STATIONS IN TAMILNADU, INDIA
- Kodaikanal , 'The Princess of Hill Stations"' is one
of the most popular serene hill stations in India. With her
wooded slopes, mighty rocks, enhancing waterfalls and a beautiful
lake, Kodaikanal will mesmerize any visitor.
In a state where scenery and terrain is perhaps more varied
than in any other part of the country, where the forested
slopes of the majestic hills of the western Ghats vie with
the magnificent beaches of the Coriander coast, it is indeed
difficult to decide which is the best feature of multi-faceted
Located 120 Kms away
from Madurai, Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill station
and is at an altitude of 2133m on the southern tip
of the upper Palani hills in the Western Ghats. Kodaikanal
has a bracing climate where temperature do not vary
much from summer to winter.
|Fruits like plums and
plantains grow abundantly on the wooded slopes apart
from a wide variety of flowers, among which is the
famous Kurinji flower which blooms once in twelve
Kodai's most enchanting sights include the star shaped lake,
spread over an area of 24 hectares where fishing allowed and
boating facilities are available; one of the world's oldest
Solar Observatories that was built in 1899; and the Orchidorium
at the Sacred Heart College where about 300 species of orchids
can be seen. There are also a number of picturesque walks
like Coaker's Walk and Priest's Walk. Kodai's best view points
are Pillar Rocks, and Green Valley View. Bear Shola Falls,
Silver Cascade, Fairy Falls and Glen Falls are popular with
picnickers while the Perumal Peak is a favorite with trekkers.
The Kurinji Andover temple 3.2 Kms away is dedicated to Lord
Located 120 Km/75 mile away from Madurai, Kodaikanal is
a beautiful hill station at an altitude of about 2133 m
on the southern tip of upper Palani hills in Tamil Nadu
in the Western Ghats. A well known feature and the one that
attracts a lot of tourists is the blooming of the famous
Kurinji flower, which blooms once in12 years.
- Poor man's Ooty
stations. No mention is ever made, even in passing, of Yercaud.
Majority of the people even refuse to accept that Yercaud
is also a hill station. Yercaud is, in a way, the poor man's
Ooty, much like elandai pazham being the poor man's apple!
If Ooty is the queen of hills, Yercaud is the princess! For
the people in the Northern districts, suffering for centuries
due to poverty, drought, famine, hunger and heat, the only
silver lining is Yercaud. Yercaud which is 1515 meters above
sea level is 333 sq. km in extent. The maximum temperature
is 29 Celsius only. The population is 32,746 and most of the
people are tribal. A number of buses ply from Salem to Yercaud
and back.The only mode of travel from Salem to Yercaud is
by bus. It takes an hour of
20 dangerous hair-pin bends to reach the peak. One
is gripped by fear as the bus negotiates the hair-pin
bends: one breathes easy only after seeing the greenery
on either side of the road signaling the end of travel!
It is very scary if one looks down through the window!
All along the route, monkeys playing pranks and violet
| on trees makes one wonder where one is. There
is greenery all round - this is a new experience,
for the city bred. The forests make one energetic
and enthusiastic, like a child.
Yercaud is yet another example of how the British appreciated
our natural resources better than us. Yercaud is famous for
coffee and pepper in much the same way Ooty and Kodai are
famous for tea. The English used Yercaud as a summer retreat
and their legacy is all over the place. Rows and rows of houses,
much like ants moving in files, dot the entire hills. The
number of places to be seen in Yercaud may not be many, but
each one of them is really worth the visit. One of the important
places is the Pagoda point. The Pagoda Point, is so known
because a number of pyramid-like structures abound here. The
Anjaneya temple is believed, by the locals, to be very powerful.
One can get a full view of Salem from here.
can go boating for Rs.20. The one kilometer lake is
surrounded by trees all round. It is a pleasurable
experience to go boating in this lake. Depending on
one's budget one can take a two-seater or a six-seater
boat. Right on top of the hill stands the Servarayan
temple in which Lord Servarayan resides with his consort
|This deity, the local people believe, is the
guardian angel for the 67 villages in and around Yercaud.
This temple is inside a cave and one has to bend and
go in. People go inside in batches of three.
