Kodaikanal is a hill station in southern India, draped in a green cover. Numerous waterfalls dot the area, and Bear Shola Falls, Silver Cascade Falls and Vattakanal Falls are among tourists’ favourites. But Kodaikanal isn’t only about waterfalls.
So, if you wonder what to visit in Kodaikanal, check the best 21 places below.
Kodaikanal is known as the Princess of Hill Stations. And from lakes to parks, and churches to temples, you have several places to visit in and around Kodaikanal.
The time after monsoon is the best to visit Kodaikanal. But because of its idyllic weather, it is popular among the tourists all around the year. The summers are pleasant, and the winters aren’t so harsh to spoil your holiday.
You can spend time boating in Kodai Lake, exploring Guna Cave, or have a fun outing in Bryant Park. And Kodaikanal also offers various options for adventure activities. You can bike around the town, go for a walk at Coaker’s Walk and trek to scenic viewpoints like Dolphin’s Nose View Point.
From serene lakes to gushing waterfalls, Kodaikanal has a plethora of tourist spots for nature lovers. And it also has places like the Shembaganur Museum of Natural History and Astrophysical Observatory where kids can learn while enjoying their holiday.
So, have a look at this brief list of places to visit in Kodaikanal, and plan your trip accordingly.
Kodaikanal Lake (also known as Kodai Lake) is a man-made lake in the heart of the town. It was created, in 1863, by Sir Vere Henry Levinge, the then Collector of Madurai. And today it is among the best places to visit in Kodaikanal in evening.
The lake is surrounded by lush green Palani hills, and you can capture stunning views while boating. Fog and mist cover the lake during many winter evenings. And you might catch the rare experience of floating in a boat through the clouds. So,rent a rowboat or a pedal boat and spend some quiet time in the spellbinding beauty of the lake.
Apart from boating, you can also go for long walks on the pathway surrounding the lake. And you can also opt for biking or horse riding to get a panoramic view of this popular tourist spot. Many cycles and horses are available for hire.
Bryant Park is a well-maintained botanical garden spread over 20 acres. The park has various colourful and blooming flower plants and other shrubs and cactuses on display. And it is also the venue for the magnificent flower show held every year in summer, around May-June.
The park is only a few hundred meters away from the bus stand. And it is named after H.D. Bryant, the then forest officer who built it in 1908.
Bryant Park is a favourite family picnic spot among the local people, and it is one of the most visited tourist places in Kodaikanal.
The park has numerous walking pathways and cycling tracks surrounded by trees. And it also has play areas for kids, a glasshouse and an attractive rose garden among other attractions.
Coaker’s Walk provides breathtaking glimpses of the valley clad in cloud and mist. And it is one of the must-visit places near Kodaikanal lake.
Coaker’s Walk is named after Lt Coaker, who created it in 1872. It is a walkway on a steep slope of the hills, from where you can get spectacular views of the rolling hills and the lush green valleys.
Photographers will fall in love with Kodaikanal here, and so will honeymooners. Wake up early and go for a walk to watch the golden sunrise. Near the entrance, you’ll find the Telescope House from where you can better watch the views.
Get a pack of sweet corn or peanuts and walk along soaking in the beauty of Kodaikanal. It would be a walk to remember. You can also hire bicycles to ride with your partner or friends.
Silver Cascade Falls
Silver Cascade Falls, about 7 km away from the town, is formed by the overflowing of Kodai Lake. A wide stream of gorgeous silvery water gushes down the rocks from about 200 ft during the rainy season. And it fills the surroundings with water droplets and cool breeze.
It is situated right by the highway. And it is the perfect spot to take a break after a long drive, just before entering Kodaikanal. Capture some photos, enjoy the views and settle down with a cup of hot masala tea, before you get on for another drive.
Numerous other stalls are here, with carrots, raw mangoes and other local fruits on sale. And you can also enjoy crispy vadas, fritters and other fried snacks.
Bear Shola Falls
Bear Shola Falls is a seasonal waterfall on the outskirts of Kodaikanal. It is in its full swing during the monsoon, and it can also be visited after those rainy days.
