21 Best Places to Visit in Kodaikanal – The Princess of Hill Stations

Published By: Jignesh Gohel on January 17, 2024

Rejuvenate yourself in the lap of nature’s mesmerizing creation…

Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill station situated in the hills of the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. The name Kodaikanal translates to “The Gift of the Forest” and the lush green cover in the region proves the same. Kodaikanal is also known as “The Princess of Hill Stations” because of its lush green mountains and beauty. Kodaikanal is quite popular with tourists and is famous for its spectacular landscapes and serene atmosphere.

Kodaikanal tourist places are surrounded by some exceptional and mesmerizing places where you can do mind-boggling photography. A balanced combination of natural beauty and man-made structures makes it an ideal tourist destination. From century-old churches to a mesmerizing view of hills; from wildlife parks to solar observatories; from amazing lakes and waterfalls to trekking stretches; the place has enough to offer to people of all ages. Let’s check the best places to visit in Kodaikanal.

21 Top Destinations to Visit in Kodaikanal

The unpolluted and unexplored natural valley is bound to give you memories of a lifetime with its breathtaking views while teaching you about the cultural heritage and traditions of Southern India at the same time. There are many places to visit in Kodaikanal and we have tried our best to include all the famous spots in a single article. So let’s get started.

1. Silver Cascade Falls:

Silver Cascade Falls

If you happen to arrive at Kodaikanal from Madurai, you are in for a mesmerizing welcome. The 180 feet high Silver Cascade Waterfall is the first attraction in town with the sound of water gushing over the rocks. The Silver Cascade Fall is unique in the sense that it does not require any walking or trekking as it is located right next to the road!! The impressive waterfall results due to the discharge of excess water from the famous man-made lake of Kodaikanal.

Silver Cascade Falls is located at a distance of ~8 km from Kodaikanal and is a must-stop to get refreshed from the tiring journey on the way to Kodaikanal from Madurai. The nearby shops sell exquisite fruits of various varieties and some souvenirs as a bonus. The beauty of the place is enhanced significantly during the rainy season, and you can probably go for a swim if the temperature is right.

2. Dolphins Nose:

Dolphins Nose
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Kodaikanal has the uniqueness of fairytale-like tourist spots that are bound to pique your interest. Dolphin’s Nose is one such place perching at an altitude of 6,600 feet and offering a bird’s eye view of the scenic landscape of the hilly terrain. It is basically a huge rock with the shape like the nose of a Dolphin, hanging and overlooking the deep cliff underneath. This place is perfect for tourists looking for an adventurous addition to the otherwise lazy trip.

One of the most iconic and places to see in Kodaikanal requires a moderate trek of 3 km(20-30 mins) through Pambar Bridge and Palani Hills. Dolphin’s Nose is located 8 Kms from the Kodaikanal bus stand and offers the best of the hill station; lush green forests and rocky terrain during the climb and a breath-taking view of the plunging valley once you get to the top. The best time to visit Kodaikanal tourist places is probably from October to March in the mornings or early afternoons to witness the magical view of mist hanging among the clouds.

3. Kodaikanal Lake – The Most Beautiful Lake in South India:

Kodaikanal Lake - Most Beautiful Lake of South India
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The star-shaped artificial lake is the most famous landmark in Kodaikanal and one of the top tourist attractions of the place. The lake spreads across 60 acres and the credit for developing the lake goes to Sir Vere Henry Levinge; the Collector of Madurai in 1863. A boat ride in Kodai Lake surrounded by beautiful valleys and buildings from the British Colonial period is such a relaxing experience. A 5 km paved path on the perimeter of the lake is quite popular with locals as well as tourists. The Kodai Lake is located at a distance of 3 Km from the Kodaikanal Bus Stand. The lake remains open from 6:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Although entry to the Kodai Lake is free, boating charges range from INR 40 to INR 150 per person for a half-an-hour ride depending upon the type of boat.

Must read: 3 Beautiful Lakes in Kodaikanal – Best Time to Visit, Timings & Activities To Do

4. Bryant Park:

Bryant Park

The wonderfully maintained Bryant Park is one of the major tourist attractions and picnic spots of the Kodaikanal situated towards the south-east corner of Kodaikanal Lake. The park was conceived and developed as a botanical garden by a British Army Officer in 1908 Glenn Bryant. The park is stretched in 20 acres and houses more than 325 different species of trees, plants, and shrubs. The park has a separate large section dedicated to more than 700 varieties of roses and many ornamental plants are cultivated in a nursery are available for sale.

