8 Offbeat Things To Do When In Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Embark on a unique adventure in Kodaikanal as we unveil a hidden world of unconventional activities, allowing you to break free from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary
8 Offbeat Things To Do When In Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
8 Offbeat Things To Do When In Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Situated at about 7,000ft above sea level, Kodaikanal is famous for its breathtaking views and unsurpassed beauty. Also known as Princess of Hill Stations, it lies in the hills of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil, Kodaikanal means "Gift of Forest." This place is a gem for all nature lovers with emerald-green forests, lush waterfalls, tranquil lakes, and serene views.

Check Out The Solar Observatory

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The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory (KoSO) has been studying the sun for over a century, taking photos of sunspots and recording changes in its activity. Since 1904, they have digitised 1.48 lakh solar pictures. The images have been digitised into what is considered to be one of the world's oldest collections of publicly available solar images. The observatory, located in the magnificent Palani range of hills, was founded in 1899 as a Solar Physics Observatory when all activities of the Madras Observatory were relocated to Kodaikanal. The observatory's 20 cm refractor is sometimes made available to guests for viewing the night sky. On campus, there is an astronomy museum open to the public. Here you can see a live solar image and the Fraunhofer spectrum. It is open all seven days between 930 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 430 pm. The night skywatch is also available from 630 pm to 730 pm.

Address Observatory Rd, near Govt Rose Garden, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu 624103

Build A Treehouse

Plan in advance and register for a unique workshop with Once Up On A Tree, a local ecological start-up that creates treehouses and natural buildings while growing organic food forests that feed humans and animals. Their workshops focus on intuitive treehouse building, i.e. working with trees without harming them. Their goal is to protect local biodiversity and promote peaceful cohabitation with nature.

Sample Local Foods

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While you're here, try the Kodaikanal malai poondu, a local hill garlic variety that acquired a GI (Geographical Indication) label in 2019. The garlic is sometimes smoked for several months, which gives it a unique flavour. You can find people selling it around Bazaar Road and Anna Salai Road. You could also pick some fresh fruits from orchards, backyards, and small farms, such as oranges, peaches, and organic passion fruit.

Go On A Cafe and Bakery Trail

Kodaikanal is known for its quaint cafes and bakeries, serving freshly made bread, cakes, and pastries with fragrant coffee. One of the most popular and iconic places is Pastry Corner. A Kodaikanal institution, this bakery on Bazaar Road does retro vibe treats like cream buns, cinnamon buns, brownies, butterscotch pastries and sandwiches served with a side of excellent filter coffee or hot chocolate.

Address Bazaar Rd, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu 624101

Pick Up Artisanal Cheeses, Chocolates, and Honey

Kodaikanal is famous for producing quality coffee, grown organically, homemade chocolates and quality cheeses. Hit up The Chocolate Factory in Kodaikanal for handcrafted chocolates of various sizes, shapes, and consistencies tailored to individual wants and tastes. Pick up cheese from Kodai Cheese, one of the oldest cheesemaking outfits in India. The family-run outlet has been around since 1972. Visit Hoopoe on a Hill for local honey, which is run out of a small home in a village near Kodaikanal by a group of women who work together to bring wild honey gathered by adivasi communities of the Palani Hills. You can choose from different honey varieties, including jamun, multi-floral, eucalyptus, and the rare Cerana and Dammer.

Enjoy The Lakes

Kodai Lake, surrounded by the Palani Hills range in the northwest, is a picturesque sight that captures the attention of every traveller. Boating on Kodaikanal Lake is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist activities. This artificial lake dates back more than 150 years. Take a bike ride around the area to discover it. If you want to spend time at a less-crowded, more tranquil lake in Kodaikanal, try Mannavur Lake, about 34 km from Kodaikanal. The lake, which has the name of the village where it is situated, is inside a sheep farm, so you might come across herds of sheep grazing nearby. 

Explore the Guna Caves

Guna Caves, also known as Devil's Kitchen, is a deep, narrow valley with little furrows. It is often enclosed in deep mist and fog. Situated between Green Valley View and Pillar Rocks, one can see various other birds, animals, and many bats here.

Shenbaganur Museum of Natural History

The museum, founded to preserve certain archaeological artefacts and the flora and wildlife of the hills, boasts one of the best orchidariums in the country, with over 300 species on view. It is maintained by the Sacred Heart College-Theological Seminary, founded in 1895. Many of the collections of butterflies, moths, and birds were done by teams of local students.

Cover photo credit unsplash.com/@whatsabhidoing

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