The place is situated within the dense Shola forests, and it used to be the source of water for bears. And thus, the waterfall came to be known as Bear Shola Falls.
The waterfall is for the nature lovers and adventure seekers who want to spend time away from the crowd. With water falling from the hills and birds chirping around, you can feel being a part of nature at Bear Shola Falls.
A short trek through the woods will take you to the falls. It’s a simple trek and doesn’t involve uphill walking.
Silent Valley View Point
Silent Valley View Point is another popular tourism spot in Kodaikanal which offers soothing views of green meadows and misty mountains. The viewpoint is inside the forest area, on the way to Berijam Lake, and you’ll need to get an entry permit from the forest department.
A short trek through the forest will lead you to the spot. And the trek opens to awe-striking views of the hilly landscape and echoing valleys. On many occasions, the views are masked by clouds. Still, photographers love to visit this place. And it’s a favourite among the trekking enthusiasts too.
Apart from getting the lovely panoramic view of the valley, you can also spot wild animals from this viewpoint.
Berijam Lake is among the best places to visit near Kodaikanal hill station.
It is a freshwater lake, with a variety of flora and fauna in the surrounding. Go for a walk into the lap of nature and fill your soul with this breathtaking beauty.
The lake is within thick forests, and you need permission from the forest department for the visit. The forest department has minibuses to take you to the lake, and only limited other vehicles are allowed entry every day.
Berijam Lake is around 20 km away from Kodaikanal. And it is an ideal place to visit whether you’re with friends, family or alone. So, leave early for a half-day Kodaikanal tour through the scenic route.
Apart from the lake in its natural setup, you’ll also find a Hindu temple nearby.
Moir Point is among the most prominent viewpoints in Kodaikanal which you mustn’t miss. It acts as the entrance to the exquisite Berijam Lake and offers stunning views of the lush green valleys and hills around.
The viewpoint is named after Sir Thomas Moir, an engineer, and you can get photogenic views of the mist-clad peaks around Kodaikanal.
At Moir Point, you’ll find a small park and a monument for Sir Thomas Moir. And it also has a watchtower, which you can climb to get a better and wider view of the surroundings.
Various shops selling speciality home-made chocolates and other local food items are also near Moir Point.
Mannavanur Lake is another lake, set amidst forests, in the vicinity of Kodaikanal. And if you love clicking photographs, the lake must be in your one day Kodaikanal trip plan.
It is around 30 km away from the town. And a scenic route lined with eucalyptus trees and pine trees brings you here. After driving through the forest, you’ll come across this beautiful lake. You’ll need a trek a bit to reach the lake.
And the surrounding grasslands have many other trekking trails to explore.
The area is blessed with rich flora and fauna. Along with various shrubs and trees, you can spot exotic birds and wild animals. On the way, and around the lake, you’ll also find flocks of sheep and rabbits from the nearby farms.
Apart from trekking, you can also enjoy horse riding around the lake. And if you want to go boating in Mannavanur Lake, local coracle boat rides are available.
The lake is among the most romantic places to visit in Kodaikanal.
Subrahmanya Temple (or Kuzhanthai Velappar Temple) is a small Hindu temple surrounded by beautiful hills and valleys. It is on the way to Mannavanur Lake, in Poombarai village, about 20 km away from Kodaikanal bus stand.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan (also known as Lord Kartikeya) and it comes under the administration of the Palani Murugan Temple.
As per the legends, Lord Murugan came, in the form of a baby, to save a poet Arunagirinathar from a demon. And thus, the temple has been named Kuzhanthai Velappar. It means the infant God carrying the weapon Vel.
The temple resembles the architectural style of temples common in South India. And the main idol is sculpted in the standing position in the sanctum sanctorum (garbha griha). It is made with navapashanam, an amalgam of nine poisons.
Dolphin’s Nose View Point
Dolphin’s Nose View Point is a favourite among the trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. It is among the top places to visit in Kodaikanal. And it offers a picturesque view of the valley after a moderate difficulty trek.