The Park is located at ~700 meters from the Kodaikanal bus station and is quite popular with children as a picnic spot. The beauty of the colorful flowers in the Park is at its peak every summer. Bryant Park holds an annual horticulture exhibit in May which is quite popular and attracts a large number of crowds.

5. Coaker’s Walk:

 Coaker's Walk

Coaker’s Walk is a 1 km-long paved pedestrian path that was constructed by Lieutenant Coaker in 1872. It is a perfect place for enjoying the panoramic view of the valley and is probably the most scenic and popular tourist spot of the Kodaikanal. The lovely path of the spot is a heaven for nature lovers and is preferred for leisurely strolls and cyclists. The Coaker’s Walk is situated in the Southern part of the town and is located at a distance of 0.5 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Stand and 1 km from the famous Kodai Lake.

Although the place presents a mesmerizing view of valleys and hills throughout the day, the ideal time is before 2 o’clock in the afternoon when the mist is yet to be settled so as to enjoy the view at its peak. Tourists visiting the spot are required to buy tickets which are priced at INR 10 per person and the tickets to access the telescope can be purchased separately at INR 20.

6. Kodaikanal Solar Observatory:

Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
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The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory was established in 1899 and is managed by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. The small, domed white building is located at the southern tip of Palani Hills. The walk to the observatory in itself is rewarding and the place is a heaven for science lovers. The geographical location of the observatory makes it ideal for studying solar behavior and has contributed immensely to the field of cosmic science.

The observatory houses the largest collection of solar data in the country and was pivotal in the discovery of the “Evershed Effect”; an important solar phenomenon in 1909. The Solar Observatory is located at ~ 3 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Stand. Entry to the observatory is free and it remains open from 1st April to 15th June from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.

7. Shenbaganur Museum:

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The Shenbagnur Museum of Kodaikanal offers a unique experience to peek into the traditional culture and rich history of Southern India. Additionally, the Museum houses preserved fossils as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Museum was established in 1895 and is managed by the Sacred Heart College. The Museum showcases traditional artifacts of the region as well as a large collection of birds and flowering plant species to keep you fascinated for hours. The herbarium section of the Museum has a vast garden with more than 2500 varieties of plants. The major attraction of the museum is its orchidarium which has more than 300 species of exotic and homegrown orchids.

Time and Fees of this museum

The Museum is located at 5 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and can be accessed from almost anywhere in the town. The Shenbaganur Museum is a highly recommended spot and a must-visit place for tourists. The entry fee for the museum is INR 5 and the visiting hours are from 10.00 A.M. to 11.30 A.M. and from 3.00 P.M. to 5.00 P.M.

8. Green Valley View:

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Kodaikanal is aptly called the “The Gift of Forest” as it has so many fascinating places with captivating beauty. The Green Valley View is one such place offering a breathtaking view of the plains, deep valleys, and hills. The place is covered with a thick blanket of beautiful mist and once it clears, the lush green valley is visible. In particular, the mesmerizing view of the Vaigai Dam is an unforgettable experience. The spot was earlier known as Suicide Point thanks to the dangerously deep and dense valley with more than 5000 feet of a sudden drop.

Kodaikanal sightseeing points are really amazing The Green Valley View is located at a distance of ~6 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Stand and is enjoyed by children and adults alike. The path to the spot is filled with small shops selling homemade chocolates, flowers, and Souvenirs. The majestic view for the erstwhile Suicide Point can be enjoyed throughout the day from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

9. Lake View Point:

Lake View Point: romantic place to visit in kodaikanal for couple

As the name suggests, Lake View Point allows the panoramic view of the fascinating Kodai Lake and the lustrous green landscapes surrounding the town. The picturesque view from the spot is highly recommended for nature and photography enthusiasts. Lake View Point is frequented by visitors en route to the Green Valley Viewpoint for a quick stop to admire the breathtaking beauty of a place like Kodaikanal. The Lake View Point is situated at ~ 3 km from the Coaker’s Walk (~ 4 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and is ideal for a quick stopover during day time from 10:00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. Small eateries and shops offer limited varieties of snacks and handicraft items.

10. Thalaiyar Falls:

Thalaiyar Falls
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Imagine witnessing a giant stream of gushing water falling vertically toward the ground from 975 feet high!! That’s Thalaiyar Falls for you. Also known as the Rat Tail Falls, the Thaliyar Falls is the highest waterfall in Tamil Nadu and the sixth highest in India. The horsetail type single drop waterfall can be seen from Dum Dum’s viewpoint on the Batalugundu-KodaikanalGhat Road.

