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Old 25th February 2022, 17:07   #1
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Default Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” – Ibn Battuta

Prologue



A trip to Kodaikanal has been on our list for a long time. I've been in Coimbatore for 4 years now, and its embarrassing to say that I'm yet to visit the Princess of Hill Stations! So with the destination selected, we began to make our plans. Picking a date was always going to be tough for me and my wife, with both of us being from completely different professions. The process of applying for a leave goes something like this:

Engineer:

1. Apply for leave
2. Done

Doctor:

1. Pick a date well in advance
2. Check with colleagues about their leaves
3. Make sure someone can cover
4. Inform superiors about leave
5. Pray they don't take an emergency leave just before your trip
6. Feel guilty about abandoning your patients
7. Done

Once we picked the dates, we invited our friend Himanshu and his family for the trip. They planned to start later in the day due to some prior commitments. Shout out to them for being such great travel companions!

Route

The route to Kodai from Coimbatore is pretty straightforward. There are 2 possible routes, both of which meet at Pazhani.

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We took the Pollachi - Udumalapetta route. If one were to start later in the day, Google maps would suggest the Palladam - Dharapuram route.

Stay

We preferred to look for a homestay in Kodai, since it would be far cozier than any hotel. Big thanks to BHPian batterylow for suggesting Maruti Villa Homestays. Its located by the Old Upper Lake Road and has a great view of the Kodaikanal Lake. We contacted the owner directly and booked a 2 bedroom cottage.

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Places to Visit

Our trip was for 2.5 days and we planned to cover the following places:

1. Silver Cascade waterfalls
2. Coakers Walk
3. Bryant Park
4. Mannavanur Lake
5. Moir Point
6. Guna Caves
7. Pillar Rocks
8. Green Valley Viewpoint
9. Kodaikanal Lake
10. Pine Forest

There were still plenty of places to see, including the Vattakanal Waterfalls, trek to Dolphin Nose point, Wax Museum, Berijam Lake to name a few. Kodai definitely deserves one more visit!

Ride

Our Rapid 1.6 TDi has been sulking in the apartment parking lot for quite some time. Ever since our Munnar Trip (Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar) last July, she's been stuck mostly with the inter-city commute within Kerala. A highway mile muncher like the Rapid being subjected to traffic duties, is in my opinion, a hate crime!

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Our friends would be driving their Verna 1.6.

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 15th March 2022 at 12:45.
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Old 27th February 2022, 12:11   #2
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Day 1



We woke up early to finish some last minute packing. We had a pre-prepared checklist which includes toiletries, gadgets and their associated adaptors and cables, vehicle papers etc., stuff that is very essential for travel. Since we planned to stop for breakfast at Pollachi, we just had some strong black coffee. I had filled in around 30L of diesel the previous day and checked all the tyres. We hit the road by around 6:20AM.

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We had to deal with some early morning traffic while we crossed Coimbatore town. But the roads cleared once we left the city. I always enjoy driving on the Pollachi road early in the morning. Wide roads with minimal traffic!

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Coimbatore to Pazhani

Breakfast at Amrutha Surabhi Restaurant

We stopped for breakfast at the Amrutha Surabhi Restaurant, on the Pollachi - Udumalpetta road.

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Thanks to the nearly empty roads, we reached the hotel in just an hour. Since its just by the highway, we didn't have to drive around inside the town to find it.

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We had doshas and they tasted fantastic! We really loved their coconut chutney. Ordered some extra strong filter kaapi too.

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The restaurant has a small area to relax, along with a souvenir shop. A good place for travelers to have some tasty food and take a short break. The washrooms are really clean and well maintained.

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Windfarms near Udumalpetta

About 15-20 kms outside of Pollachi town, we started to cross through the windfarms. While it was very scenic, it became oddly scary once we got near them! For some reason, I keep imagining them growing feet and walking off (like the tripods from the movie War of the Worlds)! Whilst my wife started hyper-ventilating imagining them to be interconnected channels that relay human data to aliens that are plotting to subjugate earth (thanks to her newly found love for sci-fi).

