Kodaikanal is one of the underrated hidden treasures of the south that you must explore. Home to granite cliffs, lakes, forested valleys, and waterfalls, it is truly one of the most beautiful hill stations you can visit. Located in Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal is a serene, cool, and naturally exuberant tourist destination. Often overshadowed by Ooty, Kodaikanal can be the perfect destination for you if you don’t like overcrowded places and want to travel on a budget.
Even when you are travelling on a tight budget, there is an abundance of Kodaikanal tourist places and activities in which you can participate. With activities like trekking the hills, river rafting, and shikara rides, there is no question why it is named the ‘Princess of hill stations’. So to help you plan the best trip to Kodaikanal, here are the 16 best places to visit in Kodaikanal.
However, before you get on to the list, here is all the information on how to get to Kodaikanal.
By air: You cannot directly reach Kodaikanal by flight. The best you can do is to reach an airport close to Kodaikanal and travel from there using cabs or other road transportation. The closest airports to Kodaikanal are Madurai airport, which is 120 km from Kodaikanal. Trichy airport is 150 km from the city, and Coimbatore airport is 175 km from Kodaikanal.
By train: The train station that serves Kodaikanal is 100 km away from the main town. The Kodai Road station offers a scenic train journey, but getting to the town of Kodaikanal from the Kodai Road station can be a long journey. Travelling to Kodaikanal by train is popular, and many people opt for this route. You can get cabs from outside the Kodai Road station to reach the city.
By road: Getting to Kodaikanal by bus is one of the easiest and most versatile ways to reach Kodaikanal. There are state-run bus services available from most major cities in Tamil Nadu. You can easily find a bus that suits your travel timeline and reach Kodaikanal. The bus stand at Kodaikanal is also centrally located and inside the main town premises, easily navigable from the bus stand. It is the easiest and least convoluted travel method to reach Kodaikanal.
16 must-visit tourist attractions in Kodaikanal
These must-visit places in Kodaikanal attract tourists in droves. Do you know the best part? All of these locations are very close to the city. You can easily stroll down to some of these locations from the city centre. With the ease of travel, matched with fantastic weather and exceptional natural beauty, your trip to Kodaikanal is going to be nothing short of magical. So, prepare for an adventure in nature’s lap that you will remember forever, only at Kodaikanal.
Bear Shola Falls
The Bear Shola Waterfalls are one of the top Kodaikanal tourist places. Even though these falls are best visited during the monsoon, you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere surrounded by nature at these waterfalls year long. If you love nature and want an escape from city life, there is no better place to visit than Bear Shola Waterfalls at Kodaikanal, a kilometre away from the city centre. The waterfalls are located only two kilometres from Kodai Lake, the next must-visit spot on this list.
How often do you hear of an artificial lake in a hill station? The Kodai Lake is an artificial lake that was creatively built by Vera Levinge, a British civil servant of the Kodaikanal town. This star-shaped lake is beautifully placed between the lush green Palani Hills Range, one km away from Kodaikanal. Besides taking in the natural beauty of this exceptional feat of human creativity, you can also go on Shikara rides on the lake. All of these factors help make Kodai Lake one of the top tourist places in Kodaikanal that you must visit.
There are two ways you can visit the Kukkal caves. You may visit them as a destination or a starting point for your Kodai Palani trek. You will also need to make a trip far away from where you are staying to travel 15 kms from the city’s centre and reach the Kukkal Caves. First, you can just visit them as a destination, or you can visit them as a starting point for your Kodai Palani trek. The Kukkal caves are beautiful and are generally considered the starting point for the trek. These caves have incredible historical value as they were once inhabited by a tribe. Today, it is an archaeological site, so if you are a history lover, the Kukkal caves are must-visit Kodaikanal places to visit.
The Thalaiyar falls, popularly known as the rat-tail waterfalls, are one of the most beautiful waterfalls you will ever see in India. These falls have a height of over 900ft, making them one of the highest waterfalls in India. Surrounded by dense forests, visiting this place is a surreal experience you can only describe once you experience it. Plan ahead of time to visit this marvel of nature and maybe even take an extra day to admire the place as it is about 12 kms away from the Kodaikanal city centre. The extraordinary natural beauty of these waterfalls makes them the perfect Kodaikanal places for tourists.
Why stop for a quick picnic if you have been busy sightseeing and adventuring? Head to the pillar rocks to get the best possible view for your picnic, which is the most popular picnic spot in Kodaikanal. It is located 3 kms away from the Kodaikanal city centre. Rest your tired feet in the beautiful garden and enjoy the magnificent view of the three large boulders in front of you.
