot about the place. Wanted to do this badly. Quickly made arrangements for stay at Villa retreat and hit the road on Friday morning at 6.00am. We were two in the swift.

Near a grassland close to Dindgul
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NH7 obviously is great especially if one is looking for a fast drive. Stopped for breakfast at A2B near Dharmapuri and had yummy Dosas and coffee. Knocked off the regular places enroute and reached Dindigul at 12.00pm. Thereafter, took the Theni route and hit Sembatti and Vathlakundu before reaching Kodaikanal at 2.15pm. Since it is a longish ghat section, it is really good fun if one is driving something other than a bus or truck. Swift being what it is, was in its elements when it was thrown around corners. I have 195 rubber on the car and that kind of keeps the tail from getting too wild. Although I am no fan of the power of this petrol car, it feels nice and peppy and has a very good gear box. All these ensured that we kept ourselves interested till we hit Kodaikanal.

Enroute to Kodaikanal

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Long ago when I was a kid, had read of the Kodaikanal observatory and beauty of the place in C.Radhakrishnan’s “Pullipulikalum Vellinakshatrangalum”(Malayalam literature). The place did not let us down. As we inched closer to the center of Kodaikanal town, it was clear that this was going to be cold. It was 2.00pm in the afternoon and there was a chill in the air. That it had rained the last three days made it all the more special. Mist was everywhere. Things came and went and the whole place had a lazy charm to it. Thankfully, it wasn’t besieged by plastic loving humans to the extent its other illustrious partner has been subjected to.

Checked in at Villa retreat and was greeted by courteous staff. They really knew how to welcome their guests and we had no reason to complain about anything. Would suggest the place to interested travellers. We had a couple of things that we really wanted to see at Kodai. One was Coaker’s walk and another one was Beri Jam. We wanted to get a feel for the place and we felt these examples offered one a chance to do it well. Had a fantastic lunch at Tava near the Seven roads junction. I recommend this place to every traveler. Great vegetarian food and nice folks. Another place that I kept running to was the Royal Tibet. Great place to try Momos and Chowmein. Highly recommended.

Villa Retreat: The view outside our room.
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The cottages and the walkway
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Our room
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Breakfast at Villa
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Evening view of the Villa Retreat
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Woke up early the next morning and decided to visit Coaker's walk. Me and Shivali had a quiet walk with serene surroundings and a bison for company. The view from here was nothing short of spectacular and felt like a walk in the clouds. After Coaker's walk, it was time to visit another Kodaikanal special : Pillar Rock. After enjoying the views, we encountered the world's best bhajjis prepared by a grand old man very near the pillar rock view point. By now it was close to 9 in the morning and we had to get ready for our trip to Beri Jam. Before this we made one detour and visited the spooky Guna caves named after the famous Tamil movie. The place was breathtaking and has a lot of protection today on account of a high court order citing safety reasons. An unofficial death toll that we were told by the local watchman was 45 before the high court intervened.

Me and Shivali at Coakers walk
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Above the clouds
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Gateway to the clouds: Coakers walk
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View near pillar rocks
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Bhajji wala and mouth watering bhajis
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Complicated roots at Guna caves
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Beri jam was a revelation of sorts. Need to take permissions from the D.F.O. at Kodaikanal to get in there. I did not have the energy(read loser) and got a trip arranged from the hotel. At the entrance to Beri Jam, while our driver was busy greasing the palms of the check post guy, we had an unsolicited visitor in the form of a monkey that walked straight into the car and perched itself on the head rest of the driver's seat and made eye contact with my wife who was too petrified to move. Thankfully, it did not find anything to snatch and made a quick getaway.

There are designated places that one can go to at Beri Jam. But I would recommend just going there for nature and pure unadulterated beauty of unspoilt surroundings. We had a nice adventure of sorts climbing a rickety old watch tower well inside Beri Jam. The view from the watch tower was astonishing and made for some good snaps. We were a trifle worried about the strength of the structure as it had started creaking appreciably by then. We were happy to have our feet firmly on the ground again and end the self-imposed ordeal. We continued onward with the Beri jam exploration. A surreal lake reminding us of movie 'Jaws' was the feather in the cap at Beri Jam.

Silent valley at Beri Jam
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cliff edge
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Beri Jam Lake view
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Forest cover
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"Jaws" Relived
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Was told that the road through Beri Jam would take us to Munnar (96kms) but was not open to public anymore. Reason was supposedly smuggling. Am not sure about this. But it kind of looked spooky anyway and one would really need some courage to do this route alone with the wild life around. A smuggler also adds to the charm in these circumstances. The rest of saturday evening was spent walking around the Kodai lake (~5 kms) and indulging in some shopping at P.T.Road. For the interested shopper, 'Danish display' near the bus stand also offers some amusing souvenirs.