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Spot the windmills!

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Udumalpetta to Pazhani

Some slight traffic at Udumalpetta, but otherwise a smooth drive.

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After we crossed the town, traffic became less dense and sporadic. Once we overtook the occasional slow moving truck or a bus, it was all clear for the next several kms.

Just before reaching Pazhani town, we took a right and entered the Pazhani bypass road.

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Halfway through the bypass, we took the right turn into the Pazhani - Kodaikanal road.

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Pazhani to Kodaikanal

Pazhani to Palar Dam View Point

This is the first view point on the ghat road and is on the first hairpin bend, overlooking the reservoir. It would have been easy to miss it, if it weren't for Gmaps.

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Once we started approaching the ghats, the scenery became extremely beautiful! There were several stretches of almost uninterrupted tree canopy! A sight for sore eyes what with the only uninterrupted anything for the past few months we ever saw was unending lines of traffic.

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There were several small villages on the way. Be extremely careful along this stretch, as small children can dart onto the road without warning. The sunlight passing through the gaps in the canopy would require our eyes to continuously adjust to the light/dark , even as we rejoice in the beauty of the said canopy.

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The Kodai ghat section started soon. A huge board welcomed us to the Princess of Hill Stations!

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Palar Dam View point

The dam view point is a small view tower/platform on the first hairpin bend. We parked a short distance ahead, making sure that there is enough space for heavy vehicles to pass.

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The tower is pretty small, but provided a good view of the reservoir and the surrounding fields.

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View of the road from the tower. The tower is quite literally on the bend! Several motorists passing by the spot were looking at us in confusion, perhaps wondering why 2 people were carrying around a DSLR and taking selfies on what seemed like an abandoned tower! Tourists!

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While were were out taking pics, she just sat there taking in the sun!

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Palar Dam View Point to Silver Cascade Falls

Next stop was the Silver Cascade waterfalls. It is located by the side of the road, just after the Kodaikanal Municipality toll booth.

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We took our sweet time crossing the hairpins, enjoying the view all the way. As someone addicted to the hills, this was like a long delayed dose and I took it all in smiling from ear to ear! By this time, our morning food had started to run out. Our Rapid may have a great mileage, but we don't! Our tummies started throwing up low fuel warnings! So as soon as we spotted these bunch of shops, we parked on the side.

They were selling all types of fruits, and we bought some passion fruit and longans. There was a tea stall nearby from where we had some excellent masala tea.

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She still had plenty of fuel in her tank, and so was more than happy to take a short break and simply enjoy the forests all around her!

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Moving on, we didn't plan on stopping until we reached the falls. But then we came upon this spot that was just too pretty to ignore! Got down and took a lot of pictures! There's a somewhat similar looking spot near Kotagiri (Yet another solo ride this weekend - Ooty trip on my Yamaha RX100). While I think that this one just as pretty, quite a few BHPians have strongly disagreed!

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Just before noon, we reached the Kodaikanal toll booth, where we were promptly flagged down by the guys manning it. It became quite apparent that they were only stopping non-TN registered cars. Fair enough, I guess, as there were plenty of KL/KA vehicles headed to the hill station for the weekend. They told us that a covid test was mandatory to enter. Sure, covid safety and all that! Just that there was one poor dude standing in the sun in full PPE gear, while none of the others were even wearing masks! Even the vaccine certificate wasn't enough. Anticipating something like this, we both had carried our work ID cards with us, and we tried to convince the guy that we are from Coimbatore. My wife's hospital ID card did the trick! He scratched his head for a couple of seconds and then waved us through!

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Silver Cascade Waterfalls

The falls came up just after the toll booth. Plenty of shops nearby selling snacks and souvenirs. This is the entrance to the falls.

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It wasn't rainy season and we weren't expecting much. And yes, it turned out to be a damp (dry, more like) squib. There was very little water, and the park around the falls was also closed. The lower part of the falls was covered in garbage. Sigh....

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Silver Cascade Waterfalls to Maruti Villa Homestays

We reached the Kodai town by noon. Due to it being a weekday, there was very little crowd.