On a clear day, you can get mesmerising views of the surrounding hills and the valley below.
The trekking trail is steep, and it is about a km long. And it takes you to the viewpoint on a pointed rock which resembles a dolphin’s nose. If you want to, you can tread further towards the Echo Point to get even more splendid views.
Kurinji Andavar Temple
Kurinji Andavar Temple is a Hindu temple built in 1936. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan and it is famous for the Neela Kurinji flowers in the surroundings. These blue flowering plants bloom once every 12 years. And the area seems covered with a blue carpet during those days.
The temple also acts as a viewpoint to provide breathtaking views of the valleys. You can even enjoy a beautiful view of Vaigai Dam and Palani Hills.
Another reason to visit Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple is to shop at the charming stalls nearby. These local shops sell vibrant flowers and garlands to offer the Lord. And you can also find tribal handicraft items and souvenirs to take home.
Guna Cave is a popular cave site named so after the shooting of film Guna. The place was known as the Devil’s Kitchen earlier and the eerie cave is made of steep, dark rock formations.
Iron bars restrict access to the cave, but the surrounding itself is spine-tingling.
Huge trees with exposed roots, half-covered with fog, thrill many visitors. And it is a must-visit spot if you want adventure trekking in Kodaikanal. You can also capture some memorable photographs with your group.
From the viewpoint nearby, you can get an aerial view of the valley and the town below, usually shrouded in clouds. And you can also see Pillar Rocks from the viewpoint.
Pillar Rocks is a viewpoint near the Guna Cave. It is another of the awe-inspiring and must-visit tourist attractions during your Kodaikanal tour. The spot is made of three tall vertical natural rock-formations which look like giant pillars.
For most of the day, the views are covered with clouds and fog. But on a sunny and clear afternoon, you get majestic views of the surrounding mountains and echoing valleys.
You’ll also find a beautiful mini garden here. So, take your camera along and try your luck at Pillar Rocks. It is among the best places to visit in Kodaikanal for couples.
Pine Tree Forest
Pine Tree Forest is a picturesque forest on the way to Guna Cave. Many Bollywood and South Indian movies have been shot here, and trekking through these tall pine trees would be an unforgettable experience.
The forest is ideal for a nature walk and to get the much-needed peace away from the chaos of the city.
This Kodaikanal pine forest is popular among the solo adventure travellers and photography buffs. But honeymoon couples will love this place too.
Take a long walk on the paths covered with pine cones and dried pine leaves. Collect them for souvenirs or just enjoy the relaxing moments in the lap of nature.
Vattakanal Falls is another gorgeous waterfall in Kodaikanal. Nestled in the peaceful forest, this cascading waterfall is surrounded by trees, hills and lush greenery all around. A bridge near acts as an observation point from where you can enjoy the views and click pictures.
The rainy season is the best time to see the waterfall in its full glory. And the place also offers the perfect opportunity for a short but adventurous hike through the woods. Local people and tourists come to Vattakanal Falls for a family picnic too.
You will also find a pool at its base. The water is cool but clear for a quick dip.
Vattakanal Falls is an ideal spot even for bird watchers. And photography lovers, too, will find the scenic location worth capturing in their lens.
Pambar Falls is one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Kodaikanal. This cascading waterfall is also known as the Grand Cascade, and it is about 4 km from the Kodaikanal bus stand.
The place offers an amazing trekking experience, as it requires you to trek through a steep path to reach the falls. It is known for its natural surroundings, and trekkers as well as nature lovers like this place.
The environment near Pambar Falls is rich in fauna. And you can see many endemic birds and colourful butterflies around the spot. Also, the waterfall forms a small pond at the bottom, and you can bath and swim in its crystal-clear water.
You can also enjoy a picnic with family or friends among other activities.
80 Mile Round
80 Mile Round is a scenic trekking route shrouded in fog and mist. The trek starts near Berijam Lake, and from here, you can get a photogenic view of the lake. And the entire trekking experience, which ends in the Poombarai village, will take you around 3-4 days.