The cave extends beyond the temple and the locals say it extends
all the way to the Kaveri in Karnataka, a distance of 480
km. Very few have explored the full cave. One of the shopkeepers
Mathaiyan said, "I have tried going inside this cave
once. I could go only 3 km. I did this after a strict fasting
for 41 days. After 3 km. it is pitch dark; no ventilation;
snakes all over. it is believed some saints, in the days gone
by, had traveled the full length. Tippu Sultan was supposed
to have hidden in this cave during a war." To the south
east of the temple is a very old well and it is a wishing
well. The locals believe if they are able to throw at least
one stone, from three picked up from the temple, inside the
well, with their backs to the well, they will succeed in whatever
they plan to do. If one walks down from the Temple, one reaches
Killiyur falls. Water, falls from a height of 300 m. During
the rainy seasons, the locals say, these falls are very dangerous.
Next to the Servarayan temple is the Raja Rajeswari Amman
temple. There is also the Jothi Samadhi ashram. The massive
Rajarajeswari idol is installed in a sitting posture, and
4.5 feet tall. One can buy prasad, gem stones and lucky stones.
There is also a hall for meditation. One can get a full view
of Namakkal and Salem from the "Ladies Seat". The
Anna Park is a quiet place to relax.
The annual flower show is
in May. Cardamom, pepper, orange are the main crops in Yercaud.
Seasonal fruits are produced in plenty. The majority of the
local population consists of daily wage-earners in the coffee
estates. 30% of the houses were built during the British Raj.
The British legacy is there to be seen and felt in a number
of places. A number of hotels built to International standards
are well ensconced among trees. To enjoy every bit of nature
in this hill, the British paved roads and built dwelling units.
If the early architects of this hill station were to see the
roads today, they would be shocked! The roads are pathetic
- full of craters, ill-maintained, uncared for. The only hope
is, Yercaud gets its fair share of the Central Government's
increased budget for tourism. The English who returned to
their native land, after our Independence, would certainly
have felt a sense of anguish and a tinge of sadness at being
forced to leave this wonderful place, surrounded by Nature.
October and November are the best months here. Foreign tourists
are more during the other months. Since Dassera holidays are
in October, there a lot of tourists from Bangalore. In November
tourists from North India visit Yercaud, taking advantage
of Diwali holidays. Yercaud is less expensive than other tourist
destinations and is preferred by the middle class. By car,
the expense is Rs.400 only, for a full tour of Yercaud. Travel
guide charges are Rs.150 only - the entire family can tour
Yercaud on a budget of about Rs.1000.
KODAIKANAL SIGHT SEEING
Lake View : A magnificent star-shaped lake glitters like a jewel
amidst the Emerald Green wooded slopes. This 24 hectare
lake is skirted by 5 Kms long. Blacktopped road is
a focal point of Kodai. This lake was created in 1863
by Sir Vere Hentry Levinge(1885), who was the Collector
of Madurai, retired and settled in Kodai.
the bund to form a lake and stocked the lake with
fish. He brought the first boat from Tuticorin. In
1890, a boat club was formed and the members sailed
in the boat.
1. T.T.D.C Boat House (9.00 A.M to 5.30P.M)
Pedal two seater
Rs 15 ( 30 Mts)
Pedal four seater
Rs 25 ( 30 Mts)
Rowing four seater
Rs 20 ( 30 Mts)
Kodai Boat Club (9.00 A.M to 5.30 P.M)
Pedal two seater
Rs 20 ( 30 Mts)
Pedal four seater
Rs 30 ( 30 Mts)
Single boat rowing
Rs 20 ( 30 Mts)
Double boat rowing
Rs 30 ( 30 Mts)
Carlton Hotel Boat House
Pedal four seater
Rs 52.25 (1 hour)
Rowing six seater
Rs 36.60 (1 hour)
Shikara two seater
Rs 105 (1 hour)
Bergium Lake : The Lake which supplies drinking water to Periyakulam town
is 21 Kms from Kodaikanal (Beyond the Pillar Rocks). It is
a fine picnic spot offering beautiful scenery. In 1864,Douglas
Hamilton wrote : - "The Vicinity of this lake is in my
opinion by far the best sight on the Hills".
|Brynt Park :
This Park is situated on the eastern side of the lake. It
is noted for flowers, hybrids and grafts. Cut flowers are
exported from here. A glass house which shelters over fine
varieties of flowers can be seen here. Flower show conducted
every year during May, as a part of Summer Festival is to
be seen by one and all.