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We drove straight for the homestay, which is located on the Old Upper Lake road. The owner was available when we arrived, and he showed us to our cottage.

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It was a very cozy and pretty place, with plenty of antiques everywhere. There was a small kitchen with a gas stove, and a main hall/ bedroom, with the smaller second bedroom inside. It was incredibly clean and well maintained!

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Day 1, to be continued...

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 15th March 2022 at 12:56.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 23:34   #3
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Day 1, continued...

A few more pictures from the room upstairs. There is a small sitting area with a whole bunch of antiques. Check out the Godrej and Remington typewrites. The last time I used a rotary telephone was at my grandparents house, back when I was a little kid!

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Maruti Villa Homestay to Fairy Falls


The owner had shared the lunch menu with us and we had ordered lunch well in advance. Food was ready by the time we checked into our room. They set up a table and a few chairs in the lawn in front. After lunch and a couple of hours of rest, we headed out again. Our first stop was going to be 'The Fairy Falls'. The place came highly recommended on multiple tourism websites, and we thought we'd check it out.

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Aaaaay! There's the Hol.. err.. Kollywood sign!
Its actually part of an amusement park near the falls. Its been closed for a long time though.

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The falls were supposed to be a bit further ahead (atleast, according to Google maps). We, however, hit a dead end, with this big gate closed in our faces! We asked around and came to know that the falls is closed too, for some maintenance work (for the next tourist season I guess??). Damn! We should've checked with someone before starting. Anyway, we got to see the world famous Kollywood sign. That's a win in my books!

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Fairy Falls to Kodaikanal Lake

Next on our list was the Kodaikanal Lake, and we drove directly to the parking lot. There wasn't much of a rush and we found a spot quickly.

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There are many cycle rentals all around and plenty of people were riding around the lake. We too approached one of the stalls for a bike. They seemed to be reasonably well maintained. We had seen a few couples riding on one of those fancy 2 seater bikes and we thought we'd try one of those. Sadly, we had a tough time maintaining balance and nearly kissed the asphalt. We exchanged it for a couple of 1 HP (Human Power) variants. While we initially had grand plans to make one whole round, the sad reality that neither of us had been on the non-engined 2-wheeler in a long time humbled us up pretty fast! Energy levels, and hence motivation evaporating quickly, we returned after covering just 3-4 kms (one whole round around the lake is around 6 kms).

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Bryant Park

The park is within walking distance from the Lake parking lot. The park was built in 1908, by the forest officer H D Bryant. It's a botanical garden, with many varieties of plants, including flowering ones. The path leading from the lake to the park entrance is lined with shops and stalls selling chocolates, snacks, clothes, oils etc.

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Due to it not being season, there were no flowers in sight. Even the greens looked dull. Still, we had a fun time exploring the park. There's a greenhouse, and even a small artificial lake inside. We sat on the grass for some time, enjoying the cool breeze and taking in the scenery.

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Coakers Walk

With the evening approaching, we started towards Coakers Walk, which is within walking distance from the park. Its a long paved path running along the edge of a hill. By the time we reached there, fog was starting to set, and visibility was dropping. There was very little crowd there, due to it being a weekday, and so we were able to enjoy a leisurely stroll.

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These are the hills towards the south of Kodai. Even though visibility was less, we thoroughly enjoyed the walk through the cool breeze.

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The paved path made for an easy climb. It was very clean and well maintained.

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There is also a telescope here, though it has been closed for some time now.

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There's another telescope/snacks shop built on a platform on the slope. I guess on a clear day, one could get a great view. They were charging entry fees just to get inside this place too! Since it was too crowded inside, we skipped it.

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Coakers walk to Munchees

We headed over to Munchees Restaurant. It was close to Coakers walk, but there is very limited space in front of it to park. We parked our car in the highlighted area.

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Its a small place with limited seating capacity.

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The ambience was wonderful though! The staff were very friendly too.

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We ordered burgers and fries, both of which were extremely delicious! I highly recommend anyone visiting here to try their beef and potato burger. We also had a slice of cheesecake, which was decadent as well!

