Hyderabad – Chennai – Kodaikanal – Marayoor – Munnar – Kochi – Vagamon – Thekkady – Munnar – Palakkad – Kalpetta (Wayanad) – Masinagudi – Ooty – Ananthpur (AP) – Hyderabad.
Kodaikanal (April 24-29, 2016)
For people who have been born & brought up in Northern Plains of India & were totally obsessed with 90’s Bollywood songs in their childhood, visiting Southern part of India with its lush green Tea gardens, Hill stations, Pine tree forests, Nilgiris etc is almost like a fantasy come true. What these places must like be, has always fascinated us.
Kodaikanal, one among many famous tourist destinations of South India has always been on the bucket list. But my heart cries out when all that you find at such places is tourist crowd, traffic jams, jam-packed parking lots, litter & anything & everything that could be qualified as an assault on nature by human beings.
Nevertheless, Kodaikanal was still a sweet surprise provided that I was in Chennai’s out of the world humid weather yesterday. Icing on the cake was little drizzling while I was still looking for my home-stay. After taking lunch and a little bit of sleep, I went for a drive around the Kodai lake in the evening. Again, I was shocked to see the traffic jam and crowd. (May be because it was a weekend) It felt like I got teleported to Bangalore. I somehow managed to secure a parking for my car. Tried to take a walk along the lake but it was a total mess. A zillion people, horses, bicycles and what not. I immediately left the place and went back to my home-stay. Peace and world order restored.
My homestay in Kodiakanal was at Symantac Homestay. Again a blessing for travellers like us who wants to stay away from city crowd & closer to nature. The homestay had quite amazing views from its balcony.
Since it was a Monday, I was expecting lesser traffic and that was the case indeed. I tried to go around the typical Kodai tourist circuit but there were still more people everywhere than I like. I think that’s the best part about roadtrips. You can still enjoy the drive even if tourist circuits disappoint without compromising much on the beauty of the place around. And that’s what I did. So, I just drove around, had lunch and came back to my home-stay. On my drive, I managed to capture some beautiful landscapes in Kodaikanal.
It was my 4th day in Kodaikanal. Time to keep aside the reservations regarding tourist crowds as well as traffic jams & do some sightseeing. Tourist mode was invoked and I was determined to visit at least a few places. Luckily not too much crowd.
Since I was sure that I don’t want to go to the Kodai lake itself, I thought of driving to a far away place called Mannavanur (~40 KMs). It has a lake as well. And I must say that this was a well thought & well timed decision. It fulfilled my criteria of a secluded less crowded place, ample natural beauty, small villages around & a nicely paved road to enjoy my drive. I thoroughly enjoyed my day trip to this place & would recommend same to the people who like to travel & drive for the sake of natural beauty rather than to check-in at the typical tourist circuits. I got to capture some amazing views along the way while driving.
Below is the Boating complex at the Mannavanur lake. You can drive only up to here. No vehicles allowed inside. From here, it’s a ~500 meters walk to the lake.
Once inside the complex, this is what you get to see
And this is what you get to do at this little peaceful lake. A ~20 minute coracle boat ride for ~100/person. Well, this is a must-do if you ever visit this place. No other flamboyant cruise or ship can give you the experience this small humble coracle boat can give. Whenever you are in a coracle boat, please, please ask the rider to make it go round like crazy. Thank me later.
On my way back to Kodaikanal, I just stumbled upon this small & pristine village called Poombarai. The views that this village gave was a perfect closure for the day trip. I will let pictures do the talking.
And that was all for my Kodaikanal stay. Overall a wonderful place if you manage to stay away from crowd. But this is true only for travelers like me who are always trying to get rid of crowd. Otherwise this place do host some typical tourist places like Kodaikanal lake, Pine Forest, Pillar Rocks, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History and many others which are worth a visit at least once as recommended by our fellow travelers. I know it’s not possible for all folks, but please try to avoid this place on weekends in peak season. Well, that’s actually true for tourist places all over India.
I stayed in Kodaikanal for the entire week (April 24-29) & now its time to drive to Marayoor. As mentioned in my earlier thread, since I don’t work on weekends I shuttle between my destinations on weekends because of the ample time available. I will be discussing about my Kodaikanal – Marayoor roadtrip in my next blog post.
To be continued ……