After spending Friday and Saturday at Kodai, Sunday saw us start for Bangalore after a sumptuous breakfast at Villa Retreat. Had lunch at a small shack at Dindigul. Really enjoyed the food here. Reached the A2B near Dharmapuri and stopped for coffee and then passed one horrendous accident scene near Krishnagiri where a scorpio was made into a pulp and there was an overturned truck near it giving my over imaginative mind umpteen ways to recreate the scene. Real bad for the guys involved in this one.

Was home by 5.00pm with the trip meter reading 962.5kms. Immediately figured out that Tendulkar had been on the rampage and that I had missed some serious run feast.
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Old 28th February 2011, 05:44   #2
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Default re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Villa Retreat is fun as its next to Coaker's Walk. Not to mention the chocloate guys at entrance!
I hope its still the same!
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Old 28th February 2011, 08:59   #3
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Great pictures. Reminded my trip to Kodaikanal in July 2007. I too stayed in Villa Retreat.

What are the current rates there?
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Old 28th February 2011, 10:07   #4
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Great snaps !. Especially the Coakers walk and pillar rock snaps. Expect more snaps.
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Old 28th February 2011, 10:24   #5
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Default re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

You mean you saw a bison in Coaker's Walk?

The Berijam check post - do the taxi guys get through without permits? Is DFO rationing out the permits or is it easily available?

On the way to Berijam Lake, the photo of your feet on the cliff edge - is that point Ffoulk's Filling - the original suicide point?
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Old 28th February 2011, 18:59   #6
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Default Re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
You mean you saw a bison in Coaker's Walk?

The Berijam check post - do the taxi guys get through without permits? Is DFO rationing out the permits or is it easily available?

On the way to Berijam Lake, the photo of your feet on the cliff edge - is that point Ffoulk's Filling - the original suicide point?
yes HVK. When we were walking along coakers walk, there was a bison standing about 10 ft below on the slope. I spoke to the guards there and they said this was expected though not very frequent. In fact it climbs and comes onto the pavement too is what he mentioned. The cliff edge is very close to the original suicide point is what i heard.

The D.F.O is quite strict with the permits is what I have heard. Since I did not go and get one, I am not sure about it. On the other hand, it is in the interests of the taxi guys to keep it that way for they get a good deal this way from tourists.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 14:58   #7
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Default Re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Hi,
Your Travelogue reminds me the wonderful stay @ Villa retreat in last April.
Spending time in the early morning @ Villa retreat lawn in the backside of the resort is the best thing to happen there.
Regards
sree
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Old 3rd March 2011, 21:07   #8
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Default Re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Nostalgia guys. Have been to Kodai twice last year. last time i went was in December and it was very cold. Loved it. Brings back the memories. Took half a kilo of chocs for distribution at office. Dont see any pics of the mighty kodai lake though.
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Old 8th April 2011, 16:38   #9
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Can you post about the route you took for this trip, including the details. It seems you reached quitre fast, how many breaks were there in the travel time.
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Old 8th April 2011, 17:15   #10
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Default Re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Good to see that Berijam is still unspoilt, I had been there on a trek when in school, we stayed at a small shack by the lakeside and in those days we did not have restrictions on travel to Berijam.
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Old 11th April 2011, 13:44   #11
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Default Re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Hey Buddy, nice trip.

Had been to Kodai in Dec '10, stayed at Villa Retreat in the the first room on the 1st floor with the window overlooking the valley (jewel box as they put it) but as luck would have it, it started raining and the cloud cover blocked out any semblance of a chance to get a peek at anything.
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Old 12th April 2011, 11:33   #12
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@megazoid: Excellent Writeup !!! Great Snaps too and quite informative.

Cheers !!!
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Old 12th April 2011, 12:07   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
Can you post about the route you took for this trip, including the details. It seems you reached quitre fast, how many breaks were there in the travel time.
With no TC's should have been cake walk for him .

Nice Pics Megazoid, did you venture inside the Guna caves ?

BTW don't tell me you sold off your Vtec for a Mondeo !! I liked what she did @ MMSC last time.
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Old 12th April 2011, 13:28   #14
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Default Re: PICS : 3 day trip to Kodaikanal

Hi Megazoid,
First thing First... Nice alloys for the car. What’s the make?

Great Snaps too and good information on the hotels.
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Old 13th April 2011, 09:39   #15
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hi megazoid,
good snaps and write-up. Kodai is always a tempting location for me and my wife. in the past three years already have been there five times. but still once we see these photos we start to think of one more trip to Kodai.
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