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With our tummies full, we drove slowly back to the homestay. We had thought of taking a walk along the road, but it was too cold. With nothing more to do, we turned in for the night.

Our friends had started from Coimbatore by around 7 PM and they finally reached by around 12.


End of Day 1

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 17th March 2022 at 11:54.
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Old 5th March 2022, 15:07   #4
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Day 2



Woke up early on day 2, which happened to be election day here in Kodai. We had ordered breakfast the previous night itself, so that the staff could prepare it before they left to vote. We took it to the room upstairs where we had steaming idlis watching the lake. For the day's trip, we took our Rapid.


Maruti Homestay to Mannavanur Lake

Our plan for the morning was the Mannavanur lake. The lake is about 35 kms from the town, and there are a few viewpoints along the way. Since this would take up half a day, it is preferable to cover it in the morning itself.

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Even though we started quite early, the town had started filling up with the weekend tourists. People were parking by the roadside all over the place and traffic was building up. Along the Observatory road, even tourist buses had parked on both sides, leading to even more chaos! We faced tough traffic all the way till Moir Point. Once we took the deviation towards Mannavanur, the roads became empty. Most of the tourists were headed towards the Guna Caves/ Pillar Rock route, leaving the route to Mannavanur mostly empty.

We had a very pleasant drive through the thick pine forests. I guess there are plenty of eucalyptus tress here too, since every now and then we would get the tell-tale soothing smell.

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Palani Malai View Point

About 40 minutes into the drive, we saw this board. We hadn't read about this spot anywhere, nonetheless we weren't the type to skip a view point.

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There's an area with railing, from where we can catch a nice view of the Pazhani hills. There's also a small shop selling tea, snacks etc. from where we topped up our morning dose of caffeine. *Monkey Warning* Be very careful of our tailed ancestors! They can decent from the trees in a group and try to snatch whatever is in your hands. The shopkeeper had an actual slingshot and was using it to chase these critters away. We had to make a run towards our car.

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Poombarai Village View Point

Just a couple of kms ahead, came the Poombarai Village Viewpoint. I wouldn't suggest to follow Google maps here, since the point shown is just beside a hotel, where its quite crowded. Just drive ahead a few hundred meters and and you can find an empty spot to get a good view. We parked our Rapid safely by the side.

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The village is surrounded by terrace farm lands, which gives the village a very aesthetic appearance.

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Southern Regional Research Centre

Our next stop was the Southern Research Centre, which is a part of ICAR- Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute. The center was established in 1965, and mainly carries out research on sheep and rabbits, for meat and wool. Entry tickets can be purchased from a booth by the entrance.

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Once inside, its a short, but very beautiful drive to the center.

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Once again there was a strong smell of eucalyptus, there might be a few trees around.

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There's a designated parking area, but cars were parked haphazardly over there. We parked a little ahead, lest someone block or worse, swipe us.

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Just ahead was the rabbit shed. As per wiki, the center is breeding Angora and White Giant varieties. We spent quite some time here, fawning over these fluffy bunnies! Quite a lot of aaaaawwwwws were generated at regular intervals!

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Just behind it was the sheep pen. It was very well kept too. The ones pictured here are the Merino sheep, on which research is carried out.

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All of them have different coloured paint/markings atop, perhaps to identify them for breeding purposes.

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Behind the sheep pen, there is a path leading to the hill top. It's a large open area with a great view of the hills around the Mannavanur lake.

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Mannavanur lake can be seen from here. There is a fence at the foot of the hill, the boundary of the institute. There are paths beyond the fence, perhaps hiking paths towards the lake.

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The whole gang. We sat down under the pine tree for a bit. The kids had fun playing with the pine cones.

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A pic of the pine cones on the tree. Hey.. that's a very odd looking cone. Wait.. why is the cone buzzing?? Oh crap!

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After spending some more time here, we walked back to the entrance. A guy was offering horse rides by entrance, so the girls hopped on and took a ride.

