Weekend at Kodai
Date: 21st to 23rd Nov 2009.
My home (OMR)->Hosur Road NH-7->Krishnagiri->Leave NH-7, join SH-20->Mettur->Bhavani->NH-47 to Perundurai->Leave NH-47 to enter Perundurai, take SH-96->Kangeyam->Dharapuram->Palani->Kodai.
After visiting Ooty multiple times, I had decided that I should also try out the road less travelled and visit Kodaikanal. I was totally unsure of the route, and so had initially planned for going via train. However, our travel plans are generally so dynamic (“Let’s go this weekend”, decided on a Wednesday night!) that train was out of question. Thanks to the route queries discussed in this thread we could finally decide on a road trip (thanks ranjitp1, funda2max). I also spent sometime using Google maps to find the places on-route, and then storing them on my phone (which is GPS-enabled and also has Google maps). I found this quite useful later, as you don’t have to stop and ask for directions that much.
The weekend of 21st to 22nd Nov, with an extra Monday taken as leave was decided. Me, my wife, and father-in-law were packed and ready on 20th evening. I had initially planned on setting out very early, like 4:30AM, so that most of the distance could be covered in low traffic. However, BESCOM had other plans, and cut the electricity supply for a good part of the night. Since sleep was disturbed due to the mosquitoes whizzing around, we had to settle for a later start. We finally set off at around 6:00AM. I took the ORR right to the Hosur rd NH-7 junction, and we were on our way. Breakfast was at A2B near Krishnagiri. Almost everyone stops there, so there is some delay in ordering your food, but it was not too bad. The coffee here is strong & good, and wakes you up in these early morning drives!
After breakfast, we continued on the route, which was on NH-7 till Thoppur. Here you need to turn right and join SH-20 towards Mettur & Bhavani. Road is narrower and you need to slow down a little (makes you miss the NH-7 speeds). One part of the route was a little confusing where you need to leave NH-47 to enter Perundurai, and we had missed the exit and had to turn back. Google maps really helped here. The moment I missed the exit, my wife – who was navigating with my mobile – told me that I made a mistake and need to turn back. The rest of the route till Palani is not too interesting, except that you need to watch out while crossing towns/villages. We had lunch in Palani at Chellam Canteen. Food was OK here. After lunch we tried visiting the temple at Palani, but opted out at the last minute as we all wanted to reach Kodai before late evening.
A few kms outside Palani the ghat section starts. It is not as steep as the Ooty 36 hairpin-bend route, but is longer (50kms at least, while Ooty is 30 kms). As we ascended up the hairpin bends, I switched off the AC and rolled down the windows. The air was getting cooler by the minute!
Before entering Kodiakanal, there are a couple of sightseeing places. Palani view, and Silver cascade waterfalls. These are on the route, and need no detour. Here are some of the pictures of Palani view (although we got no view).
And here is Silver cascade waterfall.
We reached our hotel near Coaker's walk (Villa Retreat) around 4:30~5:00PM. It was late, but we were really taking our time on the way, stopping at interesting places on the way. The hotel is located at a really nice place, overlooking a valley, but I was not too impressed by the cleanliness of the rooms. My father-in-law's room was quite small & dirty, in fact we had to complain to the staff. But overall, it was a nice & quaint place. Here is the view of the cottage from the outside.
The dining room in this place is really nice & cosy. It's small, by the standards of other hotels, but has a very cosy fireplace which was really welcome! There were not too many people at this time, so we got to enjoy the table closest to the fireplace. Food was also surprisingly good, and it seemed like it was cooked with care. What the hotel lacks in the cleanliness department, they do make up here :)
The next day was spent in sightseeing. One thing worth mentioning here is that you need to take a guide for sightseeing, as it is impossible to see all the places without knowing where they are! In our case, we took the hotel's sightseeing package. It was 900 bucks for an Indica for the whole day sight seeing. We visited "Bear Shola Falls", Kurinji temple, Pine forest, "Guna" caves, aka Devil's Kitchen. Just outside Guna caves, I tried the famous "mirchi bhajjis" and my wife opted for "bhutta"/corn. Both our treats were lost to the godforsaken monkeys. I was crossing the road with these newspaper wrapped bhajjis, and my wife was behind me with the bhutta. Suddenly she screamed, and in the reaction I also dropped my bhajjis. A monkey had jumped up and grabbed the bhutta right from her hands. No sooner than I dropped the bhajjis, two more monkeys rushed in to enjoy the new treat. We left the place cursing the monkeys!
We also visited Pillar rocks, which was also quite impressive. We bought some chocolates here, and they were quite nice. Next was golf-greens which was nothing but some green fields (not worth a sighsee, I think). Finally, "Green Valley View" where there was no view at all, due to the fog. It also started raining here, so we spent some time in the shops, buying more chocolates, oil, spices etc. The Kodai Lake & Coaker's walk were both close to the hotel, and we had already visited them earlier, but we still went there again. The pictures of these places are in the attachments below.
Everything was wonderful(narration,pics etc),but couldn't see your car(although could see only the car's side mirror in one of the snap). If you have that then post the same and how did your car manage, road surface etc details.
we have been there pretty recently and it was awesome. Place is huge and lots of fun.
Nice Pics and narration. Loosing food to monkeys, hope they did not bite or hurt any of you.
Nice writeup @floyd. Pity that you had to lose the "bhajjis" to the monkeys (no pun intended). Waiting for the remaining portion.
Reminds me of my time at Kodai 2 years back. But I opted for the train. Even I stayed at the Villa Retreat. As you say, overall the place was good, but cleanliness left something to be desired. Also the morning breakfast on the garden overlooking the valley was just too good. The garden had a spectacular view.
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