As the night approaches, one of the best places for you to rest your head and rejuvenate your body is Vattakanal. Located at a distance of only 3km from Kodaikanal, Vattakanal is a small hamlet known for its delicious cafes and appreciation/representation of the hippie culture. Enjoy your night’s stay there and gorge on a variety of delicious foods at the local eateries to prepare yourself for your next day’s adventure.
Start your mornings right at Kodaikanal with a walk down Coakers, a kilometre away from the city centre. This one km stretch of the artificial walking plaza features beautiful views for your morning walks. You will get the feeling of walking on clouds when you are exploring the beauty of this serene tourist attraction. So, no matter when you visit, if you are looking for things to do in Kodaikanal, this should be on your list. Also, you can rent bicycles by the hour to ride on this beautiful plaza at highly affordable rates.
If you want to trek and be a part of adventures, this tourist destination is perfect for you. The Guna caves, also known as the Devil’s Kitchen, are a group of caverns found near the Pillar Rocks mentioned previously. These caverns became popular after being featured in a Tamil film called Guna; since then, it has become one of the most popular tourist places in Kodaikanal, just four kms away from the ever-growing city center. If you want to add a pinch of adventure to your trip, be sure to visit these caverns.
Lakes are quite common in Kodaikanal, and Berijam lake is perhaps one of the best you can visit. This beautiful lake is hidden behind deep forests in a conserved area. As this lake is situated in a conserved forest area, you can, if you are lucky, be able to spot rare wildlife. You may need to make plans in advance if you want to see the wildlife and the beautiful lakes. The Berijam Lake is located 12 kms away from the place where you’ll be staying at the city centre. Animals like the Nilgiri langurs, bison, and elephants can be seen roaming close to the lake. So, get your cameras out and stay still, or you might just miss the opportunity to see wildlife up close.
If you have a free afternoon or evening at Kodaikanal, visiting Bryant park might be the best use of your time as it’s just a kilometre away from the bustling city centre. This botanical garden features hundreds of beautiful plants and flowers. You can also see various rafts and hybrids in this garden. The best time to visit this park is in the summertime, mainly in the month of May, as there is a big horticulture show in the park during that time.
No trip in India can complete without visiting any religious places. The Kurinji Temple in Kodaikanal is a beautiful work of architecture dedicated to Lord Murugan, the Tamil god of war and victory. It is located a couple of kilometres away from the city centre. This temple is famous for the Kurinji flower that blooms only once every twelve years. So, if you are lucky and visit in the twelfth year, don’t miss it. You can also learn much about Tamil culture from this temple, which has great value for history lovers.
Known as the best viewpoint in Kodaikanal, Moir Point is a must-visit tourist attraction in the city. You can see the beautiful green hills of the western ghats from this vantage point and take in the unfiltered beauty of nature. If you are into trekking, this also marks a starting or resting point for various treks in the region. Moir point is extremely popular and one of the most crowded places in Kodaikanal year long. If you come to Kodaikanal, be sure to visit this place. It is close to the city’s centre, located at a distance of four kms.
Silver Cascade Falls
If you want to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kodaikanal, you must visit the silver cascade falls. The water really looks silver in colour as it falls through a cascade from a 180-ft high cliff. The pure crystalline water from these falls will impress the toughest of critics. Located fairly close to the city, this is a must-visit location for tourists that want to experience the true beauty of Kodaikanal. You do not need to take a whole day aside from your trip to visit the beautiful waterfalls as it is merely two km from the city center.
The highest peak in Kodaikanal, the Perumal peak, is a trek that will be worth it. About 18km away from Kodaikanal, this peak provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding western ghats and Nilgiri hills. The peak is situated at a height of over 2,000 metres and 11 kms away from the city centre, and this trek can be one of the best adventures of your Kodaikanal trip. This is great for trekking enthusiasts, but even for people that have never tried trekking before, you should definitely consider going.
If you want to take your trip one step further and visit an offbeat location at Kodaikanal, be sure to visit Poombarai. This small village is known for the production of garlic, but it is extremely beautiful and features exquisite natural beauty. The beautiful houses built in the middle of stepped hills are a sight to see. As this place is not well known, you can enjoy your visits peacefully without the hubbub of tourists all around you.
Whether you want to go on an adventure or just a peaceful walk in the woods, the pine forest at Kodaikanal has got you covered. These forests are a protected heritage of Kodaikanal and are considered to be many hundreds of years old. The forests are located at a comfortable distance of two km from the city centre of Kodaikanal. You can experience the beauty of nature up close and personal with these forests if you dare venture into them.
How old is Kodaikanal?
Kodaikanal came to be in 1845, created by the British servants and U.S. missionaries as a hill station.
Does Kodaikanal have another name?
Kodaikanal is also known as the princess of hill station owing to its beautiful nature and cool weather.
How is the weather in Kodaikanal?
The maximum temperature in Kodaikanal tends to range between 15℃ and 17℃.