The Flora and Fauna Museum is maintained by the Sacred Heart
College. A Theological Seminary was founded in 1895. It is
devoted to the archaeological remains and the flora and fauna
of the hills. One of the best Orchidorium in the country with
more than 300 species is also located here. It is about 5.6
Kms from the lake. A Spanish Father Ugarthe, contributed his
major collections to the Museum. A wide ranging collection
of birds classified into ground birds, water birds, tree birds
and large high flying birds such as Black Eagle, Bengal Vulture,
Honey Buzzard, Crested Hawk-Eagle.
Coakers Walk : This hill-edge path way was identified by Er. Coakers in 1872.
About a Kilometer from the lake, Coakers Walk runs along a
steep slope on the southern side of Kodai. It offers some
of the best views of the Plains. Entry fee is collected per
Silver Cascade : This is Located on the Ghat road leading to Madurai and is
about 8Kms from Kodaikanal. The overflow of Kodai Lake comes
down here as 180 feet high falls. If the temperature of water
suits, tourists can take bath Kodaikanal is rich in Flora
and Fauna. It has a unique plant. The Kurinji, which blossoms
once in 12 years, makes the hill slopes a "Blaze of Purple".
Bear Shola Falls :About
1.6 Kms from the lake, Bear Shola Falls can be reached through
a picturesque rugged hill path. This is an ideal picnic spot.
picturesque, green Udhagamandalam
better known as Ooty is the most popular hill station in the
South. Located in the Western Ghats at a height of 2240m,
Udhagamandalam is the headquarters of the Nilgiris district
where the two Ghats meet. Nature has been generous with this
region which is by far the most beautiful in the state. Apart
from coffee and tea plantations, trees like conifers, eucalyptus,
pine and wattle dot the hillside in Udhagamandalam and its
environs. Summer temperature is rarely higher than 25°c
with a minimum of 10°c and winter is are distinctly cooler
with a high of 21°c and a low 5°c. Curiously enough,
this slice of paradise remained unknown to the great southern
dynasties and it took the British to discover it in the early
1800s. They were however, not the first inhabitants of this
land as a tribe called Todas had been living there long before
the British came, claiming that the Nilgiris had been their
home since time immemorial. But the credit for modernizing
Udhagamandalam and making it accessible goes to the British
who constructed the first railway line in the area and made
it the summer capital of the Madras Presidency.
About Udhagamandalam : Settlement in Udhagamandalam began
in 1822 with the construction of the Stone House by John Sullivan,
the then Collector of Coimbatore. The bungalow which is locally
called Kal Bangla is one of the landmarks of Udhagamandalam
and is now the Chamber of the Principal of the Government
Arts College. Not many years after the construction of the
Stone House, several other English cottages with pretty gardens,
large bungalows of top officials in the Government are built.
Even today the atmosphere
of the Raj lingers in places like the Club where snooker was
invented by a subaltern named Neville Chamberlain, the Nilgiri
Library with its rare and valuable collection of books on
Udhagamandalam and St. Stephen's Church which was Udhagamandalam's
The cemetery near the church
has the oldest British tombstones in the town and include
those of John Sullivan's wife and daughter among other prominent
South Indian Tea has gained recognition far and wide. India
is the fifth largest tea producing belt in the world after
China. In 1991, South India exported 50 million kg to over
30 countries. Tea and Tourism Festival is celebrated in
the Nilgiris Jointly by the Department of Tourism, Government
of Tamil Nadu and Ministry of Tourism, Government of Tamil
Nadu and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in every
January/February. Cultural programmes, visits to Tea Estates
and factories, fun and frolic etc., mark this celebrations.
Come to Nilgiris, during this festival, when tea lovers
from all over the world converge. An occasion not to be
South Indian Tea has gained
recognition far and wide. India is the fifth largest tea producing
belt in the world after China. In 1991, South India exported
50 million kg to over 30 countries. Tea and Tourism Festival
is celebrated in the Nilgiris Jointly by the Department of
Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu and Ministry of Tourism,
Government of Tamil Nadu and Ministry of Tourism, Government
of India in every January/February. Cultural programmes, visits
to Tea Estates and factories, fun and frolic etc., mark this
celebrations. Come to Nilgiris, during this festival, when
tea lovers from all over the world converge. An occasion not
to be missed.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
Botanical Garden: A variety of exotic
and ornamental plants adorn this garden which is the venue
for the Flower Show held in May every year. There is a fossil
tree trunk 20 million years old in the midst of the garden.