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Mannavanur Lake

The Mannavanur Eco Tourism site was just a few kms ahead. Its a short drive, but the roads were not in the best of condition. We parked our car just after a small bridge and walked to the entrance. Entry tickets have to be purchased from a counter near the main gate. I believe the place is maintained by the forest department. Just inside the main gate, there are a few shops/stalls selling snacks and refreshments. Clean toilets are available too. Note that this area has no network coverage, meaning no online payments, so make sure to carry enough cash. There was a stall selling raw mango slices with salt and chilli which instantaneously made our mouths water. We literally had to scrape the bottom of our wallets to find enough change.


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To reach the lake, its a 500m hike from the entrance. The path is a bit rocky at places, elsewhere its just fine. There's a small stream on the way, with very cool water flowing. Just dipping our hands into it was very refreshing!

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Finally, the lake comes into view at the end of the trail. The forest department has placed a few benches here and there, and there is plenty of space near the banks to sit down and relax.

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The one thing that struck us was how calm and peaceful it was here. Truly serene! Far away from all the dust and sounds of human activity, this pristine gem of nature has a deep soothing effect on our minds. Even though there were a few tourists nearby, the only sounds we could hear were the rustling of leaves in the gentle breeze. If we had more time, we gladly would have spent all day here, just lying in the grass and taking in the beauty. I might be repeating myself, but the sight of the blue water surrounded by the meadow is very hard to take your eyes away from.

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There is a small boat house on one side, where there are paddle boats for rent. Do note that the tickets for boating have to be purchased from the ticket booth at the entrance itself. We really ended up kicking ourselves for not getting them. Would have been totally worth it.


Mannavanur Lake to Guna Caves

Back in the car, we started the drive back to town. The route back takes you to Moir Point, Guna Caves and Pillar Rocks, all of which are close to each other.

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Lunch

By the time we started from the lake, it was close to 1PM, and we decided to stop at a hotel on the way. All the hiking had burnt up so much of our energy that by the time we reached Poombarai, my stomach had wrested the control of my arms and feet from my brain and was driving the car to the first hotel it could find. The place is right next to the view point. The food was acceptable, to put it mildly. The only highlight was the clean bathrooms, which is a boon for female travelers.

Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations-pxl_20220219_081240647.jpg


Moir Point

The Moir point is at a junction where 3 roads meet, one leading to Mannavanur, one to Berijam and the other leading to Kodai town. The forest check post entry to Berijam is located here. Fog was starting to descent by the time we reached the place. Being one of the more popular tourist spots in Kodai, it was pretty crowded by the time we reached. Even though there is a clearing in the woods nearby to park the cars, people had parked carelessly all over the place. Even large buses had parked by the narrow road, leading to unnecessary confusion.

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The spot is named after Thomas Moir, who began the construction of the road leading to Berijam Lake. The spot has a monument dedicated to him.

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There is a watch tower on one side. By the time we got to it, fog had completely descended upon the area.

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View from the top of the tower. The fog chose to hide the beautiful hills from us.

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As we watched, the monument started slowly fading. With nothing more to see, literally, we left the place.

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The woods covered in fog had a spooky feel to it, kind of like the Forbidden Forest in a certain wizarding world! It would be extremely scary to be here at night!


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Day 2, to be continued...

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 17th March 2022 at 12:09.
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Old 6th March 2022, 22:28   #5
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Day 2 continued...


Visibility was very poor by the time we got back on the road. At several places, the only thing we could see were the brake lights of the vehicle in front. We kept our speed very low to prevent any mishaps.

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Pine Forest

As per Google maps, there is a pine forest view point between Moir Point and Guna Caves, and we set it as our destination. I had downloaded the map for Kodai, so offline navigation was available. However, about 500m before the destination, we came across a small clearing in the woods, with a few cars parked nearby. We too parked on the side and got out.

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We set about exploring the place. Fog was covering the place in waves and it was truly a spooky experience! There were enough people around, so spooky didn't escalate to scary! Occasionally, a beam of sunlight would filter in through the fog and the canopy, making the place look all the more surreal!

