Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Travel quelled the Tantrums

I had not vacated my room in madurai by june 1st so before doing that myself and my parents went to kodaikanal, palani and while returning came to madurai and vacated the room. The ascend to Kodaikanal by the road devised by the Englishmen with just two hair pin bends was smooth. I searched the net for info about kodaikanal and got quite a few.Kodaikanal history dates back to 14th century. By the 18th century the people fled to kodai hills from palani to thwart Tipu sultan from conquering. It was in 1845 that the U.S missionaries and Englishmen actually thought of setting this place as a hill station. The Britishers could not tolerate the heat in madurai during summer hence they searched for a cooler place and they found this abode 2200 metres above sea level. At that time it was just a mountain it is they who set up the artificial lake that we use for boating.Then they setup the Bryant park.It was one of the Major who brought the pine and Eucalyptus tree here. An English Enthusiast climbed the 112 metre pillar rock and planted the Cross on its top. Berijam lake was a swamp some 80 to 100 years back. They used it as a catchment area which now provides water to Periyakulam.Coakers walk along the hillside edge was found by coaker a sergeant in British army. (The pics to the right and above is that of the lake)

So much to the history of Kodaikanal. The present state of the affairs is quite different. The Princess of hills or perhaps the infrastructure could not handle the amount of people during summer. The falls view tower on the edge would give a good view of rat tail falls(dum dum).i dont know why the silver cascade din have a neat and clean base though visitors are not allowed to take bath. The Parking lot is very small and not properly setup with the municipality people charging Rs 20 without even giving a receipt evidently to hide the fact that the parking cost would be much lower.i never thought that i would travel some 180 kms to see the small Bryant park where they charged Rs 5 for nothing.Then the Pine forest was nice(pic to left). I didnot go to the Devil's kitchen (Gunna cave) as i din have much time left. The pillar rock is where the scenic beauty is great(pic below). The green valley or suicide point has a sheer drop of 500 metres which obviously one cant see as its thankfully barricated near the edge. The shops on the way to green valley is worth noting which contains stuffs ranging from yummy home made chocolates to eucalyptus oil. The Kodaikanal golf club looks great from outside especially because Trespassers are not allowed :) The really fresh carrots with leaves is what i enjoyed the most. It was raining heavily out there in the afternoon while there was scorching heat in the plains below.

My kind of advice is its not a place to just visit the important spots. Just book up with Carltons or other such high end hotels and resorts up there during july or august. It is during this time that there wont be any crowd and though the temperature would be quite low you can watch the fog hovering over the lake and below you near the coakers walk. Then doing some expedition sort of stuff with your pals would be more interesting than anything else. Especially you would not see the litter rampage done by the tourist during this time. The lake and the Park needs to be expanded cos they are designed for the small crowd that it attracted in the early 1900. A massive transformation has to take place to make it attractive in the years to come.

thanks to the highway people for devising the road from kodaikanal to palani with loads of hairpin bends also the road being in dilapidated condition for most part of the year hence its virtually untakable. what could have been just a 55 kms trip from kodai to palani through that road turned out to be a 120 Km trip through kodaikanal - Bathalagundu - sempatti - Palani.

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