A concrete wall at the very edge of the falls has been constructed; you can walk on it, see the beautiful Manjalar Dam, and hear the water gushing from the massive fall. The Rat Tail Falls is located 40 km from Kodaikanal and there is no access road to the falls. It is one of the most popular sites for trekking near Kodaikanal. The 6 km trekking stretch is considered moderately difficult and lasts for 2-3 hours.

11. Bear Shola Fall:

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The Bear Shola Falls is a seasonal waterfall nestled in the thick forests offering rich biodiversity. The otherwise quiet place comes to life during monsoons with water flowing down the hilltop through the green forests in a peaceful atmosphere away from the chaos of city life. You might be wondering about its unique name and as many of you would have guessed the name of the waterfall is based on a legend that it was once frequented by bears for drinking water. The Bear Shola Falls is situated at 3 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and requires a 10 min walk through the approach road. The walk through the approach road is a bit bumpy offering serenity amidst thick forests and is as rewarding as the falls itself.

Best Time to Visit Bear Shola Fall

The height of the falls is about 40 feet and is best recommended to visit right after the monsoon in the months of September & October.

12. Berijam Lake:

Berijam Lake
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Berijam Lake is a man-made lake situated at the Ford Hamilton in the upper Palani Hills. The lake was developed as a part of a military cantonment by the British Army in the late 1860s. The lake is known for its serene beauty; sparkling blue water stretching in 59 acres surrounded by pristine hills and green forests and has emerged as a picnic spot to enjoy vacation time with family.

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Due to its isolation from city dwellers, the lake facilitates a wide variety of animals and birds. There have been reported sightings of endangered birds like serpent Eagles and pariah Kites, and animals like Indian Elephants, Nilgiri Langurs & Bisons. The Berijam Lake is located roughly around 20-22 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and visiting tourists can enjoy activities like boating and trekking. However, it must be noted that the Lake is not open to the general public, and prior permission from the District Forest Officer is required for visiting.

13. Pine Forest:

Pine Forest
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The Pine Forest in Kodaikanal was cultivated in 1906 and is maintained by the forest department. Walking through the tall slender trunks with sunlight shimmering and a pleasant climate throughout the year gives an unmatched calm and respite from routine life.  The Pine Forest has become a haven for passionate photographs thanks to the movie makers as different regional as well as national movies have been shot here.

Walking and trekking amongst nature in an enjoyable atmosphere also stresses the importance of preserving the forests. At Kodaikanal tourist places, You can simply unwind and relax or opt for Horse riding to make the most of your vacation. You can also plan for a camping experience after getting a permit from the local authorities. The Pine Forest has located 2 km from the Kodaikanal Bus station and can be visited from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

14. Perumal Peak:

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The Perumal Peak is situated at a height of 2440 meters and is one of the highest peaks of the Perumalai mountain range. It is believed that Perumal Peak was once a volcano which has stopped erupting some 1000 years ago. The Perumal Peak is a trekker’s delight and one of the most amazing places to visit in Kodaikanal whether you are traveling with friends, family, or solo. The enchanting beauty of the majestic Western Ghats filled with fresh air and easy rocky terrain make it ideal for trekking.

Perumal Peak is situated at around 18 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and the trek begins from the foot of the Peak near PerumalMalai Village which is 11 km from Kodaikanal. The trail of the trek is of easy to moderate difficulty and stretches about 7 km taking 3- 4 hours one way. While you can opt for camping at the top, most of the tourists prefer to return on the same day.

15. Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple:

Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga, the God of Hills, and boasts of traditional South Indian architecture. In Tamil literature, Kuriji means hills and Andavar refers to God. The temple overlooks the beautiful carrot plantations on the terraced slopes. The temple was constructed in 1936 and provides a delightful view of Vaigai Dam and Palani hills and is associated with mesmerizing purple-coloured Kurinji flowers carpeting the temple premises once every 12 years.

The temple complex is situated 4 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and consists of a park and a small garden. The annual summer festival is held in May every year and thousands of devotees throng to the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Muruga. The temple is open to visitors from 7:00 A.M. to 7 P.M.

16. La Salette Church:

The Mother Salette Church is 133 years old and exhibits Tamil-French architecture. The Church showcases the statue of Our Lady of La Salette showering blessings in a calm and composed pose. The glass windows inside the church are intricately painted and have a relaxing effect on the soul. The church was constructed by the first Catholic priest; Father Louis Saint Ceer who is believed to be cured of a prolonged illness by Mother Salette.