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We happily spent close to an hour here, walking around and taking pics. Really loved the place, mostly due to there being just the right amount of crowd. Not too much that you're always looking for an empty space to take pics, not too little that you're always looking over your shoulder!

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Having some fun! *Monkey Alert* These critters can get real aggressive. Who would have thought us encroaching upon their habitat would get them all worked up???? One of them even jumped onto Shruthi and tried to snatch her bag! It was bananas!! Once again we had to run to the car.

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This is the View point as shown by Google Maps. There was a hu-uuge crowd in front, and we were glad we didn't have to stop here!

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Guna Caves a.k.a Devil's Kitchen

A little ahead was our next stop. Its a cave system, which exists between the pillar shaped rocks, i.e. the Pillar Rocks. The place has a bit of history.

Quote:
The Guna Caves go way back to 1821. These, like most other hidden treasures found near Kodaikanal, were discovered by a British officer B.S. Ward. However, the Caves were lost in memory and were rediscovered for their natural beauty in the 1990s.

The Guna Caves get their name from the popular movie Guna, which was shot here in 1992. They are originally known as the Devil’s Kitchen. As per Hindu mythology, these caves are where the Pandavas cooked their meals and hence the word ‘kitchen’. Whereas, no one has yet been able to say, where the word ‘Devil’ comes from. According to some travelers, the word Devil comes from the bats that reside in the cave. These dark creatures of the night are known to treat the Guna Caves as their popular hangout for quite some time now.
The entrance/ticket counter is at a hairpin bend, and there's ample parking space at the end of the turning. Do note that the entry closes at 4:30 PM, so make sure to plan accordingly. We reached by around 3:30 PM, giving us plenty of time to explore.

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A flight of stairs leading into the misty woods!

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Once at the top, its a short hike to get to the view point. I've seen pics online of the place in bright sunlight, but I prefer the misty, foggy conditions. It gives the place a mysterious, almost supernatural feel.

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The highlight of the spot! The tangled root mesh network. The entire side of the hill is taken up by these roots. I could imagine the roots moving and the trees getting up, Narnia style!

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We had a lot of fun climbing. There are small patches of solid ground between the roots, and we can use the roots to navigate to them. Some sections were quite slippery, making the climb a bit tricky.

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Stopped for a quick breather, halfway through the climb.

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The view from the top. The stairs on the right lead to a watch tower.

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Once we got back down, we climbed the stairs towards the watch tower. Notice some areas covered by metal grills? Those are deep crevasses, where a person can easily fall down and get stuck. Almost all such spots are well sealed.

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The view from the watch tower. This was easily the best scenery we saw all day! The sun shining through the thick mist onto the the tower like rocks, seems like something out of a movie, almost divine! A spectacular sight indeed! We stood watching this for several minutes, till a large gang of monkeys climbed the tower and chased us away.

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This used to be the path leading to the caves. After several tourists died trying to explore (some reports say around 15-20), they permanently closed the path and installed a metal fence.

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We could only catch a distance view of the caves. Even from such a distance, it looks terrifying. You don't need to tell me twice not to venture down!

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It was 4:30 PM by the time we left the place. As I mentioned earlier, this is the closing time. We saw several people trying to argue with the staff, asking them to be let in. But the staff were very strict about it. Once outside, we had some refreshments from the stalls outside.

RyDeR MoNkE!

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We had planned to stop at Pillar Rock View Point, but since the whole area was covered in dense fog by now, we didn't have any hopes of seeing anything. Decided to skip it for now and visit the next morning.


Kodaikanal Lake


Our last stop for the day. A trip to Kodai is incomplete without a boat ride at the lake. Being a Saturday evening, the town was very crowded by the time we got back. We drove straight to the parking lot, but it was completely full. Thankfully, we found a spot quickly on the lake road.

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We purchased tickets for a 6 person row boat. The tickets have token numbers on them and you have to show it to the attendant to get a boat assigned. The boat house was filled to capacity and we had to wait for about half an hour for our turn.

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At long last, we hit the waves, in a manner of speaking. The fog seems to have followed us to the lake too!