Lake: This artificial lake was constructed
in 1824 by mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore.
Boating is possible from 08.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs on all days.
The lake garden and toy trains rides are other attractions.
Udhagamandalam: This Queen of hill stations,
known as Ooty, is in Nilgiri mountain ranges in Tamil Nadu.
At a height of 2268 meters, Ooty is known for its salubrious
climate and scenic beauty.
The nearest airport is Coimbatore (100 Kms). By rail it
is connected by narrow gauge. By road it is 152 Kms from
Mysore, 293 Kms from Bangalore & 271 Kms from Cochin.
Government Museum: The Government Museum,
Mysore road, has items of tribal objects, district's ecological
details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of
The Mukurthi Peak & Mukurthi
National Park: Mukurthi Peak is about 40 Km/24 mile from Ooty.
The Mukurthi National Park is located on the South Eastern
corner of the Nilgiris Plateau. The area contains a viable
population of Nilgiri Thar (Hermitages hilocrius). The silent
Valley is located on the Western side of these ranges. Fascinating
feature of the Mukurthi Sanctuary is its endemism and relationship
with Himalayan Flora and Fauna.
Ketty Valley View: Located on the road
to Coonoor, this idyllic spot is a cluster of tiny Villages
that extend to the plains of Coimbatore and Mysore plateau.
Pykara: Situated about 21 Kms/13 Mile
on the Ooty-Mysore Road, boasts of well protected fenced
Shoals, Toda settlement, undisturbed grassy meadows and
also a good wildlife habitat. The Pykara Dam and the reservoir
attracts many tourists.
Glenmorgan (17 Km/10 Mile): This is an Electricity Board.
(EB) winch carries staff from Glenmorgan view point to power
house at Singara. All the four Kms of the winch track passes
through undisturbed shoals and wildlife habitat. Prior permission
of EB authorities should be obtained to enter the view point
zone. There are about ten Toda (tribal) settlement.
|Upper Bhavani :
10 Km/6 Mile from Korakundah and about 20 Kms/12 Mile from
Avalanchi. Some of the best shoals like the Thar Shola lies
Enroute. The area is a rich and undisturbed wildlife habitat.
From Bangithappal via Sispara one can trek to Silent Valley.
Avalanchi : Located at a distance fo 28
Km/17 mile from Ooty, a beautiful lake surrounded by a thick
shoal where even sunlight cannot penetrate and abundant
with a wide variety of avifauna is a Nature Lover's Paradise.
Western Catchments : It is about 20 Kms/12
Mile from Parsons Valley. It consists of Rolling Grassy
downs interspersed with temperature shoals occupying depression
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary: Lying in
the Nilgiris District abutting Kerala & Karnataka State,
this is situated at an elevation of 1000 meters and extends
over an area of 321 sq. Kms. The wildlife includes Elephant,
Gaur, Tiger, Panther, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer,
Mouse, Wild Boar, Porcupine etc.
Doddabetta: It is the highest peak (2623
meters) in the Nilgiris and is 10 Kms / 6.2 Mile from Ooty.
It lies at the junction of Western & Eastern Ghats and
offer beautiful vistas of the Nilgiri Hills ranges. There
is a telescope house run by TTDC.
Kalhatti Water Falls: It is
located on the Kalhally slopes and about 13 Kms/ 8 Mile from
Wenlock Downs: A vast expanse of understanding
landscape offering Gymkhana Club, the Government Sheep Farm
and Hindustan Photo Films Company besides pleasure of long
stroll on quiet road.
Elk Hills: A wide range and uninterrupted
view of Ooty and the Love dale Valley can be had from here.
Snowden Peak: Situated at the Kothagiri
Road, it offers a picturesque view of Mysore.
Trekking Routes: A number of Trek routes
have been identified. Trekking is also organized in breath
taking picturesque routes.
Hang - Gliding: Hang - Gliding courses
are also organized during March to May every year, with
the assistance of Dept. of Tourism.
Angling: Good trout, Carp and mixed water
fishing is possible in various streams and lakes in the
Nilgiris. Fishing license for a fee is issued by the Assistant
Director of Fisheries, Fish Dale, Udhagamandalam near bus