The La Salette Church is situated near Coaker’s Walk and hosts a nine-day festival in August every year attracting worshippers from South India. The primary purpose of the festival is to infuse harmony and extend service to the visitors. Weekly mass timings are 8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A. M. on Sunday and at 4:00 P.M. every Saturday.

17. Pillar Rocks:

Pillar Rocks
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The Pillar Rocks got its name from three vertically positioned massive boulders reaching up to the height of 400 feet. The Pillar Rocks has become a lovely picnic spot thanks to a mini garden. The pillars are well known for providing a bird’s eye view of the fascinating surroundings filled with mist and thick valley and enveloped by clouds. The chambers between these pillars are infamously called the Devil’s Kitchen. The Pillar Rocks are located at about 7 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station. The Pillar Rocks can be visited from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and the tickets are priced at INR 5 per person. The photography enthusiasts have to shell out INR 20 for a still camera.

18. Moir Point:

The Moir Point offers a breathtaking view of the valley and is named after Sir Thomas Moir, who built the Goschen Road connecting Berijam Lake and Kodaikanal in 1929. The serene and calm spot presents a bird’s eye viewpoint of the hills and the villages surrounding the region to unwind in an ideal ambiance and witness sunset. Moir Point is 10 kilometers from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and 3 kilometers from the Pillar Rocks.

19. Guna Caves:

Guna Caves
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The Guna caves is situated at an altitude of 2230 meters above sea level and was discovered by an English Officer named B. S. Ward in 1821. The cave is situated amidst thick forest on top of a hill behind the Pillar Rocks and it is believed that the Pandavas stopped at cooked meals right at this place. The fog rising over the backdrop of the cave from the pillars resembles a massive chimney. There have been rumours of disappearances of a few inquisitive explorers in the past and the spot is also known as the Devil’s Kitchen.

The path to the Guna Cave is through a beautiful pine forest with amazing tree formations and the mystery surrounding the place makes it a must-visit for every adventurer. The Cave is situated at a distance of about 8 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and a 10-minute drive. Although entry into the deeper sections of the cave is restricted, the splendid trekking trails that lead to the cave and the awesome view of the valley can be safely admired from a distance.

20. Kukkal Caves:

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The world-renowned Kukkal Caves are overhanging slabs of different types of metamorphic rocks such as granulite and charconite. The Kukkal caves are situated at a height of 6200 feet above sea level and receive misty and never-ending drizzles throughout the year. The rock shelter is at an altitude of 1500 meters and was once home to the ancient “Palaiyar” tribes believed to be extinct now. The Kukkal caves are situated at a distance of around 40 km from the Kodaikanal Bus Station and provide a captivating view of the Manjampath Valley.

The place is a favourite camping site for trekkers and an early morning stroll through the wooded region filled with Orchids & Shola trees is bound to give you an unforgettable experience. Due to the presence of extinct and endangered biodiversity, permission from the Forest Department is required for trekking in the forest areas.

21. Canopy Hills, Vattakanal:

Kodaikanal has a wide variety of places to visit, and one of them is Canopy Hills, a great option for adventure-loving tourists since there are wild goats, porcupines, and other wildlife creatures to see. This is the most suitable place to visit in Kodaikanal for 1 day. When planning your trip to Kodaikanal, make sure you include Canopy Hills on your itinerary.

How To Reach Kodaikanal:

Because it is a hill station, the only way to get there is by road. Either by taking a bus to Kodai or by hiring a private cab, you can reach here. Once you are here, you can go by private or sharing cabs for visiting the spots or you can go biking to every spot if you are adventurous enough. The place can be accessed through road from different cities like Theni (85 Kms), Madurai (120 Kms), Coimbatore (170 Kms), Namakkal (210 Kms), Ooty (252 Kms), Cochin (330 Kms) among many others. The nearby airports of Madurai, Coimbatore, and Trichy easily connect the hill station with different cities of the country. The nearest railway station is the Kodai Road Station which is roughly around 80 Kms from the Kodaikanal. Apart from Kodaikanal, Yercaud Tourist Places are also very beautiful and amazing and one shouldn’t miss them while visiting Tamil Nadu.

Wrapping up:

The Kodaikanal sightseeing presents you with the opportunity to experience untamed flora and fauna in the lap of Palani Hills. Whether you happen to be a couple on honeymoon seeking some alone time or a retired person looking for solitude and time to unwind; this laidback place has plenty of places to offer. Although we tried to cover all the main natural, historical, and religious tourist attractions, Kodaikanal has plenty much to offer and in case we missed a place you plan to visit, do let us know! 

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