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Halfway through the boat ride, we spotted a guy selling ice creams on the lake road. We asked the boat driver to take us to the edge. The ice cream guy literally jumped the fence to serve us some delicious frozen desserts.

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There she sits, waiting for us patiently.

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A kid enjoying a snack with his dear grandma. Just looking at their smile and twinkling eyes brought back some sweet memories with my own grandparents ages ago.

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It was getting dark by the time we got into the car. The caretaker from the homestay called and informed us that they could arrange a bonfire if we wanted it. Of course we said yes! We drove aimlessly around the town for some time before finally heading back to the homestay.


The caretaker had set up the bonfire in the lawn. We had a wonderful time, playing dumb charades and other games, while staying toasty around the fire.

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We didn't have any marshmallows to go with the bonfire, so we made do with a couple of 'zas!

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By the time the fire went out, it was quite late and we were shivering. Went back to the rooms to settle down for the night.


End of Day 2

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 17th March 2022 at 12:20.
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Old 7th March 2022, 23:54   #6
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Day 3

After a good night's sleep, we woke up all refreshed on day 3. We planned to check out after breakfast, so that we could explore a little bit before leaving the town. We had some very yummy pooris with bajji for breakfast. After finishing up packing, we hit the road by around 10:30 AM.


Being a Sunday, the town was super crowded. Cars were parked all over the place leading to congestion.

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We planned to visit Pillar Rocks and the Green Valley View point, both of which we had skipped the previous day due to heavy fog. We had to take the same route we took to visit Moir Point, Guna caves etc.

Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations-day3.jpg


There's sufficient parking space in the clearing to the left, still the buses are parked on the side, taking up half the road. Sigh......

Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations-kodaikanal_20_02_2022.mp4_001096887.jpg


Pillar Rock


Since we were early, most of the traffic had only reached Moir Point and Pine Forest. We comfortably found parking just outside the Pillar Rock entrance.

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There are monkeys everywhere, and many of them are very aggressive. Notice the one sitting on the roof of the shop? He'd just stolen a box of sweets from the shop and was now enjoying his loot!

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There was some delay at the ticket counter, and by the time we got in, a sudden wave of fog descended and covered the place! This is all we could see now!

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Disheartened, we waited for sometime for it to clear up. With it only getting thicker, we decided to leave. Just as we were walking towards the exit, the fog cleared as quickly as it came! Almost as if Kodaikanal itself didn't want us returning in disappointment! The giant pillar shaped rocks looked majestic. A stunning sight indeed!

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Green Valley Viewpoint


The Pillar Rocks was like the dessert to our 3-course... I mean 3 day trip. So what does one do after dessert? One pays the bill and gets up to leave. While passing by the reception, there may or may not be bowl of mouth freshener. This view point was our freshener. It wasn't very crowded when we reached.

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There's no entry fees here. From the entrance, there's a long line of shops selling wine, candy, toys, clothes, souvenirs etc.

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I'm pretty sure the middle one is the local "aunty". Look at how she's judging us!

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Fog had completely enveloped the view point. All we could see was trash below the fence. This mouth freshener left a bitter after-taste!

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By now it was close to noon, and we wanted to have lunch before we leave for Coimbatore. Drove straight to Munchees and ordered their beef and potato burger. Without a doubt, this was one of the best burgers I've ever had! A caramel coffee made for an excellent combo with it.

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Back to Coimbatore

It was finally time to bid adieu to the Princess. Leaving a hill station and driving back to the city is never easy. As the altitude drops with each kilometer driven, so does ones spirit.

Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations-kodaikanal_20_02_2022.mp4_003076573.jpg


While on the way back, somewhere near Pazhani, our friends met with an accident. I have already posted the details here (Pics: Accidents in India), so not getting into it here.


At long last, after about 9 hours on the road, we pulled into our apartment parking lot.

Total distance covered: 480 kms
Approx. FE: 14 kmpl


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Finally, my wife and I happily crossed the first name off of our 2022 places-to-visit-list, however we would definitely have to go there once again courtesy all the places we missed! So it was more of a see you later than goodbye (thankfully!).


