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Where to stay in Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal Hotels

If you fancy hiding from the incessant heat of South India’s plains, Kodaikanal – or Kodai – is arguably the most refreshing place in Tamil Nadu. Nestled high up in the Palni Hills in the Western Ghats – surrounded by a patchwork of verdant grassland hills dotted with clusters of dense evergreen shola forest – a tropical highland woodland of broadleaf trees covered in lichen and moss – Kodai’s hill station has a charming laid-back vibe, perfect for relaxing among the cooling misty hills.

Things to see

Kodai’s real appeal is its lofty spot high above sea level, where mornings are crisp and damp, and evenings bring a soothing chill rolling down from the grassy fields. Take a stroll around the town’s glacial-looking lake – a 5 kilometre path circles the shore – or rent a bike for a good old-fashioned cycle. Close to the lake, Bryant Park’s landscaped floral gardens are particularly spectacular in summer, while nearby Coaker’s Walk’s paved pathway almost floats above the fields below, as clouds of white mist hug the hillsides. If you fancy a more strenuous trek, head 4 miles south of town to Pillar Rocks for almost ethereal rewards – especially on damp days – as the 2 rugged, craggy swathes of rock point upwards, struggling away from the grey vapour forming patches of clinging cloud. Another scenic spot is Kuriniji Temple – head to the cliff edge for views down to the valley below.

Hotels in Kodaikanal

Ever since the British headed to the hills in the 1940s to avoid the summertime heat of the valleys below, Kodaikanal has been a busy April to July resort town. Plenty of hotels hope to woo you to their doors, from mid-century hill-station villas converted into upmarket guesthouses – with bags of retro charm – to resort hotels, offering all the mod-cons – many even have WiFi, can you believe. Clusters of cheap Kodaikanal hotels provide back to basics accommodation, while a handful of eco hotels – think rustic cabins and organic home-grown veg – really make the most of Kodai’s wealth of verdant nature.

Where to stay

It’s easy to walk around Kodaikanal, so no matter where you stay you won’t be far from the town, or surrounding greenery. A cluster of hill-station bungalows feels like you’ve stepped back in to the days of the Raj, while a few places offer particularly spectacular scenic views, including Coaker’s Walk near Bryant’s Park, as well as the area around Pillar Rocks and Kodaikanal Golf Club. If you really fancy retreating into nature, head out into Kodai’s lush hillside world of green grassland pastures speckled with tangles of verdant forests - a complete retreat from India’s sometimes overwhelming chaos.

How to get to Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal’s a 2 hour bus journey from Dindigul city, with its large train station. Buses run direct to Kodai from Dindigul’s central bus station, or from other cities including Chennai, Pondicherry and Madurai. Kodaikanal’s nearest train station is at Kodai Road – still quite a drive from Kodaikanal, and with a much less frequent service than Dindigul. Once in Kodai everything’s easily walkable, or you can grab a taxi if you fancy resting your feet. Note that there are no auto-rickshaws in Kodai. Bikes can be hired near the lake, and there are plenty of opportunities for cycling in the area.

Kodaikanal travel guides

Kodaikanal Travel Guides