Along the way, you can enjoy and capture views of distant mountain peaks, surrounding valleys and the villages. But you might lose your way while trekking through the forest area. So, make sure you’ve a local guide during the trek. 80 Mile Round is an ideal spot for adventure lovers who want to visit Kodaikanal for trekking.
Small shops selling local snacks and hot beverages are present in many places. And as for the stay, you can book the government resorts within the forests. Apart from trekking, you can also enjoy cycling here.
The Astrophysical Observatory of Kodaikanal is in Palani Hills. And it is a paradise for astronomy enthusiasts. It is one of the oldest observatories in the world, with telescopes for visitors to observe celestial objects and the night sky.
The observatory and the adjacent Solar Observatory Museum are both parts of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. And the museum displays various images and models showcasing the solar system and different astronomical phenomena.
You’ll also find a small library within the premises.
A visit to the Astrophysical Observatory and Solar Observatory Museum would be an interesting trip for adults and kids alike.
Mother Salette Church
Mother Salette Church (or La Saleth Church) is a historical church, only about 2 km away from Kodaikanal bus stand.
It is the first Catholic Church to be built in Kodaikanal, around 150 years ago, and it is the oldest church here. The quaint landmark is known for its ambience and peaceful environment, adorned with majestic views.
La Saleth Church is built in memory of Lady of La Saleth. The blue-white church, built in the Tamil-French architecture style, stands tall on a small hill. And it is an ideal spot to check the surrounding views.
You can go to this church at any time of the year, but a visit on 15th August is special. On this day, a 9-day festival concludes, with a vibrant carnival. And devotees and tourists from nearby areas come here to be a part of it.
Shenbaganur Museum of Natural History
Shenbaganur Museum of Natural History (also known as Flora and Fauna Museum) is a small but informative museum in Kodaikanal.
The place is managed and maintained by Sacred Heart College. And here, you’ll find hundreds of preserved fossils of birds and animals on display. The museum also has a herbarium, which showcases a variety of preserved plants, including indigenous orchids.
For the lovers of palaeontology and natural history, the museum is a must-visit.
Apart from preserved flora and fauna, you will also come across local handicraft artefacts here. And therefore, the museum is one of the best places to visit to know about the traditions of South India.
Other Popular Places to visit in Kodaikanal
There are many other places to visit in and near Kodaikanal, which should be in your tour itinerary. For example, Dolmen Circle. It is a historic site which used to be the burial grounds of people from the Stone and Iron age. Then, the Lutheran Church is a Gothic-style church, with stained glass windows, modern paintings, and murals about the life of Jesus Christ.
Kodaikanal also has few other waterfalls like Fairy Falls and Thalaiyar Falls which you mustn’t miss. And if you’ve got time, also visit Green Valley View Point and Upper Lake View Point. These places are perfect not only for photography but also for various outdoor activities.
And Caps Fly Valley is one of the offbeat places to visit in Kodaikanal. Many people come here to throw their cap in the air, and see it come flying back like a boomerang.
Among the other natural tourist spots in the region are Perumal Peak, the highest peak in the region; Canopy Hill, to spot wildlife creatures and local fruit farms; and Kukkal Caves, which served as the refuge to the Palaiyar tribes. Chocolate Factory and Wax Museum are the other places which you should check during your Kodaikanal tour.
for the shopping aficionados, Anna Salai Market is the place. It is one of the top places for shopping in Kodaikanal.
And you can also go for a night safari of the town to savour the night views of popular tourist places. Camping sites on the outskirts of Kodaikanal are available if you want to spend a night in a tent and indulge in adventure activities.
Kodaikanal is a charming hill station and the most popular one in Tamil Nadu. And it has natural beauties in abundance. From rolling hills to green meadows and lakes to dense pine forests, you have plenty of places to spend a vacation away from the hustle-bustle of the city.
It is also the most sought-after honeymoon destination in South India.
And Kodaikanal is equally popular among the adventure lovers, backpackers and others who want a relaxing holiday with their family. From moderate trekking trails and biking pathways to beautiful parks and peaceful religious spots, it has got it all!