Till next time, this is GeneralJazz, signing off!

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 17th March 2022 at 16:30.
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Old 17th March 2022, 17:36   #7
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Mod note: Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 18th March 2022, 11:57   #8
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

I'm a simple man, I see a Rapid- I click. What a beautiful car and beautifully written travelogue. Loved the details and places, your travelogue made me realise that I'm committing the same crime, my Rapid has been doing mostly city duties since last month, I need to go out I guess.
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Old 18th March 2022, 12:27   #9
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

A nice travelogue with all the necessary details. I have just returned from my Mysore trip and planning is going on for a Kodai trip and hence I am in search for updated details about tourist spots of Kodaikanal. Your travelogue will help me very much in this regard. Thank you dear friend.
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Old 18th March 2022, 13:10   #10
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Generaljazz, thanks for the travelogue.

The CBE-Pollachi road is superior than the Palladam-DPM route because it has been widened.

Hotel Amuthasurabhi is usually good, and you can try Hotel Gowrikrishna, which is only a short distance away, the following time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeevan Sukumar View Post
planning is going on for a Kodai trip and
hence I am in search for updated details about tourist spots of Kodaikanal.
Traditionally, the summer season (un)officially begins when the great Shri Puttaparuthi Saibabaji visits (till 2010), but things have changed recently, and it now lasts a year. A visit on a weekday is always ideal. Weekends are so congested that it's necessary to drive inch by inch (it is horrible).
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Old 18th March 2022, 15:22   #11
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Very nicely written and with some juicy tidbits. I had last been to Kodai in 2016 and feel great to see the place has not changed much even from my first visit as a kid in the 70s. I had done 2 years of schooling at Kotagiri Public School, near Ooty, which I think has not changed at all. It's one of the most convenient places to visit for people from Kerala and hence we can see a large number of Mallus there. I was not aware of the Guna caves being there and feel sad to hear it's closed to the public.
The homestay looks quite good and your photographs were all great throughout.
Thanks and wishing you many more miles of happy driving.
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Old 18th March 2022, 16:04   #12
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Quote:
Originally Posted by sachin_cs View Post
I'm a simple man, I see a Rapid- I click. What a beautiful car and beautifully written travelogue. Loved the details and places, your travelogue made me realise that I'm committing the same crime, my Rapid has been doing mostly city duties since last month, I need to go out I guess.
Haha!

Reminds me of the quote:

Quote:
If you don't look back at your car after you park it, you've bought the wrong car!
sachin_cs I'm pretty sure we both bought the right car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeevan Sukumar View Post
A nice travelogue with all the necessary details. I have just returned from my Mysore trip and planning is going on for a Kodai trip and hence I am in search for updated details about tourist spots of Kodaikanal. Your travelogue will help me very much in this regard. Thank you dear friend.
Thanks a lot Jeevan Sukumar. I really hope this will help with your planning. Do post your 'log once you visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGK View Post
Generaljazz, thanks for the travelogue.

---

A visit on a weekday is always ideal. Weekends are so congested that it's necessary to drive inch by inch (it is horrible).
Agreed RGK! A weekday is the best time to visit the place. You can really focus on the beauty of the town without worrying about all traffic.

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Originally Posted by sureshkumar View Post
Very nicely written and with some juicy tidbits.

---

Thanks and wishing you many more miles of happy driving.
Thanks for the kind words sureshkumar.
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Old 18th March 2022, 16:07   #13
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Nicely written travelogue Generaljazz!
While scrolling through the photos, I found we were classmates
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Old 18th March 2022, 17:28   #14
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

A great travelogue, GeneralJazz - Kodaikanal is justly named. The photo of the meadows behind the sheep pen is like so much of the English countryside that one sees in their landscape photos.

Thanks again - a great travelogue sprinkled with lively humor - the wind farms and the aliens was a neat touch!
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Old 18th March 2022, 22:52   #15
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Default Re: Coimbatore Diaries: Weekend trip to Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill stations

Amazing thread, with an even more amazing car! I notice that the projector setup is aftermarket. Looks neat, please share the details!
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