One of the most popular hill stations of South India, Kodaikanal (also called Kodai) offers visitors pleasant weather, lush green surroundings and a beautiful lake. A popular escape during the hot summer months Kodaikanal embodies the aspects of a perfect hill-station trip, complete with a central lake, activities around it, walking trails, short hikes, waterfalls and farms. As well as all the usual sights there are also some alternative things to do in Kodaikanal which you can weave into your itinerary.
After you check out the main sights and attractions in Kodaikanal here are some alternative ideas on how to fill your days.
Boating in the Kodai Lake
The water body is integral and almost synonymous to the topography of the town. The great part of the lake is that it is accessible to everyone and is bursting with energy, especially during the holiday season. Boating is the key activity here, and is perfect to engage kids. The manmade structure was built in 1863 by Vera Levinge, a former District Collector of Madurai. It is said that the lake was used for swimming by the Britishers who lived here in the early 19th century. There are some de rigueur activities like boating, walking, horse riding and small shops that sell predictable souvenirs. One can hire self pedalled boats or slightly larger ones with a rower. The cost of this activity starts as low as Rs 20/- . The lake opens out for boating at about 7.00 a.m which is the best time to go.
Trek to Kookal Caves
Kookal caves are situated 40 kms away from the Kodai town and makes for an interesting overnight hike. You can make a stop at Poombarai and then hike up through the Poombarai forest to a government guest house. The next morning, walk again through the Shola grasslands to the caves that bear testimony to the earliest settlements of Paliyan tribes. It is highly recommended to take a guide. Also, be careful about leeches!
A regular organic farmer’s market is set up every Saturday in Kodai. You can find local farmers with their fresh produce between 9.30 and 12.30. The market only encourages organically grown produce to be part of the display. One can find different varieties of organic vegetables and fruits and herbs, grown without any pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Pick out some healthy and nutritious food for yourself and also meet some great organisations who promote organic eating lifestyle.
Holistic Healing at the Kodaikanal Yoga Centre
The Kodaikanal Yoga Centre lies in the midst of natural beauty and lush green surroundings, a perfect place to be in a peaceful ambience for Yoga. Meditation and Yoga workshops are conducted here. If you are visiting for a short time, you can do a quick orientation or alternatively stay for longer courses too.
Cycling in Kodaikanal
Cycling in the hills is fun for those who like a little adrenalin rush and work up a sweat even on a holiday. You can hire a cycle here and take a spin around the lake. These can be hired near Hotel Carlton. A lot of cycling enthusiasts follow the trail of starting at Kodai Lake, Pine Forest, Chettiar Park ending in Coaker’s Walk.
An 18 Hole Golf course is situated at Kodai. The course belongs to the century old club, where you can get a temporary membership. If you are staying at a homestay and the owners are members, they may be able to extend a guest visit to you.
If you arrive in the fruit season and choose to visit a farm, you can join the workers there in fruit picking, especially strawberries. You can then sit and enjoy the sumptuous delights!
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.